Commission on Sustainable Development
2nd Meeting (AM)
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION OPENS SESSION’S HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT; IMPLEMENTING SUMMIT COMMITMENTS, COMMISSION’S FUTURE WORK HIGHLIGHTED
The Commission for Sustainable Development opened its eleventh session this morning, with environment and development ministers and United Nations officials stressing the importance of implementing the commitments made at last year’s Johannesburg World Summit, and highlighting needed changes in the Commission’s future work so it can carry out its critical role in that effort.†
Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introducing to the three-day high-level segment a report focused on the Commission’s part in follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, stressed that the Johannesburg goals must be monitored and integrated into sustainable development processes already underway, such as poverty reduction strategies implemented at the national level.† The United Nations must create mechanisms deemed credible by national governments and development partners, ensuring those partners access to information and “who’s who” in the United Nations regarding advocacy.
He added that pursuing sustainable development was in many ways a political process, reflecting the interests and concerns of future consumers, as well as the equitable and fair distribution of goods.† It involved policy-making, academic research and practical action carried out by governments, academia, civil society and the business sector.† The Commission must draw on its strengths to bring those diverse actors together to ensure effective and timely implementation.
Commission Chairman Valli Mossa (South Africa) said the Commission should focus on pooling United Nations resources and energies in implementing the Johannesburg targets.† He called on ministers to effectively use such regional vehicles as the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), learning centres and institutes designed to strengthen capacity, and other multinational sustainable development tools.
He noted that ministers in Johannesburg had solemnly pledged to protect the earth for future generations and to improve the lot of the poor, and women in particular.† Observing that the significant ministerial presence at the current meeting clearly underlined that commitment, he said that all were waiting to see whether governments tackled sustainable development as vigourously as some had recent military campaigns.
Klaus Topfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the World Summit had highlighted the huge disparity between
environmental commitments made by the international community and actions to implement them.† Policies for sustainable development had been devised and put in place, and must now be implemented.† Concrete steps must be taken towards achieving prosperity for all, especially for the poorest of the poor.† In particular, steps must be taken to eradicate poverty and bridge the sizeable gap that remained in world consumption patterns.
During the ensuing discussion, which included more than 20 speakers, several ministers echoed the urgent need to implement the Johannesburg targets and Millennium Development Goals, as well as to expand the focus on energy and water.† Many also welcomed the proposal in the report on implementation for a new two-year work-cycle for the Commission, with alternate years devoted to implementation of review and policy, and increased attention on implementation at the regional level.
David Anderson, Minister of the Environment of Canada, strongly supported the idea of a two-year cycle, but suggested a limited number of themes for each cycle.† Time must be allowed for assessing the issues in detail, focusing attention on lessons learned, and identifying and sharing best practices, he said.† Spending more time on analyzing, understanding and preparing, and less on negotiating new policy text, would lead to more substantive outcomes in the long term.† For real progress, the Commission should focus a limited number of themes
-– ideally, just one.† The emphasis should be on where the Commission could add value, or bridge gaps in the existing United Nations system.
Rodoula Zisi, Deputy Minister of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works of Greece, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, noted that the Commission had reached a point where major changes were called for, both in methods and results.† Its work programme should include the Johannesburg goals of poverty eradication, changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns and sustainable management of natural resources, as well as corporate social and environmental responsibility.† Special emphasis should be given to water and energy, as United Nations arrangements for those areas were too scattered.
Other speakers during the meeting included ministers from Morocco (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, France, South Africa, India, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Croatia, Russian Federation, Pakistan, Italy, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Lithuania, Austria, as well as the representative of Mauritius (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States).
The Commission will meet again at 3 p.m. for an interactive ministerial round table on the theme “Priority actions and commitments to implement the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.”
The Commission on Sustainable Development met this morning to begin its eleventh session, which is to focus on its future work in reaching commitments, targets and goals made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002).
This morning’s meeting was expected to include introductory statements and to initiate a high-level ministerial segment on the future work programme and methods of the Commission.† (For background information, see Press Release ENV/DEV/718, issued 24 April.)
VALLI MOOSA (South Africa), Chairman of the Commission, said the current session should focus on pooling the United Nation system’s myriad resources and energies to implement World Summit targets.† He called on ministers to actively participate in that process, making effective use of such regional vehicles as the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), learning centres and institutes designed to strengthen capacity, and other multinational sustainable development tools.
Paragraph 4 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation stated that good governance at both the national and international levels was essential for sustainable development, he continued.† The Commission’s work was part of international good governance.† In Johannesburg, ministers had solemnly pledged to protect the earth for future generations and to improve the lot of the poor, and women in particular.† Their significant presence at the current meeting was a clear indication of their commitment to the principles of sustainable development.† All eyes were on governments to see if they would tackle sustainable development with the same vigour as some had recently applied to military campaigns.
NITIN DESAI, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the Summit follow-up and the Commission’s future role in implementation (document E/CN.17/2003/2).† He said the challenge was to ensure the Summit implementation was adequately monitored and effectively integrated into sustainable development processes already under way, such as poverty-reduction strategies implemented at the national level.† The United Nations must focus its energies on providing strong, visible, coordinated and coherent follow-up within the Organization’s system.
He stressed the importance of water and energy in the sustainable development process, as outlined in the Johannesburg Summit.† While some participants were disappointed at the lack of renewable energy goals in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the Plan’s language was the strongest thus far and illustrated a coordinated response from the world community concerning the renewable energy aspect of Agenda 21, he said.
The United Nations must create mechanisms deemed credible by national governments and development partners, ensuring those partners access to information and who’s who in the United Nations regarding advocacy, he continued.† He also stressed that the pursuit of sustainable development must, in many ways, be a political process, since it reflected the interests and concerns of future consumers and the equitable and fair distribution of goods.† It involved policy-making, academic research and practical action carried out by governments, academia, civil society and the business sector.† The Commission must draw on its strengths to bring those diverse actors together to ensure effective and timely implementation.
KLAUS TÖPFER, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the Johannesburg Summit had clearly outlined the huge disparity that still existed between commitments made by the international community and action to implement them.† That critical issue should be considered during the Commission’s current session, as well as in the future.† Policies for sustainable development had been developed and were in place, but the question of implementation remained.† Concrete steps must be taken towards achieving responsible prosperity for all, especially for the poorest of the poor.† Steps must be taken to eradicate poverty and bridge the sizeable gap that still remained in world consumption patterns.† The international community must move forward to implement the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015.
The Johannesburg Summit had provided the international community with a new chance to push forward environmental agreements, he continued.† It had created a solid basis for implementing the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which contained over 30 concrete tables and targets.† It had also produced a 10-year programme for sustainable development and consumption, a clean fuel initiative and other clear, concrete partnership activities.† The international community must decide on a reliable framework to bring all available resources together in new efforts at implementation.
The UNEP had the full backing of its Governing Council to implement Johannesburg commitments in its annual work programme and was in continuing consultation with its stakeholders.† The international community could never peacefully coexist without recognizing that a sustainable environment was vital in ensuring a prosperous future.
MOHAMMED EL YAZGHI, Minister of Territory, Development, Water and Environment of Morocco, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, cited the need to enhance partnerships between governmental and non-governmental actors for sustainable development.† However, such partnerships should be not replaced, but complement intergovernmental commitments set forth in Agenda 21 adopted in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and should be balanced, effective and focused on achieving concrete results.
Review of the implementation process must be transparent and cite achievements by partnership actors, he said.† United Nations agencies involved in partnerships should adhere to the mandates and resource allocation called for in already established priorities, he said, stressing the need to define parameters for governing and guiding sustainable development.† Due consideration must be given to poverty eradication, as well as sustainable consumption and production patterns, with developed countries taking the lead during every step of the process.† Education, health, science and technology should be a part of all main themes, he added.†
RODOULA ZISI, Deputy Minister of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works of Greece, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the Commission had reached a point where major changes would be called for, both in its methods and its outcomes.† The Commission should focus on the Johannesburg targets and objectives, as well as achieving the Millennium Goals. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Agenda 21 should form the basis of its work programme.† The Commission should avoid overlap with the work of other bodies and focus on areas where it could bring added value.† She welcomed the proposal for a new two-year work cycle, with alternate years devoted to implementation review and policy, and increased attention on implementation at the regional level.
The Commission’s work programme should cover the main themes of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, including its overarching objectives of poverty eradication, changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns and sustainable management of natural resources, as well as corporate social and environmental responsibility.† Special emphasis should be given to water and energy, as United Nations arrangements for those areas were too scattered, or even lacking.
The Commission should address each theme of its work programme in an integrated manner.† Each cycle should address the relation between respective themes and such cross-cutting issues as poverty eradication, sustainable production and consumption, sustainable management of natural resources, means of implementation (including financing, capacity-building and transfer of technology), gender equality, governance, globalization and health.† An integrated approach would require addressing the links between such themes as energy and industry, oceans and maritime transportation, and water and agriculture.
MARGARET BECKETT, Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom, said the Commission needed reform.† It must concentrate on reviewing and monitoring progress towards sustainable development and define what more needed doing to meet commitments.† Participation must be broadened to include ministries other than just environmental.† Governments should be more integrated and coherent in following up on major conferences.† They should address the links between the World Summit for Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals, as examples.
She said her country had hammered home the case for trade reform, especially of agricultural subsidies.† A major issue for follow-up after Johannesburg was to improve market access for developing countries, so their produce could be sold fairly without hindrance by trade-distorting and environmentally damaging subsidies.† Currently, the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) gave around $55 billion in overseas aid, but subsidized their agricultural industries by around seven times that amount.† It had been estimated that the average European dairy cow received a $2 subsidy per day --† the same income as half the world population.†† A successful Doha round would boost developing country income by almost $150 billion per year, or three times the current global amount spent on development assistance.
Johannesburg had proved it possible to reach agreement on practical steps to a more sustainable world, she said.† The next three days were an opportunity to create a reformed and revitalized Commission to help meet the promises made there.
BORGE BRENDE, Minister of the Environment of Norway, said the Commission needed to make itself more relevant by focusing on achieving tangible results.† The United Nations should take the lead in addressing issues related to the global freshwater crisis.† A global plan of action should be launched to reach the World Summit goals for safe water and basic sanitation over the next 12 years.† To achieve sustainable consumption and production goals, economic growth must be decoupled from environmental degradation to protect nature and eradicate poverty.† Various mechanisms can be used to make globalization work for sustainable development, such as the elimination of harmful subsidies and the principle of “polluter pays”.† Finally, energy for development was a priority issue.† The Commission should play its role by supporting the aims of the Coalition on Renewable Energy initiated in Johannesburg and participating in the upcoming renewable energy conference in Germany next year.
He said the Commission could become more relevant by building alliances and encouraging political commitments to attack poverty and environmental degradation.† Partnerships and task forces could encourage political leadership and help achieve concrete results, but they could not replace political commitment.† The sustainable development agenda must be moved forward through political will and direction.† The Commission could attract a broad range of ministers, organizations and stakeholders by focusing on the most crucial issues.† It could then concentrate on policy coherence and underlying economic and legal frameworks for those issues.
DAVID KEMP, Minister for the Environment and Heritage of Australia, said the Secretary-General’s proposal for making the Commission effective was a good start, but did not go far enough.† The simplest process and the most intense focus on real solutions should be the aim in implementing the Johannesburg Plan.† That would be best achieved by addressing one major theme over each two-year period.† Each cycle should have a clearly defined purpose and outcomes that could be “taken away” and used to make a real difference, such as capacity improvements and information flows.† In addition to ministers and professional negotiators, the Commission should include others competent on practical issues and those who could benefit from the exchange.† Regional inputs should include subregional and transregional bodies with implementation-level experience.
Further, he said each theme should be selected with care to make the Commission productive without taking on too much, since complex issues were raised by its themes.† Water, for example, would be a good first theme under the new arrangement.† It would raise issues related to health, equity of access, wise use for sustainable development and the environment.† Also, progress across the whole range of a theme should be assessed using existing indicators and qualitative information, since agreed targets in the Johannesburg Implementation Plan were not the whole story.† Monitoring progress against drinking water and sanitation targets, for example, would not tell whether the sustainability of freshwater generally was improving.
Finally, he said the Commission should foster partnerships.† Further, a new Commission was needed for a new century and the post-Johannesburg world.† Commission reform was part of the broader reform of the United Nations.
TOKIA SAIFI, Minister for Sustainable Development of France, said creating a peer review mechanism for national sustainable development strategies, similar to the current environmental performance assessment tool used by the OECD, would produce fruitful exchanges and be an effective motivator.† Sustainable production and consumption was related to protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage, she said, adding that the Commission’s goals should be to promote economic and social development, while protecting cultural diversity and the environment.
She said nations could draw on local traditions of illustration, storytelling and craftsmanship to promote products and services with high heritage and cultural content.† Such products and services -- fast-growing sectors in recreation, tourism, agribusiness, handicrafts and trade -- could foster sustainable local development.† However, that would require adequately informed producers and consumers, and responsibly managed historic, natural and cultural heritage.
RONNIE KASRILS, Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa, said the Johannesburg Summit had shifted the focus of world leaders from policy debates in sustainable development to the real task of “making it happen”.† The challenge was to maintain the positive momentum established in Johannesburg in reaching targets, collectively mobilizing new resources and investing in needed infrastructure to meet commitments.† There was a global business plan in many of the target areas, and resources were now needed in achieving the Johannesburg commitments.
He agreed with the idea of a two-year work cycle for the Commission, but stressed that the period should be streamlined.† The components of the cycle should be crystallized and designed to allow the international community and partners to meet the objectives and targets set in Johannesburg.† As for the programme of work, he supported a balance of predictability and flexibility, which would allow nations to prepare for Commission sessions, as well as respond to emerging issues and maximize opportunities to link with other major initiatives. Issues or themes should integrate the economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development, and deal with interrelationships between sectoral themes, such as water and sanitation, health and energy.
He stressed the need for coordination between the Commission’s work and† that of other international agencies, and emphasized the importance of ensuring integration with follow-up work being done on the Millennium Goals, the Monterrey Consensus and other international conferences.† A mechanism to monitor, evaluate and report on progress was also vital to the success of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.† The Commission would also need to strengthen the role and interaction of stakeholder engagement, building on innovative dialogue techniques developed in Johannesburg.† Partnership initiatives, an innovative product of Johannesburg, recognized that governments alone would not be able to provide the resources needed for implementation.
T.R. BAALU, Minister of Environment and Forests of India, called for specific focus in the Commission on concrete steps that would result in financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer being made available to developing countries.† The Commission’s work programme should cover all sectors of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Programme of Implementation.† Actions could not be pursued on a selective basis.† The Summit’s clear directives should not be questioned, nor should the outcome be renegotiated.
India supported the pattern of two-year implementation cycles for the Commission, he said, adding that there could be six such cycles, with issues to be addressed in each cycle identified at the Commission’s session itself.† The
22 sectors contained in Agenda 21 and the Plan of Implementation could be clustered into five cycles, with the sixth devoted to an overall review of implementation.† That cycle would culminate in the year 2015, when progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals would be assessed.† The Commission’s contribution to the exercise would be important.† Implementation of sustainable development should be left to the respective national governments.† Action at the regional level should be carried out through the regional commissions.† The Commission should find the ways and means to work at the international level.
PIETER VAN GEEL, State Secretary for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment of the Netherlands, said the session had to result in a work programme with a strong focus on implementation.† The Commission alone could not achieve sustainable development.† States must live up to their agreements. The Netherlands had translated those commitments into an action programme called “Sustainable Action”.† It was ready to report back to the Commission’s review sessions, and it expected others to be equally committed to accountability.† Transparent and critical reporting on implementation was the only way to measure joint success or failure, he said.
There must be coherent guidance, he said.† It was important that the General Assembly confirm the results of the Johannesburg Summit, and other bodies, like the Economic and Social Council, and processes like the follow-up of financing for development, indicate their commitment to the Summit’s actions.† The General Assembly should discuss commitments on sustainable development in its high-level dialogue on financing for development.† The Commission’s work programme must have a special focus on water, energy and Africa.† African initiatives must be promoted.† To strengthen the implementation focus, discussion should be related to each individual theme.
PETR MARES, Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said the Commission’s future work programme should not be overloaded with themes.† It should focus on treating multifaceted, complex problems in sustainable development in a down-to-earth manner, with an emphasis on implementation, measuring achievements and analysing formidable obstacles.
In selecting future themes, the matrix approach suggested in the Secretary-General’s report was relevant, but not necessarily conducive, he said.† All future approaches should avoid duplicity and add value.† The Czech Republic was flexible regarding concrete themes, but was particularly sympathetic to proposals made concerning energy or water and sanitation as they related to:† poverty eradication; sustainable consumption and production pattern; and means of implementation.
NABIEL MAKARIM, Minister for Environment of Indonesia, said the primary responsibility for the implementation of Johannesburg commitments lay with national governments, as well as major societal groups.† The Commission’s current session was vital in its transition to a new programme of work to achieve the commitments made in Johannesburg.† The Commission should ensure that it provided a forum for an intergovernmental mechanism to implement the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
The Commission should strive to provide the most added value to socio-economic development and environmental protection, he continued.† Deliberations should be shifted from general discussion to implementation, so that progress could be expedited in reaching sustainable development goals.† The Commission should adopt the two-year cycle approach, with the second year consisting of a comprehensive review of implementation.
BOZO KOVACEVIC, Minister for Environmental Protection and Physical Planning of Croatia, said, following the Johannesburg Summit, Croatia had set up a National Committee for Preparation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development aimed at promoting sustainable development and information at the government level and incorporating it into national policies.† The Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, comprised the ministers for the environment, economy, labour and social welfare.† Moreover, in May Croatia would host the eighth meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development, set up in the framework of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan and the Barcelona Convention.
Croatia supported the proposal in the Secretary-General’s report that the Commission select one or two overarching themes for each of the following four to five two-year cycles.† That approach would leave room for new issues, and would be flexible enough to adjust to changing circumstances and contribute to problem solving.† Priority should be given to water and energy, he said, adding that those two themes had not been addressed comprehensively elsewhere.
DAVID ANDERSON, Minister of the Environment of Canada, strongly supported the idea of a two-year cycle for the Commission, but suggested a limited number of themes for each cycle.† Time must be allowed for assessing the issues in detail, focusing attention on lessons learned, and identifying and sharing best practices. Spending more time on analysing, understanding and preparing, and less on negotiating new policy text, would lead to more substantive outcomes in the long term.
The Commission was guilty of striving to over-achieve in the past, he said, taking on too many themes each year and performing in a superficial manner. Achieving real progress on a limited number of themes would be the best investment of time and resources.† Ideally, just one theme would be addressed in each two-year cycle.† The emphasis should be on where the Commission could add value or bridge gaps in the existing United Nations system.† Focusing on a single theme would allow the Commission to explore connections across a range of horizontal issues.† In the case of water, for example, the Commission could examine the relationship between water management and poverty reduction, between water and economic growth, and between water and health.
I.E. OSOKINA, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, outlined her country’s activities in the areas of promoting sustainable development by developing a national strategy focused on the integration of environmental and social considerations.† She said the “biennial cycle” for the Commission’s work was intriguing and should focus on concrete activities.† Also, a “matrix” should be developed to consider sectoral issues of sustainable development through the prism of global problems.† A limited number of themes within each cycle should be considered and a combination of long-term and short-term approaches should be used in selecting them.
With regard to strengthening the regional component during review years, she said, the regional implementation forums could play a positive role.† However, the present session should already begin to define relationships and set out responsibilities for the regional commissions, the Secretariat and for other organizations and specialized agencies of the United Nations system.† Review processes in the regions should be uniform and operate under common criteria.†† The modalities of the outcome documents of the “non-negotiated” part of the Commission’s two-year cycle should be elaborated.† Major groups should participate in the Commission’s work.† However, the intergovernmental nature of the United Nations bodies, including the Commission’s, should not be diluted.
TAHIR IQBAL, Minister of State for Environment of Pakistan, said developing countries were not well equipped for the transition to sustainability.† Financial requirements far exceeded their resources.† Sustainable development could be pursued through environmentally sound technologies. Pakistan had taken significant steps in environmental protection and conservation, including enacting a comprehensive national environmental law, a national environmental action plan, a comprehensive programme to curb and monitor industrial pollution, and a biodiversity action plan.
He said the Commission should measure actions, not words.† It should follow a balanced agenda linking structural causes of poverty and under-development, global distribution of consumption, market access, debt reduction, and providing the requisite financial resources.† Moreover, it should address cross-sectoral issues of poverty eradication, means of implementation and sustainable production and consumption patterns.
ALTERO MATTEOLI, Minister of the Environment and Territorial Protection of Italy, said the Commission should define an action-oriented programme of work to monitor commitments made in Johannesburg.† Energy and water should be priorities in that programme, since they were driving forces in the economic development of developing countries.† Financial resources must be mobilized to foster the technology transfer needed to assure access to water and electric energy for the billions of people currently deprived of them, without creating further pressures on environmental resources.† Water and energy were vital to health care, agriculture, food and drug preservation, the development of local production activities, and in providing access to communication and information networks.
As for implementation of the Johannesburg commitments, each nation would have different ways and times for achieving them.† However, cooperation at the international and regional level, as well as governance promoted at the national level, should contribute to preventing an even greater gap between developing and industrialized countries.† Partnership initiatives, such as NEPAD, and other initiatives, such as debt relief, should gradually contribute to closing that gap.
AMILCAR THEIAS, Minister of Urban Affairs, Spatial Planning and Environment of Portugal, said the Commission should enhance ministerial participation in policy sessions and review sessions.† In the future, the Commission should primarily address issues lacking a proper forum, such as water and energy, and its work programme should be comprised three two-year cycles.
Water access and sanitation and ocean policies were priority issues for Portugal.† He called for an assessment next year of integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans, as well as measures to achieve the 2015 water and sanitation target.† Integration of oceans under national and international jurisdiction should also be addressed.† He also supported creation of a new global assessment mechanism of the state of the marine environment. Portugal had been doing its part, acquiring less polluting ships to help curb damage to the marine environment, he said.
MYEONG SOOK HAN, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Korea, said her country planned to introduce a strategic environmental impact assessment system to pave the way for a precautionary approach to sustainable development.† The system aimed at ensuring the environmental soundness of major national policies in such sectors as land use, the economy, finance, industry and energy throughout both the policy planning and enforcement stages. Similarly, her Government had incorporated the concept of sustainability into all areas of land development, to help foster a healthy and pleasant environment.† It was also promoting diverse ecological preservation and restoration projects, including the establishment of a National Ecological Network, which attempted to holistically link and protect mountains, rivers, wetlands and coastal regions.
With respect to freshwater resources, her country had enacted special laws concerning its four major rivers, she continued. Those laws mandated comprehensive pollution prevention measures, including the designation of riparian buffer zones and total pollution load management. As for air quality management, the Government was enforcing special measures to mitigate air pollution in the capital region by operating an emissions trading-permit system and total pollution load management in the industrial sector, while requiring the purchase of low-emission vehicles.
MARINA SILVA, Minister of the Environment of Brazil, said despite criticism the Johannesburg Summit had produced desirable results, reaffirming the validity of 1992 Rio Summit held in Brazil.† The Johannesburg meeting was based on common objectives in economic and social development, environmental protection and sustainable development.† Progress, however, required implementing the commitments of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Action, as well as effectively utilizing lessons learned.
The Commission’s work plan in sustainable development must be comprehensive, she said.† It was necessary to identify the role and responsibilities of all governmental, non-governmental and private sector actors to ensure implementation of the commitments.
EMILIS GUSTAINIS, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Secretary of the National Commission on Sustainable Development of Lithuania, said last year Lithuania had conducted a comprehensive national assessment of progress in the last decade in sustainable development and had published a report on its findings.† Lithuania, with help from the local office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), had also created a National Strategy for Sustainable Development based on the Summit and the European Union guidelines.
He stressed the importance of subregional cooperation in sustainable development and noted the success of the Baltic 21 regional initiative.† The initiative’s 2000-2002 report showed continuing progress in sustainable development, steady economic growth, lower rates of nitrogen levels in the Baltic Sea, and greater renewable energy sharing among Baltic nations.
HEINZ SCHREIBER (Austria) said his country favoured a flexible, long-term work programme for the Commission, with focus on such key issues as water and energy.† Integration must be one of the guiding principles of the Commission’s future work, which must also take into account linkages between sectoral and cross-sectoral issues.† Austria attached importance to programme implementation at the regional and subregional levels.† The Commission must ensure that the bottom-up approach was carried through, from the region to the global level.
He said there must be a bridge between the normative and operational bodies of the United Nations-system, he said.† The Commission should regularly provide the Economic and Social Council with recommendations on topics dealing with sustainable development themes.† The Commission’s new work programme was making†† a high demand on its Bureau.† He, therefore, proposed a number of solutions, including the Bureau’s enlargement to 10.† He said guidance could also be sought from the practice of other functional commissions.† He called for the enhancement of the work of the Commission’s experts.† The experts, particularly those of energy and water, should be given more resources, in the light of the termination of the work of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said in the future the Commission should focus on national and international mechanisms for sustainable development, rather than individual chapters of Agenda 21.† He suggested building on techniques that had yielded positive results, as well as exploring ways to overcome obstacles and persistent constraints.
The experience of small, isolated island countries demonstrated the value and good sense of regional cooperation, he said, noting there was significant room for improvement.† He said the Commission’s future programme should include the special focus given to small island States in Agenda 21, the Barbados Programme of Action and the Johannesburg Plan.† The experience of States in sustainable development would yield important lessons for other countries and the global community at large.
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