18 April 1997
OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21
Letter dated 15 April 1997 from the Permanent Representative of
Japan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I have the honour to transmit herewith Tokyo Declaration 1997,
which was adopted at the Global Partnership Summit on Environment held
in Tokyo on 24 March 1997 hosted by the Global Environmental Action
and the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
of the United Nations Secretariat.
I should be grateful if you would have the present letter and its
annex** circulated as a document of the fifth session of the
Commission on Sustainable Development and the nineteenth special
session of the General Assembly for the purpose of an overall review
and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21.
(Signed) Hisashi OWADA
** The annex is being issued in the language of submission only.
Tokyo Declaration 1997, adopted on 24 March 1997
at the Global Partnership Summit on Environment
1. The 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was
a landmark event of great significance. At Rio all nations of the world, at
the highest political level and at an unprecedented level of participation,
made an historic commitment to promote-both nationally and
internationally-policies and actions aimed at the achievement of balanced
and mutually reinforcing approaches to the goals of economic growth, social
equity and the protection of the environment. This commitment has redirected
the path of world development towards a more sustainable track.
The UNCED commitment to sustainable development, as articulated in Agenda
21 and the Rio Declaration, aims to secure a better life for the present
and broader opportunities for humanity's future generations.
2. Progress towards sustainable development depends upon global
partnerships-partnerships among nations, among international organizations,
between public and private institutions and between all levels of government
and civil society, including parliamentarians, citizens' groups,
consumer organizations and the media.
3. A number of promising changes have occurred at the international and
national levels since the Rio Earth Summit. The goals of sustainable
development are beginning to be integrated in national and international
policy-making as well as into the activities of international
organizations. National Sustainable Development Councils have been
established in many developed and developing countries and their number is
growing. Hundreds of cities and communities worldwide are advancing
sustainability at the local level. Numerous non-governmental organizations,
citizens' groups and private enterprises are taking action to translate the
promise of Rio into a reality.
4. Yet despite these positive trends, overall progress towards
sustainable development is still very limited. Poverty, malnutrition,
inadequate health and education services combined with other burning social
and economic problems continue to be an everyday reality for hundreds of
millions of the world's people. Unsustainable patterns of production and
consumption continue to prevail in most developed countries as well as in
most economic sectors, and are being carried to the developing world along
with industrialization. At the same time too many of the world's people
still lack sometimes even basic access to productive resources and
environmentally sound technologies. Increased private capital flows to the
developing countries, resulting from continued globalization of the world
economy and liberalization of trade and investment, are not necessarily
consistent with the goals of sustainable development. Moreover, a large
number of developing countries have yet to benefit from any increase of
such flows. The global environment, and most of its natural components,
continue to deteriorate.
5. Such a situation calls for a renewed urgency that all partners
energize their individual and joint actions to accelerate progress towards
sustainable development and to fully implement their commitments made at
6. Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration maintain their significance as
humanity approaches the next millenium. The forthcoming 1997 Special
Session of the United Nations General Assembly that will carry out a
comprehensive review and appraisal of progress achieved since UNCED offers
and important opportunity for the international community to reinforce its
commitment to sustainable development, enhance political momentum for the
implementation of Agenda 21 and of other outcomes of UNCED, and to promote
further global partnership for sustainable development. It is expected that
the Special Session will result in the adoption of concrete decisions and
specific targets aimed at acceleration of progress towards sustainable
development and identification of strategic priorities for the future.
Special attention should be given to strategically important sectors such
as transportation, land, forests, biodiversity and water. Population
dynamics should be taken into account.
7. Energy is an area of particular concern not only in terms of pollution
and CO2 emissions, but also from the point of view of long term
sustainability for future economic development. The current patterns of
production and consumption of energy are particularly inequitable in light
of the fact that populations in the vast parts of the world still lack
access to adequate energy services, relying solely on inferior biomass
fuels which produce serious environmental and health impacts. Integrated
policy debate and action to address all aspects of the energy problem and
all sources of energy in the context of sustainable development are
necessary both at the national level and within the United Nations.
8. Global partnership for sustainable development requires a stronger and
more effective system of national and international institutions. The
participants of the Global Partnership Summit on Environment expressed
their hope that the Special Session of the General Assembly will give
consideration of this issue. Attention should be also given to the
strengthening of the United Nations Environment Programme and its eventual
transformation into a "Global Environmental Organization."
* * *
9. In follow-up to the agendas of the two previous meetings held in Tokyo
in 1992 and 1994, the Global Partnership Summit focused only on three key
aspects of sustainable development-namely financial issues, technology
transfer, and changing consumption and production patterns. In this context
the meeting also considered matters related to science/technology and
information/telecommunications. It was felt that all of the above issues
are closely interrelated. The participants in the Global Partnership Summit
invite the Special Session of the UN General Assembly, as well as all other
entities, to consider recommendations contained in the present Declaration
as a contribution to the 1997 review of Agenda 21 and its further
10. The participants underscored the importance of the forthcoming third
meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Kyoto in December 1997.
They expressed their expectation that all countries at this meeting will
commit themselves to concrete actions aimed at effective implementation of
the Convention. This should include the adoption of a protocol containing
specific targets, timetables and instruments for implementation. For the
further development of the Convention, due account should be taken of the
common but differentiated responsibilities and the principle of equity as
expressed by per capita emissions over a long period.
11. The participants expressed their appreciation to Global Environmental
Action for hosting the meeting and its proactive approach and commitment to
furthering international dialogue and fostering partnerships for sustainable
development. They also paid tribute to the Government and people of Japan for
their continued leadership and commitment at the highest level in UNCED
12. The participants underscored the importance of regional cooperation
aimed at the implementation of Agenda 21. Such cooperation is essential for
supporting countries to achieve sustainable development, and at the same
time provides an important contribution to progress at the global level.
13. It was also suggested that the Special Session of the United Nations
General Assembly give consideration to appropriate modalities for a ten-year
review of post-UNCED progress in the year 2002.
SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS AND PROPOSALS FOR ACTION
A. Financial Issues
14. Mobilization of new financial resources and the redirection of
existing financial flows towards the achievement of sustainable development
objectives is essential to secure further progress. It is time to realize
that the cost of inaction outweighs the cost of action.
15. Agenda 21 recognized that its implementation should be financed by
domestic public and private means of each nation. However, developing
countries' national efforts towards sustainable development need to be
supported through enhanced international cooperation, including the
implementation of UNCED commitments regarding the provision of new and
additional financial resources. Furthermore, it is important to promote
policies and conditions aimed at ensuring that all financial flows
including foreign direct investment are consistent with the long-term goals
of sustainable development.
16. Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to play an important
role in promoting sustainable development in most developing countries,
particularly in supporting capacity-building and those social sectors and
environmental activities which do not attract adequate private funds.
ODA is particularly vital for the Least Developed Countries. It is
- developed countries reverse the recent downward trend in ODA and fully
honor their commitments made at UNCED;
- donor support for aid programs be restored by such means as the promotion
of greater awareness among the general public and national legislative
bodies regarding the role of ODA;
- practical consideration be given to the use of ODA for leveraging private
capital flows for sustainable development objectives, particularly
supporting foreign direct investments that involve the transfer of cleaner
and less energy- and resource-intensive technologies;
- national sustainable development strategies become a guiding framework
for donor coordination;
- specific targets be established for the share of projects directly
pursuing environmental and social goals, including education, in overall
- recipient countries formulate their requests on a multi-year basis.
17. International financial institutions (IFIs) and development agencies
should continue to integrate the goals of sustainable development into
their policies and lending practices. It must be ensured that all projects
funded by such institutions are environmentally and socially sound. These
organizations should enter into new partnerships for sustainable
development-with governments, the private sector and NGOs. Furthermore,
international financial institutions should establish guidelines to ensure
that foreign direct investment is environmentally and socially responsible.
18. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) should be further supported and
replenished with adequate resources so that it can assume a stronger role
in supporting recipient countries in their efforts to fulfill their
obligations under relevant conventions, including through funding of
19. Sustainable development activities of local authorities and
communities as well as non-governmental organizations should receive
adequate financial support from both national and international
20. The effectiveness in the use of both domestic and international
financial resources must be urgently raised. This calls for more
participatory, accountable and transparent forms of governance at all
levels, as well as effective administrative and managerial reforms.
21. Developed and developing countries need to adopt or strengthen
policies and regulations, and create stronger incentives aimed at ensuring
that private investments and capital flows contribute to the achievement of
sustainable development. These may include relevant fiscal measures, credit
policies and innovative economic instruments, including tax breaks, "green"
credit lines, micro-financing, and environmental funds as well as
public-private co-financing. Full account has to be taken of the Polluter
Pays Principle. International institutions should provide for the exchange
of national experiences in this area, promote best practices and consider
possible means to support such measures and reforms through international
22. Private companies, both individually and through their associations
like the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, are urged to
adopt further environmental guidelines and codes of conduct for business
practices and investment. Environmentally responsible policies should
become a basic norm for all private enterprises.
23. The reduction and eventual elimination of subsidies that are
environmentally harmful and have trade-distorting impacts could result in
significant public funds being released and re-channeled to sustainable
development needs and projects. The elimination of certain subsidies could
not only provide these direct financial benefits, but may also greatly
contribute to progress in the implementation of relevant international
conventions, such as in the case of energy subsidies and the UNFCCC.
24. For the reduction of pollution originating from production and
consumption, practical and careful consideration should be given to the tax
incidences and eventual changes in the level of consumption of relevant
goods and services resulting from various forms of levies in determining
proper combination of taxes and levies.
25. Various innovative international financial instruments need to be
further studied taking into full account considerations of equity. There is
also a need to further consider the international application of such
market-based mechanisms as tradable pollution permits, which have proven to
be an effective means for combating certain types of pollutants at the
national level and may be even more promising if applied internationally.
However, all economic, environmental and institutional aspects of this
concept need to be carefully examined before practical application.
26. Consideration should be given to a proposal to establish, under the
auspices of the CSD, an Intergovernmental Panel on Finance which could
further examine various financial aspects of sustainable development,
including innovative financial mechanisms, and provide for a dialogue on
these matters with the representatives of the private sector and the
B. Technology Transfer
27. The transfer of and cooperation related to environmentally sound
technologies is essential to a worldwide transition towards sustainable
development. In spite of some encouraging developments that have occurred
since UNCED, particularly within the private sector, the promise of Rio
regarding the preferential treatment of developing countries in terms of
technology transfer has not yet been realized .
28. Technology transfer should span the spectrum of corrective, reductive,
preventive, mitigative and adaptive technologies. It should serve broader
goals of disseminating and applying technologies which are cleaner and less
energy- and material-intensive, thus promoting sustainable development.
Furthermore, technology transfer should not be limited to industry, but
should also extend to agriculture, transport, fisheries and other sectors
and services. Priority areas should include the sustainable management of
water, land (particularly wasteland reclamation and the prevention of land
degradation) and forests, as well as the cleaner, more efficient and safer
generation of energy, including the broader use of renewable sources.
29. Promising approaches in technology transfer include:
- a "win-win" approach which leads to both reduction of production costs
and environmental protection (such as the application of energy
- the transfer of management systems and processes taking into account the
"total life cycle" approach;
- enhancing local knowledge and building local capacities for the
absorption and use of technologies, including the development of relevant
technical and managerial skills. International organizations should support
efforts in this area. In particular it is proposed that UNEP and UNDP
jointly formulate a ten-year Action Plan for capacity-building towards
managing technological change for the period 1997-2006;
- taking full account of local conditions and local environmental
- strengthening systems for the protection of intellectual property rights
in developing countries;
- the promotion of South-South cooperation and exchanges of regional
- broader participation of civil society, including local authorities, NGOs
and citizens, particularly women, in relevant decision-making processes;
- adoption of measures that will prohibit the transfer of those
technologies known to be highly-polluting, dangerous to health and cause
irreversible damage to the ecosystem.
30. Partnerships between developed and developing countries play a crucial
role in technology transfer, cooperation and capacity-building. Though in
principle technology is transferred in business-to-business transactions or
as part of investment strategy, governments of both developed and
developing countries should play an important role to ensure that
technology transfer is consistent with the goals of sustainable
development. This could be achieved through the adoption of policies and
regulations aimed at creating conditions and providing incentives that
promote environmentally responsible investment and transfer cleaner
technologies while stimulating local demand for such technologies. The best
practices and successful experiences of the private corporations should be
disseminated more broadly. Business associations can play a most useful
role in this regard.
31. Equally important is the promotion of private-public partnerships,
both within and among countries, which could provide a crucial and
mutually-beneficial link between the potential of the private sector and
the role of government in the area of technology transfer. Attention should
be also given to small and medium-size enterprises.
32. In view of deterioration of urban environment quality in many
developing countries, it becomes essential to transfer technologies,
information and know-how on sustainable urban planning and infrastructure
development, especially in the areas of transportation, energy and water
supply, sewage and solid waste management. Bearing in mind significant
expertise in these areas accumulated by local authorities in developed
countries, relevant partnerships between local governments from developed
and developing countries are strongly encouraged. Furthermore, the
promotion of cooperation between local authorities and local industries is
33. In those areas which are less attractive in terms of private sector
investment, ODA can perform an important role in financing technology
transfer to developing countries. Potential areas of application include
technologies to clean up existing production (particularly large-scale
production) as well as the provision of "seed" funding to facilitate
private investments based on environmentally sound technology.
34. The establishment of national and regional environmentally sound
technology (EST) centers and model projects offer promising opportunities
to support both the transfer of environmentally sound technology and
exchange of relevant information and experiences. EST centers could also
provide a national/regional focal point for international networking in
35. "Activities implemented jointly" in order to comply with the
provisions of the UNFCCC should be seen as important vehicles for the
transfer of relevant technologies.
36. To help further promote cooperation and transfer of environmentally
sound technologies for poverty eradication, consideration could be given to
establishing a Global Green Corps as part of the United Nations Volunteer
C. Reform of Production and Consumption Patterns.
37. Sustainable development calls for a fundamental reform of present
production and consumption patterns. Developed countries must take the
lead in this area.
38. Internalization of environmental costs and rationalization of product
prices and goods and services, together with the promotion of
eco-efficiency, are at the heart of policies aimed at making consumption
and production patterns more sustainable. Environmentally sustainable
production and consumption are achievable and need not hamper economic
development as they promote new markets and new business opportunities
while enhancing individual quality of life.
39. Unsustainable consumption patterns, common among today's developed
nations, are also occurring among affluent income groups in developing
countries experiencing rapid economic growth.
40. Reform in unsustainable consumption patterns will have to be based
upon an examination of the values which underlie human society. In this
context, the participants welcomed the Benchmark Draft of the Earth Charter
adopted by the Rio+5 Forum.
41. Advertising and mass media play an important role in shaping consumer
attitudes as well as disseminating information on consumption and production
42. Governments should promote sustainable consumption through the
adoption of relevant policies and creating economic
incentives/disincentives. Governments should also set an example in this
area through a greening of their own activities in such areas as
43. Progress towards sustainable production and consumption requires full
involvement of local authorities, the private sector, citizens' groups and
other stakeholders. Local level initiatives, including those in Japan, to
promote sustainable communities provide an encouraging example. The
exchange of knowledge and experience in this area should be pursued through
44. The achievement of sustainable development depends upon citizen
awareness that encourages environmentally responsible consumerism and
personal behavior, exerts an influence on the political process, and
encourages manufacturers to pursue environmentally sound production
techniques and products. To raise such awareness:
- Education for sustainability should comprise not only sustainable
practices such as recycling and conservation, but should strive also to
instill in students a respect for nature and an interdisciplinary approach
that integrates environmental, economic and social issues. Environmental
education for children not only develops long-term sustainable habits, but
has also proven to give rise to the phenomenon of "children teaching
adults" in the home. Similarly, educational facilities and resources should
be applied to the environmental education not only of children, but of
adults as well. The encouragement of lifelong education in sustainability
must be viewed as a responsibility of government at all levels;
- Information transparency and exchange should be encouraged. Public
access to information regarding both product and production processes
should be shared more effectively in a transparent manner among all
stakeholders, including governments, industry, and the consumer. This
should be reflected in full product labeling and Right-to-Know
45. Responsible production, including the encouragement of "green" product
production, "total life cycle" responsibility, sourcing from sustainable
suppliers, and the rejection of intentional planning for obsolescence, is
46. Responsible production should be encouraged by economic and regulatory
instruments that create relevant incentives. Furthermore, it is important
to promote greater corporate accountability and responsibility.
47. Rapidly growing industries such as tourism should be based upon
sustainable principles from the outset.
48. To promote sustainable production and consumption in an effective
manner, it is necessary to develop indicators which measure sustainability
of production and consumption and to further establish measurable targets
at national, industrial, individual industry and office levels. It is also
required to further develop evaluation methods such as life cycle
D. Science/Technology and Information/Communications
49. Science plays an important role in reducing lingering uncertainties in
global environmental problems and change. International collaborative
research should be strengthened so as to maximize its effectiveness and
50. There is a need, however, for new initiatives in the area of science
and research in order to meet the challenges of the next century.
Interested nations are invited to take the lead in formulating such
initiatives. It is important to ensure that such initiatives:
- involve the best specialists from both developed and developing countries
as well as multilateral organizations and the private sector;
- be adequately and rigorously planned; and
- be coordinated with related activities already underway.
51. Given the recent initiatives launched by Japan since Rio and in view
of the country's high level commitment to research in the global
environmental field, the first of such programs should be launched and
overseen by Japan, but with the full involvement of several other countries
and multilateral organizations.
52. It is important to foster research that links physical, biological and
social sciences. The meeting supported Japan's establishment of a new
research institute for global environmental strategies. The development of
an international network of such research organizations should be
encouraged with a view towards promoting long-term consistency in strategic
53. Regional networks for global change research, such as the Asia Pacific
Network for Global Change Research (APN), the Inter American Institute for
Global Change (IAI), the European Network for Research in Global Change
(ENRICH) and the International Arctic/Pacific Research Center, need to be
strengthened. Their activities should be further developed as part of a
permanent framework to promote joint monitoring projects.
54. Capacity-building, targeting areas such as the ability of research to
support sustainable development at the local level in developing countries,
55. While advanced research is important, traditional and indigenous
technologies and knowledge can play an important role in resolving
environmental problems and devising sustainable solutions.
56. The initiatives of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) should be commended in view of the fact that the IPCC has linked
scientific outcomes on climate change with policy-making. The application
of such mechanisms to other environmental fields should be considered.
57. International financial institutions, in partnership with bilateral
donors and NGOs, should establish a "knowledge network" which provides
information for policy-making, including lessons learned and best
58. Greater resources should be invested in the promotion of global
environmental research including the prevention of natural disasters.
Appropriate funding should be secured through both national budgets and
various international sources including international financial
institutions and ODA.
59. Telecommunications systems have the potential to become epoch-making
tools in promoting the participation of all sectors and individuals in
policies for sustainable development. Advances in transportation and
telecommuting could help people shift to low-impact lifestyles. Considering
the significant impacts of telecommunication upon society, the meeting
recognized that it is important to deepen understanding of
telecommunication's positive and negative environmental impacts.
60. The meeting stressed the importance of developing environmental
information systems which enable as many people as possible to utilize and
participate in them. These may include the use of the Internet and the
development of databases, multimedia virtual laboratories, electronic
museums and knowledge networks. This could promote better understanding
among decision-makers and citizens and build support for investment,
changes, and action needed for sustainable development. Yet as the quantity
of available information rises, the discernment of reliable information
grows in importance.
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Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
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