27 May 1997
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ON
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL
ASSEMBLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF AN OVERALL REVIEW AND
APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21***
*** Attention is also drawn to the report of the Commission on its
fifth session (E/1997/29).
I. MATTERS CALLING FOR ACTION BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY............... 3
A. Proposed draft political statement*
(* To be issued subsequently as a separate document.)
B. Proposed outcome of the special session...................... 3
II. PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR
THE PURPOSE OF AN OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21...................................... 57
I. Chairman's summary of the high-level segment of the fifth session
of the Commission on Sustainable Development..................... 59
II. Summary reports of the working group of the Commission........... 69
MATTERS CALLING FOR ACTION BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
A. Proposed draft political statement*
(* To be issued subsequently as a separate document.)
B. Proposed outcome of the special session
1. The Commission on Sustainable Development decides to transmit the
following document on the proposed outcome of the special session to the
General Assembly for consideration and adoption:
B. Assessment of progress made since the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development
1. (Agreed) The five years that have elapsed since the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) have been characterized by
the accelerated globalization of interactions among countries in the areas of
world trade, foreign direct investment and capital markets. Globalization
presents new opportunities and challenges. It is important that national and
international environmental and social policies be implemented and
strengthened in order to ensure that globalization trends have a positive
impact on sustainable development, especially in developing countries. The
impact of recent trends in globalization on developing countries has been
uneven. A limited number of developing countries have been able to take
advantage of those trends, attracting large inflows of external private
capital and experiencing significant export-led growth and acceleration of
growth in per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Many other countries,
however, in particular African countries and the least developed countries,
have shown slow or negative growth and continue to be marginalized. As a
result, they generally experienced stagnating or falling per capita GDP
through 1995. In these and in some other developing countries, the problems
of poverty, low levels of social development, inadequate infrastructure and
lack of capital have prevented them from benefiting from globalization. While
continuing their efforts to achieve sustainable development and to attract new
investments, these countries still require international assistance in their
efforts towards sustainable development. In particular the least developed
countries continue to be heavily dependent on a declining volume of official
development assistance (ODA) for the capacity-building and infrastructure
development required to provide for basic needs and more effective
participation in the globalizing world economy. In an increasingly
interdependent world economy, the responsible conduct of monetary and other
macroeconomic policies requires that their potential impact on other countries
be taken into account. Since UNCED, the countries with economies in
transition have achieved significant progress in implementing the principles
of sustainable development. However, the need for full integration of these
countries into the world economy remains one of the crucial problems on their
way towards sustainable development. The international community should
continue to support these countries in their efforts to accelerate the
transition to a market economy and to achieve sustainable development.
2. (Agreed) Although economic growth - reinforced by globalization - has
allowed some countries to reduce the proportion of people in poverty,
marginalization has increased for others. Too many countries have seen
economic conditions worsen and public services deteriorate; the total number
of people in the world living in poverty has increased. Income inequality has
increased among countries and also within them, unemployment has worsened in
many countries, and the gap between the least developed countries and other
countries has grown rapidly in recent years. On a more positive note,
population growth rates have been declining globally, largely as a result of
expanded basic education and health care. That trend is projected to lead to
a stable world population in the middle of the twenty-first century. There
has also been progress in social services, with expanding access to education,
declining infant mortality and increasing life expectancy in most countries.
However, many people, particularly in the least developed countries, still do
not have access to adequate food and basic social services or to clean water
and sanitation. Reducing current inequities in the distribution of wealth and
access to resources, both within and among countries, is one of the most
serious challenges facing humankind.
3. (Agreed) Five years after UNCED, the state of the global environment has
continued to deteriorate, as noted in the Global Environment Outlook of the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 1/ and significant environmental
problems remain deeply embedded in the socio-economic fabric of countries in
all regions. Some progress has been made in terms of institutional
development, international consensus-building, public participation and
private sector actions and, as a result, a number of countries have succeeded
in curbing pollution and slowing the rate of resource degradation. Overall,
however, trends are worsening. Many polluting emissions, notably of toxic
substances, greenhouse gases and waste volumes are continuing to increase
although in some industrialized countries emissions are decreasing. Marginal
progress has been made in addressing unsustainable production and consumption
patterns. Insufficient progress has also been identified in the field of
environmentally sound management and adequate control of adequate
transboundary movements of hazardous and radioactive wastes. Many countries
undergoing rapid economic growth and urbanization are also experiencing
increasing levels of air and water pollution, with accumulating impacts on
human health. Acid rain and transboundary air pollution, once considered a
problem only in the industrialized countries, are increasingly becoming a
problem in many developing regions. In many poorer regions of the world,
persistent poverty is contributing to accelerated degradation of natural
resources and desertification has spread. In countries seriously affected by
drought and or desertification, especially those in Africa, their agricultural
productivity, among other things, is uncertain and continues to decline,
thereby hampering their efforts to achieve sustainable development.
Inadequate and unsafe water supplies are affecting an increasing number of
people worldwide, aggravating problems of ill health and food insecurity among
the poor. Conditions in natural habitats and fragile ecosystems, including
mountain ecosystems, are still deteriorating in all regions of the world,
resulting in diminishing biological diversity. At the global level, renewable
resources, in particular freshwater, forests, topsoil and marine fish stocks,
continue to be used at rates beyond their viable rates of regeneration;
without improved management, this situation is clearly unsustainable.
4. (Agreed) While there has been progress in material and energy
efficiency, particularly with reference to non-renewable resources, overall
trends remain unsustainable. As a result, increasing levels of pollution
threaten to exceed the capacity of the global environment to absorb them,
increasing the potential obstacles to economic and social development in
5. (Agreed) Since UNCED, extensive efforts have been made by Governments
and international organizations to integrate environmental, economic and
social objectives into decision-making by elaborating new policies and
strategies for sustainable development or by adapting existing policies and
plans. As many as 150 countries have responded to the commitments established
at UNCED through national-level commissions or coordinating mechanisms
designed to develop an integrated approach to sustainable development.
6. (Agreed) The major groups have demonstrated what can be achieved by
taking committed action, sharing resources and building consensus, reflecting
grass-roots concern and involvement. The efforts of local authorities are
making Agenda 21 and the pursuit of sustainable development a reality at the
local level through the implementation of "Local Agenda 21s" and other
sustainable development programmes. Non-governmental organizations,
educational institutions, the scientific community and the media have
increased public awareness and discussion of the relations between environment
and development in all countries. The involvement, role and responsibilities
of business and industry, including transnational corporations, are important.
Hundreds of small and large businesses have made "green business" a new
operating mode. Workers and trade unions have established partnerships with
employers and communities to encourage sustainable development in the
workplace. Indigenous people have played an increasing role in addressing
issues affecting their interests and particularly concerning their traditional
knowledge and practices. Young people and women around the world have played a
prominent role in galvanizing communities to recognize their responsibilities
to future generations. Nevertheless, more opportunities should be created for
women to participate effectively in economic, social and political development
as equal partners in all sectors of the economy.
7. (Agreed) Among the achievements since UNCED are the entry into force of
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (A/AC.237/18
(Part II)/Add.1 and Corr.1, annex I), the Convention on Biological
Diversity 2/ and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in
Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification,
Particularly in Africa (A/49/84/Add.2, annex, appendix II); the conclusion of
an agreement on straddling and migratory fish stocks (A/50/550, annex I); the
adoption of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small
Island Developing States; 3/ and the elaboration of the Global Programme of
Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities
(A/51/116, annex II) and the entry into force of the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 4/ Implementation of these important
commitments and of others adopted before UNCED by all the parties to them,
however, remains to be carried out, and in many cases further strengthening of
their provisions is required as well as the mechanisms for putting them into
effect. The establishment, restructuring, funding and replenishment of the
Global Environment Facility (GEF) were a major achievement. However, its
levels of funding and replenishment have not been sufficient fully to meet its
8. (Agreed) Progress has been made in incorporating the principles
contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 5/ - including
the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which embodies
the important concept of and basis for international partnership; the
precautionary principle; the polluter pays principle; and the environmental
impact assessment principle - in a variety of international and national legal
instruments. While some progress has been made in implementing UNCED
commitments through a variety of international legal instruments, much remains
to be done to embody the Rio Principles more firmly in law and practice.
9. (Agreed) A number of major United Nations conferences have advanced
international commitment for the achievement of long-term goals and objectives
towards sustainable development.
10. (Agreed) Organizations and programmes of the United Nations system have
played an important role in making progress in the implementation of Agenda
21. The Commission on Sustainable Development was established to review
progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21, advance global dialogue
and foster partnerships for sustainable development. The Commission has
catalysed new action and commitments and has contributed to the deliberations
on sustainable development among a wide variety of partners within and outside
the United Nations system. Although much remains to be done, progress has
also been made at the national, regional and international levels in
implementing the UNCED Forest Principles, 6/ including through the
Commission's Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests.
11. (Agreed) Provision of adequate and predictable financial resources and
the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries are
critical elements for the implementation of Agenda 21. However, while some
progress has been made, much remains to be done to activate the means of
implementation set out in Agenda 21, in particular in the areas of finance and
technology transfer, technical assistance and capacity-building.
12. (Agreed) Most developed countries have still not reached the United
Nations target, reaffirmed by most countries at UNCED, of committing 0.7 per
cent of their gross national product (GNP) to official development assistance
or the United Nations target, as agreed, of committing 0.15 per cent of GNP as
ODA to the least developed countries. Regrettably, on average, ODA as a
percentage of the GNP of developed countries has drastically declined in the
post-UNCED period, from 0.34 per cent in 1992 to 0.27 per cent in 1995, but
ODA has taken more account of the need for an integrated approach to
13. (Agreed) In other areas, results have been encouraging since UNCED.
There has been a sizeable expansion of private flows of financial resources
from developed to a limited number of developing countries and, in a number of
countries, efforts have been made in support of domestic resource
mobilization, including the increasing use of economic instruments to promote
14. (Agreed) In many developing countries, the debt situation remains a
major constraint to achieving sustainable development. Although the debt
situation of some middle-income countries has improved, there is a need to
continue to address the debt problems of the heavily indebted poor countries,
which continue to face unsustainable external debt burdens. The recent World
Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Heavily Indebted Poor Countries
Initiative could help to address that issue with the cooperation of all
creditor countries. Further efforts by the international community are still
required to remove debt as an impediment to sustainable development.
15. (Agreed) Similarly, technology transfer and technology-related
investment from public and private sources, which are particularly important
to developing countries, has not been realized as outlined in Agenda 21.
Although increased private flows have led to investments in industry and
technology in some developing countries and economies in transition, many
other countries have been left behind. Conditions in some of these countries
have been less attractive to private sector investment and technological
change has been slower, thus limiting their ability to meet their commitments
to Agenda 21 and other international agreements. The technology gap between
developed countries and, in particular, the least developed countries has
C. Implementation in areas requiring urgent action
16. Agenda 21 and the principles contained in the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development established a comprehensive approach to the
achievement of sustainable development. While it is the primary
responsibility of national Governments to achieve the economic, social and
environmental objectives of Agenda 21, it is essential that international
cooperation be reactivated and intensified, recognizing, inter alia, the
principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as stated in principle
7 of the Rio Declaration. This requires the mobilization of stronger
political will and the invigoration of a genuine new global partnership,
taking into account the special needs and priorities of developing countries.
That approach remains as relevant and as urgently needed as ever. It is clear
from the assessment above that, although progress has been made in some areas,
a major new effort will be required to achieve the goals established at UNCED
[particularly][including] in the area of cross-sectoral matters where
implementation has yet to be achieved. The proposals set out in sections 1-3
below outline strategies for accelerating progress towards sustainable
development. The sections are equally important and must be considered and
implemented in a balanced and integrated way.
1. Integration of economic, social and environmental objectives
17. There is a mutually reinforcing relationship between economic, social
and environmental objectives. [Sustained economic growth is essential to the
economic and social development of all countries, in particular developing
countries.] Growth can foster development only if its benefits are fully
shared. It must therefore also be guided by equity, justice and social and
environmental considerations. Development, in turn, must involve measures
that improve the human condition and the quality of life itself. [Democracy,
respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, transparent and
accountable governance in all sectors of society, as well as the effective
participation of civil society, are indispensable foundations for the
realization of sustainable development.]
18. (Agreed) Sustainable development strategies are important mechanisms for
enhancing and linking national capacity so as to bring together priorities in
social, economic and environmental policies. Hence, special attention must be
given to the fulfilment of commitments in the areas set out below, in the
framework of an integrated approach towards development, consisting of
mutually reinforcing measures to sustain economic growth, as well as to
promote social development and environmental protection. Achieving
sustainable development cannot be done without greater integration at all
policy-making levels and at operational levels, including the lowest
administrative levels possible. Economic sectors, such as industry,
agriculture, energy, transport and tourism, must take responsibility for the
impact of their activities on human well-being and the physical environment.
In the context of good governance, properly constructed strategies can enhance
prospects for economic growth and employment and at the same time protect the
environment. All sectors of society should be involved in their development
and implementation, as follows:
(a) (Agreed) By the year 2002, the formulation and elaboration of
national strategies for sustainable development which reflect the
contributions and responsibilities of all interested parties should be
completed in all countries, with assistance provided, as appropriate, through
international cooperation, taking into account the special needs of the least
developed countries. The efforts of developing countries in effectively
implementing national strategies should be supported. Countries which already
have national strategies should continue their efforts to enhance and
effectively implement them. Assessment of progress achieved and exchange of
experience among Governments should be promoted. Local Agenda 21 and other
local sustainable development programmes, including youth activities, should
also be actively encouraged;
(b) (Agreed) In integrating economic, social and environmental
objectives, it is important that a broad package of policy instruments,
including regulation, economic instruments, internalization of environmental
costs in market prices, environmental and social impact analysis and
information, be worked out in the light of country-specific conditions to
ensure that integrated approaches are effective and cost-efficient. To this
end, a transparent and participatory process should be promoted. This will
require the involvement of national legislative assemblies, as well as all
actors of civil society, including youth and indigenous people[s], to
complement the efforts of Governments for sustainable development. In
particular, the empowerment and the full and equal participation of women in
all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making
process, is central to all efforts to achieve such development;
[(c) The implementation of policies aiming at sustainable development,
including protection of the environment, may enhance the opportunities for job
creation - while protecting basic worker rights - thus helping to achieve the
fundamental goal of eradicating poverty.]
[EU proposed sentence on environment to be added]
[Enabling international economic environment]
19. (Agreed) A mutually supportive balance between the international and the
national environment is needed in the pursuit of sustainable development. As
a result of globalization, external factors have become critical in
determining the success or failure of developing countries in their national
efforts. The gap between developed and developing countries points to the
continued need for a dynamic and enabling international economic environment
supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the fields of
finance, technology transfer, debt and trade, if the momentum for global
progress towards sustainable development is to be maintained and increased.
20. To foster a dynamic and enabling international economic environment
favourable to all countries is in the interest of all countries. And issues,
including environmental issues, that bear on the international economic
environment can be approached effectively only through a constructive dialogue
and genuine partnership on the basis of mutuality of interests and benefits
and, [in regard to environmental issues] inter alia, the principle of common
but differentiated responsibilities, as stated in principle 7 of the Rio
21. (Agreed) Noting the severity of poverty, particularly in developing
countries, the eradication of poverty is one of the fundamental goals of the
international community and the entire United Nations system, as reflected in
commitment 2 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, 7/ and is
essential for sustainable development. Poverty eradication is thus an
overriding theme of sustainable development for the coming years. The
enormity and complexity of the poverty issue could very well endanger the
social fabric, undermine economic development and the environment, and
threaten political stability in many countries. To achieve poverty
eradication, efforts of individual Governments and international cooperation
and assistance should be brought together in a complementary way. Eradication
of poverty depends on the full integration of people living in poverty into
economic, social and political life. The empowerment of women is a critical
factor for the eradication of poverty. Policies that promote such integration
to combat poverty, in particular policies for providing basic social services
and broader socio-economic development, are effective as well since enhancing
the productive capacity of poor people increases both their well-being and
that of their communities and societies, and facilitates their participation
in resource conservation and environmental protection. The provision of basic
social services and food security in an equitable way is a necessary condition
for such integration and empowerment. The 20/20 initiative as referred to in
the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development 8/ is,
among other things, a useful means for such integration. However, the five
years since the Rio Conference have witnessed an increase in the number of
people living in absolute poverty, particularly in developing countries. In
this context, there is an urgent need for the timely and full implementation
of all the relevant commitments, agreements and targets already agreed upon
since the Rio Conference by the international community, including the United
Nations system and international financial institutions. Full implementation
of the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development is
essential. Priority actions include:
(a) (Agreed) Improving access to sustainable livelihoods,
entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources, including land, water,
credit, technical and administrative training, and appropriate technology,
with particular efforts to broaden the human and social capital basis of
societies to reach the rural poor and the urban informal sector;
[(a bis)* Ensuring access of people living in poverty to micro-credit
in order to enable them to undertake micro-enterprises, which would in turn
generate self-employment and contribute to achieving empowerment, especially
of women, and encouraging the strengthening and establishment of institutions
supportive of micro-lending programmes.]
(* This subparagraph was not negotiated, but was included at the request of
(b) (Agreed) Providing universal access to basic social services,
including basic education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation;
(c) (Agreed) Progressively developing, in accordance with the financial
and administrative capacities of each society, social protection systems to
support those who cannot support themselves, either temporarily or
permanently; the aim of social integration is to create a "society for all";
(d) Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations by
involving them fully in the implementation [, monitoring and assessment] of
strategies and programmes for poverty eradication and community development
[and by ensuring that these programmes reflect their priorities and
(e) Addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women, in
particular by removing legislative, policy, administrative and customary
barriers to women's equal access to productive resources and services,
including access to and control over land and other forms of property, credit,
including micro-credit, inheritance, education, information, health care and
technology. In this regard, full implementation of the Beijing Platform for
Action 9/ [consistent with the report of the Fourth World Conference on Women]
(f) (Agreed) Interested donors and recipients working together to
allocate increased shares of ODA to poverty eradication. The 20/20 initiative
is an important principle in this respect, as it is based on a mutual
commitment among donors and recipients to increase resources allocated to
basic social services;
(g) (Agreed) Intensifying international cooperation to support measures
being taken in developing countries to eradicate poverty, to provide basic
social protection and services, and to approach poverty eradication efforts in
an integral and multidimensional manner.
Changing consumption and production patterns
22. Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, particularly in
the industrialized countries, are identified in Agenda 21 as the major cause
of continued deterioration of the global environment. [While unsustainable
patterns in the industrialized countries continue to aggravate the threats to
the environment, particularly excessive pollution from greenhouse gases, there
remain huge difficulties for developing countries in meeting basic needs such
as food, health care, shelter and education for people.] [Similar patterns
are emerging in the higher income groups in some developing countries.]
Consistent with Agenda 21, the development and further elaboration of national
policies and strategies, particularly in industrialized countries, are needed
to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption and production patterns,
while strengthening, as appropriate, international approaches [and policies]
that promote sustainable consumption patterns on the basis of the principle of
common but differentiated responsibilities, applying the polluter pays
principle, encouraging producer responsibility and greater consumer awareness.
Eco-efficiency, cost internalization and product policies are also important
tools for making consumption and production patterns more sustainable.
Actions in this area should focus on:
(a) Promoting measures to internalize environmental costs and benefits
in the price of goods and services, while seeking to avoid potential negative
effects for market access by developing countries, particularly with a view to
encouraging the use of environmentally preferable products and commodities
[and moving towards pricing natural resources in a way that reflects full
costs]. Governments should consider shifting the burden of taxation on to
unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; it is of vital
importance to achieve such an internalization of environmental costs. Such
tax reforms should include a socially responsible process of reduction and
elimination of subsidies to environmentally harmful activities;
(b) [Taking] [Encouraging] measures aimed at promoting the role of
business in shaping more sustainable patterns of consumption [by publishing
environmental and social audits on its own activities and] by acting as an
agent of change in the market, and by virtue of its role as a major consumer
of goods and services;
(c) Developing core indicators to monitor critical trends in consumption
and production patterns [particularly in the industrialized countries];
(d) (Agreed) Identifying best practices through evaluations of policy
measures with respect to their environmental effectiveness, efficiency and
implications for social equity, and disseminating such evaluations;
(e) (Agreed) Taking into account the linkages between urbanization and
the environmental and developmental effects of consumption and production
patterns in cities, thus promoting more sustainable patterns of urbanization;
(f) Promoting international and national [targets, goals or action]
programmes for energy and material efficiency with timetables for their
implementation, as appropriate. In this regard, attention should be given to
studies that propose to improve the efficiency of resource use [and consider a
tenfold improvement in resource productivity in the long term]. [As an
intermediate step, an increase in resource productivity, for example, by a
factor of four in the next two or three decades seems to be within reach.]
Further research is required to study the feasibility of these goals and the
practical measures needed for their implementation. Industrialized countries
will have a special responsibility and must take the lead in this respect.
The Commission on Sustainable Development should consider this initiative in
the coming years in exploring policies and measures necessary to implement
eco-efficiency [and for this purpose, adopt measures aimed at assisting
developing countries to improve energy and material efficiency through the
promotion of their endogenous capacity-building and economic development with
enhanced and effective international support];
(g) Encouraging Governments to take the lead in changing consumption
patterns by improving their own environmental performance with action-oriented
policies and goals on procurement, the management of public facilities and the
further integration of environmental concerns into national policy-making
[, with the full cooperation of developed countries, which are called upon to
take the lead in changing consumption patterns];
(h) Encouraging the media, advertising and marketing sectors to help
shape sustainable consumption [and production] patterns;
(i) (Agreed) Improving the quality of information regarding the
environmental impact of products and services and, to that end, encouraging
the voluntary and transparent use of eco-labelling;
(j) Promoting measures favouring eco-efficiency; however, developed
countries should pay special attention to the needs of developing countries,
in particular by encouraging positive impacts, and [seeking to avoid]
[avoiding] negative impacts on export opportunities and market access for
developing countries [and, as appropriate, for countries with economies in
(k) (Agreed) Encouraging the development and strengthening of
educational programmes to promote sustainable consumption and production
(l) (Agreed) Encouraging business and industry to develop and apply
environmentally sound technology that should aim not only at increasing
competitiveness but also at reducing negative environmental impacts;
(m) (Agreed) Giving balanced consideration to both the demand side and
the supply side of the economy in matching environmental concerns and economic
factors, which could encourage changes in the behaviour of consumers and
producers. A number of policy options should be examined; they include
regulatory instruments, economic and social incentives and disincentives,
facilities and infrastructure, information, education, and technology
development and dissemination.
Making trade and environment mutually supportive
23. In order to accelerate economic growth, poverty eradication and
environmental protection, particularly in developing countries, there is a
need to establish macroeconomic conditions in both developed and developing
countries that favour the development of instruments and structures enabling
all countries, in particular developing countries, to benefit from
globalization. International cooperation and support for capacity-building in
trade, environment and development should be strengthened through renewed
system-wide efforts, and with greater responsiveness to sustainable
development objectives, by the United Nations, the World Trade Organization
(WTO), the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as by national Governments.
There should be a balanced and integrated approach to trade and sustainable
development, based on a combination of trade liberalization, economic
development and environmental protection. Trade obstacles should be removed
with a view to contributing to achieving more efficient use of the earth's
natural resources in both economic and environmental terms. Trade
liberalization should be accompanied by environmental and resource management
policies in order to realize its full potential contribution to improved
environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development through
the more efficient allocation and use of resources. The multilateral trading
system should have the capacity to further integrate environmental
considerations and enhance its contribution to sustainable development,
without undermining its open, equitable and non-discriminatory character. The
special and differential treatment for developing countries, especially the
least developed countries, and the other commitments of the Uruguay Round of
multilateral trade negotiations should be fully implemented in order to enable
those countries to benefit from the international trading system, while
conserving the environment. There is a need for continuing the elimination of
discriminatory and protectionist practices in international trade relations
[particularly those affecting developing countries and countries with
economies in transition]. In order to make trade, environment and development
mutually supportive, measures need to be taken to ensure transparency in the
use of trade measures related to the environment, and should address the root
causes of environmental degradation so as not to result in disguised barriers
to trade. Account should be taken of the fact that environmental standards
valid for developed countries may have unwarranted social and economic costs
in other countries, in particular developing countries. International
cooperation is needed and unilateralism should be avoided. The following
actions are required:
(a) (Agreed) Timely and full implementation of the results of the
Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations 10/ and full use of the
Comprehensive and Integrated WTO Plan of Action for the Least Developed
(b) Promotion of an open, non-discriminatory, rule-based, equitable,
secure, transparent and predictable multilateral trading system. In this
context, effective measures are called for to achieve the complete integration
of developing countries and countries with economies in transition into the
world economy and the new international trading system. In this connection,
there is a need to promote the universality of WTO and to facilitate the
admission to membership in that organization in a mutually beneficial way, of
developing countries and countries with economies in transition applying for
membership. Actions should be taken to maximize the opportunities and to
minimize the difficulties of developing countries, including the net food-
importing ones, especially the least developed countries, and of countries
with economies in transition in adjusting to the changes introduced by the
Uruguay Round. [Sustainable development and trade liberalization should be
mutually supportive.] The relationship between multilateral environmental
agreements and the WTO rules should be clarified;
(c) (Agreed) Implementation of environmental measures should not result
in disguised barriers to trade;
(d) (Agreed) Within the framework of Agenda 21, trade rules and
environmental principles should interact harmoniously;
(e) (Agreed) Further analysis of the environmental effects of the
international transport of goods is warranted;
(f)* Cooperation and coordination between the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO), WTO, UNEP and other relevant institutions
should be strengthened on various issues, including (i) the role of positive
measures in multilateral environmental agreements as part of a package of
measures including, in certain cases, trade measures; (ii) the special
conditions and needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in the trade and
environment interface; (iii) trade and environment issues at the regional and
subregional levels, including in the context of regional economic and trade as
well as environmental agreements; (iv) environment and sustainable development
issues in the context of domestic and foreign direct investment, including a
possible multilateral framework on investment; any future agreement on
investment liberalization should be consistent with the objectives of
(*India and Indonesia reserved their position on this subparagraph and wished
that fact to be recorded in the final report of the session. This was
endorsed by the Group of 77 and China.)
[(f bis)* The promotion of effective dialogue with major groups
(including non-governmental organizations) within the WTO Committee on Trade
(* This subparagraph was not negotiated, but was included at the request of
(g) (Agreed) National Governments should make every effort to ensure
policy coordination on trade, environment and development at the national
level in support of sustainable development;
[(h) Action in WTO to ensure that trade rules do not prevent or
undermine effective and legitimate environmental policies and measures at the
international, regional and national levels, including further steps to ensure
that WTO rules pay due respect to the decisions of Governments acting jointly
in negotiating multilateral environmental agreements and that they support the
effective implementation of the different measures provided for in the
framework of such agreements.]
24. The impact of the relationship between economic growth, poverty,
employment, environment and sustainable development has become a major
concern. There is a need to recognize the critical linkages between
demographic trends and factors and sustainable development. The current
decline in population growth rates must be further promoted through national
and international policies that promote economic development, social
development, environmental protection, poverty eradication, particularly the
further expansion of basic education, with full and equal access for girls and
women, and health care, including [reproductive health care, [which covers]
[including] both family planning and sexual health, consistent with the report
of the International Conference on Population and Development 12/] [as well as
family and maternal health care].
25. The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when a high
proportion of the population is afflicted with debilitating illnesses. An
overriding goal for the future is to implement the Health for All strategy 13/
and to enable all people, particularly the world's poor, to achieve a higher
level of health and well-being, and to improve their economic productivity and
social potential. Protecting children from environmental health threats and
infectious disease is particularly urgent since children are more susceptible
than adults to those threats. Top priority should be attached to supporting
the efforts of countries, particularly developing countries, and international
organizations to eradicate the major infectious diseases, especially malaria,
which is on the increase, to improve and expand basic health and sanitation
services, and to provide safe drinking water. It is also important to reduce
indigenous cases of vaccine-preventable diseases through the promotion of
widespread immunization programmes, promote accelerated research and vaccine
development and reduce the transmission of other major infectious diseases,
such as dengue fever, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. [Given the devastating and
irreparable effects that lead poisoning has on children, it is important to
continue to give emphasis to eliminating lead from gasoline worldwide.]
Strategies at the regional, national and local levels for reducing the
potential risk due to ambient and indoor air pollution should be developed,
bearing in mind their serious impacts on human health [including strategies to
make parents, families and communities aware of the adverse environmental
health impacts of tobacco]. The clear linkage between health and the
environment needs to be emphasized and the lack of information on the impact
of environmental pollution on health should be addressed. Health issues
should be fully integrated into national and subnational sustainable
development plans and should be incorporated into project and programme
development as a component of environmental impact assessments. Important to
efforts at national levels is international cooperation in disease prevention,
early warning, surveillance, reporting, training and research, and treatment.
Sustainable human settlements
26. (Agreed) Sustainable human settlements development is essential to
sustainable development. The need to intensify efforts and cooperation to
improve living conditions in the cities, towns, villages and rural areas
throughout the world is recognized. Approximately half the world's population
already lives in urban settlements, and by early in the next century the
majority - more than 5 billion people - will be urban residents. Urban
problems are concerns common to both developed and developing countries,
although urbanization is occurring most rapidly in developing countries.
Urbanization creates both challenges and opportunities. Global urbanization
is a cross-sectoral phenomenon which has an impact on all aspects of
sustainable development. Urgent action is needed to implement fully the
commitments made at the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II) consistent with its report, 14/ and in Agenda 21. New and
additional financial resources from various sources are necessary to achieve
the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements
development in an urbanizing world. Transfer of expertise and technology,
capacity-building, decentralization of authority through, inter alia,
strengthening of local capacity and private-public partnerships to improve the
provision and environmentally sound management of infrastructure and social
services should be accelerated to achieve more sustainable human settlements
development. Local Agenda 21 programmes should also be actively encouraged.
Global targets could be established by the Commission on Sustainable
Development to promote Local Agenda 21 campaigns and to deal with obstacles to
Local Agenda 21 initiatives.
2. Sectors and issues
27. (Agreed) The present section identifies a number of specific areas that
are of widespread concern since failure to reverse current trends in these
areas, notably in resource degradation, will have potentially disastrous
effects on social and economic development, on human health and on
environmental protection for all countries, particularly developing countries.
All sectors covered by Agenda 21 are equally important and thus deserve
attention by the international community on an equal footing. The need for
integration is important in all sectors, including the areas of energy and
transport because of the adverse effects that developments in those areas can
have on human health and ecosystems; the areas of agriculture and water use,
where inadequate land-use planning, poor water management and inappropriate
technology can result in the degradation of natural resources and human
impoverishment and where drought and desertification can result in land
degradation and soil loss; and the area of management of marine resources,
where competitive overexploitation can damage the resource base, food supplies
and the livelihood of fishing communities, as well as the environment. The
recommendations made in each of the sectors take into account the need for
international cooperation in support of national efforts, within the context
of the principles of UNCED, including, inter alia, the principle of common but
differentiated responsibilities. It is likewise understood that these
recommendations do not in any way prejudice the work accomplished under
legally binding conventions, where they exist, concerning these sectors.
28. (Agreed) Water resources are essential for satisfying basic human needs,
health and food production, and the preservation of ecosystems, as well as for
economic and social development in general. It is a matter of urgent concern
that more than one fifth of all people still do not have access to safe
drinking water and more than one half of humanity lacks adequate sanitation.
From the perspective of developing countries, freshwater is a priority and a
basic need, especially taking into account that in many developing countries
freshwater is not readily available for all segments of the population, inter
alia, owing to lack of adequate infrastructure and capacity, water scarcity,
and technical and financial constraints. Moreover, freshwater is also crucial
for developing countries to satisfy the basic needs of their population in the
areas of agricultural irrigation, industrial development, hydroelectric
generation, and so forth. In view of the growing demands on water, which is a
finite resource, water will become a major limiting factor in socio-economic
development unless early action is taken. There is growing concern at the
increasing stress on water supplies caused by unsustainable use patterns,
affecting both water quality and quantity, and the widespread lack of access
to safe water supply and suitable sanitation in many developing countries.
Because the commitments of the International Drinking Water Supply and
Sanitation Decade of the 1980s have not been fully met, there is still a need
to ensure the optimal use and protection of all freshwater resources, so that
the needs, including the availability of safe drinking water and sanitation,
of everyone on this planet can be met. This calls for the highest priority to
be given to the serious freshwater problems facing many regions, especially in
the developing world. There is an urgent need to:
(a) (Agreed) Assign high priority, in accordance with specific national
needs and conditions, to the formulation and implementation of policies and
programmes for integrated watershed management, including issues related to
pollution and waste, the interrelationship between water and land, including
mountains, forests, upstream and downstream users, estuarine environments,
biodiversity and the preservation of aquatic ecosystems, wetlands, climate and
land degradation and desertification, recognizing that subnational, national
and regional approaches to freshwater protection and consumption following a
watershed basin or river basin approach offer a useful model for the
protection of freshwater supplies;
(b) (Agreed) Strengthen regional and international cooperation for
technological transfer and the financing of integrated water resources
programmes and projects, in particular those designed to increase access to
safe water supply and sanitation;
(c) (Agreed) Ensure the continued participation of local communities,
and women in particular, in the management of water resources development and
(d) (Agreed) Provide an enabling national and international environment
that encourages investments from public and private sources to improve water
supply and sanitation services, especially in fast-growing urban and peri-
urban areas, as well as in poor rural communities in developing countries.
Adopt and implement commitments by the international community to support the
efforts to assist developing countries achieve access to safe drinking water
and sanitation for all;
(e) (Agreed) Recognize water as a social and economic good with a vital
role in the satisfaction of basic human needs, food security, poverty
alleviation and the protection of ecosystems. Economic valuation of water
should be seen within the context of its social and economic implications,
reflecting the importance of meeting basic needs. Consideration should be
given to the gradual implementation of pricing policies that are geared
towards cost recovery and the equitable and efficient allocation of water,
including the promotion of water conservation, in developed countries; such
policies could also be considered in developing countries when they reach an
appropriate stage in their development, so as to promote the harmonious
management and development of scarce water resources and generate financial
resources for investment in new water supply and treatment facilities. Such
strategies should also include programmes assigned to minimize wasteful
consumption of water;
(f) (Agreed) Strengthen the capability of Governments and international
institutions to collect and manage information, including scientific, social
and environmental data, in order to facilitate the integrated assessment and
management of water resources, and foster regional and international
cooperation for information dissemination and exchange through cooperative
approaches among United Nations institutions, including UNEP, and centres for
environmental excellence. In this regard, technical assistance to developing
countries will continue to be important;
(g) (Agreed) Give support by the international community to the efforts
and limited resources of developing countries to shift to higher-value, less
water-intensive modes of agricultural and industrial production and to develop
the educational and informational infrastructure necessary to improve the
skills of the labour force required for the economic transformation that needs
to take place if use of freshwater resources is to be sustainable.
International support for the integrated development of water resources in
developing countries, appropriate innovative initiatives and approaches at the
bilateral and regional levels are also required;
(h) (Agreed) Encourage watercourse States to develop international
watercourses with a view to attaining sustainable utilization and appropriate
protection thereof and benefits therefrom, taking into account the interests
of the watercourse States concerned.
29.* (Agreed) Considering the urgent need for action in the field of
freshwater, and building on existing principles and instruments, arrangements,
programmes of action and customary uses of water, Governments call for a
dialogue under the aegis of the Commission on Sustainable Development,
beginning at its sixth session, aimed at building a consensus on the necessary
actions, and in particular, on the means of implementation and on tangible
results, in order to consider initiating a strategic approach for the
implementation of all aspects of the sustainable use of freshwater for social
and economic purposes, including, inter alia, safe drinking water and
sanitation, water for irrigation, recycling, and wastewater management, and
the important role freshwater plays in natural ecosystems. This
intergovernmental process will be fully fruitful only if there is a proved
commitment by the international community for the provision of new and
additional financial resources for the goals of this initiative.
(* Turkey reserved its position on this subparagraph, and wished that fact to
be recorded in the final report of the session.)
Oceans and seas
30. (Agreed) Progress has been achieved since UNCED in the negotiation of
agreements and voluntary instruments for improving the conservation and
management of fishery resources and for the protection of the marine
environment. Furthermore, progress has been made in the conservation and
management of specific fishery stocks for securing the sustainable utilization
of these resources. Despite this, the decline of many fish stocks, high
levels of discards, and rising marine pollution continue. Governments should
take full advantage of the challenge and opportunity presented by the
International Year of the Ocean in 1998. There is a need to continue to
improve decision-making at the national, regional and global levels. To
address the need for improving global decision-making on the marine
environment, there is an urgent need for Governments to implement decision
4/15 of the Commission on Sustainable Development, 15/ in which the
Commission, inter alia, called for periodic intergovernmental reviews by the
Commission of all aspects of the marine environment and its related issues, as
described in chapter 17 of Agenda 21, for which the overall legal framework is
provided by UNCLOS. There is a need for concerted action by all countries and
for improved cooperation to assist developing countries in implementing the
relevant agreements and instruments in order to participate effectively in the
sustainable use, conservation and management of their fishery resources, as
provided for in UNCLOS and other international legal instruments and to
achieve integrated coastal zone management. In that context, there is an
urgent need for:
(a)* (Agreed) All Governments to ratify or to accede to the relevant
agreements as soon as possible and to implement effectively such agreements as
well as relevant voluntary instruments;
(* Turkey reserved its position on this subparagraph, and wished that fact to
be recorded in the final report of the session.)
(b) (Agreed) All Governments to implement General Assembly resolution
51/189 of 16 December 1996, including the strengthening of institutional links
to be established between the relevant intergovernmental mechanisms involved
in the development and implementation of integrated coastal zone management.
Following progress on UNCLOS, and bearing in mind principle 13 of the Rio
Declaration on Environment and Development, there is a need to strengthen the
implementation of existing international and regional agreements on marine
pollution, with a view in particular to better contingency planning, response,
and liability and compensation mechanisms;
(c) (Agreed) Better identification of priorities for action at the
global level to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the marine
environment, as well as better means for integrating such action;
(d) (Agreed) Further international cooperation to support the
strengthening, where needed, of regional and subregional agreements for the
protection and sustainable use of the oceans and seas;
(e) (Agreed) Governments to prevent or eliminate overfishing and excess
fishing capacity through the adoption of management measures and mechanisms to
ensure the sustainable management and utilization of fishery resources and to
undertake programmes of work to achieve the reduction and elimination of
wasteful fishing practices, wherever they may occur, especially in relation to
large-scale industrialized fishing. The emphasis given by the Commission on
Sustainable Development at its fourth session to the importance of effective
conservation and management of fish stocks, and in particular to eliminating
overfishing, in order to identify specific steps at the national or regional
levels to prevent or eliminate excess fishing capacity, will need to be
carried forward in all appropriate international forums including, in
particular, the Committee on Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO);
(f) (Agreed) Governments to consider the positive and negative impact of
subsidies on the conservation and management of fisheries through national,
regional and appropriate international organizations and, based on these
analyses, to consider appropriate action;
(g) (Agreed) Governments to take actions, individually and through their
participation in competent global and regional forums, to improve the quality
and quantity of scientific data as a basis for effective decisions related to
the protection of the marine environment and the conservation and management
of marine living resources; in this regard, greater international cooperation
is required to assist developing countries, in particular small island
developing States, to operationalize data networks and clearing houses for
information-sharing on oceans. In this context, particular emphasis must be
placed on the collection of biological and other fisheries-related information
and the resources for its collation, analysis and dissemination.
31. (Agreed) The management, conservation and sustainable development of all
types of forests is a crucial factor in economic and social development, in
environmental protection and in the planet's life support system. Forests are
one of the major reservoirs of biological diversity; they act as carbon sinks
and reservoirs; they are a significant source of renewable energy,
particularly in the least developed countries, and an integral part of
32. (Agreed) Since the adoption of the Forest Principles at the Rio
Conference, tangible progress has been made in sustainable forest management
at the national, subregional, regional and international levels and in the
promotion of international cooperation on forests. The proposals for action
contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)
(E/CN.17/1997/12), which were endorsed by the Commission on Sustainable
Development at its fifth session, 16/ represent significant progress and
consensus on a wide range of forest issues.
33. (Agreed) To maintain the momentum generated by the IPF process and to
facilitate and encourage the holistic, integrated and balanced
intergovernmental policy dialogue on all types of forests in the future, which
continues to be an open, transparent and participatory process, requires a
long-term political commitment to sustainable forest management worldwide.
Against this background, there is an urgent need for:
(a) (Agreed) Countries and international organizations and institutions
to implement the proposals for action agreed by the Panel, in an expeditious
and effective manner, and in collaboration and through effective partnership
with all interested parties, including major groups, in particular indigenous
people and local communities;
(b) (Agreed) Countries to develop national forest programmes in
accordance with their respective national conditions, objectives and
(c) (Agreed) Enhanced international cooperation to implement the Panel's
proposals for action directed towards the management, conservation and
sustainable development of all types of forests, including provision for
financial resources, capacity-building, research and the transfer of
(d) Further clarification of all issues arising from the IPF process, in
particular international cooperation in financial assistance and technology
transfer, and trade and environment in relation to forest products and
services [, as well as traditional forest-related knowledge];
(e) (Agreed) International institutions and organizations to continue
their work and to undertake further coordination and explore means for
collaboration in the informal, high-level Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests,
focusing on the implementation of the Panel's proposals for action, in
accordance with their respective mandates and comparative advantage;
(f) (Agreed) Countries to provide consistent guidance to the governing
bodies of relevant international institutions and instruments to take
efficient and effective measures, as well as to coordinate their forest-
related work at all levels, in incorporating the Panel's proposals for action
into their work programmes and under existing agreements and arrangements.
[34. To [help] achieve this and to facilitate and promote the implementation
of the proposals for action in the Panel's report, the following options are
(a) To continue the intergovernmental policy dialogue on forests through
the establishment of an ad hoc, open-ended intergovernmental forum on forests
under the auspices of the Commission on Sustainable Development, with a
focused and time-limited mandate, charged with, inter alia, reviewing,
monitoring and reporting on progress in the management, conservation and
sustainable development of all types of forests; promoting and monitoring the
implementation of the Panel's proposals for action; and either:
(i) On that basis, considering and advising on the need for other
arrangements and mechanisms, including legal arrangements covering
all types of forests, and reporting on these matters to the
Commission at the appropriate time in accordance with its work
programme, which has yet to be defined; and/or
(ii) Preparing the basis and building the necessary consensus for a
decision to negotiate and elaborate possible elements of a legally
binding instrument, and reporting on its work on that topic to the
Commission in 1999;
(b) To carry forward intergovernmental policy action on forests through
the establishment, as soon as possible, under the authority of the General
Assembly, of an intergovernmental negotiating committee on a legally binding
instrument on all types of forest, with a focused and time-limited mandate.
[Alternative paragraph 34] To continue the intergovernmental policy dialogue
on forests through the establishment of an ad hoc open-ended intergovernmental
forum on forests under the aegis of the Commission on Sustainable Development,
with a focused and time-limited mandate, charged with promoting and
facilitating the implementation of the Panel's proposals for action and
reporting on progress in the management, conservation and sustainable
development of all types of forests; with considering matters left pending by
the Panel, in particular, trade in forest products and services and the
environment, transfer of technology, and the need for financial resources; as
well as with considering the need for and identifying possible elements of
arrangements and mechanisms or a legally binding instrument. The forum will
report on its work to the Commission in 1999 for appropriate action.]
[Note: The terms of reference for an appropriate intergovernmental process
will need to be developed.]
35. Energy is essential to economic and social development and improved
quality of life. However, sustainable patterns of production, distribution
and use of energy are crucial. Fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) will
continue to dominate the energy supply situation for many years to come in
most developed and developing countries. What is required then is to reduce
the environmental impact of their continued development, and to reduce local
health hazards and environmental pollution through enhanced international
cooperation [notably in the provision of concessional finance for capacity
development and transfer of the relevant technology].
36. (Agreed) In developing countries sharp increases in energy services are
required to improve the standard of living of their growing populations. The
increase in the level of energy services would have a beneficial impact on
poverty eradication by increasing employment opportunities and improving
transportation, health and education. Many developing countries, in
particular the least developed, face the urgent need to provide adequate
modern energy services, especially to billions of people in rural areas. This
requires significant financial, human and technical resources and a broad-
based mix of energy sources.
37. (Agreed) The objectives envisaged in this section should reflect the
need for equity, adequate energy supplies and increasing energy consumption in
developing countries and should take into account the situation of countries
that are highly dependent on income generated from the production, processing
and export, and/or consumption of fossil fuels and that have serious
difficulties in switching to alternative sources of energy, and the situation
of countries highly vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change.
38. (Agreed) Advances towards sustainable energy use are taking place and
all parties can benefit from progress made in other countries. It is also
necessary to ensure international cooperation for promoting energy
conservation and improvement of energy efficiency, the use of renewable
energy and research, and the development and dissemination of innovative
39. Therefore there is a need for:
[(a) A shift towards sustainable patterns of production, distribution
and use. This should be taken up by elaborating a common strategy for a
sustainable energy future. In this way, Governments should commit themselves
to developing and promoting sustainable energy policies, involving all actors.
To advance this work at the intergovernmental level the Commission on
Sustainable Development should devote one of its sessions in the near future
to the establishment of such a common strategy. This dedicated session should
be thoroughly prepared by an inter-sessional high-level forum of the
Commission on environment and energy. The Committee on New and Renewable
Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development should be involved;]
[(a) A movement towards sustainable patterns of production, distribution
and use of energy. To advance this work at the intergovernmental level, the
Commission on Sustainable Development will discuss energy issues at its
[ninth] session. Noting the vital role of energy in the continuation of
sustainable economic growth, especially for developing countries, in
particular those countries that play a key role in the world's energy supply,
and recognizing the complexities and interdependencies inherent in addressing
energy issues within the context of sustainable development, preparations for
this meeting should take place over a longer time frame in an open-ended
intergovernmental group of experts on energy and sustainable development to be
held in conjunction with inter-sessional meetings of the Commission. In line
with the objectives of Agenda 21, the meeting of the Commission should
contribute to a sustainable energy future for all;]
(b) (Agreed) Evolving concrete measures to strengthen international
cooperation in order to assist developing countries in their domestic efforts
to provide adequate modern energy services, especially electricity, to all
sections of their population, particularly in rural areas, in an
environmentally sound manner;
(c) (Agreed) Countries, bearing in mind the specific needs and
priorities of developing countries, to promote policies and plans that take
into account the economic, social and environmental aspects of the production,
distribution and use of energy, including the use of lower pollutant sources
of energy such as natural gas;
(d) Evolving [time-bound commitments for] the transfer of relevant
technology to developing countries and economies in transition so as to enable
them to increase the use of renewable energy sources and cleaner fossil fuels
and to improve efficiency in energy production, distribution and use.
Countries need to systematically increase the use of renewable energy sources
according to their specific social, economic, natural, geographical and
climatic conditions and cleaner fuel technologies, including fossil fuel
technologies, and to improve efficiency in energy production, distribution and
use and in other industrial production processes that are intensive users of
(e) (Agreed) Promoting efforts in research on and development and use of
renewable energy technologies at the international and national levels;
(f) In the context of fossil fuels, encouraging further research,
development, and the application and transfer of technology, [preferably] of a
cleaner and more efficient nature, through effective international support;
[(g) Encouraging Governments and the private sector to move towards
energy pricing that better reflects economic, social and environmental costs
and benefits, including the reduction and the gradual elimination of subsidies
for energy production and consumption that inhibit sustainable development.
Such policies should take fully into account the specific needs and conditions
of developing countries [, while respecting the agreed special and
differentiated treatment of developing countries, particularly least developed
countries, in WTO, on the question of subsidies];]
[(h) Developing a reference framework for better coordination of energy-
related activities within the United Nations system].
40. (Agreed) The transport sector and mobility in general have an essential
and positive role to play in economic and social development, and
transportation needs will undoubtedly increase. Over the next 20 years,
transportation is expected to be the major driving force behind a growing
world demand for energy. The transport sector is the largest end-user of
energy in developed countries and the fastest growing one in most developing
countries. Current patterns of transportation with their dominant patterns of
energy use are not sustainable and on present trends may compound the
environmental problems the world is facing and the health impacts referred to
in paragraph 25 above. There is a need for:
(a) (Agreed) The promotion of integrated transport policies that
consider alternative approaches to meeting commercial and private mobility
needs and improve performance in the transport sector at the national,
regional and global levels, and particularly a need to encourage international
cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies in the
transport sector and implementation of appropriate training programmes in
accordance with national programmes and priorities;
(b) (Agreed) The integration of land use and urban, peri-urban and rural
transport planning, taking into account the need to protect ecosystems;
(c) (Agreed) The adoption and promotion, as appropriate, of measures to
mitigate the negative impact of transportation on the environment, including
measures to improve efficiency in the transportation sector;
(d) (Agreed) The use of a broad spectrum of policy instruments to
improve energy efficiency and efficiency standards in transportation and
[(e) An initiative to prepare, at the international level, a tax on
[(f) Accelerating the phasing-out of the use of leaded gasoline as soon
as possible, in pursuit of the objectives of reducing the severe health
impacts of human exposure to lead, as stated in chapter I, paragraph 169, of
the report of the Commission on Sustainable Development on its second session,
in 1994, 17/ and to that end explore ways in which developing countries might
be given technological and economic assistance to make the necessary
[(g) The promotion of guidelines for environmentally friendly transport,
and actions for reducing vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide,
particulate matter and volatile organic compounds, as soon as possible,
preferably within the next 10 years;]
(h) (Agreed) Partnerships at the national level, involving Governments,
local authorities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, for
strengthening transport infrastructures and developing innovative mass
41. Ensuring that the global climate and atmosphere is not further damaged
with irreversible consequences for future generations requires political will
and concerted efforts by the international community in accordance with the
principles enshrined in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change. Under the Convention, some first steps have been taken to deal with
the global problem of climate change. Despite the adoption of the Convention,
the emission and concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) continue to rise,
even as scientific evidence assembled by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) and other relevant bodies continues to diminish the
uncertainties and points ever more strongly to the severe risk of global
climate change. [So far, insufficient progress has been made by developed
countries in meeting their [aim to return GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the
year 2000]]. It is recognized in the Berlin Mandate 18/ that the [commitments
under article 4, paragraph 2 (a) and (b) of the Convention] [Convention's
commitments] are inadequate to meet the objectives of the Convention, and
therefore there is a need to strengthen these commitments. It is most
important that the Conference of Parties to the Convention, at its third
session, to be held at Kyoto, Japan later in 1997, adopt a protocol or other
legal instrument that fully encompasses the Berlin Mandate. The Geneva
Ministerial Declaration 19/ which was noted without formal adoption, but which
received majority support among ministers and other heads of delegation
attending the second session of the Conference of the Parties, also called
for, inter alia, the acceleration of negotiations on the text of a legally
binding protocol or other legal instrument.
[42. Member States are urged to agree on a satisfactory result of these
negotiations at the third session of the Conference of the Parties, scheduled
to be held at Kyoto, Japan in December 1997.]
[42. At the third session of the Conference of the Parties, Member States are
urged to adopt the strongest possible agreement, including legally binding
budgets or targets for developed countries and to ensure maximum flexibility
in reaching such budgets or targets; all countries are urged to participate in
taking meaningful actions to address the problem.]
[42. The Conference of the Parties, at its third session, should call upon
countries of the industrialized world, reaffirming the Berlin Mandate and the
Ministerial Declaration of the Conference of the Parties at its second
session, to agree on quantified, legally-binding objectives for emission
limitation and significant overall reduction of GHGs within specified time-
frames, such as 2005, 2010 and 2020, with respect to their anthropogenic
emissions by source and to the removal by sinks of GHGs not controlled by the
Montreal Protocol, and to agree to elaborate policies and measures.]
[42. At the third session of the Conference of the Parties, a legally binding
commitment for a 15 per cent reduction in the emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O,
combined, to below the 1990 level by the year 2010 must be agreed upon, as
well as mandatory and recommended policies and measures, including harmonized
ones, to ensure that this target is achieved.]
[42. At its third session, the Conference of the Parties should call upon the
industrialized world to agree on a legally binding commitment for a
20 per cent reduction of the emissions of CO2 to below the 1990 level by the
year 2005. Other greenhouse gas emissions will also be covered by this
instrument as well as coordinated policies and measures to ensure that this
target is achieved.]
43. (Agreed) International cooperation in the implementation of chapter 9 of
Agenda 21, in particular in the transfer of technology to and capacity-
building in developing countries, is also essential to promote the effective
implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
44. (Agreed) There is also a need to strengthen systematic observational
networks to identify the possible onset and distribution of climate change and
assess potential impacts, particularly at the regional level.
45. (Agreed) The ozone layer continues to be severely depleted and the
Montreal Protocol 20/ needs to be strengthened. The Copenhagen Amendment to
the Protocol needs to be ratified. The recent successful conclusion of the
replenishment negotiations of the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund is
welcomed. This has made available funds for, among other things, earlier
phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, including methyl bromide, in
developing countries. Future replenishment should also be adequate to ensure
timely implementation of the Montreal Protocol. An increased focus on
capacity-building programmes in developing countries within multilateral funds
is also needed, as well as the implementation of effective measures against
illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances.
46. (Agreed) Rising levels of transboundary air pollution should be
countered, including through appropriate regional cooperation to reduce
47. (Agreed) The sound management of chemicals is essential to sustainable
development and is a fundamental underpinning human health and environmental
protection. All those responsible for chemicals, throughout their life cycle,
bear the responsibility for achieving this. Substantial progress on the sound
management of chemicals has been made since UNCED, in particular through the
establishment of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and the
Inter-Organizational Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC).
In addition, domestic regulations have been complemented by the Code of Ethics
on the International Trade in Chemicals and by voluntary industry initiatives,
such as Responsible Care. Despite substantial progress, a number of chemicals
continue to pose significant threats to local, regional and global ecosystems
and to human health. Since UNCED, there has been an increased understanding
of the serious damage that certain toxic chemicals can cause to human health
and the environment. Much remains to be done and the environmentally sound
management of chemicals should continue to be an important issue well beyond
2000. Particular attention should also be given to cooperation in the
development and transfer of technology of safe substitutes and in the
development of capacity for the production of such substitutes. The decision
on the sound management of chemicals adopted by the Governing Council of UNEP
at its nineteenth session should be implemented in accordance with the agreed
timetables for negotiations on the prior informed consent (PIC) and persistent
organic pollutants (POPs) conventions. It is noted that inorganic chemicals
possess roles and behaviour that are distinct from organic chemicals.
48. (Agreed) Substantial progress has been made with the implementation of
the Basel Convention, 21/ the Bamako Convention, 22/ the Fourth Lome'
Convention and other regional Conventions, although more remains to be done.
There are important initiatives aimed at promoting the environmentally sound
management of hazardous wastes under the Basel Convention, including (a)
activities undertaken to prevent illegal traffic in hazardous wastes; (b) the
establishment of regional centres for training and technology transfer
regarding hazardous waste minimization and management; and (c) the treatment
and disposal of hazardous wastes as close as possible to their source of
origin. These initiatives should be further developed. It is also important
and urgent that work under the Basel Convention be completed to define which
hazardous wastes are controlled under the Convention and to negotiate, adopt
and implement a protocol on liability and compensation for damage resulting
from transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous wastes. Land
contaminated by the disposal of hazardous wastes needs to be identified and
remedial actions put in hand. Integrated management solutions are also
required to minimize urban and industrial waste generation and to promote
recycling and reuse.
(* The Russian Federation reserved its position on this section, and wished
that fact to be recorded in the final report of the session.)
49. Radioactive wastes can have very serious environmental and human health
impacts over long periods of time. It is essential that they are managed in a
safe and responsible way. Each country has a responsibility to ensure that
radioactive wastes which fall within its jurisdiction are managed properly in
accordance with internationally accepted principles. The international
community should make all efforts to prohibit the export of radioactive wastes
to those countries that do not have appropriate waste treatment and storage
facilities. The storage, transportation, transboundary movement and disposal
of radioactive wastes should be guided by the principles of the Rio
Declaration [, with particular attention to principles 2 and 19, and the
principle that States should pursue the storage and disposal of radioactive
wastes in the State in which they are generated,][Governments shall also
continue to undertake disposal activities in accordance with the proximity
principle. Where such activities are likely to have a significant adverse
transboundary environmental effect, States shall provide prior notification
and relevant information and consult, at an early stage, with States that
could be impacted by such activities] and Agenda 21 and undertaken in a manner
consistent with the provisions of internationally accepted standards as well
as international and relevant regional conventions. It is important to
intensify efforts to promote safety measures with regard to nuclear wastes.
Storage or disposal of radioactive waste should not take place near the marine
environment [and other sensitive ecological areas] unless States determine
that scientific evidence, consistent with the applicable internationally
agreed principles and guidelines, shows that this does not pose an
unacceptable risk to people and the environment. In the process of
consideration of that evidence, appropriate application of the precautionary
approach principle should be made. Further action is needed by the
international community to address the need for enhancing awareness of the
importance of safe management of radioactive wastes, and to ensure the
prevention of incidents and accidents involving the uncontrolled release of
50.*(Agreed) One of the main recommendations of Agenda 21 and of the
Commission on Sustainable Development at its second session in this area was
to support the ongoing efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other relevant
international organizations. The Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel
Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management currently being
negotiated under the auspices of IAEA is now close to completion. It will
provide a comprehensive codification of international law and a guide to best
practices in this area. It will rightly be based on all the principles of
best practice for this subject that have evolved in the international
community, including the principle that, in general, it is best for
radioactive wastes to be disposed of in the State in which they were generated
as far as is compatible with the safety of the management of such material.
Governments should finalize this text and are urged to ratify and implement it
as soon as possible so as to further improve practice and strengthen safety in
this area. Transportation of irradiated nuclear fuel (INF) and high-level
waste by sea should be guided by the INF Code, which should be considered for
development into a mandatory instrument. The issue of potential transboundary
environmental effects of activities related to the management 23/ of
radioactive wastes and the question of prior notification, relevant
information and consultation with States that could potentially be affected by
such effects, should be further addressed within the appropriate forums.
(* Ukraine reserved its position on this paragraph, and wished that fact to be
recorded in the final report of the session.)
51. Increased global and regional cooperation, including exchange of
information and experience and transfer of appropriate technologies, is needed
to improve the management of radioactive wastes. There is a need to support
the clean-up of sites contaminated as a result of [military activities using
nuclear materials and as a result of uranium mining and other] nuclear
activities. Technical assistance should be provided to developing countries
to enable them to develop or improve procedures for the management and safe
disposal of radioactive wastes deriving from the use of radionuclides in
medicine, research and industry [recognizing the special needs of small island
developing States and coastal States relating to the risk of environmental
impact from those activities].
Land and sustainable agriculture
52. Land degradation and soil loss threaten the livelihood of millions of
people and future food security, with implications for water resources and the
conservation of biodiversity. There is an urgent need to define ways to
combat or reverse the worldwide accelerating trend of soil degradation, using
an ecosystem approach, taking into account the needs of populations living in
mountain ecosystems and recognizing the multiple functions of agriculture.
The greatest challenge for humanity is to protect and sustainably manage the
natural resource base on which food and fibre production depend, while feeding
and housing a population that is still growing. The international community
has recognized the need for an integrated approach to the protection and
sustainable management of land and soil resources, as stated in decision
III/11 of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological
Diversity, 24/ including identification of land degradation, which involves
all interested parties at the local as well as the national level, including
farmers, small-scale food producers, indigenous people[s], non-governmental
organizations and, in particular, women, who have a vital role in rural
communities. This should include action to ensure secure land tenure and
access to land, credits and training as well as the removal of obstacles that
inhibit farmers, especially small-scale farmers and peasants, from investing
in and improving their lands and farms.
53. It remains essential to continue efforts for the eradication of poverty
through, inter alia, capacity-building to reinforce local food systems,
improving food security and providing adequate nutrition for the more than
800 million undernourished people in the world, located mainly in developing
countries. Governments should formulate policies that promote sustainable
agriculture as well as productivity and profitability. Comprehensive rural
policies are required to improve access to land, combat poverty, create
employment and reduce rural emigration. [At the same time, sustainable food
security among both the urban and the rural poor should be a policy priority.]
[Developed countries and the international community should provide adequate
resources and technical assistance to developing countries to this end.] To
meet those objectives, Governments should attach high priority to implementing
the commitments of the Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food
Summit Plan of Action, as adopted by the World Food Summit (Rome,
13-17 November 1996), 25/ especially the call for a minimum target of halving
the number of undernourished people in the world by the year 2015.
Governments and international organizations are encouraged to implement the
Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of
Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as adopted by the
International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources (Leipzig,
Germany, 17-23 June 1996). [At the sixth session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development, in 1998, the issues of sustainable agriculture and
land use should be considered in relation to freshwater.] The challenge for
agricultural research is to increase yields on all farmlands while protecting
and conserving the natural resource base. The international community and
Governments must continue or increase investments in agricultural research
because it can take years or decades to develop new lines of research and
bring those research findings into sustainable practice on the land.
Developing countries, particularly those with high population densities, will
need international cooperation to gain access to the results of such research
and to technology aimed at improving agricultural productivity in limited
spaces. More generally, international cooperation continues to be needed to
assist developing countries in many other aspects of basic requirements of
agriculture. [There is also a need to continue work in the World Trade
Organization to liberalize international trade in agriculture and to pursue
food and overall trade policies that will encourage producers and consumers to
utilize available resources in an economically sound and sustainable manner,
taking account of the special and differential treatment for developing
countries, particularly the least developed countries, and net food
importers.] OR [There is also a need for further empirical work and analysis
in discussions on the benefits of removing trade restrictions.] OR [There is
a need to implement effectively the agricultural agreement of the World Trade
Desertification and drought
54. (Agreed) Governments are urged to conclude - by signing and ratifying,
accepting, approving and/or acceding to - and to implement the United Nations
Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious
Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa, which entered into
force on 26 December 1996, as soon as possible, and to support and actively
participate in the first session of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention, which will be held in Rome in September 1997.
55. The international community is urged to recognize the importance and
necessity of international cooperation and partnership in combating
desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. [The international
community, in particular developed countries, should also therefore support
the global mechanism that would indeed have the capacity to increase the
effectiveness and efficiency of and ensure new and additional financial
resources for advancing the implementation of the Convention and its annexes,
and to contribute to the eradication of poverty, which is one of the principal
consequences of desertification and drought in the majority of affected
countries.] OR [The international community, in particular developed
countries, should also support the global mechanism in its work to facilitate
the mobilization of adequate financial resources for advancing the
implementation of the Convention and its regional annexes.] [The transfer of
environmentally sound, economically viable and socially acceptable
technologies to developing countries relevant to combating desertification
and/or mitigating the effects of drought, with a view to contributing to the
achievement of sustainable development in affected areas, should be undertaken
56. (Agreed) There remains an urgent need for the conservation and
sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of
benefits arising from the utilization of components of genetic resources. The
threat to biodiversity stems mainly from habitat destruction, over-harvesting,
pollution and the inappropriate introduction of foreign plants and animals.
There is an urgent need for Governments and the international community, with
the support of relevant international institutions, as appropriate, to:
(a) (Agreed) Take decisive action to conserve and maintain genes,
species and ecosystems with a view to promoting sustainable management of
(b) (Agreed) Ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and implement
it fully and effectively together with the decisions of the Conference of the
Parties, including recommendations on agricultural biological diversity and
the Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity, and pursue
urgently other tasks identified by the Conference of the Parties at its third
meeting under the work programme on terrestrial biological diversity, 26/
within the context of the ecosystems approach adopted in the Convention;
(c) (Agreed) Undertake concrete actions for the fair and equitable
sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources,
consistent with the provisions of the Convention and the decisions of the
Conference of the Parties on, inter alia, access to genetic resources and
handling of biotechnology and its benefits;
(d) (Agreed) Pay further attention to the provision of new and
additional financial resources for the implementation of the Convention;
(e) (Agreed) Facilitate the transfer of technologies, including
biotechnology, to developing countries, consistent with the provisions of the
(f) (Agreed) Respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and
practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional
lifestyles, and encourage equitable sharing of the benefits arising from
traditional knowledge so that those communities are adequately protected and
rewarded, consistent with the provisions of the Convention on Biological
Diversity and in accordance with the decisions of the Conference of the
(g) (Agreed) Complete rapidly the biosafety protocol under the
Convention on Biological Diversity, on the understanding that the UNEP
International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology may be used as
an interim mechanism during its development, and to complement it after its
conclusion, including the recommendations on capacity-building related to
(h) (Agreed) Stress the importance of the establishment of a clearing-
house mechanism by Parties consistent with the provisions of the Convention;
(i) (Agreed) Recognize the role of women in the conservation of
biological diversity and the sustainable use of biological resources;
(j) (Agreed) Provide the necessary support to integrate the conservation
of biological diversity and the sustainable use of biological resources into
national development plans;
(k) (Agreed) Promote international cooperation to develop and strengthen
national capacity-building, including human resource development and
(l) (Agreed) Provide incentive measures at the national, regional and
international levels to promote the conservation and sustainable use of
biological diversity, and to consider means to enhance developing countries'
capabilities to compete in the emerging market for biological resources, while
improving the functioning of that market.
57. (Agreed) Tourism is now one of the world's largest industries and one of
its fastest growing economic sectors. The expected growth in the tourism
sector and the increasing reliance of many developing countries, including
small island developing States, on this sector as a major employer and
contributor to local, national, subregional and regional economies highlights
the need for special attention to the relationship between environmental
conservation and protection and sustainable tourism. In this regard, efforts
of developing countries to broaden the traditional concept of tourism to
include cultural and eco-tourism merit special consideration and the
assistance of the international community, including the international
58. (Agreed) There is a need to consider further the importance of tourism
in the context of Agenda 21. Tourism, like other sectors, uses resources and
generates wastes, and creates environmental, cultural and social costs and
benefits in the process. For sustainable patterns of consumption and
production in the tourism sector, it is essential to strengthen national
policy development and enhance capacity in the areas of physical planning,
impact assessment, and the use of economic and regulatory instruments, as well
as in the areas of information, education and marketing. A particular concern
is the degradation of biodiversity and fragile ecosystems, such as coral
reefs, mountains, coastal areas and wetlands.
59. (Agreed) Policy development and implementation should take place in
cooperation with all interested parties, especially the private sector and
local and indigenous communities. The Commission should develop an action-
oriented international programme of work on sustainable tourism, to be defined
in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization, UNCTAD, UNEP, the
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other
60. (Agreed) The sustainable development of tourism is of importance for all
countries, in particular for small island developing States. International
cooperation is needed to facilitate tourism development in developing
countries - including the development and marketing of ecotourism, bearing in
mind the importance of the conservation policies required to secure long-term
benefits from development in this sector - in particular in small island
developing States, in the context of the Programme of Action for the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
Small island developing States
61. (Agreed) The international community reaffirms its commitment to the
implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States. The Commission on Sustainable Development
carried out a mid-term review of selected programme areas of the Programme of
Action at its fourth session, in 1996. In 1998, at its sixth session, the
Commission will undertake a review of all the outstanding chapters and issues
of the Programme of Action. A full and comprehensive review of the Programme
of Action, consistent with the review of other United Nations global
conferences is scheduled for 1999. The Commission, at its fifth session,
adopted a decision on modalities for the full review of the Programme of
Action, including the holding of a two-day special session of the General
Assembly immediately preceding the fifty-fourth session of the Assembly for an
in-depth assessment and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of
Action. The full implementation of the decision would represent a significant
contribution to achieving the objectives of the Global Conference for the
Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
62. (Agreed) Considerable efforts are being made at the national and
regional levels to implement the Programme of Action. These efforts need to
be supplemented by effective financial support from the international
community. External assistance for building the requisite infrastructure and
for national capacity-building, including human and institutional capacity,
and for facilitating access to information on sustainable development
practices and transfer of environmentally sound technologies in accordance
with paragraph 34.14 (b) of Agenda 21 is crucial for small island developing
States to effectively attain the goals of the Programme of Action. To assist
national capacity building, the small island developing States information
network and small island developing States technical assistance programme
should be operationalized as soon as possible, with support to existing
regional and subregional institutions.
63. (Agreed) Natural disasters have disproportionate consequences for
developing countries, in particular small island developing States and
countries with extremely fragile ecosystems. Programmes for sustainable
development should give higher priority to implementation of the commitments
made at the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction (Yokohama, Japan,
23-27 May 1994) (see A/CONF.172/9 and Add.1). There is a particular need for
capacity-building for disaster planning and management and for the promotion
and facilitation of the transfer of early-warning technologies to countries
prone to disasters, in particular developing countries and countries with
economies in transition.
64. (Agreed) Acknowledging that further work is needed throughout the world,
there is a special need to provide developing countries with further
(a) (Agreed) Strengthening mechanisms and policies designed to reduce
the effects of natural disasters, improve preparedness and integrate natural
disaster considerations in development planning, through, inter alia, access
to resources for disaster mitigation and preparedness, response and recovery;
(b) (Agreed) Improving access to relevant technology and training in
hazard and risk assessment and early warning systems, and in protection from
environmental disasters, consistent with national, subregional and regional
(c) (Agreed) Providing and facilitating technical, scientific and
financial support for disaster preparedness and response in the context of the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.
[Technological and man-made disasters]
[Similar disasters with an adverse impact on the environment]
65. [Technological and man-made disasters] [Similar disasters with an
adverse impact on the environment] become a substantial obstacle in the way of
achieving the goals of sustainable development in many countries. The
international community should intensify cooperation in the prevention and
reduction of [technological and man-made disasters] [similar disasters with an
adverse impact on the environment] and in disaster relief and post-disaster
rehabilitation in order to enhance the capabilities of affected countries to
cope with such situations.
3. Means of implementation
Financial resources and mechanisms
66. Financial resources and mechanisms play a key role in the implementation
of Agenda 21. In general, the financing for the implementation of Agenda 21
will come from a country's own public and private sectors. For developing
countries, ODA is a main source of external funding, and substantial new and
additional funding for sustainable development and implementation of Agenda 21
will be required. Hence, all financial commitments [and objectives] of Agenda
21, particularly those contained in chapter 33, and [including those] [the
objectives] related to the provision of new and additional resources that are
both adequate and predictable, need to be urgently fulfilled. Renewed efforts
are essential to ensure that all sources of funding contribute to economic
growth, social development and environmental protection in the context of
sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21.
67. [For developing countries, particularly those in Africa and the least
developed countries, ODA remains a main source of external funding and is
essential for the prompt [full] and effective implementation of Agenda 21.
[At this stage,] ODA cannot generally be replaced by private capital flows.]
Developed countries should therefore fulfil the commitments undertaken to
reach the accepted United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GNP as soon as
possible. In this context the present downward trend in the ratio of ODA to
GNP causes concern. Intensified efforts should be made to reverse this trend,
taking into account the need for improving the quality and effectiveness of
ODA. In the spirit of global partnership, the underlying factors that have
led to this decrease should be addressed by all countries. Strategies should
be worked out for increasing donor support to aid programmes and revitalizing
the commitments that donors made at UNCED. Some countries already meet or
exceed the 0.7 per cent agreed target. Official financial flows to developing
countries, particularly least developed countries, remain an essential element
of the partnership embodied in Agenda 21. ODA plays a significant role, inter
alia, in capacity-building, infrastructure, combating poverty and
environmental protection in developing countries, and a crucial role in the
least developed countries. [Official financial flows [ODA] may also play an
important catalytic role in encouraging, where appropriate, country-driven
policy reform efforts [and leveraging private investment]].
68. (Agreed) Funding by multilateral financial institutions through their
concessional mechanisms is also essential to developing countries in their
efforts to fully implement the sustainable development objectives contained in
Agenda 21. Such institutions should continue to respond to the development
needs and priorities of developing countries. Developed countries should
urgently meet their commitments under the eleventh replenishment of the
International Development Association (IDA).
69.* (Agreed) Continued and full donor commitments to adequate, sustained and
predictable funding for GEF operations is important for developing countries
so that global environmental benefits can be further achieved. Donor
countries are urged to engage in providing new and additional resources, with
a view to equitable burden-sharing, through a satisfactory replenishment of
GEF, which makes available grant and concessional funding designed to achieve
global environmental benefits, thereby promoting sustainable development.
Consideration should be given to further exploring the flexibility of the
existing mandate of GEF in supporting activities to achieve global
environmental benefits. With regard to the project cycle, further efforts
should be made to continue streamlining the decision-making process in order
to maintain an effective and efficient, as well as transparent, participatory
and democratic framework. GEF, when acting as the operating entity of the
financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, should continue to operate
in conformity with those Conventions and promote their implementation. The
GEF implementing agencies, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
UNEP and the World Bank, should strengthen, as appropriate and in accordance
with their respective mandates, their cooperation at all levels, including the
(* The Philippines reserved its position on this paragraph, and wished that
fact to be recorded in the final report of the session.)
[70. There is also a need for the effective use of an increased level of
resources of United Nations funds and programmes in order to support the
efforts of developing countries in implementing Agenda 21. Regional and
subregional organizations with designated roles should also be strengthened to
enable them to effectively support their efforts.] [There is a need for a
substantial increase in resources for operational activities for development
on a predictable, continuous and assured basis, commensurate with the
increasing needs of developing countries (General Assembly resolution 50/120,
71. (Agreed) Private capital is a major tool of economic growth in a growing
number of developing countries. Higher levels of foreign private investment
should be mobilized given its mounting importance. To stimulate higher levels
of private investment, Governments should aim at ensuring macroeconomic
stability, open trade and investment policies, and well-functioning legal and
financial systems. Further studies should be undertaken, including studies on
the design of an appropriate environment, at both the national and
international levels, for facilitating foreign private investment, in
particular foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to developing countries, and
enhancing its contribution to sustainable development. To ensure that such
investments are supportive of sustainable development objectives, it is
essential that the national Governments of both investor and recipient
countries provide appropriate regulatory frameworks and incentives for private
investment. Therefore further work should be undertaken on the design of
appropriate policies and measures aimed at promoting long-term investment
flows to developing countries in activities which increase their productive
capability, and reducing the volatility of these flows. ODA donors and
multilateral development banks are encouraged to strengthen their commitments
to supporting investment in developing countries in a manner that jointly
promotes economic growth, social development and environmental protection.
72. (Agreed) The external debt problem continues to hamper the efforts of
developing countries to achieve sustainable development. To resolve the
remaining debt problems of the heavily indebted poor countries, creditor and
debtor countries and international financial institutions should continue
their efforts to find effective, equitable, development-oriented and durable
solutions to the debt problem, including debt relief in the form of debt
rescheduling, debt reduction, debt swaps and, as appropriate, debt
cancellation, as well as grants and concessional flows that will help restore
creditworthiness. The joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative supported by the Paris
Club creditor countries is an important development to reduce the multilateral
debt problem. Implementation of the HIPC Debt Initiative requires additional
financial resources from both bilateral and multilateral creditors without
affecting the support required for the development activities of developing
73. There is a need for a fuller understanding of the impact of indebtedness
on the pursuit of sustainable development by developing countries. [To this
end, the World Bank and IMF [should] [could] collaborate with UNCTAD and the
United Nations Secretariat in further considering the interrelationship
between indebtedness and sustainable development for developing countries.]
[74. [In general,] financing for the implementation of Agenda 21 will come
from countries' own public and private sectors. Policies for promoting
domestic resource mobilization, including credit, could include sound
macroeconomic reforms, including fiscal and monetary policy reforms, review
and reform of existing subsidies, and the promotion of personal savings and
access to credit, especially micro-credit, in particular for women. Such
policies should be decided by each country, taking into account its own
characteristics and capabilities and different levels of development,
especially as reflected in national sustainable development strategies, where
75. There is a need for making existing subsidies more transparent in order
to increase public awareness of their actual economic, social and
environmental impact and to reform or, where pertinent, remove them. Further
national and international research in that area should be promoted in order
to assist Governments in identifying and considering phasing-out subsidies
that have market distorting, and socially and environmentally damaging
impacts. [Bearing in mind the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities,] subsidy reductions should take full account of the specific
conditions of individual countries and should consider potentially regressive
impacts. In addition, it would be desirable to use international cooperation
and coordination to promote the reduction of subsidies where these have
important implications for competitiveness.
76. In order to reduce the barriers to the expanded use of economic
instruments, Governments and international organizations should collect and
share information on the use of economic instruments and introduce pilot
schemes that would, inter alia, demonstrate how to make the best use of such
instruments while seeking to avoid any adverse effects [particularly on
developing countries] [on the terms of and the trade competitiveness of
developing countries]. When introducing economic instruments that raise the
cost of economic activities for households and small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), Governments should consider gradual phase-ins, public
education programmes and targeted technical assistance as strategies for
reducing distributional impacts. [Various studies and practical experiences
in a number of countries indicate that the use of economic instruments can
generate win-win possibilities by shifting consumer and producer behaviour to
more sustainable directions, while generating financial resources for
sustainable development or reducing taxes elsewhere.]
77. (Agreed) Innovative financial mechanisms are currently under discussion
in international and national forums but have not yet fully evolved
conceptually. The Secretary-General is to submit a report concerning
innovative financing mechanisms to the Economic and Social Council at its
substantive session of 1997. In view of the widespread interest in those
mechanisms, appropriate organizations, including UNCTAD, the World Bank and
IMF, are invited to consider conducting forward-looking studies of concerted
action on such mechanisms and to share them with the Commission on Sustainable
Development, other relevant intergovernmental organizations and
non-governmental organizations. In this regard, innovative funding should
complement ODA, not replace it. New initiatives for cooperative
implementation of environment and development objectives under mutually
beneficial incentive structures should be further explored.
[77 bis.* In the context of its future work programme, the Commission on
Sustainable Development acknowledges and encourages contributions from Member
States, non-governmental organizations and business, and United Nations bodies
and other intergovernmental organizations. In particular, the recommendations
of the Fourth Expert Group Meeting on Financial Issues of Agenda 21, hosted by
the Government of Chile in January 1997, represent an important basis for the
follow-up work in the Commission. Recognizing the important work of such
expert group meetings, member countries and relevant international
organizations are invited to support the convening of such meetings in the
future with a view to providing further recommendations and input to the
Commission, in particular at its session in the year 2000.]
(* This paragraph was not negotiated, but was included at the request of
[77 bis.* An appropriate intergovernmental process should be established to
(i) consider practical policy responses to the recommendations of the expert
group meetings on financial issues of Agenda 21; (ii) articulate possible
strategies for implementation; and (iii) clarify the roles of ODA, public and
private investment and innovative financing mechanisms in sustainable
development. The process should report to the Commission on Sustainable
Development at its session in the year 2000.]
(* This amendment to the paragraph included at the request of Norway was not
negotiated, but was included at the request of the United States of America.)
Transfer of environmentally sound technologies
78. The availability of scientific and technological information and access
to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies are essential
requirements for sustainable development. There is an urgent need for
developing countries to acquire greater access to environmentally sound
technologies if they are to meet the obligations agreed at UNCED and in the
relevant international conventions. The ability of developing countries to
participate in, benefit from and contribute to rapid advances in science and
technology can significantly influence their development. This calls for the
urgent fulfilment of all the [commitments] [objectives] contained in chapter
34 of Agenda 21. The international community should promote, facilitate and
finance, as appropriate, access to and transfer of environmentally sound
technologies and corresponding know-how, in particular to developing
countries, on favourable terms, including concessional and preferential terms,
as mutually agreed, taking into account the need to protect intellectual
property rights as well as the special needs of developing countries for the
implementation of Agenda 21. Current forms of cooperation involving the
public and private sectors of developing and developed countries should be
built upon and expanded. In this context, it is important to identify
barriers and restrictions to the transfer of publicly and privately owned
environmentally sound technologies, with a view to reducing such constraints
while creating specific incentives, fiscal and otherwise, for the transfer of
such technologies. The progress of [commitments] [objectives] contained in
Agenda 21, in this regard, should be regularly reviewed as part of the multi-
year work programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
79. Technology transfer and the development of the human and institutional
capacity to adapt, absorb and disseminate technologies, as well as to generate
technical knowledge and innovations, are part of the same process and must be
given equal importance. [Considering that technology transfer to developing
countries cannot be confined to market forces alone, Governments have an
important role to play in providing R&D institutions with incentives to
promote and to contribute to the development of the institutional and human
capacities for effective technology transfer, subject to the need to protect
intellectual property rights.]
80. (Agreed) Much of the most advanced environmentally sound technology is
developed and held by the private sector. Creation of an enabling
environment, on the part of both developed and developing countries, including
supportive economic and fiscal measures, as well as a practical system of
environmental regulations and compliance mechanisms, can help to stimulate
private sector investment in and transfer of environmentally sound technology
to developing countries. New ways of financial intermediation for the
financing of environmentally sound technologies, such as "green credit lines",
should be examined. Further efforts should be made by Governments and
international development institutions to facilitate the transfer of privately
owned technology on concessional terms, as mutually agreed, to developing
countries, especially least developed countries.
81. (Agreed) A proportion of technology is held or owned by Governments and
public institutions or results from publicly funded research and development
activities. The Government's control and influence over the technological
knowledge produced in publicly funded research and development institutions
open up the potential for the generation of publicly owned technologies that
could be made accessible to developing countries, and could be an important
means for Governments to catalyse private sector technology transfer.
Proposals for further study of the options with respect to those technologies
and publicly funded research and development activities are to be welcomed.
82. (Agreed) Governments should create a legal and policy framework that is
conducive to technology-related private sector investments and long-term
sustainable development objectives. Governments and international development
institutions should continue to play a key role in establishing public-private
partnerships, within and between developed and developing countries and
countries with economies in transition. Such partnerships are essential for
linking the advantages of the private sector - access to finance and
technology, managerial efficiency, entrepreneurial experience and engineering
expertise - with the capacity of Governments to create a policy environment
that is conducive to technology-related private sector investments and
long-term sustainable development objectives.
83. (Agreed) The creation of centres for the transfer of technology at
various levels, including the regional level, could greatly contribute to
achieving the objective of transfer of environmentally sound technologies to
developing countries. For this purpose, existing United Nations bodies and
mechanisms, including, as appropriate, TCDC, ECDC, the Commission on Science
and Technology for Development, UNCTAD, the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO), UNEP and the regional commissions, should
84. (Agreed) Governments and international development institutions can also
play an important role in bringing together companies from developed and
developing countries and countries with economies in transition so that they
can create sustainable and mutually beneficial business linkages. Incentives
should be given to stimulate the building of joint ventures between small and
medium-sized enterprises of developed and developing countries and countries
with economies in transition, and cleaner production programmes in public and
private companies should be supported.
85. (Agreed) Governments of developing countries should take appropriate
measures to strengthen South-South cooperation for technology transfer and
capacity-building. Such measures could include the networking of existing
national information systems and sources on environmentally sound
technologies, and the networking of national cleaner production centres, as
well as the establishment of sector-specific regional centres for technology
transfer and capacity-building. Interested donor countries and international
organizations should further assist developing countries in those efforts
through, inter alia, supporting trilateral arrangements and contributing to
the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for South-South Cooperation.
86. (Agreed) Attention must also be given to technology needs assessment as
a tool for Governments in identifying a portfolio for technology transfer
projects and capacity-building activities to be undertaken to facilitate and
accelerate the development, adoption and dissemination of environmentally
sound technologies in particular sectors of the national economy. It is also
important for Governments to promote the integration of environmental
technology assessment with technology needs assessment as an important tool
for evaluating environmentally sound technologies and the organizational,
managerial and human resource systems related to the proper use of those
87. (Agreed) There is a need to further explore and enhance the potential of
global electronic information and telecommunication networks. This would
enable countries to choose among the available technological options that are
most appropriate to their needs. In this respect, the international community
should assist developing countries to enhance their capacities.
88. (Agreed) Renewed commitment and support from the international community
is essential to support national efforts for capacity-building in developing
countries and countries with economies in transition.
89. (Agreed) The United Nations Development Programme, inter alia, through
its Capacity 21 programme, should give priority attention to building capacity
for the elaboration of sustainable development strategies based on
participatory approaches. In this context, developing countries should be
assisted, particularly in the areas of the design, implementation and
evaluation of programmes and projects.
90. (Agreed) Capacity-building efforts should pay particular attention to
the needs of women in order to ensure that their skills and experience are
fully used in decision-making at all levels. The special needs, culture,
traditions and expertise of indigenous people must be recognized.
International financial institutions should continue to give high priority to
funding capacity-building for sustainable development in developing countries
and countries with economies in transition. Special attention should also be
given to strengthening the ability of developing countries to absorb and
generate technologies. International cooperation needs to be strengthened to
promote the endogenous capacity of developing countries to utilize scientific
and technological developments from abroad and to adapt them to local
conditions. The role of the private sector in capacity-building should be
further promoted and enhanced. South-South cooperation in capacity-building
should be further supported through "triangular" cooperative arrangements.
Both developed and developing countries, in cooperation with relevant
international institutions, need to strengthen their efforts to develop and
implement strategies for more effective sharing of environmental expertise and
91. (Agreed) Public and private investment in science, education and
training, and research and development should be increased significantly, with
emphasis on the need to ensure equal access to opportunities for girls and
92. (Agreed) International consensus-building is facilitated by the
availability of authoritative scientific evidence. There is a need for
further scientific cooperation, especially across disciplines, in order to
verify and strengthen scientific evidence and make it accessible to developing
countries. This evidence is important for assessing environmental conditions
and changes. Steps should also be taken by Governments, academia, and
scientific institutions to improve access to scientific information related to
the environment and sustainable development. Promotion of existing regional
and global networks may be useful for this purpose.
93. (Agreed) Increasing efforts to build and strengthen scientific and
technological capacity in developing countries is an extremely important
objective. Multilateral and bilateral donor agencies and Governments, as well
as specific funding mechanisms, should continue to enhance their support for
developing countries. Attention should also be given to countries with
economies in transition.
94. (Agreed) The international community should also actively collaborate to
promote innovations in information and communication technologies for the
purpose of reducing environmental impacts, inter alia, by taking user-needs
based approaches to technology transfer and cooperation.
Education and awareness
95. (Agreed) Education increases human welfare, and is a decisive factor in
enabling people to become productive and responsible members of society. A
fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development is an adequately financed
and effective educational system at all levels, particularly the primary and
secondary levels, that is accessible to all and that augments both human
capacity and well-being. The core themes of education for sustainability
include lifelong learning, interdisciplinary education, partnerships,
multicultural education and empowerment. Priority should be given to ensuring
women's and girls' full and equal access to all levels of education and
training. Special attention should also be paid to the training of teachers,
youth leaders and other educators. Education should also be seen as a means
of empowering youth and vulnerable and marginalized groups, including those in
rural areas, through intergenerational partnerships and peer education. Even
in countries with strong education systems, there is a need to reorient
education, awareness and training to increase widespread public understanding,
critical analysis and support for sustainable development. Education for a
sustainable future should engage a wide spectrum of institutions and sectors,
including but not limited to business/industry, international organizations,
youth, professional organizations, non-governmental organizations, higher
education, government, educators and foundations, to address the concepts and
issues of sustainable development, as embodied throughout Agenda 21, and
should include the preparation of sustainable development education plans and
programmes, as emphasized in the Commission's work programme on the subject
adopted in 1996. 27/ The concept of education for a sustainable future will
be further developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization, in cooperation with others.
96. (Agreed) It is necessary to support and strengthen universities and
other academic centres in promoting cooperation among them, particularly
cooperation between those of developing countries and those of developed
International legal instruments and the Rio Declaration on Environment and
97. (Agreed) The implementation and application of the principles contained
in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development should be the subject of
regular assessment and reporting to the Commission on Sustainable Development
by the Secretariat in collaboration with UNEP, in particular.
[98. Access to information, public participation and the right of complaint
are hallmarks of environmental democracy. There should be wider access to
relevant court systems to pursue environmental protection. Access should be
provided to effective judicial and administrative channels for individuals and
groups affected so that they can challenge or seek redress from decisions and
actions that are socially and environmentally harmful or violate human rights,
including access to legal mechanisms to ensure that all authorities, both
national and local, and other civil organizations remain accountable for their
actions in accordance with their social, environmental and human rights
obligations, and within national legislation.]
[99. The progressive development and codification of international law on
sustainable development is advisable, thus contributing to the coordination
between the Commission on Sustainable Development and bodies of the United
Nations system where these tasks are being undertaken.]
Note: The text of paragraphs 100 to 107 which follows reflects the
compilation of amendments but was not negotiated during the session.
100. [Group of 77 and China: (Strike-out) Implementation of and compliance
with international treaties in the field of sustainable development (end of
strike-out)] [and EU/Norway: (Strike-out) needs further improvement (end of
strike-out)is an urgent priority]. [Norway/Japan: This work needs to be
coordinated to ensure synergies in implementation and reporting requirements
and to avoid duplication and overlap.] [Canada/Norway: Similarly, science-
based decision-making enhances the development and implementation of
multilateral environment agreements.] [USA: (Strike-out) Secure, sustained
and predictable financial support, sufficient institutional capacity and human
resources, and adequate access to technology may (end of strike-out) [Group
of 77 and China: will] (Strike-out) promote the implementation of
international legal instruments. (end of strike-out) Adequate financial
support and access to technology, as well as sufficient institutional capacity
and human resources, will promote implementation of international legal
instruments] [USA/EU: (Strike-out) Full implementation of international
commitments can eliminate (end of strike-out) [Group of 77 and China: may
reduce] (Strike-out) potential sources of conflict, and the development of
cooperative, non-judicial and transparent mechanisms for implementation should
be pursued.(end of strike-out)] [USA: Cooperation between States, including
full implementation of international commitments, can reduce potential sources
of conflict between States.] [EU/Norway: By improving compliance with
international obligations, implementation and compliance procedures can
contribute considerably to preventing international disputes. Of overriding
importance remains the need for further improvement in reporting and data-
collection systems and the further development of compliance regimes and
procedures to help and encourage States to fulfil their obligations under
multilateral environmental agreements by simple, cooperative, non-judicial and
transparent means. In this context, the Montevideo Programme of UNEP is
101. [Norway: Cooperate to develop further international law regarding
liability and compensation for victims of pollution and other environmental
damage caused by activities within the jurisdiction or control of States to
areas beyond national jurisdiction.]
Information and tools to measure progress
102. The further development of cost-effective tools to collect and
disseminate information for decision makers at all levels through strengthened
data collection [Canada: including gender disaggregated data], compilation
and analysis is urgently needed. [Peru: In this context, data collection
shall be emphasized in the electronic media, particularly through large
scientific and technological data centres.] [USA: It is important that the
objective of data collection, compilation and analysis should progress in a
strategic manner so that any gaps in data can be more efficiently addressed on
a priority basis.]
[103. Japan: In order to enhance the common awareness of global environmental
issues among people around the world, and to promote their understanding and
participation, an environment needs to be established in which the general
public can easily access information on global environmental issues through
active utilization of info-communication networks, such as the Internet.
High-tech info-communications infrastructure related to the global
environment, using various tools such as geographic information systems and
video transmission technology, including global mapping, should be also
established with the collaboration of States as well as the United Nations.]
104. [Norway: Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are an important tool
for sustainable development. EIAs must be performed and made available early
enough in the planning cycle to reach decision makers in time. Where
important environmental values could be at stake, decisions should not be made
before complete EIAs are available. EIAs should be gradually refined and
applied to any national or international investment programme.]
105. The Commission's work programme on indicators for sustainable
development should result in [New Zealand: (Strike-out) an adequate (end of
strike-out) a] set of indicators, including a limited number of aggregated
indicators, to be used at the national level [Group of 77 and China: (Strike-
out) by the year 2000 (end of strike-out) as appropriate taking into account
specific national issues]. Indicators [EU: of sustainable development,
including sector-specific ones] should play an important role in monitoring
progress towards sustainable development and in facilitating national
reporting, as appropriate.
[106. Efforts should be intensified to develop indicators of sustainable
development in order to give more complete and accurate information for
decision-making and to contribute to the "greening" of national budgets.]
Note: Para. 107 is covered in section D (International institutional
arrangements), para. 125 (b) and (c).
107. National reports on the implementation of Agenda 21 [Australia: over a
five-year-period] have proved to be a valuable means of sharing information at
the international and regional levels and, even more important, of providing a
focus for the coordination of issues [Egypt: for the use of domestic
resources and transfer of international financial resources and technology]
related to sustainable development within individual countries. National
[Canada: (Strike-out) reporting (end of strike-out) reports should continue
(Strike-out) and should reflect all aspects of Agenda 21, including domestic
action and international commitments (end of strike-out), but with a greater
emphasis on results and milestones that clearly demonstrate progress on Agenda
21 and global commitments. (Strike-out) The reporting system could be
completed by peer reviews organized at the regional level (end of strike-out).
Implementation of peer reviews of national reports should be given serious
consideration with a view to increasing accountability for results, progress
and good practices.]
OR [Replace the last sentence with] The reporting system could be complemented
by [Group of 77 and China: (Strike-out) peer reviews (end of strike-out)
exchange of information and experiences at the regional level], [USA/Norway:
including peer reviews], [Norway: building on the positive experiences of
OECD and the ECE reviews.]
D. International institutional arrangements
108. (Agreed) The achievement of sustainable development requires continued
support from international institutions. The institutional framework outlined
in chapter 38 of Agenda 21 and determined by the General Assembly in its
resolution 47/191 and other relevant resolutions, including the specific
functions and roles of various organs, organizations and programmes within and
outside the United Nations system, will continue to be fully relevant in the
period after the special session of the General Assembly. In the light of the
ongoing discussions on reform within the United Nations, international
institutional arrangements in the area of sustainable development are intended
to contribute to the goal of strengthening the entire United Nations system.
In this context, the strengthening of the institutions for sustainable
development, as well as the achievement of the goals and objectives set out
below would be particularly important.
1. Greater coherence in various intergovernmental
organizations and processes
109. (Agreed) Given the increasing number of decision-making bodies concerned
with various aspects of sustainable development, including international
conventions, there is an ever greater need for better policy coordination at
the intergovernmental level, as well as for continued and more concerted
efforts to enhance collaboration among the secretariats of those decision-
making bodies. Under the guidance of the General Assembly, the Economic and
Social Council should play a strengthened role in coordinating the activities
of the United Nations system in the economic, social and related fields.
110. (Agreed) The conferences of the parties to conventions signed at the
Rio Conference or as a result of it, as well as other conventions related to
sustainable development, should cooperate in exploring ways and means of
collaborating in their work to advance the effective implementation of the
conventions. There is also a need for environmental conventions to continue
to pursue sustainable development objectives consistent with their provisions
and be fully responsive to Agenda 21. To this end, inter alia, the
conferences of the parties or governing bodies of the conventions signed at
the Rio Conference, or as a result of it and of other relevant conventions and
agreements should, if appropriate, give consideration to the co-location of
secretariats, to improving the scheduling of meetings, to integrating national
reporting requirements, to improving the balance between sessions of the
conferences of the parties and sessions of their subsidiary bodies, and to
encouraging and facilitating the participation of Governments in those
sessions, at an appropriate level.
111. (Agreed) Institutional arrangements for the convention secretariats
should provide effective support and efficient services, while ensuring that
in order for them to be efficient, at their respective locations, appropriate
autonomy is necessary. At the international and national levels there is a
need for, inter alia, better scientific assessment of ecological linkages
between the conventions; identification of programmes that have multiple
benefits; and enhanced public awareness-raising for the conventions. Such
tasks should be undertaken by UNEP in accordance with the relevant decisions
of its Governing Council and in full cooperation with the conferences of the
parties to and governing bodies of relevant conventions. Efforts of
convention secretariats, in response to requests from the respective
conferences of the parties, to explore, where appropriate, modalities for
suitable liaison arrangements in Geneva and/or New York for the purpose of
enhancing linkages with delegations and organizations at those United Nations
centres are welcomed and fully supported.
112. (Agreed) It is necessary to strengthen the ACC Inter-Agency Committee on
Sustainable Development and its system of task managers, with a view to
further enhancing system-wide intersectoral cooperation and coordination for
the implementation of Agenda 21 and for the promotion of coordinated follow-up
to the major United Nations conferences in the area of sustainable
113. (Agreed) The Commission on Sustainable Development should promote
increased regional implementation of Agenda 21 in cooperation with relevant
regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations regional
commissions, in accordance with the results of their priority-setting efforts,
with a view to enhancing the role such bodies play in the achievement of
sustainable development objectives agreed at the international level. The
regional commissions could provide appropriate support, consistent with their
work programmes, to regional meetings of experts related to the implementation
of Agenda 21.
2. Role of relevant organizations and institutions
of the United Nations system
114. (Agreed) In order to facilitate the national implementation of Agenda
21, all organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, within
their respective areas of expertise and mandates, should strengthen,
individually and jointly, the support for national efforts to implement Agenda
21 and make their efforts and actions consistent with national plans, policies
and priorities of member States. Coordination of United Nations activities at
the field level should be further enhanced through the resident coordinator
system in full consultation with national Governments.
115. (Agreed) The role of UNEP, as the principal United Nations body in the
field of environment, should be further enhanced. Taking into account its
catalytic role, and in conformity with Agenda 21 and the Nairobi Declaration
on the Role and Mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme, adopted
on 7 February 1997, 28/ UNEP is to be the leading global environmental
authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent
implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development
within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for
the global environment. In this context, the Governing Council decision of 4
April 1997 on governance and other related Governing Council decisions are
relevant. The role of UNEP in the further development of international
environmental law should be strengthened, including the development of
coherent interlinkages among relevant environmental conventions in cooperation
with their respective conferences of the parties or governing bodies. In
performing its functions related to the conventions signed at the Rio
Conference or as a result of it and other relevant conventions, UNEP should
strive to promote the effective implementation of those conventions in a
manner consistent with the provisions of the conventions and the decisions of
the conferences of the parties.
116. (Agreed) UNEP, in the performance of its role, should focus on
environmental issues, taking into account the development perspective. A
revitalized UNEP should be supported by adequate, stable and predictable
funding. UNEP should continue providing effective support to the Commission
on Sustainable Development, inter alia, in the form of scientific, technical
and policy information, analysis and advice on global environmental issues.
117. (Agreed) UNDP should continue to strengthen its contribution to and
programmes in sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21 at
all levels particularly in the area of promoting capacity-building (including
through its Capacity 21 programme) in cooperation with other organizations, as
well as in the field of poverty eradication.
118. (Agreed) UNCTAD, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 51/167
and relevant decisions of the Trade and Development Board on the work
programme, should continue to play a key role in the implementation of
Agenda 21 through the integrated examination of linkages among trade,
investment, technology, finance and sustainable development.
119. (Agreed) The WTO Committee on Trade and Environment, UNCTAD and UNEP
should advance their coordinated work on trade and environment, involving
other appropriate international and regional organizations in their
cooperation and coordination. In coordination with WTO, UNCTAD and UNEP
should continue to support efforts to promote the integration of trade,
environment and development. The Commission on Sustainable Development should
continue to play its important role in the deliberations on trade and
environment to facilitate the integrated consideration of all factors relevant
for achieving sustainable development.
120. Implementation of the commitment of the international financial
institutions to sustainable development should continue to be strengthened.
The World Bank has a significant role to play, bearing in mind its expertise
and the overall volume of resources that it commands. [Adequate replenishment
by the donor community of the International Development Association (IDA) is
indispensable for its future work. Donor countries are urged to engage in
providing new and additional resources, with a view to equitable burden-
sharing, through the satisfactory replenishment of GEF, which makes available
grant and concessional funding designed to achieve global environmental
benefits and therefore promotes sustainable development. The designation of
GEF as the permanent entity entrusted with the operation of the financial
mechanisms of the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change and the
Convention on Biological Diversity, to be considered by the conferences of the
parties to those conventions, is also indispensable to the future work of GEF.
However, in keeping with the commitments made at UNCED, increased availability
of new and additional funding for sustainable development is necessary from
all sources.] [In keeping with the commitments made at UNCED, funding for
Agenda 21 and other outcomes of the Conference should be provided in a way
that maximizes the availability of new and additional resources and uses all
available funding sources and mechanisms.]
121. (Agreed) Operationalization of the global mechanism of the United
Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing
Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa is also
3. Future role and programme of work of the
Commission on Sustainable Development
122. (Agreed) The Commission on Sustainable Development, within its mandate,
as specified in General Assembly resolution 47/191, will continue to provide a
central forum for reviewing progress and for urging further implementation of
Agenda 21 and other commitments made at UNCED or as a result of it, for
conducting high-level policy debate aimed at consensus-building on sustainable
development and for catalysing action and long-term commitment to sustainable
development at all levels. It should continue to undertake these tasks in
complementing and providing interlinkages to the work of other United Nations
organs, organizations and bodies acting in the field of sustainable
development. The Commission has a role to play in assessing the challenges of
globalization as they relate to sustainable development. The Commission
should perform its functions in coordination with other subsidiary bodies of
the Economic and Social Council and other related organizations and
institutions, including making recommendations, within its mandate, to the
Economic and Social Council, bearing in mind the interrelated outcomes of
recent United Nations conferences.
123. (Agreed) The Commission should focus on issues that are crucial to
achieving the goals of sustainable development. It should promote policies
that integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability
and should provide for integrated consideration of linkages, both among
sectors and between sectoral and cross-sectoral aspects of Agenda 21. In this
connection, the Commission should carry out its work in such a manner as to
avoid unnecessary duplication and repetition of work undertaken by other
124. (Agreed) In the light of the above, it is recommended that the
Commission on Sustainable Development adopt the multi-year programme of work
for the period 1998-2002 contained in the annex below.
4. Methods of work of the Commission on Sustainable Development
125. (Agreed) Based on the experience gained during the period 1993-1997, the
Commission, under the guidance of the Economic and Social Council, should:
(a) (Agreed) Make concerted efforts to attract greater involvement in
its work of ministers and high-level national policy makers responsible for
specific economic and social sectors, who, in particular, are encouraged to
participate in the annual high-level segments of the Commission together with
the ministers and policy makers responsible for environment and development.
The high-level segments of the Commission should become more interactive, and
should focus on the priority issues being considered at a particular session.
The Bureau of the Commission should conduct timely and open-ended
consultations with the view to improving the organization of the work of the
(b) (Agreed) Continue to provide a forum for the exchange of national
experience and best practices in the area of sustainable development,
including through voluntary national communications or reports. Consideration
should be given to the results of ongoing work aimed at streamlining requests
for national information and reporting and the results of the "pilot phase" on
indicators of sustainable development. In this context, the Commission should
consider more effective modalities for the further implementation of
commitments made in Agenda 21, with an appropriate emphasis on means of
implementation. Countries may wish to submit to the Commission, on a
voluntary basis, information regarding their efforts to incorporate the
relevant recommendations of other United Nations conferences in national
sustainable development strategies;
(c) (Agreed) The Commission should take into account regional
developments related to the implementation of the outcomes of UNCED. It
should provide a forum for the exchange of experience on regional and
subregional initiatives and regional collaboration for sustainable
development. This could include the promotion of the voluntary regional
exchange of national experience in the implementation of Agenda 21 and, inter
alia, the possible development of modalities for reviews by and among those
countries that voluntarily agree to do so, within regions. In this context,
the Commission should encourage the availability of funding for the
implementation of initiatives related to such reviews;
(d) (Agreed) Establish closer interaction with international financial,
development and trade institutions, as well as with other relevant bodies
within and outside the United Nations system, including the World Bank, GEF,
UNDP, WTO, UNCTAD and UNEP, which, in turn, are invited to take full account
of the results of policy deliberations in the Commission and to integrate them
in their own work programmes and activities;
(e) (Agreed) Strengthen its interaction with representatives of major
groups including through greater and better use of focused dialogue sessions
and round tables. These groups are important resources in operationalizing,
managing and promoting sustainable development and contribute to the
implementation of Agenda 21. The major groups are encouraged to adopt
arrangements for coordination and interaction in providing inputs to the
Commission. Taking into account the Commission's programme of work, this
could include inputs from:
(i) The scientific community and research institutions on greater
understanding of the interactions between human activity and natural
ecosystems and on how to manage global systems sustainably;
(ii) Women, children and youth, indigenous people and their communities,
non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and their
trade unions and farmers on the elaboration, promotion and sharing
of effective strategies, policies, practices and processes to
promote sustainable development;
(iii) Business and industry groups in the elaboration, promotion and
sharing of sustainable development practices and their promotion of
corporate responsibility and accountability;
(f) (Agreed) Organize the implementation of its next multi-year
programme of work in the most effective and productive way, including through
shortening its annual meeting to two weeks. The inter-sessional ad hoc
working groups should help to focus the Commission's sessions by identifying
key elements to be discussed and important problems to be addressed within
specific items of the Commission's programme of work. Government hosted and
funded expert meetings will continue to provide inputs to the work of the
126. (Agreed) The Secretary-General is invited to review the functioning of
the High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development and present proposals
on ways to promote more direct interaction between the Board and the
Commission, with a view to ensuring that the Board contributes to the
deliberations on specific themes considered by the Commission in accordance
with its programme of work.
127. (Agreed) The work of the Committee on New and Renewable Sources of
Energy and on Energy for Development and the Committee on Natural Resources
should be more compatible with and supportive of the programme of work of the
Commission. The Economic and Social Council, in carrying out its functions
related to the implementation of General Assembly resolution 50/227, should
consider, at its substantive session of 1997, the most effective means of
bringing this about.
128. (Agreed) Arrangements for the election of the Bureau should be changed
in order to allow the same Bureau to provide guidance for the preparation for
and lead work during the annual sessions of the Commission. The Commission
would benefit from such a change, and the Economic and Social Council should
take the necessary action at its substantive session of 1997 to ensure that
these new arrangements take effect.
129. (Agreed) The next comprehensive review of progress achieved in the
implementation of Agenda 21 by the General Assembly will take place in the
year 2002. The modalities of this review should be determined at a later
1/ United Nations Environment Programme, Global Environment Outlook
(Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997).
2/ United Nations Environment Programme, Convention on Biological
Diversity (Environmental Law and Institution Programme Activity Centre), June
3/ Report of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States, Bridgetown, Barbados, 25 April-6 June 1994
(United Nations publication, Sales No. E.94.I.18 and corrigenda), chap. I,
resolution 1, annex II.
4/ United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea with Index and Final
Act of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (United
Nations publication, Sales No. E.83.V.5).
5/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992, vol. I, Resolutions Adopted by
the Conference (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and
corrigendum), resolution 1, annex I.
6/ Ibid., resolution 1, annex III.
7/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen,
6-12 March 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.8), chap. I,
resolution 1, annex I.
8/ Ibid., resolution 1, annex II.
9/ Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing,
4-15 September 1995 (A/CONF.177/20 and Add.1), chap. I, resolution 1,
10/ Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations:
The Legal Texts (Geneva, GATT secretariat, 1994).
11/ Adopted by the WTO Ministerial Meeting held at Singapore in
12/ Report of the International Conference on Population and
Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No.
E.95.XIII.18), chap. I, resolution 1, annex.
13/ See Report of the International Conference on Primary Health Care,
Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978 (Geneva, World Health Organization, 1978).
14/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
(Habitat II), Istanbul, 3-14 June 1996 (A/CONF.165/14), chap. I, resolution 1,
annexes I and II.
15/ Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 8 (E/1996/28), chap. I, sect. C, decision 4/15, para. 45.
16/ Ibid., 1997, Supplement No. 9 (E/1997/29).
17/ Ibid., 1994, Supplement No. 13 (E/1994/33/Rev.1).
18/ Berlin Mandate: review of the adequacy of article 4, paragraph 2
(a) and (b) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,
including proposals related to a protocol and decisions on follow-up
(FCCC/CP/1995/7/Add.1, sect. I, decision 1/CP.1).
19/ Report of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change on its second session, Geneva, 8-19
July 1996 (FCCC/CP/1996/15/Add.1), annex.
20/ Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer,
International Legal Materials, vol. 26, No. 6 (November 1987), p. 1550.
21/ Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of
Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (UNEP/WG/190/4) (United Nations, Treaty
Series, vol. 1673, No. 28911, forthcoming).
22/ Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa of All Forms
of Hazardous Wastes and the Control of their Transboundary Movements within
Africa, International Legal Materials, vol. 30, No. 3 (May 1991), p. 775, and
vol. 32, No. 1 (January 1992), p. 164.
23/ The management of radioactive wastes is defined as the handling,
treatment, storage, transportation and final disposal of such wastes.
24/ Report of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/38), annex II.
25/ Report of the World Food Summit, Rome, 13-17 November 1996, Part One
(WFS 96/REP) (Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
26/ Report of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity (UNEP/CBD/COP/3/38), annex II,
27/ See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 8 (E/1996/28), chap. I, sect. C, decision 4/11.
28/ Decision 19/1 of the Governing Council of the United Nations
Environment Programme; reproduced in document A/S-19/5, annex, sect. I.
MULTI-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR THE COMMISSION ON
1998 session [Overriding issues: poverty, consumption and production
Sectoral theme: Cross-sectoral theme: Economic sector/major
[INTEGRATED FRESHWATER TRANSFER OF INDUSTRY
Review of outstanding SCIENCE/AWARENESS-
chapters of the RAISING
Programme of Action
for the Sustainable
Development of Small
Main issues for an Main issues for an Main issues for an
integrated discussion integrated discussion integrated discussion
under the above theme: under the above theme: under the above theme:
Agenda 21, chapters Agenda 21, chapters Agenda 21, chapters 4,
2-8, 10-15, 18-21, 2-4, 6, 16, 23-37, 40. 6, 9, 16, 17, 19-21,
23-34, 36, 37, 40. 23-35, 40.
1999 session [Overriding issues: poverty, consumption and production
Comprehensive review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States
Sectoral theme: Cross-sectoral theme: Economic sector:
OCEANS AND SEAS CONSUMPTION AND TOURISM
Main issues for an Main issues for an Main issues for an
integrated discussion integrated discussion integrated discussion
under the above theme: under the above theme: under the above theme:
Agenda 21, chapters Agenda 21, chapters Agenda 21, chapters
5-7, 9, 15, 17, 19-32, 2-10, 14, 18-32, 2-7, 13, 15, 17,
34-36, 39-40. 34-36, 40. 23-33, 36.
2000 session [Overriding issues: poverty, consumption and production
Sectoral theme: Cross-sectoral theme: Economic sector/major
INTEGRATED PLANNING FINANCIAL AGRICULTURE b/
AND MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES/TRADE AND
LAND RESOURCES INVESTMENT/ECONOMIC Day of Indigenous
GROWTH group: People
Main issues for an Main issues for an Main issues for an
integrated discussion integrated discussion integrated discussion
under the above theme: under the above theme: under the above theme:
Agenda 21, chapters Agenda 21, chapters Agenda 21, chapters
2-8, 10-37, 40. 2-4, 23-33, 36-38, 40. 2-7, 10-16, 18-21,
23-34, 37, 40.
2001 session [Overriding issues: poverty, consumption and production
Sectoral theme: Cross-sectoral theme: Economic sector/major
[ATMOSPHERE] [ENERGY] INFORMATION FOR
DECISION-MAKING AND ENERGY; TRANSPORT
cooperation for an
Main issues for an Main issues for an Main issues for an
integrated discussion integrated discussion integrated discussion
under the above theme: under the above theme: under the above theme:
Agenda 21, chapters 4, Agenda 21, chapters 2, Agenda 21, chapters
6-9, 11-14, 17, 23-37, 4, 6, 8, 23-36, 38-40. 2-5, 8, 9, 20, 23-37,
a/ The review will cover those chapters of the Programme of Action
not covered during the in-depth review carried out by the Commission
at its fourth session.
b/ Including forestry (pending the outcome of the discussion on
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
FOR THE PURPOSE OF AN OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21
2. The Commission on Sustainable Development considered the question
of preparations for the special session (agenda item 4), together with
the report of the ad hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (agenda
item 3), at its 2nd to 7th and 12th meetings, on 8 to 11 and 25 April
1997. The Commission held a high-level discussion on the items at its
2nd to 6th meetings, from 8 to 10 April (see E/1997/29, chap. II).
(For other action taken by the Commission under agenda item 4, see
E/1997/29, chap. III.)
3. The following representatives were designated to chair the
drafting groups which were established to negotiate the document on
the proposed outcome of the special session: Mr. Celso Luis Amorim
(Brazil), Mr. Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran), Mr. John Ashe
(Antigua and Barbuda), Mr. Derek Osborn (United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland) and Mr. Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland).
ACTION TAKEN BY THE COMMISSION
Proposed outcome of the special session
4. At its 12th meeting, on 25 April, the Commission considered the
text of the proposed outcome of the special session, which was before
it in a series of informal papers.
5. Statements were made by the chairpersons of the drafting groups on
the outcome of negotiations held on their respective chapters of the
document, followed by a paragraph-by-paragraph discussion.
6. At the same meeting, the Commission decided to transmit the text
of the proposed outcome of the special session, as orally revised and
amended during the discussion, to the special session of the General
Assembly for further consideration and adoption (see chap. I, sect.
Draft political statement
7. At its 12th meeting, on 25 April, the Commission had before it a
proposed draft political statement, subsequently issued in document
E/CN.17/1997/L.12, which was drawn up by both the Chairman and the
Vice-Chairperson of the Commission, Ms. Monica Linn-Locher
8. Following statements by the representatives of the Netherlands (on
behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of
the European Union), the United Republic of Tanzania (on behalf of the
States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of
77 and China), India, Venezuela, Cuba, Nigeria and Morocco, as well as
by the Chairman and Vice-Chairperson, Ms. Linn-Locher, the Commission
agreed that the text of the draft political statement would be subject
to further consultations and negotiations in the context of the
preparations for and during the nineteenth special session of the
General Assembly (see chap. I, sect. A).
Chairman's summary of the high-level segment of the Commission
9. At the 12th meeting, on 25 April, the Commission agreed to annex
the Chairman's summary of the high-level segment of the Commission,
contained in document E/CN.17/1997/CRP.3, to the final report of the
Commission (see annex I below).
Summary reports of the working group of the Commission
10. At the 12th meeting, on 25 April, the Commission had before it
summary reports from the working group of the Commission on the
dialogue sessions held with major groups (E/CN.17/1997/L.2-L.10)
together with a summary report of a synthesis session
11. At the same meeting, the Secretary read out agreed changes to the
text. The Commission then agreed to annex the summary reports, in
final form, to the report of the Commission (see annex II below).
12. The representative of the Netherlands made a statement on behalf
of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the
CHAIRMAN'S SUMMARY OF THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF THE FIFTH
SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
(New York, 10 April 1997)
I. GENERAL REMARKS
Participants agreed that the proposed outcome of the 1997 special
session of the General Assembly prepared by the Co-Chairmen of the
Commission's Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group (E/CN.17/1997/13, sect. I)
provides a good basis for negotiation of the final document of the special
Participants at the high-level segment had an open and frank dialogue in
an atmosphere of cooperation and understanding, gave political guidance for
further deliberation and negotiation by the Commission at its fifth session on
the text of the final document, and made a number of specific additional
Participants emphasized the need for a strong and authoritative final
document to be prepared for adoption at the highest political level during the
Participants stressed the need for agreement at the special session on a
number of specific targets and goals, with time-frames and means for their
achievement. Such targets and time-frames may be different for different
groups of countries, but they should be concrete, achievable and measurable.
After 1997, the Commission should review, on a regular basis, progress
towards the achievement of agreed goals and targets, the reasons for their
success or failure, and means for rectifying weaknesses.
Participants emphasized that the General Assembly should give due
consideration at the special session to the financing of sustainable
development. In particular, there is a need to mobilize more positive
approaches to the issue of the agreed official development assistance (ODA)
target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP). There was general
agreement, with possibly one exception, that that target should be achieved
within a specific time-frame, and that some tangible intermediate steps in
that direction should be taken as a sign of goodwill. At the same time, there
is a need to enhance the quality and effectiveness of ODA. This could include
using ODA to help provide an enabling environment and infrastructure that
would attract foreign direct investment (FDI) as a means of achieving the
goals of sustainable development, particularly in the least developed
There was strong emphasis by developing countries on the urgent need for
the creation of a climate that would enable them to increase production of
goods and services and that would provide market access for such goods and
Another crucial issue is the transfer of cleaner and more efficient
technologies. It was felt that very promising approaches to facilitating the
transfer of such technologies can be devised if this issue is discussed within
specific sectors and contexts. The possible impact of trade-related
intellectual property rights (TRIPs) on technology transfer needs to be
Participants stressed that the eradication of poverty should be seen as
a central goal of sustainable development. Several measures were discussed
that could promote poverty alleviation. Emphasis was placed on the need to
move from talking to taking action.
Participants stressed that now is the time to implement concretely all
that was agreed at the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED) and subsequent United Nations conferences, particularly
the Fourth World Conference on Women, the World Summit for Social Development,
the International Conference on Population and Development, the Global
Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States,
and the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II).
Other areas of specific concern in which new commitments, specific goals
and actions, and enhanced international cooperation are required include:
(b) Oceans, including ocean pollution and fisheries;
(c) Climate Change;
(d) Biological diversity;
(e) Energy production, distribution and use;
(i) Land degradation, especially desertification.
The above examples do not imply any downgrading in the importance of
other areas of Agenda 21; they are given simply to focus attention on a more
limited number of areas in which concrete results seem to be achievable.
It was stressed that in all of these areas it would be crucial for the
General Assembly at the special session not only to identify specific goals
and targets but also to agree on ways and means of achieving them.
The ministers attending the high-level segment held two informal
meetings, which provided a useful opportunity for direct and frank exchanges
of views and ideas on the expected outcome of the special session, and on key
policy issues to be addressed at the session. Such informal meetings should
* * *
The summary contained in section II below highlights the main ideas and
proposals made during the high-level segment, which appear to be additional to
those contained in the Co-Chairmen's proposed outcome. The Chairman's summary
should be seen as a supplement to the Co-Chairmen's proposed outcome and not a
substitute for it. The Co-Chairmen's proposed outcome will serve as the main
text for negotiations at the special session.
II. SUMMARY OF POINTS RAISED DURING THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT
The statements made during the Commission's high-level segment closely
reflected the issues covered in the proposed outcome for the 1997 special
session prepared by the Co-Chairmen of its Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working
Group (E/CN.17/1997/13, sect. I). Most statements were related to sections C
and D of the proposed outcome (Implementation in areas requiring urgent action
and International institutional arrangements). A number of the proposals made
during the high-level segment appeared to be additional to those contained in
the Co-Chairman's proposed outcome. They are listed below, following the
structure of the proposed outcome (relevant headings are reproduced between
quotation marks ("")); they should be read in conjunction with the proposed
outcome and considered as a supplement to it.
"C. Implementation in areas requiring urgent action"
"1. Integration of economic, social and environmental objectives"
1. There was wide consensus on the overwhelming priority of the need to
eradicate poverty. It was proposed that:
(a) Specific time-bound targets for poverty alleviation be pursued, as
agreed by the World Summit for Social Development;
(b) The 20/20 proposal for provision of basic social services be fully
(c) The United Nations Secretary-General be requested to elaborate by
the year 1999, proposed strategies for world development for the first decade
of the twenty-first century, integrating the results of the global
"Changing consumption and production patterns"
2. There was wide consensus on the need for more efficient use of energy
and materials, with the developed countries taking the lead. It was proposed
(a) Countries improve the efficiency of their resource use, through
implementation of the "Factor 10" initiative, which calls for a tenfold
improvement in resource productivity in the long term. An interim target of a
fourfold improvement in resource productivity should be established for the
(b) Eco-efficiency be implemented through programmes for cleaner
production and environmental auditing;
(c) Greater use be made of economic instruments to internalize
environmental costs, with the proceeds used to reduce taxes on labour
(ecological tax reform);
(d) Transnational corporations and their subsidiaries strive to obtain
ISO 14000 certification by the year 2000.
"Making trade, environment and sustainable development mutually supportive"
3. Globalization and trade liberalization hold promise but may also
threaten the environment. The following additional recommendations were made:
(a) The World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade and
Environment should try to reconcile any differences between the trade
provisions of multilateral environmental agreements with those of WTO;
(b) The WTO fund for technical assistance to least developed countries
should receive deeper and wider support from donors;
(c) WTO should review the TRIPS agreement so as to facilitate the
transfer to developing countries of environmentally sound technologies;
(d) Globalization should be the subject of a debate in the Commission,
which and the CSD should be a forum for discussing trade and environment.
"Sustainable human settlements"
4. Global targets should be established by the Commission to promote local
Agenda 21 campaigns and to deal with obstacles to local Agenda 21 initiatives.
"2. Sectors and issues"
5. The priorities of freshwater, energy, atmosphere and biodiversity were
emphasized, and the additional proposals set out below were made.
6. There is a need for an international global water initiative to develop
a global programme of action under the auspices of the Commission to ensure
that decisive action is taken to ensure the optimal utilization and protection
of water resources and the provision of adequate water supply and sanitation
services within the next 10 years in all countries. To that end, effective
programmes must be developed to deal with the problem of proper treatment of
municipal waste water.
7. A multilateral fund should be established to provide financial and
technological support to developing countries for the sustainable use and
management of freshwater resources.
8. Broad support was given to the inclusion of oceans as a priority issue
in the future work programme of the Commission, and to the key areas requiring
urgent action indicated in the Co-Chairmen's proposed outcome, in particular
areas related to overfishing and marine pollution. In addition, actions
(a) Special priority should be given to coastal zone management,
including the possible creation of a code of conduct for coastal zones;
(b) The capacity and functions of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, as the coordinating entity for research and scientific
monitoring of the marine environment, should be reinforced;
(c) The Commission should be confirmed as the United Nations body
responsible for a coordinated approach to oceans issues;
(d) Urgent action should be taken to establish guiding principles for
the sustainable management, conservation and harvesting of fish stocks, and
for the integration of the environment into fisheries policies;
(e) With respect to the phasing out of subsidies to eliminate or reduce
excess fishing fleet capacity, a target of up to a 50 per cent reduction over
the next 5 years could be set, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations should be called on to play an active role in that regard.
9. The conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of
forests is an integral part of sustainable development. Forest goods and
services are essential to economic and social development and to the earth's
life-supporting systems. The work of the Commission's Intergovernmental Panel
on Forests was commended, and its recommendations and proposals for actions
were endorsed. It was proposed that:
(a) Countries and international organizations, including the informal
high-level Inter-agency Task Force on Forests, immediately implement the
proposals for action contained in the report of the Panel;
(b) Effective partnerships and collaboration with all actors, including
major groups, be established for the implementation of the proposals for
action of the Panel;
(c) Work related to existing conventions and international organizations
needs to be coordinated in order to ensure synergies in implementation and
reporting requirements and avoid duplication and overlap;
(d) National, regional, subregional and international initiatives on
forests, in particular those involving criteria and indicators for sustainable
forest management, should be encouraged and promoted;
(e) The holistic and integrated intergovernmental dialogue on forest, as
launched by the Panel, should be continued under the auspices of the
Commission to monitor implementation of the Panel's recommendations and to
further promote consensus on forest-related issues. Various options for
institutional follow-up were discussed, including:
(i) Establishing an intergovernmental negotiating committee to negotiate
a forest convention;
(ii) Establishing an intergovernmental forum under the auspices of the
Commission to further develop the report of the Panel and review the
need for a convention;
(iii) Continuing the dialogue on forests within existing relevant United
10. Several speakers noted the need to elaborate a common strategy for a
sustainable energy future. In the framework of such a strategy, Governments
should commit themselves to developing and promoting sustainable energy
policies, involving all actors. Specific proposals included:
(a) The Commission on Sustainable Development should devote one of the
sessions in the near future to the establishment of such a common strategy.
As a follow-up to such a session, the General Assembly should launch a decade
for a global sustainable energy future;
(b) Targets should be established for energy efficiency and the share of
renewable energy in the energy supply;
(c) An intergovernmental panel on sustainable energy should be
established, based on the experience of the Intergovernmental Panel on
11. There was consensus on the economic importance of this sector and its
environmental impacts. New proposals included:
(a) The special session should establish an initiative to consider, at
the international level, a tax on aviation fuel;
(b) International agreement should be reached on a target date for the
phase-out of the use of leaded gasoline.
12. Many speakers stressed the need for a legally binding protocol or other
instrument to be agreed at Kyoto, including emissions targets for developed
nations, with maximum flexibility in reaching such targets. Some of the
proposals mentioned were:
(a) A target should be set for a 15 per cent reduction of greenhouse
gases below 1990 levels by the year 2010;
(b) An intermediate target should be set of 10 or 20 per cent reduction
(c) Objectives should be realistic, achievable and equitable.
"Chemicals and wastes"
13. Many delegations stressed the urgency of the expeditious conclusion
and/or implementation of major international conventions and mechanisms for
the environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes.
The following additional proposals were made:
(a) A broad legal instrument governing the global use and management of
chemicals should be considered;
(b) More emphasis should be given to chemical safety issues, including
the problem of endocrine disruptors and major chemical contamination in
developing countries and economies in transition;
(c) Radioactive wastes should be stockpiled in the countries that
generate such wastes. The export of radioactive wastes should be prohibited,
except to countries with appropriate waste treatment and storage facilities.
"Land and sustainable agriculture"
14. The following additional proposals were made:
(a) Greater care must be taken that the mining of minerals and oil does
not result in degradation of land and water resources, and that the extraction
of primary resources from indigenous peoples' lands does not threaten their
(b) Full support, both political and financial, is urgently needed for
the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries
Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa,
the implementation of which will be a major vehicle for alleviating poverty.
15. It was proposed that the General Assembly at the special session support
an initiative to set up a worldwide network of protected areas with high
levels of biodiversity - the so-called hot spots - under the Convention on
"Small island developing States"
16. It was proposed that:
(a) The review process for the Programme of Action for the Sustainable
Development of Small Island Developing States be made consistent with the
review processes for the implementation of other United Nations global
(b) A permanent implementation and coordination mechanism for small
island developing States be established.
3. "Means of implementation"
"Financial resources and mechanisms"
17. Many speakers noted the need for a strong reaffirmation of the
commitments made at UNCED, especially the targets of contributing 0.7 per cent
of GNP to ODA and committing 0.15 per cent of GNP to assistance for the least
developed countries. In addition to measures already proposed, it was
(a) ODA be concentrated on the poorest countries and used to create
favourable conditions for FDI;
(b) Twenty per cent of ODA be derived from innovative financial
mechanisms, including a tax on short-term capital movements and a tax on
aviation fuel, over the next five years;
(c) ODA equal to 0.1 per cent of GNP be used to support environmental
(d) Political support be given to continue the work of the Commission's
Expert Group on Finance;
(e) Clear financial resources be made available for each environmental
convention, for water, for forests and for desertification;
(f) Additional financial resources for sustainable development be made
available from disarmament;
(g) GEF replenishment not be achieved at the expense of other aid
"Transfer of environmentally sound technologies"
18. It was stressed that there is a need to ensure that future patterns of
development, particularly in the developing countries, are less polluting and
less energy-intensive and resource-intensive than the patterns of development
that historically dominated in the developed countries. To that end, it was
(a) An international commission be established within three years to
fund the acquisition of patent rights and licenses and make them available to
(b) An inventory of publicly owned, available environmentally sound
technologies (ESTs) be developed and maintained, for their transfer to
developing countries through a clearing house mechanism;
(c) An International Task Force on the transfer and exchange of ESTs be
established under the Commission, in cooperation with the private sector;
(d) Regional technology centres be established, within the regional
(e) Countries adopt policies that prohibit the export of environmentally
inferior technologies which are not used domestically.
19. It was proposed that funding be increased for the Capacity 21 initiative
of the United Nations Development Programme.
"D. International institutional arrangements"
"1. Greater coherence in various intergovernmental
organizations and processes"
20. It was proposed that more innovative forms of international cooperation
are needed, such as bilateral agreements on sustainable development, which can
be replicated in other countries.
"2. Role of relevant organizations and institutions of
the United Nations system"
21. There is a need for greater involvement of national policy makers
responsible for finance, economic planning and development, as well as
specific economic sectors in future sustainable development work, both in
national decision-making and in the work of the Commission.
22. Many delegations stressed the need for a stronger, adequately funded and
revitalized United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), operating under clear
objectives, and with a stronger regional presence.
23. There is a need to rationalize, throughout the United Nations system,
meetings related to the environment, including conventions, and to raise the
overall efficiency and effectiveness of such meetings.
"3. Future role and programme of work of the Commission
on Sustainable Development"
24. Broad support was expressed for the programme of work outlined in the
report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1997/2), although there were widely
different views on the annual programmes. Additional proposals included:
(a) The Commission should focus its future work on (i) areas in which
global action is needed but an adequate intergovernmental process is missing
(as was the case with forests); (ii) areas in which ongoing global action is
not producing adequate results;
(b) The future work programme of the Commission should aim to include
issues that attract not only environment ministers but also minsters of
finance, development and trade, energy and transport etc;
(c) The Commission should enhance its role as a coordinator, bringing
together WTO, UNEP, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and
other organizations and stakeholders to assist in developing new ideas and
SUMMARY REPORTS OF THE WORKING GROUP OF THE COMMISSION
A. Summary report of the dialogue session
with children and youth
(11 April 1997)
Chairman: Ambassador John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), Vice-Chairman,
Commission on Sustainable Development
Facilitators: Ms. Danijela Zunec, Rescue Mission-Croatia, and Mr. Peter
Wilson, Global Kids, Jamaica/USA
Presenters: Representatives of the following non-governmental youth
organizations made presentations: Rescue Mission: Planet
Earth; Canadian Environmental Network-Youth Caucus; Latin
American Youth Network (REJULADS); Q2000; PlayFair! Europe;
International Youth and Student Movement for the United
Nations; ASEED-Europe, ASEED-Japan, and ASEED-Australia;
Students Partnership Worldwide; and, Global Kids, Jamaica/USA
The panellists highlighted the importance of chapter 25 (Children and
youth in sustainable development) of Agenda 21. In describing their numerous
activities, youth participants demonstrated the unique role that young people
play in furthering the implementation of Agenda 21. Youth participants also
discussed the major obstacles they are encountering and outlined priorities
for the future.
As described in their presentations, young people are undertaking a
diverse array of sustainable development initiatives. Their efforts aim at
raising awareness, strengthening bilateral partnerships, improving the
environment, and addressing social problems. Some of these activities are
þ School seminars, theatre productions, posters, stickers, newsletters,
web sites, protests, lobbying, and participation in local
decision-making have been instrumental in promoting understanding of,
and attention to, sustainable development.
þ The Children's Version of Agenda 21, and two reports on sustainability
indicators (Mission Made Possible, 1996, and Future Watch, 1997),
prepared by the Rescue Mission: Planet Earth network, have increased
the accessibility of the sustainable development concept to young people
around the world.
þ Bilateral cooperation (Japanese/Swedish partners and Canadian/Latin
American partners) have built youth partnerships for sustainable
development beyond national borders.
þ Recycling, reuse and regeneration, tree planting and stream enhancement
have been important efforts in directly improving the environment.
þ Young people have helped direct attention to social problems such as
homelessness. A video made by Global Kids, for example, depicts the
perspectives of the homeless and the problems they face, and proposes
Despite their numerous achievements, youth participants pointed out that
certain obstacles prevent them from making even greater contributions to
sustainable development. As described below, these obstacles involve lack of
awareness regarding sustainability issues, limited access to information and
decision-making, political corruption, gender inequities and consumerism.
þ Few local people are aware of Agenda 21 and Governments are reluctant to
assume leadership to run national awareness-raising campaigns.
þ The closed, bureaucratic nature of many Governments reduce adequate
youth access to information or participation in decision-making.
þ The low attendance of delegations at the dialogue session reflects some
of the problems young people face in getting Governments to listen to
þ In some Governments, corruption prevents realization of sustainable
þ Gender prejudices in some countries diminish the education of women and
young girls, thereby weakening efforts for a sustainable world.
þ Current patterns of consumption are a threat to sustainable development
in many areas.
Youth participants highlighted three priority areas for the future:
funding, education and participation. As indicated below, progress in these
areas is important for furthering the involvement of youth in future
sustainable development efforts.
þ Young people constitute 50 per cent of the population. The allocation
of government funds should be more transparent and should better reflect
the size of the youth constituency.
þ Education is essential for promoting sustainability and should be
strengthened via partnerships between schools, Governments, universities
and non-formal educators, and attention to the preservation of
indigenous resources and practices.
þ Young people themselves can be important in educating and raising
awareness not only among themselves (through peer education) but also
Representatives of the following Governments made statements:
Australia, Belgium, Canada, Jamaica, Jordan, France, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland,
Jamaica, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Sudan, United
Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, United States of America. The representative of the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) made a statement. The representative of the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) also made a
In their statements, government representatives commended the youth
groups on their accomplishments, particularly for their work on sustainable
development indicators and their other awareness-raising efforts (United
States and Jamaica). Some representatives stated that the low attendance at
the meeting was due to many simultaneous meetings rather than a lack of
interests on the part of Governments (Belgium). One representative noted that
some of the young panellists might become government representatives
themselves and that they should remember the empty seats today to make sure
that they were not empty in the future (Hungary).
Several government representatives provided advice for the future. One
representative advised the panellists to be more demanding of Governments and
to secure media coverage for their presentations (United Republic of
Tanzania). Others advised young people to demonstrate sustainable lifestyles
(United Kingdom) and some suggested involving more young people in future
United Nations meetings. One representative requested the panellists to
outline their hopes for the forthcoming special session of the General
Comments were also made on financial and economic issues. Child labour,
for example, is a serious problem in some countries and one which youth
participants might wish to confront (ICFTU). Children and youth are often the
target of those who want to promote unsustainable consumption patterns
(Philippines). Yet peer education can be instrumental in resisting adoption
of such patterns (Ireland). Micro-financing can be important for youth at
local to national levels (Uganda).
In responding to these comments, panellists acknowledged the importance
of micro-financing and highlighted various forms of effective education. They
also emphasized the need for activities at the grass-roots level; increased
access to information; new and innovative endeavours to involve youth;
financial commitments; and new ways for designing education.
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Commission on Sustainable Development should acknowledge and aim at
furthering the efforts of young people concerned about sustainable
development. Some ways to encourage the enthusiasm, creativity and commitment
exhibited by these young people are described below:
þ Recognize that young people have much to offer and allow them to
exercise their skills for sustainable development efforts within the
þ Encourage Governments to supply funding for youth activities.
þ Establish a Commission on Sustainable Development youth consultancy
programme (a pilot effort in this area in 1996 has enabled young people
to participate directly in Commission activities and enhance their
þ Include youth in international forums and promote attention to youth
concerns and contributions.
þ Encourage countries to include youth representatives in national
delegations to the Commission on Sustainable Development.
þ Work to allow young people access to information.
þ Promote innovative forms of education and creative ways to involve youth
in decision-making processes.
B. Summary report of the dialogue session with
scientific and technological communities
(11 April 1997)
Chairman: Ambassador John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), Vice-Chairman,
Commission on Sustainable Development
Facilitator: Ms. Julia Marton-Lefevre, Executive Director, International
Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU)
Presenters: Representatives of the following organizations and programmes
made presentations: International Council of Scientific Unions
(ICSU); Third World Academy of Sciences; Committee on Science
and Technology in Developing Countries (COSTED-IBN); World
Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO); Global Change
System for Analysis, Research and Training (START); Committee
for the International Human Dimensions of Global Environmental
Change Programme (IHDP); Species Survival Commission
(International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Scientists around the world, particularly those from the ICSU and IUCN
networks, have been contributing to the field of environment and development
for several decades, most notably through contributions to the United Nations
Conference on the Human Environment (1972, Stockholm) and the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (1992, Rio de Janeiro). In their
presentations, scientists noted their current activities, the obstacles they
face and priorities for the future.
Panellists highlighted ongoing research and observation programmes,
growing recognition of sustainable development issues, and partnerships that
link the scientific community with other groups.
þ There is an important need for local solutions and the engagement of
local expertise, particularly in the developing countries, in addressing
sustainability challenges. Many scientific organizations are therefore
focusing on capacity-building.
þ Scientific organizations are developing advisory support round tables
and partnerships with other major groups such as business and industry,
to cultivate relationships that enhance scientific interface in global
þ Some professional organizations, such as the American Society of Civil
Engineers, have incorporated sustainable development principles in their
code of ethics.
Obstacles to furthering science for environment and development involve
funding, relationships between different disciplinary cultures, inequities
between North and South, and difficulties in engaging the policy community.
þ Funds for research in the areas of sustainable development are often
þ Research on sustainable development issues requires expertise from many
different disciplines. Scientists with different backgrounds are still
unaccustomed to working together.
þ There is a shortage of developing country scientists and those that are
available have inadequate participation in and inadequate access to
þ Scientists are often unable to engage the policy community effectively.
Panellists outlined several priority areas. These address relationships
within the scientific community, as well as those between that community,
policy makers and the public.
þ Multidisciplinary partnerships among natural scientists, social
scientists and engineers are important for sustainable development.
þ Women should play a larger role in science and technology endeavours.
þ Regional and interregional cooperation is important for sustainable
þ Science should be directed towards applicable, problem-solving efforts,
using a bottom-up approach.
þ Engineers should consider long-term costs in their design processes.
þ Policy should be based on sound science, and dialogue between science
and policy communities should increase.
þ Public awareness of science and scientific knowledge related to
sustainable development need to be further cultivated.
þ Scientific capacity-building including through North-South and South-
Representatives of the following Governments made statements: Czech
Republic, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of
America. A statement was also made by the representative of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Some representatives requested scientists to comment more specifically
on what they want from Governments (Norway and Switzerland). Several
representatives noted the importance of improving public understanding of
sustainable development and the scientific knowledge needed for it (United
States, Indonesia). Others noted the lack of scientific information in the
media (Czech Republic), and the difficulties in understanding the scientific
information that is disseminated (Ghana). Some representatives noted links
between science and Government (Japan) and between the scientific community
and private sector research and development (Philippines). Others asked about
best and worst practice issues (United Kingdom) and about the efficacy of the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES) (Malaysia). UNESCO highlighted the urgent need to increase
scientific capacity and funding for science and technology at both the
national and international levels.
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Some challenges and recommendations are set out below.
þ Encourage support for basic science education and research for
environment and development issues.
þ Assist developing countries in national scientific capacity-building.
þ Support coordination within the scientific community.
þ Raise public awareness of scientific and technological issues related to
þ Package scientific information such that it is understandable and
accessible by ordinary citizens as well as policy makers.
þ Facilitate dialogue between scientists and decision makers.
þ Compile and disseminate information on lessons learned in science and
þ Improve relationships between the scientific community and the media.
þ Encourage private sector research and development activities for
þ Create direct dialogue opportunities between the Commission on
Sustainable Development and the representatives of the scientific
community on specific topical areas of sustainable development.
C. Summary report of the dialogue session
with workers and trade unions
(14 April 1997)
Chairman: Ambassador Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran),
Vice-Chairman, Commission on Sustainable development
Facilitator: Ms. Clayola Brown, Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile
Employees (UNITE), United States of America
Presenters: Representatives of the following organizations and programmes
made presentations: Union of Needletrades, Industrial and
Textile Employees, United States of America; Central Unica dos
Trabalhadores, Brazil; Graphical Workers' Union, Sweden;
Canadian Labor Congress; Mine, Geological and Oil Workers, Czech
Republic; Laborers' International Union, United States of
America; Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions; Indian National Trade
Union Congress; Worker Education and Environment, ACTRAV/ILO
Project; Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees; United
Kingdom Trades Union Congress; Bangladesh Independent Garment
Workers Union; Trade Union Advisory Committee of the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Many global sustainability problems, such as hunger, ill-health,
illiteracy, unemployment, industrial accidents and social tensions, have
actually increased since the 1992 Rio Conference. Trade unions have
recognized these trends and want to address them. Trade unions have therefore
collected success stories and extracted from them the concept of "collective
engagement". This engagement entails education, consultation and action which
harnesses the energies of workers and other members of society in transforming
ideas about sustainable development into action.
Trade unionists have undertaken a spectrum of activities ranging from
harmonization and standard-setting to eco-labelling. The following are
þ Tripartite negotiations involving industry, workers and government in
Brazil resulted in an accord regarding control of chemicals, such as
benzene, in the workplace.
þ Cooperative efforts between municipal officials, unions and industry in
Sweden led to the development of ecologically friendly practices in the
printing industry. The holistic approach adopted led to substitution and
recycling of chemicals and improvements in water quality and biological
þ The latest session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety has
seen increased cooperation between labour and international environmental
non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
þ Trade unions have worked to support progressive standards of chemical
þ A union of mine workers from the Czech Republic engaged the expertise of
Cornell University to help the union raise the ecological consciousness
of its members and other community members via training and participation
þ The Laborers' International Union of North America has contributed to
remediation and environmental clean-up concerning hazardous wastes.
þ The Zimbabwe Council of Trade Unions helped to identify how trade unions
in developing countries can help to alleviate poverty.
þ The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees has carried out
eco-labelling and integrated office management programmes.
þ Groups in the United Kingdom have developed the EcoManagement and Audit
Scheme, which involves monitoring, observing, record-keeping, reporting,
evaluating and making changes in regard to worksite health, safety and
þ The Bangladesh Independent Garment Workers Union illustrated how
enforceable codes of conduct might be used as mechanisms for implementing
þ The ACTRAV/ILO Project has developed extensive training materials and
programmes around ILO conventions and recommendations as sustainable
Trade unions identified several obstacles to their sustainable
development efforts and to the realization of sustainable development in
general. Foremost among these are obstacles concerning lack of workers'
rights, barriers to participation, and insufficient funds. For example:
þ International organizations often do not recognize the role that workers
and trade unions play and can play in furthering sustainable development
through workplace cooperation.
þ Workers are often denied their rights, particularly the freedom to
þ Governments and other social groups have resisted the participation of
trade unions in collective efforts to address sustainable development
þ Trade unions' efforts to further sustainable development require monetary
resources, resources which international organizations and other donor
institutions are not readily providing.
þ Poverty is an obstacle to sustainable development in general and
therefore frustrates the efforts of trade unions in attempting to further
þ Distortions in the global trading system obstruct efforts to realize a
þ Provisions for capacity-building have not been effective, particularly
regarding chapter 19, section B, of Agenda 21 on the harmonization of
classification and labelling of chemicals.
Many of the following priorities point towards increased awareness of
trade union interest in sustainable development:
þ Put the workplace at the top of the sustainable development agenda,
particularly with respect to production and consumption patterns.
þ Encourage the active participation of workers in workplace environmental
þ Encourage trade union/employer partnerships and agreements in
implementing Agenda 21 objectives.
þ Gain access to decision-making bodies that address sustainable
þ Ensure workers' rights throughout the world.
þ Address people's immediate needs, especially those arising from poverty,
before pursuing sustainable development.
þ Address the political, social and economic issues attendant to
Representatives of the following Governments made statements: Ecuador,
Netherlands, Philippines, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, United States of America. A statement was also made by the
representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP).
One government representative welcomed the concept of collective
engagement and asked how to further the realization of this concept (United
States). Others asked about the applicability of the EcoManagement and
Auditing Scheme (EMAS) in developing countries and the relationship between
EMAS and ISO 14,000. One government representative warned against reliance on
market forces (Netherlands). Those who noted the growing importance of
informal economies and the absence of the right mechanisms to deal with
sustainability also called for national systems of regulation to ensure health
and environmental protection (Ecuador). One government representative noted
that NGOs were the main forces resisting the inclusion of trade unions on his
country's Council for Sustainable Development (Philippines). The
representative of UNEP posed a question on the involvement of workers and
trade unions in voluntary environmental codes and programmes that are being
developed by business and industry.
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Challenges and recommendations focused on increased recognition of
linkages between sustainable development and the workplace, as well as greater
worker and trade union participation in decision-making bodies. For example:
þ Put the workplace at the top of the sustainable development agenda,
especially for changes to production and consumption patterns.
þ Recognize the role that trade unions can play in furthering sustainable
þ Encourage cooperation among employers, workers and Governments.
þ Support ILO initiatives and work to integrate ILO programmes and
sustainable development activities.
þ Encourage Governments to develop workplace linkages to national reporting
and monitoring systems.
þ Encourage Governments to include trade union representatives in decision-
making regarding sustainable development.
þ Support making eco-management and audit practices compulsory, open to the
public and independently validated.
þ Urge Governments to support NGOs and trade unions in eco-labelling
þ Encourage environmental education at all levels in the school system.
þ Ensure adherence to safety, health, environment and child labour laws in
producer countries and promote the use of codes of conduct in
implementing sustainable development initiatives.
D. Summary report of the dialogue session with women
(14 April 1997)
Chairperson: Ms. Monika Linn-Locher (Switzerland), Vice-Chairperson,
Commission on Sustainable Development
Facilitator: Ms. Bella Abzug, President, Women's Environment and Development
Organization, United States of America
Presenters: Representatives of the following women's organizations made
presentations: Country Women Association of Nigeria; Women Food
and Agriculture Working Group/Via Campesina (United States);
Central and Eastern European Network for Sustainable Consumption
and Production (Poland); REDEH Network in Defense of Humankind
(Brazil); Movement for Nuclear Safety (Russian Federation); NGO
Campaign for the Earth Council (Canada); Perzent Center
(Pakistan); Red Thread (Guyana).
Women are represented in and reflect all nine major groups defined in
Agenda 21. Women across class, race, ethnicity and location have come to
serve as catalysts for environmental and democratic activism. Yet, despite
the two years since the 1995 Beijing Conference and the five years that have
passed since the Rio Conference, women comprise the majority of the poor, the
landless and the under-fed. In their dialogue session with Government, women
highlighted these problems, the obstacles they face in confronting them, and
made recommendations for future action.
Women succeeded in gaining a Principle in Rio Declaration, a chapter and
over 170 references to them mainstreamed throughout Agenda 21. Thereafter,
women ensured that their holistic gender analysis infused the process and
documents of other international conferences, particularly the Beijing
Platform for Action in 1995. A number of relevant initiatives have been taken
by and for women. For example:
þ The Women's Caucus has enabled women to participate in international
negotiations and policy-making.
þ The 1995 Beijing Conference was instrumental in calling attention to
poverty and its effects on the lives of women.
þ The 1997 Micro-Summit in Washington, D.C., highlighted the importance of
providing credit to poor women. This Summit led to the decision to
provide $21.7 billion in micro-credit to poor people by the year 2005.
þ The Women's Food Summit called attention to linkages between sustainable
development and world food security.
þ Local Agenda 21 efforts are successfully under way around the world.
They have helped strengthen mechanisms to integrate women in decision-
making processes and are helping to alter unsustainable production and
Women are key to achieving sustainable development. Thus, the
inequities and prejudices that confront women also hinder general progress
towards sustainability. Specific obstacles concern lack of representation and
credit, as well as poverty, trade and debt-related issues.
þ Although women constitute over 50 per cent of the world's population,
women constitute far less than the same ratio in Governments throughout
þ Participation by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the United
Nations is limited and stifles the important voice of women.
þ Lack of credit for women prevents them from achieving financial
þ Barriers to land ownership by women not only stifle their prospects for
financial independence but also create disincentives for following
þ Trade imbalances and debt crises contribute to poverty-related problems
which are particularly troubling for women.
þ The growing emphasis on food as a commodity and on agro-business has
negative effects regarding sustainable agriculture and world food
security. This has important implications for women farmers, as well as
for the well-being of women and children.
þ Testing of toxic materials, radioactive pollution and the use of
pesticides are violating the health and reproductive rights of women.
þ The rights of indigenous women are not recognized.
þ Current modes of advertising denigrate women and contribute to
unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
Women's representatives raised the following priorities for
consideration by the Commission on Sustainable Development and other actors
involved in the sustainable development process:
þ Mechanisms that promote representation of women in Government.
þ Access to credit to empower women and combat poverty.
þ Equal access to education.
þ Subsidy removal and taxes that counteract the negative effects of
commercial advertising, such as gender stereotyping.
þ Learning from the Local Agenda 21 initiatives.
þ Action-oriented efforts to deal with industrial "hot spots" and other
environmental hazards such as radioactive waste.
Representatives of the following Governments made statements:
Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Peru,
Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland. Representatives of the International Research and Training Institute
for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) and the Campaign for the Earth
International, a non-governmental organization, also made statements.
Some government representatives described their efforts in
micro-financing (Australia, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Switzerland) and in
mainstreaming women's concerns (Philippines, China). Others identified
poverty as the main obstacle to achieving the goals outlined at the Beijing
Conference and urged countries to promote capacity-building for women and
provide special attention to women in indigenous communities (Peru). The
representative of INSTRAW noted poverty issues concerning women.
Government representatives also discussed the role of women in
agricultural production (Sweden) and trade, including export-driven,
monoculture economies (Cuba, Netherlands), food security and hostile food
policies (Cuba). One government representative noted linkages between the
transboundary movement of hazardous material and women's health (Australia).
Several government representatives noted the importance of addressing
the role of men and how men perceive themselves in society (Sweden). Some
government representatives noted that gender issues required policies for men
as well as women (Sweden, Norway). For example, some countries require
parental leave for men (Norway).
One government representative noted that regional or global hot-spot
designations are not feasible for certain environmental problems and that
national designations would be necessary in most cases (Egypt). Some
government representatives noted that the conclusions of the Commission on the
Status of Women should be incorporated into the decisions of the Commission on
Sustainable Development (Finland).
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
þ Ensure full and equal participation of women in decision-making at every
level of all social, political and economic areas.
þ Commit the necessary resources and establish time-bound targets for
integrating women fully into the development of policies, institutions,
mechanisms, implementation and evaluation of all future plans for
þ Ensure that women's reproductive and productive contributions are
measured, valuated and integrated into national accounts and in the
calculation of national wealth.
þ Identify industrial hot spots and prepare a plan to clean these areas.
þ Regulate commercial advertising and identify instruments to combat its
þ Ensure that ongoing negotiations on the multilateral agreement on
investment will equally address the rights and responsibilities of
corporations in sustainable development processes.
þ Establish a mechanism within the Commission to monitor and guide the
actions of the World Trade Organization.
þ Earmark 1 per cent of all funding dispersed via the World Bank, regional
development banks and other international financial institutions to
support rural women, who make up the main share of the world's
1.3 billion poor.
þ Support appropriate and gender-fair education, health, recreation,
child-care and other infrastructural systems designed by and for rural
þ Promote "sustainable agriculture" rather than "agricultural
þ Affirm and pledge to reach the Micro-credit Summit (Washington, D.C.,
February 1997) goal of raising $21.7 billion to ensure that 100 million
of the world's poorest women and their families receive credit for self-
employment by the year 2005.
þ Remove legislative, policy, administrative and customary barriers to
women's equal rights to natural resources, including access to and
control over land (and other forms of property), credit, inheritance,
information, and new technology.
þ Strengthen the reporting requirements by Governments to the Commission
and improve links with other relevant bodies of the Economic and Social
Council such as the Commission on the Status of Women.
þ Review and address the impact on women's public and private sector
genetic research, bio-prospecting, bio-trade and bio-technology policies
þ Strengthen the role of women in efforts to implement Agenda 21. In
doing this, the Commission should examine examples where efforts to
increase participation have been successful and disseminate this
E. Summary report of the dialogue session with indigenous people
(15 April 1997)
Chairman: Mr. Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland), Vice-Chairman, Commission on
Facilitator: Mr. Devashish Roy, Chakma Peoples, Bangladesh (Bangladesh
Indigenous and Hill Peoples Association for Advancement)
Presenters: Representatives of the following groups made presentations:
Quechua, Ecuador; Kuna People, Panama (International Alliance of
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests); Nuuk,
Greenland (Inuit Circumpolar Conference); Maori, New Zealand
(Maori Congress); Ogoni, Nigeria (National Youth Council of
Ogoni People); Kankanaey, Philippines (Asian Indigenous Women's
Network); Quechua, United States (International Indian Treaty
As noted in the Quechua prayer that opened the session: "people belong
to the Earth, the Earth does not belong to them". Although indigenous peoples
are mindful of this concept and have much to offer through their sustainable
lifestyles, their needs continue to be overlooked. In the five years since
the Rio Conference, indigenous groups have become more vocal and visible at
the international level in defence of Mother Earth. However, their situation
at the regional, national and local levels has worsened as they confront
increased discrimination regarding their economic, social, civil and cultural
rights. In their dialogue session, representatives of a number of indigenous
communities shared their experiences and highlighted some of the more pressing
problems they face. In doing so, they highlighted the important links between
the concerns of Indigenous People and other issues outlined in Agenda 21,
including poverty, human settlements, rural development, farmers, women,
biodiversity and forests.
Indigenous peoples have championed a number of activities pertaining to
sustainable development. These include:
þ Continued application of sustainable practices in everyday life.
þ Contributions to the preparation of the draft United Nations declaration
on the rights of indigenous people.
þ Support of international forums concerning forestry, biodiversity and
intellectual and cultural property rights.
þ Legal action against those pursuing unsustainable mining practices.
þ Action that convinced the Government of the United States of America to
suspend patenting of genes from the Hagai People of Papua New Guinea.
Obstacles to furthering the cause of indigenous peoples include
prejudiced perceptions about indigenous peoples, lack of representation in
decision-making forums, globalization and trade barriers.
þ Non-indigenous people often hold a prejudiced view of indigenous peoples
or stereotype them as "noble savages" with primitive lifestyles and
þ Many non-indigenous people hold a reductionist view in which they fail
to recognize the important linkages between indigenous peoples and the
ecosystems in which they live.
þ Indigenous peoples continue to suffer from poverty, hunger, war, debt,
pollution, disease, illiteracy and homelessness caused by unsustainable
þ Most international agreements fail to address the needs of indigenous
peoples adequately. For example, the concept of "territories" does not
appear in Agenda 21 or the Forest Principles. Agenda 21 portrays
indigenous peoples and their traditional practices as objects of
research for commercialization. It also makes little reference to
indigenous peoples in the Arctic regions or to the negative impact of
mining activities on indigenous communities.
þ Indigenous peoples lack representation in international and national
þ Trade barriers instituted by European countries and the United States
are often harmful to indigenous peoples (such barriers include the 1983
European ban on seal pelts, the 1991 European ban on importation of wild
furs from leg-hold traps and the United States Marine Mammal Protection
þ Use of hazardous chemicals, global warming, long-range transboundary air
pollution and loss of biological diversity have particularly negative
implications for indigenous groups in the Arctic regions.
þ Multilateral trading systems, economic globalization and trade
liberalization are promoting a free market in which corporations hold a
great deal of power, little social responsibility and no local
þ Increased dam building is promoting displacement and marginalization of
þ Biopiracy, bioengineering and bioprospecting exploit the traditional
views and practices of indigenous peoples.
þ Development and some conservation programmes often prompt militarization
of indigenous peoples' communities and subsequent violations of their
þ The territorial rights of indigenous peoples should be respected and
þ Indigenous self-determination should be recognized as an integral part
of sustainable development.
þ Indigenous peoples want to determine their own course of development,
control their affairs and resources, and participate directly and fully
in decision-making that affects them.
þ Indigenous peoples want to exercise rights over the resources of the
ecosystems of their traditional territories.
þ Indigenous peoples urge further progress and action on international
conventions for climate change, biological diversity and long-range
transboundary air pollution.
þ Indigenous peoples should be represented at the highest level in the
United Nations system.
þ Sustainable development issues should be addressed in a comprehensive
manner and not reduced to isolated sectoral considerations.
Representatives of the following countries made statements: Canada,
Denmark, Nigeria, Peru and the United States of America. The representative
of a non-governmental organization (NGO) from Guyana and an indigenous
peoples' representative from the United States (Sovereign Dineh Nation) also
Some dialogue participants noted issues regarding indigenous peoples in
their countries. In response to a panellist who described the oppression of
the Ogoni people in Nigeria, one government representative noted that the
Ogoni are considered an ethnic group in Nigeria and not indigenous peoples
(Nigeria). Another government representative recalled the numerous problems
that indigenous peoples in his country faced including drug trafficking, civil
strife, environmental degradation and migration. He expressed solidarity with
the panellists (Peru). Other government representatives noted the efforts of
their Governments in furthering the interests of indigenous peoples via the
draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people (Canada)
and workshops concerning a permanent forum for indigenous peoples (Canada and
Some countries explicitly addressed Arctic Council (Canada, United
States) and Dineh Nation issues (United States). In response to an Inuit
panellist, one representative noted that his Government believed that forums
other than the Arctic Council were more appropriate for addressing marine
mammal issues (United States). Another government representative responded
that the Arctic Council was capable of making its own decisions (Canada). The
Inuit panellist emphasized that acts that prevented the Inuit from using
mammal resources were adversely affecting their traditional lives and
The representative of an NGO suggested that international organizations
should develop funding criteria to guide decision-making on financing of
mining projects (Guyana). An indigenous peoples' representative from the
United States called attention to the relocation of her people to make way for
coal mines (Sovereign Dineh Nation).
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The primary challenges and recommendations for the Commission concern
participation, funding, information, biological diversity and trade issues.
þ The international community should recognize indigenous peoples as
peoples and not as non-governmental organizations.
þ The United Nations should establish a permanent forum for indigenous
þ Forest policy forums at all levels must establish mechanisms to ensure
equal and full participation of indigenous peoples and other forest-
dependent people in decision-making.
þ The scope of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous
Populations should be expanded so as to enable greater participation by
representatives of indigenous peoples in the full range of United
þ The United Nations should improve the dissemination of information to
þ The international community should address issues concerning biological
diversity, such as biotechnology, bioprospecting and the Human Genome
Diversity Project. Institutions and conventions dealing with these
issues must allow for the participation of indigenous peoples. A
biosafety protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity should
be speedily accepted.
Indigenous peoples specifically requested the Commission to:
þ Promote the immediate adoption of the draft United Nations declaration
on the rights of the indigenous people in its current form.
þ Examine the impacts of globalization, the World Trade Organization and
regional agreements on intellectual property rights (e.g., APEC and
NAFTA) on indigenous communities.
þ Review the activities of transnational corporations, especially the
extractive industries such as mining and timber, and examine the effects
of these businesses on indigenous peoples. Methods of conflict
resolution should be among the issues considered.
þ Promote dialogue between indigenous and non-indigenous groups and
Governments at the international, national and local levels.
þ Participate in the workshop regarding a United Nations permanent forum
for indigenous peoples, to be held in Chile in June 1997.
F. Summary report of the dialogue session
with non-governmental organizations
(15 April 1997)
Chairman: Mr. Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland), Vice-Chairman, Commission on
Facilitator: Mr. Roberto Bissio, Instituto del Tercer Mundo
Presenters: Representatives of the following organizations made
presentations: Environmental Liaison Center International
(ELCI); Association of Small Farmers of the Pacific Coast (Costa
Rica); Country Women's Association of Nigeria (COWAN); Friends
of the Earth International; Environmental Justice Networking
Forum (South Africa); Third World Network; Latin American
Network on Forests; Consumers International.
In the five years since the Rio Conference, non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) have played an increasingly important role in efforts to
further sustainable development throughout the world. In their dialogue
session, NGOs highlighted past NGO activities, discussed Agenda 21
implementation at the local, national and regional levels and set forth
actions for the Commission on Sustainable Development to undertake in the next
The dialogue session provided a sampling of NGO activities. These
included research on Agenda 21 implementation, studies regarding sustainable
development indicators and organization of new grass-roots groups. For
þ A study by ELCI assessed grass-roots action taken on Agenda 21 and made
recommendations for the future. The resultant report, entitled "Grass-
roots reflection on Agenda 21", reveals that Governments are treating
the superficial manifestations of unsustainable practices rather than
the underlying causes. Furthermore, local level implementation is not
occurring as fast as it should be.
þ Friends of the Earth conducted a study of sustainable development
þ NGOs in Costa Rica have improved dialogue with government officials.
þ African women have established networks for rural and grass-roots women.
þ Women in Nigeria developed a strategy for gaining credit for women.
þ NGOs in South Africa are working to further environmental justice issues
and develop environmental policies for sustainability.
Obstacles to NGO success under Agenda 21 include ingrained production
and consumption patterns, lack of access to decision-making, trade
liberalization and low political will in regard to sustainable development
issues. For example:
þ Government interest is often lacking in regard to Agenda 21
þ NGOs are often excluded from government decision-making, especially in
countries with rigid and closed governmental processes.
þ It is often difficult to convince decision makers to act on initiatives
developed at the community level.
þ Business and industry are often unwilling to become involved with
sustainable development issues.
þ Inequity at the local, national and global levels obstructs many efforts
towards sustainable development.
þ Political will is lacking in forestry issues.
þ Education is an important yet overlooked component of sustainable
þ Deregulation and globalization are increasing the power of transnational
corporations and increasing the inequities between rich and poor.
þ Lack of resources is an important limiting factor for NGOs.
NGOs outlined a spectrum of priorities including eco-sufficiency,
NGO/government relations, environmental education and trade. For example:
þ Eco-sufficiency should replace the concept of eco-efficiency if society
is to become truly sustainable.
þ Better mechanisms for NGO/government cooperation are needed at the local
and national levels.
þ Better mechanisms should be developed for communicating local
experiences to the global level and fostering learning.
þ Capacity-building should occur in the government sector as well as in
the NGO sector.
þ Education and awareness-raising should play a larger role in sustainable
þ Governments should honour commitments they have made for technology
sharing and technology transfer.
þ NGO collaboration with Governments at the local, national and
international levels should be enhanced.
þ Changes in production and consumption patterns are essential.
þ Trade has important impacts on environment and development and should
receive high priority in efforts to promote sustainable development.
þ Corporate accountability should be addressed explicitly and should
ensure attention to social and environmental responsibilities.
Representative of the following countries made statements during the
dialogue session: Australia, China, Finland, Japan, Norway, Philippines,
Sweden, United States of America. Statements were made by the following NGOs:
Q2000 of Sweden, NGO Working Group on Women, Health and Environment, NGO
Education Caucus, Costa Rican National Council for NGOs, Association of
Northern Peoples for Environment and Development. NGOs from Bolivia,
Mauritius and the Russian Federation also made statements, as did the
representative of the European Commission.
Several government representatives described local initiatives in their
countries. One government representative noted the important role that local
municipalities played via monitoring, inspection and enforcement to ensure
adherence to environmental standards (Japan). Others noted the positive
results that Agenda 21 implementation had yielded in their countries (China,
Philippines, Sweden). One NGO representative noted increased coordination
between NGOs and Government under Agenda 21 (NGO from Bolivia). Another NGO
representative noted the problems of addressing energy and transportation
issues in her country (NGO from Sweden). Another noted the lack of NGO
participation in policy decision-making (NGO from the Russian Federation).
One government representative elicited several comments from others when
she suggested that the Commission on Sustainable Development adopt a procedure
instituted under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Australia). For
this Convention, NGOs should prepare country reports and Governments would be
required to respond to those reports. An NGO panellist responded favourably
to the suggestion but noted the financial constraints facing NGOs. Another
government representative suggested that NGOs and Governments collaborate on
reports, as was done in his country (Philippines).
An NGO representative noted the lack of government reporting to the
Commission and inquired about the procedures countries follow in reporting to
their constituencies at home (Friends of the Earth). Some government
representatives described their reporting procedures. Reporting processes
involved numerous stakeholders, meetings, web sites and media (Australia,
Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, United States).
One NGO representative noted the need for more emphasis on education
regarding sustainability issues and noted the lack of educator participation
(Education Caucus). Another noted the important educational role that United
Nations documents played in her country (NGO from the Russian Federation).
One representative urged that statistics like those presented by Friends
of the Earth International be used to convince the unconvinced to take up
sustainable development priorities (European Commission). Another suggested
that the results of the ELCI study be widely disseminated (NGO from
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
NGOs presented several recommendations to the Commission. These
recommendations concern increased dialogue between NGOs and Governments,
corporate accountability, trade issues and action on forest problems. In
particular, NGOs requested the Commission to:
þ Encourage dialogue at the local and national levels as well as at the
þ Incorporate trade and environment, trade and development, and the
intersection of trade, environment and development into Agenda 21
initiatives and into the future work of the Commission.
þ Establish a subcommission or panel on trade and sustainable development.
þ Initiate a dialogue with the World Trade Organization and its Committee
on Trade and Environment.
þ Initiate a new round of commodity agreements.
þ Facilitate a sustainable development and equity review of World Trade
þ Initiate a review of the World Trade Organization Agriculture Agreement.
þ Take up the issue of intellectual property rights and sustainable
þ Investigate the impacts of liberalization on sustainable development.
þ Urge the special session of the General Assembly to adopt a resolution
urging States and organizations to implement activities proposed during
the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests.
þ Establish a subcommission on corporate accountability.
G. Summary report of the dialogue session with farmers
(16 April 1997)
Chairman: Ms. Monika Linn-Locher (Switzerland), Vice-Chairman, Commission
on Sustainable Development
Facilitator: Ms. Linda Elswick, World Sustainable Agriculture Association,
United States of America
Presenters: Farmers representing the following organizations made
presentations: Federation of Swedish Farmers; Danish Farmers'
Union; National Farmers' Union, Canada; Zambian Women in
Agriculture; Union Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos,
Nicaragua; New Brunswick Federation of Agriculture, Canada;
Centre for Citizens Initiative - Moscow, Russian Federation; and
Karnataka State Farmers Association, India.
The Earth Summit had heightened awareness of important links among
farming, environment and development. Farmers have a greater awareness of
their environmental responsibilities to society, are increasingly addressing
environmental impacts of their practices as well as identifying and carrying
out solutions. Issues concerning food and agriculture transformed the
abstract concept of sustainable development into something tangible and
meaningful to all people. Farm management and resource conservation,
technological developments, land tenure, trade, and the role of women were
just a few of the many issues that surfaced in the discussion between farmers
Farmers are undertaking initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture.
Some of these activities are indicated below.
þ A voluntary farm programme in Denmark engaged participants at national
and local levels, and allowed farmers to view themselves as an
integrated part of society. That programme educated farmers and
promoted good farming practices. The programme also established
standards for pesticide and fertilizer use, animal manure, water
quality, energy consumption and research. It was carried out through a
combination of farmer participation in the regulatory process and
support of consumers.
þ Various other programmes such as environmental farm plans based on self-
evaluation, eco-audits and codes of good farm practice have been
initiated (Canada, Sweden).
þ Zambian women have organized a programme for women farmers that has
empowered women and educated them about sustainable farming practices
þ With the help of an American non-governmental organization, a group in
the Russian Federation developed a consultative process for farmers,
with a particular focus on women farmers. That programme educated both
producers and consumers about sustainable agriculture.
þ Land tenure reforms, agricultural cooperatives, rural banks and rural
women's services have helped in creating a supportive economic and
social framework for sustainable agriculture in several countries.
Obstacles faced by farmers concern poverty and low farm income, lack of
land tenure, trade policies and attitudes towards biological diversity.
Examples are given below.
þ Farmers, historically, have been viewed as people who exploit the land.
þ Insecure land tenure and poverty, government neglect and lack of
investment in rural areas undermine sustainable farming efforts,
especially in developing countries.
þ Low net farm incomes force farmers to consider only the short-term and
not to take into account the long-term effects of their activities on
the environment. Furthermore, such low prospects do not attract young
people into farming, which is leading to an ageing farming population
(in industrialized countries) or the feminization of agriculture (in
þ Policies that favour cash crop production can lead to unsustainable
þ The World Trade Organization and trade liberalization have created a
watershed of adverse effects on farmers. The global market is
determining what is produced, who is producing it and who has control
over what is produced. Globalization of the economy has also usurped
the place of instruments for ensuring food security, and moved decision-
making outside of public institutions.
þ For some countries, barriers to export, especially escalating tariffs on
processed and semi-processed agricultural products, have detrimental
effects on their agricultural activities and deny them the opportunity
to develop domestic agro-industrial processing.
þ Farmers find it difficult to participate in the international arena for
a variety of reasons, including financial constraints.
þ Vested interests in industrialized countries refuse to recognize
peasants and indigenous peoples as generators, owners and guardians of
þ The spread of urban and industrial areas threatens prime agricultural
þ Organic farming receives little attention and recognition from
þ Priorities outlined by farmers address environmentally sound farming
techniques, land tenure, partnerships and trade. Examples are set forth
þ Identifying problems using local knowledge and seeking local solutions
and long-term land tenure are imperative for sustainable agriculture.
þ Agriculture is a long-term business. Farmers, therefore, need a long-
term, predictable perspective and policy environment in which to work.
þ Farmers cannot pursue sustainable agriculture alone. Close cooperation
between farmers and authorities is essential in establishing a
legislative framework in such areas as the use of manure, fertilizer and
pesticides, animal intensity, and protected natural areas.
þ Research is important for furthering the use of agricultural practices.
Consequently, farmers should enhance alliances with scientific and
þ Improved dialogue with agro-industry, environmental and conservation
groups and with consumer associations is also necessary.
þ The effects of trade liberalization on farmers require greater
Representatives of the following Governments made statements during the
dialogue session: Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Peru,
Philippines, United States of America. Farmers and representatives of
non-governmental organizations from the floor also took part in the
One organic farmer called for increased attention to organic farming
(International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)). He
pointed out the increased demand for organic farming products in Austria,
Switzerland and Denmark. The representative of a non-governmental
organization noted that the Commission on the Status of Women supported
farmers, especially organic farmers. She pointed to references to organic
farming by the Fourth World Conference on Women. These references stress
linkages between health and agriculture.
Although changes in production methods could lead to extra costs for
farmers, a panellist noted that there are win-win situations where, for
example, a reduction in the use of inputs through better management practices
leads to a decrease both in costs and in the impact on the environment.
Another panellist added that environmentally friendly production methods also
make good business sense, since consumers are increasingly demanding that
agricultural production take the environment into consideration.
Several speakers emphasized problems associated with the World Trade
Organization and trade liberalization. One non-governmental organization
representative said that farmer marketing boards, backed by Governments, were
essential for family farmers. Yet such boards are currently being challenged
by the World Trade Organization (Canadian farmer). Another representative of
a non-governmental organization (Bolivia) called for protection of rural
farmers against free market forces. One government representative suggested
that globalization responded to consumer demands by establishing lower prices.
As an example, he pointed to decreased prices after his Government had joined
the European Union (Finland). A farmer pointed out that not all farmers were
benefiting from the so-called free trade (farmer from Nicaragua). Even when
they wish to export their products, there are still trade barriers and the
dumping of subsidized products continues to threaten the livelihoods of
One participant noted that the Commission on Sustainable Development in
its documentation had failed to mention the Leipzig International Technical
Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, efforts of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and initiatives under the Convention
on Biological Diversity relevant to agriculture (India). She and others
emphasized links between biodiversity and agriculture, biosafety issues and
the threat of technological totalitarianism.
One government representative asked how farmers reconciled their roles
as business people and guardians of the earth, especially in the third world.
He asked about the possibility of having these two roles coincide, especially
in the third world (Germany). A panellist responded that legislation was
required to help mesh the farmer's different roles. A farmer representing a
third world Government called attention to the fact that environmental
subsidies in one country can impact on another country's agricultural sector
annihilating peasant households and small-scale agriculture. One government
representative considered that the trade rules needed to be rewritten to
encourage sustainable agriculture (India).
One government representative asked whether the world's farmers would be
capable of feeding the increasing world population. In response, farmers
noted the role of technology and local agriculture. One non-governmental
organization representative pointed out that the question was one concerning
not the quantity of food, but rather its distribution.
One government representative recognized the negative public image of
farmers in some countries. He asked whether farmer/consumer group
partnerships would be productive (Ireland). A panellist suggested that what
consumers said and what they bought were two different matters. Farmers will
produce what consumers want. In some cases, they have to be prepared to pay
higher prices for food products.
One representative noted that many people in rural communities were
landless but contributed to food production as farm workers. He urged
Governments to address hunger and undernourishment and stressed that each
household unit must be able to meet daily food requirements (Philippines).
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Some challenges and recommendations are presented below.
þ The international community should take a more comprehensive approach to
food security by involving representatives from all sectors of society.
þ Farmers' organizations should be included in national delegations
attending meetings that discuss issues related to the agricultural
þ Increased interaction between the United Nations and the World Trade
Organization is needed.
þ The Commission on Sustainable Development should facilitate approval of
the Global Plan of Action and the International Undertaking on Plant
Genetic Resources as a protocol to the Convention on Biological
Diversity. This requires immediate finalization of the revision to the
International Undertaking as a protocol to the Convention on Biological
þ There is a need to review, assess and, if necessary, modify existing
national legislation and international agreements concerning
intellectual property rights, land tenure and seed legislation (also
post-World Trade Organization legislation) to ensure that they support
and do not run counter to farmers' rights and to the overarching
objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
þ The WTO review process in 1999-2000 should lead to removal of
agriculture from the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations
agreements and to the elimination of trade-related intellectual property
rights (TRIPs) in agriculture.
þ There should be a moratorium on bioprospecting activities, as well as on
the release of genetically modified plant varieties and organisms.
þ Developed countries and agribusinesses should provide compensation for
the developing-country knowledge and resources that they have been using
for many years.
þ The Commission on Sustainable Development should promote the
establishment of a permanent working group on farmers' rights,
biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.
þ An international convention to address farmer's rights and sustainable
agriculture issues would help to build accountability within the
structure of international law.
þ The Commission on Sustainable Development should arrange for
consultative status for farmers as a major group by the time of the
special session of the General Assembly.
þ Farmers' organizations, especially those from the developing countries
and in countries in transition, should be supported and strengthened to
become effective partners in policy design and implementation.
þ Public research on sustainable farming practices, improved cropping
methods and extension services should be increased at all levels.
H. Summary report of the dialogue session with local authorities
(16 April 1997)
Chairman: Ambassador Bagher Asadi, (Islamic Republic of Iran),
Vice-Chairman, Commission on Sustainable Development
Facilitators: Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, World Assembly of Cities and
Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC)
Mr. Jeb Brugman, International Council for Local Environmental
Presenters: Representatives and mayors of the following organizations
and/or municipalities made presentations: World Assembly of
Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC); Dubai
Municipality; Policy Committee, Corporation of London, United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; City of
Marrakech, Morocco; Barcelona, Spain; Cajamarca
Municipality/Association of Peruvian Municipalities; Leicester
City Council, United Kingdom; and International Council for
Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI).
Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held
at Rio de Janeiro, local authorities have been actively implementing their
responsibilities as identified in Agenda 21. More than 1,800 local
authorities from 64 countries have established Local Agenda 21 processes.
They are working to reorganize themselves and change mindsets and practices in
order to become more effective agents of sustainable development. They are
establishing new mechanisms for international cooperation with each other and
the United Nations system, as attested, for example, by the establishment of
WACLAC. In their 1995 meeting with the Commission on Sustainable Development,
local authorities called for greater recognition of their key role in
sustainable development. In contrast, they are now focusing on the key issues
and obstacles with respect to implementing Agenda 21 at the local level.
Local authorities from around the world spoke about Local Agenda 21
initiatives in their communities. These efforts are described below.
þ Local authorities have been heavily involved with the United Nations
Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) in follow-up to the United
Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II).
þ The United Arab Emirates have developed a best practices competition to
encourage sustainable development activities.
þ The City of London has undertaken a number of Local Agenda 21
initiatives. A focal point of its efforts involves steering groups and
task forces comprising a wide range of stakeholders. These groups have
developed and launched plans on a number of Agenda 21 issues including
energy, health and the natural environment. The City of London has also
established a green belt to ensure open spaces; created the first smoke
control zone; increased use of public transport; launched an
environmental forum on environmental risk management; and undertaken a
major regeneration study. Other London-based programmes are providing
support to local authorities in Africa and examining sustainability
þ Development of a sanitation programme in Marrakech involved
national/local government cooperation, a tax financing programme,
citizen participation and privatization. Other Marrakech projects are
providing housing to low-income people and restoring historic sites in
þ Barcelona is working to implement Agenda 21 via a consensus-building
forum. Components of the Barcelona process include decentralization and
þ Leicester City Council reported on a national campaign for Local Agenda
21. This campaign provides training, guidance, research and technical
support to local authorities and communities for Local Agenda 21
planning and implementation. The campaign has recruited 75 per cent of
local authorities to establish a multisectoral forum to oversee planning
of Local Agenda 21 implementation. The campaign has also resulted in a
survey, which indicates considerable progress concerning awareness and
implementation of Agenda 21 throughout the United Kingdom.
þ In countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden, national campaigns
are proving instrumental in implementing Local Agenda 21 initiatives.
Local authorities highlighted the obstacles they face in implementing
Local Agenda 21. These obstacles include lack of political will; insufficient
resources; absence of partnerships; and policies that promote unsustainable
practices. Specific difficulties include those described below.
þ Partnerships between national and local governments are often
þ In some cases, national Governments and their policies pose the most
important barriers to Local Agenda 21 implementation. These obstacles
include lack of interest in and attention to Agenda 21; absence of
integrated transportation policies; unsustainable energy policies; lack
of tax raising powers; and poor enforcement of environmental laws.
þ Subsidies that encourage unsustainable practices also pose problems in
þ Banking institutions often overlook the social value of agriculture
programmes which are in urgent need of financial assistance.
The priorities outlined by local authorities reflect the obstacles they
wish to overcome. Suggestions by local authorities include calls for enhanced
local/national partnerships; capacity-building; attention to Agenda 21 and
Habitat II objectives; and information networks. More detailed priorities are
þ Develop and enhance partnerships between local and subnational
governments, as well as national Governments, to create incentives and
overcome disincentives to sustainable practices at the local level.
þ Support development of political will to address sustainability issues.
þ Build capacities of local authorities particularly in the area of
finance, and provide powers equal to responsibilities.
þ Legalize and formalize the relationship between the United Nations and
international organizations of local authorities.
þ Encourage local governments to be proactive through development of
þ Increase harmonization of fiscal policy, and the internalization of
social and environmental costs.
þ Integrate the provisions of Habitat II and Agenda 21.
Representatives of the following Governments made statements during the
dialogue session: Australia, China, Netherlands, France, Peru, Philippines,
Sweden, United States of America. Statements were also made by the
representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and by the
representative of a non-governmental organization (Brazil).
Several government representatives emphasized the importance of the
dialogue with local authorities and acknowledged that the challenge for
sustainability ultimately lay within the world's cities (United States,
One government representative noted that local authorities should aim to
assist the United Nations rather than seek assistance from it (France). A
panellist responded that local authorities should work to ensure that WACLAC
became a permanent body, formally recognized by the United Nations. Another
panellist noted that local authorities should have a louder voice in the
international community in order to ensure balanced partnerships.
Several government representatives discussed Local Agenda 21 initiatives
in their countries. One representative described projects concerning lake
management, health and strategic development plans (Philippines). Another
representative mentioned sustainable development pilot projects in his country
(China). Grass-roots groups, non-governmental organizations and other major
group representatives have been especially important in sustainable
development efforts (Sweden). Australia will be hosting an international
conference entitled "Pathways to Sustainability" in Newcastle (1-5 June 1997).
That conference will showcase case studies of local initiatives and make a
contribution to the special session of the General Assembly (Australia).
One panellist called for a network that would enable local authorities
to share experiences and information. One non-governmental organization
representative noted the need to coordinate programmes such as the Global
Environment Facility (GEF) and Capacity 21 with Local Agenda 21 initiatives.
One government representative commented that local authority proposals
did not pay adequate attention to public participation in Local Agenda 21
implementation processes and stressed the importance of engaging private
sector representatives early in the process of Local Agenda 21 implementation
(United States). Panellists acknowledged that many groups were involved
including educators, non-governmental organizations and the private sector and
that participation was the foundation of the Local Agenda 21 process.
Particular assistance is required to achieve greater private sector
participation in Local Agenda 21 activities.
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Challenges and recommendations for the Commission on Sustainable
Development are aimed at strengthening partnerships among local, subnational
and national levels, examining obstacles and promoting decentralization.
Local authorities highlighted the following challenges and recommendations.
þ National campaigns: Local Agenda 21 programmes should be actively
encouraged in each country, particularly through establishment of Local
Agenda 21 national campaigns in partnership with local authority
þ Global targets and overcoming obstacles: The Commission on Sustainable
Development should establish global targets to encourage Local Agenda 21
campaigns, and to review and address obstacles to Local Agenda 21
þ Fresh water: The international community should provide an enabling
environment that encourages subnational and local authorities (with
investments from public and private sources) to extend and increase
efficiency of water supply and sanitation services, especially in fast-
growing urban areas and poor rural communities.
þ Decentralization: Trends towards decentralization of government to
local levels should be recognized and support should be given to local
authorities to assist in implementation of their new governance and
service provision responsibilities.
þ Study of national barriers to Local Agenda 21 implementation: Other
proposals requested the Commission on Sustainable Development to
commission a study that examined barriers (especially those erected and
maintained by national Governments) to Local Agenda 21 implementation.
Barriers may concern transportation, energy, tax policies, subsidies and
poor enforcement of regulations.
I. Summary report of the dialogue session
with business and industry
(18 April 1997)
Chairman: Ambassador John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), Vice-Chairman,
Commission on Sustainable Development
Facilitators: Mrs. Maria Cattaui, International Chamber of Commerce, and
Mr. Bjorn Stigson, World Business Council for Sustainable
Presenters: Representatives of the following organizations and corporations
made presentations: Xerox Corporation; ICI; EnviroServe;
Scudder, Stevens and Clark; Tokyo Electric Power Company;
British Petroleum Company; Aracruz Celulose; International
Chamber of Commerce; World Business Council for Sustainable
Development (WBCSD); Dow Chemical; Grupo IMSA.
Business has made progress towards sustainable development (examples
were presented from the following reports: "Signals of Change" by WBCSD and
"Implementation of the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development" by
ICC). In the late 1970s and early 1980s, companies focused on pollution
cleanup and end-of-pipe measures. Today, many of the world's leading
companies have adopted more integrated efforts. These involve a systems
approach to environmental management, partnerships with government and
stakeholders and corporate responsibility throughout the product life-cycle.
However, business and industry are still in the early stages of their "green"
revolution, and they have yet to engage many small and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs), especially those in developing countries.
The business community has initiated several projects and programmes to
promote sustainable development. Some examples of these "signals of change"
were presented by the panel, including:
þ The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) developed and launched
the Business Charter for Sustainable Development shortly before the
Rio Conference. Since then, over 2,500 companies worldwide have
adopted the 16 principles of the Business Charter and continue to
improve their environmental policy and practice.
þ ICC has promoted eco-labelling, waste management, biodiversity and
climate-change-related policies. ICC has also developed an
environmental management kit for companies.
þ Xerox Corporation has implemented eco-efficiency and environmental
leadership programmes. Through partnerships with government and
stakeholders, Xerox Corporation aims at achieving waste elimination,
product stewardship, safe products, zero employee injuries and
worldwide compliance with regulations. Specific efforts include
programmes for print and toner cartridge return and waste-free
þ ICI has instituted a comprehensive Safety, Health and Environmental
Management System. This System utilizes tools to promote
sustainable practices. These include standards, guidelines, local
procedures, auditing, letters of assurance, and performance and
þ Many companies are implementing systems for independent verification
and performance reviews. The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS)
is an example of such a programme.
þ The chemical industry has implemented a "Responsible Care" programme
that involves environmental and social reporting, business charters
and principles, and environmental management systems standards.
þ Thirty-six industries and 137 business associations in Japan have
developed Industry-oriented Environmental Action Plans.
þ Scudder, Stevens and Clark serves as an investment manager for the
Storebrand, Scudder Environmental Value Fund. The two objectives of
this fund are (i) to provide competitive returns against the Morgan
Stanley World Index and (ii) to demonstrate that superior investment
returns can be earned by use of environmental analytical
disciplines. Companies included in the portfolio are judged against
a series of environmental criteria.
þ BP has developed a clear statement of safety, health, environmental
and long-term goals. Targets and management processes are in place
to facilitate the realization of goals.
þ Aracruz Celulose commissioned the International Institute for
Environment and Development (IIED) to conduct a study on the paper
cycle. The study covers all aspects of the sustainable paper cycle
and makes conclusions regarding related government regulations,
eco-labelling and incineration.
þ EnviroServe highlighted the importance of SMEs in the economic
development of countries such as South Africa while pinpointing the
difficulties faced in improving their environmental performance.
Business and industry face several obstacles to furthering sustainable
development. These obstacles include difficulties in engaging SMEs and
policies that promote unsustainable practices. More specific problems are
þ Although many leading companies have adopted sustainable development
principles, many SMEs lack the resources necessary to follow suit.
þ Taxes and subsidies often promote unsustainable behaviour.
þ Unnecessary regulations can hinder the efforts of businesses to
promote sustainable development.
þ Some Governments and cultures discourage stakeholder and outreach
initiatives on the part of industry.
þ Economic, social and legal frameworks often run counter to
The business community identified several priority areas. These
þ Sustainability requires a long-term view.
þ Mutual trust among all stakeholders is essential for sustainable
development. This requires transparency and commitments involving
principles, report and review, and verification.
þ Sustainable development requires cooperation involving all sectors.
þ All business and industry, not just large multinationals, must adopt
sustainable development principles.
þ Government must provide the necessary framework for businesses to
meet the needs of society and protect the environment. In
particular, Governments should provide incentives for sustainability
and remove disincentives.
þ The developing countries should avoid the past mistakes of the
þ Business practices should involve eco-efficiency, life-cycle
management, appropriate consumer information, environmental
accounting and environmental benchmarks.
Representatives of the following Governments participated in the
discussion: Belgium, China, France, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Norway,
Peru, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sweden, United States of America.
Other dialogue participants included representatives of the Central and
Eastern European Network, Friends of the Earth International, Tools for
Transition and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
One representative asked about instances of efforts by companies to
forestall action on climate change. In particular, he suggested that in
acting to protect their short-term profits, the companies were challenging
scientific findings regarding global warming. A panelist responded that many
business community members want to be involved in the climate change debate
and favoured long-term, global solutions. Another panelist recognized the
need to change lifestyles, de-couple energy and economic development and adopt
alternative energy sources.
One representative noted the difficulty in reconciling industry's
preference for voluntary initiatives with the need to have consistency in
government policies and environmental standards. He also acknowledged the
importance of enabling small and medium-sized businesses (especially those in
developing countries) to meet international standards (Belgium). A panelist
suggested that big businesses should assist small businesses in adhering to
internationally harmonized standards rather than negotiating lower standards
for developing countries.
Other comments by government representatives called attention to local
participation (United States) and consumer awareness (Peru). One government
representative noted that businesses can play an important role in raising
environmental consciousness among consumers (Peru). In response, the
representative of Xerox Corporation described a communication programme in his
company that provided information to salespeople and consumers.
One government representative noted that SME practices were often very
harmful to the environment (China). A panelist responded that big businesses
needed to support SMEs in their efforts to promote sustainable development.
A non-governmental organization pointed out that environmental
degradation resulting from increased volume of production was negating gains
in efficiency (Friends of the Earth International). A panelist responded that
development, as well as sustainability was necessary and that economic growth
meant increased volume of production.
Other government representatives addressed a wide range of topics in
their statements. One representative suggested that WBCSD could assist in
developing eco-efficiency targets (Netherlands). Another representative noted
the complexity of the issues at hand and called for different transparent
forums and organizational structures to address those challenges globally and
across different scales (South Africa). Another representative raised the
issue of technology transfer; he acknowledged the trend towards business-to-
business transfer as well as the role that Governments played in providing
incentives for such activities (France). A panelist responded by noting the
increased flow of technology to developing countries. Another representative
suggested that lease-based programmes were often more environmentally sound
than other sales approaches.
CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE
COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Commission on Sustainable Development should give close attention to
all three aspects of sustainable development - economic growth, social
development and environmental protection. It should base its agenda on sound
science and careful assessment of risks and economic costs. It should focus
in its next phase of work on those issues for which no clear focal point for
policy discussion and recommendations has been established in the United
Nations system. The business world welcomes a continued systematic dialogue
involving major groups, but it is essential that Governments participate
actively in this process. Governments should promote sustainable development
þ Capitalizing on the ability of business and industry to change and
þ Allowing business to chose between a minimum regulatory system or
one that permits flexibility of approach in return for higher
þ Helping to motivate and introduce voluntary systems that encourage
responsibility for products throughout their life cycles.
þ Examining whether taxes and subsidies promote unsustainable
behaviour and changing policies accordingly.
þ Moving from income- to consumption-based taxes over a sufficiently
long period of time.
þ Gradually getting prices right so that products reflect their full
þ Re-examining the conventional measure of gross domestic product
(GDP) and considering supplementing it with a net-GDP measure that
reflects resource depletion.
þ Promoting stakeholder outreach and involvement regarding the
business role in promoting sustainable development.
J. Summary report of the synthesis session
(18 April 1997)
Chairman: Ambassador Bagher Asadi (Islamic Republic of Iran), Vice-Chairman,
Commission on Sustainable Development
During the final dialogue session, representatives of the following
organizations provided a brief recap of the views expressed during their
dialogue session and made recommendations for future dialogue sessions:
International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) (for scientific and
Youth Caucus (for children and youth)
Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) (for women)
Maori Congress (for indigenous people)
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) (for workers
Instituo del Tercer Mundo (for non-governmental organizations)
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) (for
International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) (for farmers)
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and World Business Council for
Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (for business and industry)
All presenters felt that the dialogue sessions were useful as a first
step towards further sharing of views on problems and solutions as well as
building of greater consensus around Agenda 21 objectives. Several presenters
expressed disappointment with the low attendance of Governments in the
A performance by the New York City Labor Choir preceded the question/
dialogue segment of the programme.
Representatives of the following Governments made statements: Canada,
Finland, France, Peru, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, United States of America. Statements were also made by
representatives of the following bodies: South Pacific Forum Secretariat,
United Nations Association-United States of America (UNA-USA), International
Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), ICFTU, NGO Steering
Committee of the Commission on Sustainable Development and Human Rights and
The statements expressed appreciation for the dialogue sessions,
particularly in terms of showing the progress made through major groups'
activities during the first five years of Agenda 21 implementation. Low
attendance was attributed to the numerous meetings and events rather than to
lack of interest in sharing views with major groups (Sweden). Major group
panellists were asked about the extent to which they engaged in dialogue with
each other (Finland) and about which methods they utilized to mobilize their
constituencies to act upon Agenda 21 objectives (France). It was suggested
that universities should be more involved in exchanging information (Peru).
The South Pacific Forum announced that it would distribute the dialogue
session summaries among its member States.
The crucial role of young people in furthering the goals of Agenda 21
was emphasized (UNA-USA). Local Agenda 21 initiatives were pointed to as a
vehicle for mobilizing local Governments and communities at the local level
(ICLEI). It was pointed out that the Commission on Sustainable Development
was a perfect global forum in which to explore solutions as the next phase
moved increasingly towards more action and implementation (WBCSD). The fact
was also highlighted that achieving sustainable development was a slow process
in which continued dialogue with major groups was crucial (NGO Steering
Committee of the Commission on Sustainable Development). It was suggested
that in future the Commission on Sustainable Development reporting process
should involve major groups to a greater extent, as well as focus on the human
rights and military aspects of sustainable development (Human Rights and Peace
Caucus). The trade union representative called attention to the ongoing
silence about workplace issues in Agenda 21 follow-up (ICFTU).
Suggestions and proposals for future dialogue sessions
All participants made suggestions for future dialogue sessions or
similar vehicles with respect to exchange of views between Governments and
major groups. The following proposals were put forth:
þ Focus dialogue sessions on specific thematic issues (Canada, Sweden,
United Kingdom, ICSU, Instituto del Tercer Mundo, Maori Congress).
Possible themes mentioned parallelled the key issues singled out in
the high-level segment of the current session of the Commission on
þ Encourage a more interactive format (Canada).
þ Schedule dialogue sessions outside the negotiating hours (Sweden) or
when more delegations are available to attend them (United States).
þ Involve other sectors of society such as those comprising artists,
writers, religious communities (Sweden).
þ Continue hearing the views of all major groups (United States).
þ Ensure more participation from the South (Sweden).
þ Enable dialogue between the major groups in a systematic way for the
purpose of finding balanced approaches to the costs, benefits and
risks involved in sustainable development (WBCSD).
þ Establish dialogue sessions as a tradition of the Commission on
Sustainable Development and encourage use of this mechanism by other
bodies of the United Nations system (NGO Steering Committee of the
Commission on Sustainable Development).
This document has been posted online by the United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the
document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement
is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.
Date last posted: 15 January 2000 16:15:30
Comments and suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org