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ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

An important new element in U.S. foreign assistance programmes has come about since the passage of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA). This law requires all U.S. government agencies to establish performance objectives and prepare strategic plans. USAID’s Strategic Plan issued in September 1997 established six goals under each of which there is a framework of objectives and Programme approaches. The six USAID goals are:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

An overarching strategy that USAID has embraced relates to combating poverty. USAID aims to help reduce the proportion of the world’s population in poverty by 25 percent by 2007.

USAID will attempt to achieve its strategic goals through a number of ways, including through partnerships and capacity building, led by developing countries and their people. USAID has also increased its partnerships with PVOs/NGOs and, as of 1996/97, has channeled over 30 percent of its aid through these organizations. Building capacity in developing countries remains a prominent theme for USAID since UNCED, and USAID has worked to integrate the orientation of capacity building throughout its assistance Programmes. USAID has also gone further than probably any other developed country in using local nationals to help administer its Programmes overseas. USAID also continues to be one of the lead agencies in the area of gender and women in development issues. A Gender Plan of Action adopted in recent years constitutes an Agency-wide blueprint aimed at institutionalizing gender issues throughout the work of USAID.

USAID’s environmental strategy aims at helping to protect the world’s environment for long-term sustainability by reducing the threat of global climate change; conserving biological diversity; dealing with pollution problems posed by urbanization; increasing the dissemination and use of more environmentally sound technologies; combating land degradation and desertification; and, increasing the sustainable management of natural resources.

As has been reported earlier to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, U.S. development policy has been reviewed and readjusted since UNCED.

Programmemes and Projects 

USAID SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES

Of the total amount requested for foreign assistance programmes, USAID has requested that a total of over $1.85 billion be directed for Sustainable Development Programmes in three accounts: (1) the Development Assistance Account at $780.4 million; (2) the Child Survival/Diseases and Basic Education Account at $555 million; and, (3) the Development Fund for Africa Account $512.6 million. The overall request for these Sustainable Development Programmes is $109 million more than the amount appropriated in U.S. fiscal year 1999.

USAID proposes to dedicate $290 million for Environmental Funds to be used to support international efforts to reduce the threat of global climate change, conserve biological diversity, support sound energy services and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Of that total amount, $112 million would be supplied from the Development Assistance Account. USAID’s environment Programmes continue to be among the best in the world and are aimed at achieving economic growth while simultaneously meeting environmental and social goals. In 1998, USAID launched its five-year $1 billion Climate Change Initiative to carry out President Clinton’s commitment to reduce the threats posed by climate change in developing and transition nations. Through Programmes in 44 countries, USAID has helped developing nations to participate in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to decrease net greenhouse gas emissions, and to adapt to climate vulnerability. USAID has also requested $8 million for an "Urban and Environmental Credit Programme" to provide loan guarantees that help market based financial institutions and instruments needed to address key sustainable development issues related to the adequate provision of water, sewer, sanitation and housing for the urban poor.

USAID also plans to allocate $458 million for Economic Growth Funds. These resources will be dedicated to expanding and strengthening private markets, supporting sustainable agriculture development and microenterprise Programmes, assisting family planning Programmes, promoting human capacity development, and building access to economic opportunity for the rural and urban poor.

Of the total $555 million requested for this account, USAID plans to dedicate $445 million for child survival, HIV/AIDs, and infectious diseases and other health Programmes. Illustrative examples of some sub-Programmes under this account include a $25 million Programme for the Polio Eradication Programme and $50 million for improving maternal health, and $127 million to deal with the scourge of HIV/AIDs. USAID currently supports over 300 major activities in 47 countries around the world and, over the next five years, expects to provide life saving services to over 50 million individuals.

Another key aspect funded under this account will be used for basic education. USAID aims to provide $110 million for basic education Programmes that include a sub-Programme aimed at promoting a global campaign against abusive child labor. This latter activity will help communities and governments in developing nations find long-term sustainable educational solutions aimed at keeping children in schools and out of hazardous working situations.

Two goals underlie U.S. foreign policy assistance in Africa: to accelerate Africa’s integration into the global economy and to combat serious transnational security threats, including HIV/AIDs and outbreaks of violence. USAID is seeking a separate appropriations request under its Sustainable Development Programmes for the Development Fund for Africa (DFA). A total of $512.6 million is being sought from the Congress, of which $233 would be dedicated for economic growth and sustainable agriculture development, $34 million for human capacity development, $73 million for population Programmes, $99 million for environment management, and $72 million for democracy and good governance initiatives. Within these categories, $45 million is included for an expanded African Food Security Initiative as part of a ten-year initiative announced by President Clinton in his 1998 trip to Africa.

The United States participates actively in the major international coordination fora, such as the OECD’s DAC, World Bank Consultative Groups, Special Programmeme of Assistance to Africa, United Nations Development Programmeme (UNDP) Round Tables, Global Coalition for Africa, Club du Sahel, etc., as well as numerous local aid groups at the field level. The Japan-U.S. Common Agenda and the U.S.-EU New Transatlantic Agenda are mechanisms that have allowed the U.S. to further coordinate development cooperation activities with Japan and representatives of the European Union.

The United States, in cooperation with other key G-8 members, have worked to create the Debt Initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) that was launched at the 1999 G-8 Session in Germany. Attention has recently focused on ways to develop a $4.7 billion trust fund that would help finance debt clearing by multilateral lenders, such as the World Bank. In September 1999, the Clinton Administration sent proposed legislation to the U.S. Congress requesting nearly $600 million for the fund and $400 million for forgiving debt that the United States extended directly to developing nations.

In 1998, President Clinton signed into law the "Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998" that allows the U.S. Government to enter into "debt-for-nature" swaps with developing nations. Under this law, the U.S. can essentially "write off" debts that certain developing nations owe to the United States in exchange for "tangible efforts to preserve and restore tropical forests in those countries." The debt-for-nature swap can allow developing countries to use the money saved "to protect critical resources and reduce economic pressures that have led to deforestation." The law defines developing countries as those nations having annual per capita incomes of $725 or less.

Currently, nearly 6,700 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 77 countries around the world. The volunteers work in five main sectors: Education (40 percent); Health (18 percent); Environment (17 percent); Business (13 percent); and Agriculture (8 percent). The overall budget for the Peace Corps in U.S. fiscal year 1999 is $241 million. The budget request for fiscal year 2000 is $270 million.

In January 1998, President Clinton announced a plan to increase volunteer levels in the Peace Corps to 10,000 by 2003 and increase the annual budget for the Corps to $360 million by that date. Most of the work that these volunteers will accomplish is related to the further promotion of sustainable development, particularly with respect to capacity building, education, health and the environment. Indeed, with respect to the latter sector, the Peace Corps is one of the world’s largest environmental volunteer organizations. Volunteers have been important leaders and supporters of grassroots efforts to protect the environment through such projects as forest conservation planning and development of alternative, renewable fuel sources. Volunteers also collaborate locally to promote environmental education, recycling Programmes, wildlife protection and park management Programmes. In July 1999, the Peace Corps initiated a "Pacific Initiative" to work on environmental projects in Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Niue, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. To bolster this initiative the Director of the Peace Corps and the Director of the South pacific Regional Environment Programmeme (SPREP) signed an agreement stipulating that the two organizations will expand their cooperative environmental Programmes in the Pacific.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available 

Status 

No information is available 

Challenges

No information is available 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

EPA and USAID have concentrated on environmental institution and human resource capabilities, including environmental training modules and information exchange efforts. USAID has supported the U.S.-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-AEP) Programme which employs Environmental Action Teams, short-term technical assistance, training programmes and fellowships to build environmental capacity in Asia. TDA helps American companies develop commercial opportunities in emerging markets. This agency provides resources for feasibility studies, training grants, technical assistance and also pursues its mission through orientation visits and conferences. Recent examples of TDA efforts have included a solid waste management feasibility study in Algeria, hazardous waste management study in Malaysia, a potable water treatment study in Bangladesh, a sludge treatment facility in Rio de Janeiro, and a wastewater treatment facility in northern Peru.

Information 

The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is an agency of the U.S. Government with a mandate to facilitate and encourage U.S. private investment in developing countries and emerging markets, principally by ensuring against political risk. As part of a package of environmental initiatives announced by President Clinton at the 1997 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Environment and Development, OPIC now prepares a voluntary annual report for public dissemination. The reports are aimed at providing information on OPIC’s implementation of and compliance with internal, national and international environmental policies, laws, treaties and agreements to which its Programmes are subject. The first such report highlighted the fact that OPIC applies the most current World Bank Group environmental guidelines to every project to which such guidelines are applicable. The report also noted that OPIC has established categorical prohibitions of support on certain projects, including projects in designated internationally protected areas, certain types of large dams, projects involving large-scale resettlement and extractive and infrastructure projects in primary tropical forests.

OPIC has also highlighted the fact that it is unique among its foreign counterparts in requiring public disclosure of environmental impact assessments for environmentally sensitive projects. In April 1999, OPIC issued a revised "Environmental Handbook" to provide a consistent framework for support of environmentally sound investment in developing countries and emerging markets. OPIC has also committed to track and report CO2 emissions from its power sector projects and to support international efforts to manage global greenhouse gas emissions.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available 

Financing 

The U.S. Government has framed and coordinated U.S. foreign assistance expenditures in terms of six major objectives through the collaboration of various Agencies. The six objectives are:

More recently, the Clinton Administration has requested $21.3 billion for programmes in international affairs for the U.S. fiscal year 2000. A portion of that total will be dedicated to providing resources to multilateral development banks and voluntary contributions to international organizations and emergency and non-emergency agricultural Programmes. The Administration has asked that USAID manage $7.2 billion, or 34 percent of the total, in the foreign assistance Programmes that it administers, including those administered with the State Department and other U.S. Agencies.

Cooperation

The United States has been contributing in international efforts to promote more environment friendly foreign direct investment (FDI) and operations abroad of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs). For example, the U.S. is actively involved in the ongoing review of OECD Guidelines for MNEs and has taken a leadership role in developing proposals aimed at revising the environment chapter of the current guidelines. U.S. proposals have, among other things, emphasized: sustainable development as a general policy for the revised guidelines; avoidance and prevention as preferred strategies, and mitigation as a second choice; MNE management to consider both the direct and indirect impacts of their operations on the communities in which they do business; internal management systems that encourage corporate accountability; environmental impact assessments; and, continuous corporate environmental improvements throughout the process and production stages.

While much of USAID’s, as well as the U.S. Peace Corps (see below), is focused at the bilateral or regional level, the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have an important role in leading the U.S. Government’s multilateral Programme for foreign assistance. The Treasury Department, for example, has the lead role for key international financial institutions (IFIs) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), as well as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), while the State Department has the lead for United Nations agencies (e.g., UNEP and UNDP, et al.) and other sustainable development-related institutions. Policy directions outlined by both Departments in September 1997 support broad-based sustainable development goals.

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This information was provided by the Government of United States of America to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade policy, and leading or directing negotiations with other countries on such matters. It and the State Department have leadership of international investment policy and negotiation of bilateral investment treaties. On trade policy, U.S. interagency coordination is accomplished by USTR through the Trade Policy Review Group (TPRG) and the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC). These groups, administered and chaired by USTR and composed of 17 Federal agencies and offices, make up the sub-cabinet mechanism for developing and coordinating U.S. Government positions on international trade and trade-related investment issues. A final tier of the U.S. interagency trade policy mechanism is the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the President. The NEC Deputies committee considers decision memoranda on trade issues from the TPRG, as well as particularly important or controversial trade-related issues.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The United States extends most favored nation (MFN) treatment to almost all of its trading partners; only six countries/entities are currently denied MFN status. The United States also maintains a Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) system that extends duty-free treatment to certain products that are imported from designated developing countries. The U.S. has also employed regional trade programmes and/or initiatives, such as those conducted under the Andean Trade Preference Act, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act, and the Africa: Seeds of Hope Act, to help strengthen developing countries economic opportunities.

The U.S. has also developed export trade programmes to help spur dissemination of U.S. environmental technologies and services abroad and has promoted the development and use of environmental guidelines for export credit agency lending among industrialized countries.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

The United States remains a major proponent of liberalized trade as a means to promote sustainable development and has consistently advocated trade liberalization in international and regional fora dealing with trade issues, including, inter alia, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. The United States Trade Representative has also affirmed that U.S. trade policies arranged through bilateral agreements and American market access are part of a broad U.S. policy aimed at supporting sustainable development.

In anticipation of the new round of trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO), President Clinton has announced that United States is prepared and willing to conduct a national environmental review on the consequences of the round. The United States has also put forward several proposals to ensure that the new round contributes to sustainable development. An overarching proposal calls for the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment to serve as a forum for the identification and discussion of links between elements of the negotiating agenda and the environment and public health.

The U.S. has also proposed that the new round contribute to sustainable development by identifying and pursuing areas where trade liberalization holds particular promise for also yielding direct environmental benefits. Thus far, particularly promising areas that have been identified include: (1) the elimination of subsidies that contribute to overcapacity in the fisheries sector; (2) further reform of agricultural subsidies, including the elimination of export subsidies; and, (3) the elimination of restrictions on trade in environmental goods and services. The U.S. has stressed that the aforementioned list is by no means exhaustive and that other WTO members are encouraged to identify and pursue other areas in the new round that could contribute to further promotion of sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

GSP Programmeme

The U.S. has maintained a GSP Programme (currently subject to Congressional reauthorization) that provides preferential tariff treatment to certain products that are imported from designated developing countries. The primary purpose of the GSP Programme, which the U.S. and other industrialized countries undertake, is to promote economic growth in developing countries and countries in transition by stimulating their exports. Currently, about 4,600 products from over 140 beneficiary developing countries (BDCs) are eligible for duty-free treatment under GSP. In 1998, the United States imported $15.7 billion worth of BDC products under the Programme.

In designating a BDC, the President is required to take into account the level of economic development of the country, its commitment to a liberal trade policy, the extent to which it provides adequate protection of intellectual property rights, and its observance of internationally recognized workers rights. The President is also authorized to withdraw GSP treatment for any product or country, especially those countries who had exceeded per capita income limits set by law or made sufficient progress in economic competitiveness. The six leading beneficiaries, by value of imports, under the U.S. GSP Programme in 1998 were: Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, India, the Philippines and Angola.

Regional Trade or Investment Initiatives

Besides maintaining formal bilateral agreements with many key trade partners and reforming governments, usually under "Trade and Investment Framework Agreements" (TIFAs), the U.S. has entered into a regional trade agreement with Canada and Mexico (the North American Free Trade Agreement –NAFTA), which has several important environmental components. In addition, the United States has also pursued several regional trade enhancement initiatives aimed at helping spur economic growth for developing countries. For example, the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) provides tariff benefits to four beneficiary countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. These tariff concessions are aimed to help these countries expand economic alternatives in their fight against drug production and trafficking. Duty-free treatment is afforded to most products from these countries, with the exception of petroleum and petroleum products, textiles and apparel, and certain other goods.

Since the early 1980s, the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA, also known as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, or CBI) has authorized unilateral preferential treatment (either duty-free, or at duty rates lower than those generally applicable) for most articles imported from 24 Caribbean Basin countries. Except for some import sensitive articles (e.g., textiles and petroleum and petroleum products), products from most Caribbean developing countries are eligible for duty free or reduced duty preference. To be accorded preferential status, an eligible article must be a "product of" a CBI beneficiary country and imported directly from it. At least 35 percent of the article’s import value must have originated in one or more CBI beneficiary countries. Recently, the U.S. Congress has examined concerns related to import of products from Mexico, under NAFTA, and how they compete with those from CBI beneficiaries. Several bills are under review in the 106th Congress to provide parity to CBI countries to remedy the most serious aspects of the NAFTA’s adverse consequences for CBI goods. The Clinton Administration announced in early October 1999, that it is committed to working with the Congress to obtain passage of CBI enhancement legislation as soon as possible.

Beginning in 1994, interest in trade and investment issues related to Africa began to increase in the United States, reflecting concerns over the impact of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act on Africa. In 1994, Congress called on the President to submit an annual report on trade and development policy toward Africa. In 1996, following release of the first annual report, several Members of Congress formed a bipartisan congressional African Trade and Investment Caucus. In recent Congresses, efforts have been made to introduce legislation, the most recent being the "Africa Growth and Opportunity Act", to establish new trade and investment policy toward Africa. The Clinton Administration has been very supportive of versions of the Act that would extend Africa’s GSP benefits for ten years and grant new GSP benefits for nations with a record of respect for human rights and core labor standards. In 1998, the Congress passed and the President signed into law the "Africa: Seeds of Hope Act", which, among other things, supports the U.S. Agency for International Development’s "Africa Food Security Initiative". The Act also requires USAID to develop a comprehensive plan for providing micro-enterprise assistance in sub-Saharan Africa to improve the capacity and efficiency of agricultural production. The Act also encourages the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to expand its investment-related operations in Africa that directly serve the needs of small farmers, women, and rural entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank has established an "Environmental Exports Programme" which increases the level of support it provides to exporters of environmentally beneficial goods and services, as well as to exporters participating in foreign environmentally beneficial projects. This Programme affords exporters a special level of support in conjunction with either Ex-Im Bank’s Insurance Programme or with Ex-Im Bank’s loan and guarantee Programmes.

Status 

The U.S. current account and merchandise trade deficits both increased to record levels in 1997, at $155 and $191 billion, respectively. The balance on service transactions in 1997 showed a record surplus of $88 billion. U.S. total trade with developing countries, while significantly smaller than trade with industrialized countries, continues to increase both in absolute value and as a proportion of total U.S. global trade. The U.S. direct investment position abroad increased almost 11 percent to $860 billion in 1997 over the previous year. Foreign direct investment in the United States in 1997 amounted to $682 billion, an increase of 15 percent compared to 1996 levels.

Recently, the United States has submitted several proposals to the WTO on how best to ensure that the new round contributes to sustainable development.

U.S. MERCHANDISE TRADE WITH DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

U.S. trade with developing countries is smaller than trade with industrialized countries, but it has continued to increase in both absolute value and as a proportion of total U.S. global trade. 

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Clinton Administration has undertaken a "President’s Environmental Technologies Export Initiative" supported by a range of U.S. agencies, including the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Environmental Protection Agency, USAID, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA), among others. DOC efforts have focused mainly on Trade Missions abroad as well as information dissemination.

Information 

Since 1992, when the Congress revised its Charter, the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank has been required to establish and maintain a system of environmental review procedures. The Charter authorizes the Ex-Im Banks Board of Directors to grant or withhold financing support after taking into account the beneficial and adverse environmental effects of proposed transactions. To provide guidance to U.S. exporters, environmental guidelines are available for assessing potential environmental impacts in the following areas: air quality, water use and quality, management of hazardous and toxic materials and wastes, natural hazards, socioeconomic and sociocultural effects, ecological effects (including promotion of practices that result in the mitigation of greenhouse gases) and noise. Applicants for Ex-Im Programmes are also required to provide environmental information satisfactory to Ex-Im Bank in support of their proposals. Evaluation of these applications are made by the Ex-Im Bank’s Engineering and Environment Division. The U.S. has actively supported the development of similar guidelines by all industrialized country export credit agencies through cooperative efforts undertaken at the OECD.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

In 1987, the U.S. traded $176 billion of merchandise with developing countries, accounting for 27 percent of total U.S. global trade in that year. Growing at an average annual rate of 10.8 percent since then, U.S. trade with developing countries increased to approximately $491 billion by 1997 and now accounts for 32 percent of the total. The U.S. trade deficit with developing countries continues to increase and exceeded $80 billion in 1997.

On a regional basis, the bulk of U.S. imports from the developing world are from Asia and the Near East (ANE) countries followed by Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries. Imports of products from ANE countries annually increased an average of 10.9 percent from 1987 to 1997, while those from LAC countries (excluding Mexico) saw annual average increases of 7.3 percent during that same timeframe. Imports from sub-Saharan African countries saw an annual average increase of 5.5 percent during 1987-97. Nevertheless, sub-Saharan countries continue to play only a small role in the U.S. market, accounting for less 6 percent of the total $287 billion worth of developing country imports into the United States in 1997.

Cooperation

Globally, the fastest growing U.S. trade partners since 1987 are predominately developing countries. While a preponderance of such increased trade has been between the United States and China, other developing countries have also made marked increases in trade with the U.S., particularly through increased exports to the U.S. market. While the U.S. consistently imports more than it exports to the world, its trade deficit increased for most regions with the exception of Latin America where U.S. exports of manufactured goods have exceeded imports since 1987, and – more recently -- the Caribbean. The U.S. trade surplus with the Caribbean region was $2 billion in 1998.

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This information was provided by the Government of United States of America to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No specific decision making structure currently exists. Questions dealing with development of any federal role in addressing consumption issues in an overarching manner would need to be addressed by the Congress in consultation with the Administration. Most technology issues at the federal level in regard to cleaner production processes and most federal budget outlays are addressed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and US Department of Energy (USDOE). USEPA has in place a number of programmes that promote more sustainable production and consumption patterns, including the Energy Star Building Programme, the Green Lights Programme, and the Design for the Environment Programme. Questions involving energy efficiency and renewable energy policy issues are also addressed by the USDOE. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

From the US perspective, it is clear that it is possible to promote more sustainable production and consumption patterns while promoting economic growth. In many cases, production processes which are more environmentally sound are also more economically efficient. Many US companies have found that investing in pollution prevention and energy efficiency has provided significant cost savings in the long term. The internalization of environmental and social costs associated with production (including use of the polluter pays principle) provide a mechanism whereby market forces can be harnessed to increase the production of goods and services while reducing environmental damage. Another key component in promoting more sustainable patterns of production includes subsidy reform, which is an ongoing process in the United States.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

Major groups have been involved in discussions related to sustainable consumption and production that have been undertaken in the President's Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) process.

The PCSD sought to identify the factors influencing US demographic consumption and waste generation trends. Since 1993, a policy debate on consumption and production was held at the national level. A preliminary report comprised of information compiled on US demographic consumption and waste generation trends was presented to the Council at the April 1994 meeting. Following this report, the Council decided the Task Force would convene a series of public roundtable discussions among members of the Council, experts in the field and the interested public to identify substantive opportunities for intervention. The first roundtable was held on October 27, 1994 in which fertility and migration issues were discussed.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

 Among the steps that the United States has taken, or will be taking related to sustainable consumption are:

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available.

Information 

The US government collects and disseminates extensive data on consumption and production of goods and services. This data is available in the annual "Statistical Abstract of the United States" prepared by the US Census Bureau, as well as in other US data publications. In the PCSD report, policy recommendation 3 in Chapter 2 on "Extended Product Responsibility" calls for the US to adopt a voluntary Programme that ensures responsibility for the environmental effects throughout a product's life cycle by all those involved in the life cycle. As stated in Vice President Gore's address at CSD I in 1993, the issue of sustainable patterns of consumption and production is an important one for the United States.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

US representatives have been involved in the work of the OECD and UNEP and other international organizations on sustainable production and consumption patterns.

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This information is based on the United States of America's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For information on the Eco-efficiency Task Force of the President's Council on Sustainable Development, click here.
For national information on the Population and Consumption Task Force of the President's Council on Sustainable Development, click here.
For national information on recycling, click here.

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

Within the rubric of sustainable development, the U.S. has the following four major programmes:

More recently, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has augmented the aforementioned programmes with Child Survival and Infectious Disease (e.g., HIV/AIDs, et al.) Programmes and a range of credit programmes, including those associated with micro-entrepreneurs and small enterprises, and urban and environmental issues.

Status 

The U.S. accounts for over world’s largest economy with 30 percent of the combined GNP of OECD countries and the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has noted that U.S. contributed 17 percent of total DAC member official development assistance (ODA) in 1996. The U.S. ODA was 0.12 percent of GNP in 1996, slightly less than half the DAC average (0.25 percent). ODA disbursements amounted to about $9.4 billion in 1996, placing the U.S. second in absolute terms behind Japan.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Cooperation

Since 1992, the United States Government has provided new and additional grant funds for sustainable development and has developed and strengthened bilateral and multilateral initiatives in the area of finance, including, most recently through the request to the U.S. Congress for a separate appropriation for the Development Fund of Africa (DFA).  

In U.S. fiscal year 1998, the United States provided over $1.45 billion to MDBs, an increase of nearly 48 percent compared to the U.S. contribution level in fiscal year 1997. Through the U.S. Treasury department lead, the U.S. has been working aggressively, and with considerable success, to promote policy and operational reforms to improve the effectiveness of MDB lending. We have urged the MDBs to focus more clearly on their primary goal, which for most is poverty reduction. We have also stressed the need for greater MDB efforts on other aspects of sustainable development, including more aggressive Programmes for dealing with environmental issues.

As for the two leading UN institutions that are most involved in sustainable development issues, the United States provided $98 million to UNDP in U.S. fiscal year 1998, a 28 percent increase over the U.S. contribution in the previous fiscal year. In FY99, the U.S. contributed $13 million to UNEP and UNEP-related Programmes, of which $7.2 million was earmarked for the UNEP trust fund.

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This information was provided by the Government of United States of America to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

For information on the national Environmental Finance Programme, click here.
For national information on economy and the environment, click here.
To access USAID's Web Site, click here.
For information on participating States in the Global Environment Facility, click here:

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TECHNOLOGY

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The federal government plays an important role in funding basic and applied research and development that is key in the development of future generations of environmentally critical technologies. The federal government also facilitates private sector and cooperative investments in needed research and development, by reducing uncertainties caused by regulatory and verification systems. The government seeks to increase the overall productivity of the nation's energy, food, manufacturing, transportation, construction and service sectors through environmental technologies and practices that significantly reduce the use of energy, materials and other inputs.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

In 1995, the White House National Science and Technology Council, and key federal agencies, released a 90-page National Environmental Technology Strategy. There are over 50 federal Programmes involved with environmental technologies among 10 different federal agencies. The Administration's plan is a blueprint working with industry, states, communities and workers to help drive US economic growth while solving environmental problems. To carry out this strategy, the federal government is implementing plans to, among other things, do the following:

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

During 1995, the federal government, in collaboration with the private sector and state and local governments, updated research, development and demonstration priorities for environmental technologies. The federal government continues to work with the private sector to establish a market-based verification process for environmental technologies. This process will be available nationally for environmental technologies within three years. In addition, the federal government launched the Rapid Commercialization Initiative (RCI), which is intended to accelerate the commercialization of near-commercial environmental technologies. Over the coming years, ten technologies will be commercialized through this new programme. Another priority of US environmental technology is to increase its export to support and create new high-paying US jobs and to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

Status 

No information is available

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

No information is available 

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Biotechnology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Biotechnology Research Subcommittee (BRS) of the Committee on Fundamental Science under the White House's National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is a cabinet-level council which serves as the principal means for the President to coordinate science, space, and technology policies across the federal government. These include biotechnology issues among the 13 federal departments and agencies involved in biotechnology issues applicable to broad and diverse government missions and goals in this area. The Federal Government is one of three partners, along with the industrial and academic communities, in the collaborative venture that is biotechnology research and development. Of all the major groups identified in Agenda 21, the US scientific and technological community plays the largest role in biotechnology issues. US NGOs also are involved in the debate of biotechnology issues that has occurred with respect to certain biotechnology issues.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

Through the use of advanced tools such as genetic engineering, biotechnology is expected to have a dramatic effect on the world economy over the next decade. Development of the uses of biotechnology is not just a US government programme, but a partnership of federal, state, and private sector resources. To date, the federal investment in biotechnology (estimated at nearly $4.3 billion in fiscal year 1994) has been focused primarily on the health field. The results of this research are having a profound impact on medicine and health care, providing improved approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

A major report from the BRS on biotechnology was released in 1995. This report, "Biotechnology for the 21st Century: New Horizons", available on the World-Wide-Web at http://www.nalusda.gov.bic/bio21 identifies priorities for federal investment and specific opportunities in four specific areas:

The report focused on these areas, and did not include the health field in light of all the efforts already undertaken in that area. The BRS has identified three overarching priorities for federal biotechnology research in the areas highlighted in the report as follows:

The US believes that an area of particular interest to countries in the field of biotechnology relates to the agricultural sector. 

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

The US has a comprehensive system to review the food, agricultural, and environmental safety of transgenic organisms and products. This is effected by the USDA/APHIS, USEPA, and the US Food and Drug Administration. Animal vaccines are also reviewed for human and environmental safety and licenses by USDA/APHIS.

Both research and potential commercial use of biotechnology for plants in the environment can be obtained from the database for permits and deregulation developed by the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  The database allows researchers, governments, and industry to identify work of common interest. This information is available in the Internet.

Research and Technologies 

 Most of the 48 species of plants, including trees, have been engineered for pest and disease resistance, and some for tolerance to environmental conditions

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

The US has cooperated and intends to continue to cooperate in numerous international organizations and fora that address biotechnology issues, including the FAO, UNEP, OECD, and the North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO). USAID has implemented a model Programme for international technology transfer that helps developing countries gain access to the benefits of agricultural biotechnology. The six-year Agricultural Biotechnology for Sustainable Development (ABSP) project features unique research collaborations targetting domestic and tropical varieties of a wide range of crops. US participants include the Federal Government, four universities, a law school, two companies, an international research institute, and a biotechnology trade association. Training and expert consultation in intellectual property and biosafety regulations are offered to micro-propagation companies from Indonesia and Costa Rica and public institutions in those countries as well as Egypt and Kenya. To ensure that mutual benefits ensue, legal agreements for ownership, product distribution, and royalties are established early in the process.

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This information is based on the United States of America's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For national information on the Environmental Technology Initiative, click here.
For national information on the Environmental Technology Verification Programme, click here.
Click here to go to the Web Site of the BSS (Biotechnology and Scientific Services) maintained by APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) of USDA (United States Department of Agriculture, which contains a complete database (1987-present) for movement permits, release permits, notifications, and petitions of Genetically Modified Organisms in the U.S.A.
Agricultural Genome Information System
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.

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INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Clean Water Act as of March 31, 1989, requires that industry use the "best available technology" (BAT) that is economically achievable. The Environmental Protection Agency issues regulations containing the BAT effluent standards applicable to categories of industrial sources (such as iron and steel manufacturing, organic chemical manufacturing, petroleum refining, and others).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

In the United States there is a wide variety of private sector involvement in water supply services.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

In 1995, approximately 34.3 million people in the U.S. received drinking water from privately owned systems, as compared to more than six times that figure being supplied from publicly owned systems. 

According to EPA's 1995 Community Water System Survey, the $20 billion U.S. drinking water industry continues to make large investments for water quality improvements (averaging 19 %), repairs or replacement (averaging 31 %), and system expansion (averaging 50 %). The average "large system" serving over 100,00 people has invested nearly $54 million in these areas since 1987. EPA and the water industry are concerned, however, over the costs needed to maintain and improve drinking water services to the public. 

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

Privately owned water systems in the U.S. represent a major financial component of the utility business, with over $14 billion in annual revenues in 1995. Private financing contributions to projects is now also growing.

EPA estimated infrastructure needs of $138.4 billion over the next 20 years (in constant 1995 dollars), comprising needs of $77.2 billion (56 percent) for transmission and distribution systems, $36.2 billion (26 percent) for treatment, $12.1 billion (9 percent) for peak storage facilities, $11 billion (8 percent) for source rehabilitation and development, and $1.9 billion (1 percent) for all other needs.

Cooperation

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of the United States to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998.

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

No information is available

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

No information is available

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement 

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.


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