Focusing on transport, chemicals, waste, mining and consumption

Achieving green growth through better management of materials throughout their life cycle will be central to this year’s session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-18) that will take place in New York from 3-14 May

The Commission starts a new two-year cycle that will review themes of waste management, transport, chemicals, mining, and the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production. It will also discuss sustainable development in Small Island Developing Countries.

Transport

Transport is the largest end-use of energy in developed countries and the fastest growing one in most developing countries. Furthermore, adequate, efficient, and effective transport systems are important for access to markets, employment, education and basic services critical to poverty alleviation.

However, current patterns of transportation development are not sustainable and may compound both environmental and health problems. There is, therefore, a need for urgent action, ranging, inter alia, from the promotion of integrated transport policies and plans, the accelerated phase-out of leaded gasoline, the promotion of voluntary guidelines and the development of partnerships at the national level for strengthening transport infrastructure, promoting and supporting the use of non-motorised transport and developing innovative mass transit schemes.

During the Commission’s ninth session in 2001, countries agreed that international co-operation is required in order to ensure transport systems support sustainable development. Countries stressed the importance of efficient and affordable transport systems for poverty alleviation and the need to mitigate adverse externalities to health and the environment. Support for greater use of public and non-motorized transport was expressed.

Chemicals

A substantial use of chemicals is essential to meet the social and economic goals of the world community, and these can be used with a high degree of safety when best practices are followed. Two of the major problems, particularly in developing countries, are lack of sufficient scientific information for the risk assessment, and lack of resources of assessment of chemicals for which data are at hand.

Gross chemical contamination, with grave damage to human health, genetic structures and reproductive outcomes and the environment, has been continuing within some of the world’s most important industrial areas, and restoration will require major investment as well as the development of new techniques.

This session thus will focus on expanding and accelerating international assessment of chemical risks, harmonization of classification and labelling of chemicals, and prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products among others.

Solid and hazardous waste

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, Governments reaffirmed the importance of solid waste management. They called for priority attention to be given to waste prevention and minimization, reuse and recycling. They also called for the development of environmentally sound disposal facilities, including technology to convert waste into energy.

“Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes” is crucial for sustainable energy efficiency. Effective control of the generation, storage, treatment, recycling and reuse, transport, recovery and disposal of hazardous wastes is, according to Agenda 21, “of paramount importance for proper health, environmental protection and natural resource management, and sustainable development.”

The session will try to preventing or minimizing the generation of hazardous wastes as part of an overall integrated cleaner production approach; and eliminating the export of hazardous wastes to countries that prohibit such imports among other objectives.

Solid wastes include all domestic refuse and non-hazardous wastes such as commercial and institutional wastes, street sweepings and construction debris and, in some countries, human wastes. Hazardous waste is frequently intermixed with other waste, posing particular management challenges.

Mining

Minerals are essential for modern living, and mining is still the primary method of their extraction. To date, it appears that the main constraints to sustainability in the mining sector derive from the ever-increasing demand for mined resources, the consumption of resources (mostly energy and water) needed to extract and process metals, and the increasing pollution generated by the extraction process.

This holds true for both large-scale, often multinational corporate, operations as well as for small-scale or artisanal ventures. Mining will, therefore be a focus of CSD deliberations and one of the five themes reviewed during CSD-18/19 biannual cycle.

Partnerships Fair and Side Events

The Partnerships Fair will provide registered “Partnerships for Sustainable Development” with the opportunity to showcase progress, network, identify partners, and create synergies between complementary initiatives and finding opportunities for replicability and scaling up.

As CSD-18 will review progress in the areas of Transport, Chemicals, Waste Management (Hazardous & Solid Waste), Mining, and the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption & Production Patterns, the Secretariat is particularly encouraging partnerships working in these areas to take advantage of the CSD Partnerships Fair activities to share their experiences.

Side events sponsored by major groups, governments, UN agencies and other international bodies have already an established place at the sidelines of the official meetings of CSD.

The side events provide an informal opportunity for a broader exchange of information, experience and diverse views, and will be organised during the lunch and evening breaks of the 18th session of CSD.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/csd/csd_csd18.shtml

Addressing vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States

CSD-18 SIDS Day on 10 May will serve as prep com for the Mauritius Strategy +5 High-level Review in September 2010

In accordance with UN General Assembly Resolutions, a high level meeting is to be convened during the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly to carry out a five-year review of the progress made in addressing the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation (MSI).

The high-level event is preceded by three regional review meetings, one for each of the SIDS regions. The outcomes of these review meetings will inform SIDS Day during CSD-18, which will serve as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the high level review in September 2010.

SIDS Day will also consider progress towards the sustainable development of SIDS within the framework of the thematic cluster under review by the Commission.

The Secretary-General’s Report “Review of Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy” (E/CN.17/2010/9) will be presented at SIDS Day. The objective of the report is to provide an initial global synthesis of the national and regional MSI+5 reviews, in order to inform deliberations of member States at the SIDS Day during the 18th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development. Based on the recommendations expressed by member States, a refined report will be submitted for the consideration of Member States at the 65th session of the General Assembly in September 2010.

For more information: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/dsd_aofw_sids/sids_csdspecdayipm_18.shtml

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