Read in: French

Daily report for 11 April 1997


Delegates heard reports on the Rio Conventions, regional activities and otherintersessional events during a morning Plenary. They considered national reporting, theBarbados Programme of Action and the budget during the afternoon. In a parallel session,delegates conducted dialogues with youth and the scientific and technical communities.


PRESENTATIONS: Bo Kjelln, Chair of the INC on Desertification, called forpolitical support to resolve the CCD’s outstanding issues and stressed the importance ofwater issues. Calestous Juma, Executive Secretary of the CBD, said the preparation ofnational reports is an important instrument for compliance and stressed setting targets andusing indicators. Michael Zammit-Cutayar, Executive Secretary of the FCCC,recommended: integrated scientific assessment; actions for multiple benefits acrossconventions; information to mobilize public and political support; and a legal frameworklinking different sets of convention commitments. The Expert Meeting on SynergiesAmong the Conventions on Climate Change, Biological Diversity, Desertification and theForest Principles recommended: harmonized data; a national handbook onimplementation; inter-COP secretariat cooperation; and streamlined reporting.

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific stressed regionalcapacity-building in cooperation with UNDP. He called for CSD attention to regionalactivities. The Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean has beeninvolved in activities related to water resource management, energy, mining, urbanmanagement, trade and environment, SIDS and transboundary movement of wastes. TheEconomic Commission on Europe noted the need of economies in transition forassistance and suggested that regional commissions conduct regional assessments ofnational reports. The Economic Commission for Africa called for an internationalfinancial mechanism on cross-sectoral issues.

The Inter-American Development Bank described its work to support sustainabledevelopment, notably on poverty, equity and the environment. The Summit of theAmericas on Sustainable Development recommended support for national and local levelactivities, transparent and sufficient financial mechanisms and the transfer of cleantechnology. The Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Implementation of SpecialMeasures for LDCs in Agenda 21 recommended that: developed countries fulfill theirfinancial commitments under Agenda 21; the WTO Plan of Action in favor of leastdeveloped countries be expeditiously implemented; and technology transfer considerlocal needs.

The Earth Council reported on recommendations from the Rio+5 Forum, stressing thatthe CSD act as a multi-stakeholder forum. He also called for regional participation inworld trade and investment regimes. The Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safetyrecommended that development projects involving chemicals management includeprovisions for capacity-building. The Expert Workshop on Fostering the LinkageBetween Energy and Sustainable Development Within International Institutions urged theCSD to address sustainable energy issues during one session. Japan introduced the TokyoDeclaration prepared at the Global Partnership Summit on the Environment. TheDeclaration recommends life-long environmental education and indicators to measuresustainable production and consumption. The Republic of Korea, 1997 WorldEnviornmental Day host, described preparations of the Seoul Declaration onEnvironmental Ethics to enhance understanding of sustainable development. The RussianFederation reported plans for a Moscow seminar in May 1997 entitled “Chernobyl andBeyond: Humanitarian Assistance to Victims of Technological Disasters.” Swedenreported on preparations of an Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea region. Sweden is providinga secretariat and coordination for the programme to be adopted in the first half of 1998.Turkey noted activities of the Black Sea Environmental Programme.

NATIONAL REPORTING: Joke Waller-Hunter (DPCSD) introduced thedocumentation regarding national reporting and its streamlining (EN/CN.17/1997/5 and6, background papers 7-9). One-hundred twenty-five countries have reported on someaspect of national activities. CANADA proposed using national plans containing targetsand milestones and, with the EU, supported peer reviews on the basis of suchinformation. The US supported regional peer reviews. The US said streamlining providesthe added value of examining consistency among multilateral agencies. OECD stressedthe need for donors to coordinate their requirements. PAPUA NEW GUINEA noted thatfunds used to compile reports could be better used for capacity-building andimplementation. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO stressed small countries’ need forassistance in report prepartion. The PHILIPPINES recommended reporting on constraintsin implementation.

MODALITIES OF THE 1999 REVIEW OF THE BARBADOS PROGRAMME OFACTION: Joke Waller-Hunter (DPCSD) introduced the document regarding theimplementation of the Programme of Action for SIDS (E/CN.17/1997/14). AOSIS,supported by BARBADOS, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, JAMAICA, the BAHAMAS,MALTA and GUYANA, called for greater urgency in implementing the BarbadosProgramme of Action (BPA) and deplored the downgrading of the BPA’s status by thedecision that the CSD review it rather than the General Assembly. She proposed that afull review of the BPA be undertaken at a special session of the UNGA in 1999. The EUsaid the recommendations must be considered within the context of the programme ofwork. To implement the BPA, CUBA called for a transfer of new resources andtechnology, MALTA for more political impetus, and GUYANA for special attention tofinancing and capacity-building.

BUDGET PROPOSALS FOR 1998-1999: Joke Waller-Hunter (DPCSD)introduced the proposed programme of work of the Division for SustainableDevelopment for 1998-1999 (E/CN.17/1997/CRP.1). The EU and US reserved theirpositions pending development of budget figures. AUSTRALIA asked if the additionalactivities would require new resources and staff. Chair Tolba said the purpose of the draftwas to present the UN Secretary-General with proposals and let him decide which toundertake.


YOUTH: Danijela Zunec, Rescue Mission Croatia, and Peter Wilson, GlobalKids-Jamaica/USA, introduced speakers from youth-based NGOs in Japan, India, Latvia,the US, Nigeria, Canada, Argentina, the Netherlands, the UK, Zimbabwe and Senegal.They evaluated youth activities since UNCED, including: local environmental initiatives;youth NGO networks; educational seminars; local fund-raising drives; scientific researchprojects; and a children’s translation of Agenda 21. They highlighted priority issues,including: education, participation in decision-making, gender balance, homelessness,human rights, recycling and sustainable production and consumption.

Three speakers identified priorities and challenges for the future. Bijaya K. Pokharel,Students Partnership WorldWide (Nepal), called for financial mechanisms to allowyouth’s ideas to be realized. He called on governments to provide access to micro-creditfor youth and to invest in training and capacity-building. Adela M. Rodriguez,International Federation of Settlement Houses and Neighborhood Centers (US),emphasized the importance of education and called on governments to fund non-formaleducation and invest in social services to increase people’s capacity to contribute to asustainable future. Anuragini Nagar, Rescue Mission India, discussed participation andnoted that youth lack access to decision makers and recommended that governmentsinclude youth representatives on their delegations.

UGANDA noted the need for employment, education and political empowerment foryouth and also called for action on AIDS and drugs. WEDO recommended that youthrealize and focus on their power to influence through voting. The NETHERLANDSemphasized youth’s ability to change policies at local and national levels. ThePHILIPPINES underlined malnutrition as a problem that inhibits youth from realizingtheir full potential. BELGIUM, the US and a number of youth representatives highlightedthe work of Rescue Mission on sustainable development indicators. CANADA askedwhat youth would like to result from UNGASS. Many responded that they seek access toinformation, increased support for awareness, skill-sharing and empowerment, andsupport for new and innovative ways of actively involving youth and NGOs in thesustainable development debate. TANZANIA said youth must communicate with theirmissions and said their job is to challenge governments. Discussants also focused on peereducation, poverty, poor working conditions for youth and marginalization, particularlyof indigenous youth.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES: Julia Marton-Lefevre, International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), provided an overview ofNGO mechanisms for international cooperation in science and technology. Sophie BoyerKing described ICSU partner programmes, including the World Climate ResearchProgramme, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and DiversitasRationale, a research programme on biodiversity, which illustrate a successfulcoordination of NGOs, IGOs and governmental organizations to produce information forsustainable development. Mohammed Hassan, Third World Academy of Sciences, saidsustainable development depends on scientific knowledge and domestic capacity, localsolutions and local experts, and full and effective participation of scientific communitiesfrom both North and South. He noted the enormous gap between North and South in theability to produce and access scientific information.

Veena Ravichandran, ICSU, noted that bio-resources provide a great opportunity fordeveloping countries to increase their wealth. James Poirot, World Federation ofEngineering Organizations, discussed the responsibility of engineers in sustainabledevelopment, such as information sharing, education and technological assessment. Hehighlighted changes to the canon of ethics for the American Society of Civil Engineersthat incorporate principles of sustainable development. Roland Fuchs, Global ChangeSystem Analysis Research and Training, described programmes on capacity-buildingstrategies, scientific support for policy formulation, and engaging the policy community.

Anne White, Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change (GEC), describedefforts to examine the socio-economic, industrial and cultural forces driving GEC. Coreprogrammes examine: industrial transformations; institutional dimensions; and GEC andhuman security and perceptions. George Rabb, IUCN, described humanity's supremeignorance of biodiversity in terms of quantities of species and their values. Hecommented on the limitations of protected areas and instruments such as CITES, and theappropriateness of biosphere reserves, sustainable use in regional contexts, and investingin local peoples’ capacities.

Panelists proposed that UNGASS engage in a “real” dialogue session. They also calledfor support for international research and national-level scientific education. Discussantsalso addressed: research and development priorities; assessment of scientific researchefforts; the public image of science; efforts to address desertification; duplication ofwork; and indigenous capacity-building.


NGOs are reportedly rallying in reaction to amendments circulated by the OPEC States tothe Co-Chairs’ text on energy, transport and atmosphere. One NGO representative saidthe proposed amendments delete language stressing the importance of adopting a protocolor another legal instrument at FCCC COP-3 and add references to the inability to meetcurrent commitments on lowering emissions and the adverse impacts on economicdevelopment. It also modifies language on increased investment in renewable energyresearch and the damaging impacts of fossil energy use by transportation systems.


DRAFTING GROUP: Delegates are expected to meet all day to beginnegotiating the final text, using the Intersessional Working Group’s Co-Chairs’ draft as abasis, in Conference Room 2. In the morning they are expected to address the section on"Integration of Economic, Social and Environmental Objectives" and in the afternoonthey are expected to examine the section on "Sectors and Issues."

DIALOGUE WITH MAJOR GROUPS: Dialogues with women and trade unionswill take place during the morning and afternoon, respectively, in Conference Room 1.

Further information