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   Sustainable Development Topics

Science: Decisions of the GA and CSD

CSD-13 | CSD-11 | WSSD | CSD-9 | CSD-8 | CSD-7 | CSD-6 | UN GA Special SessionCSD-3 

Commission on Sustainable Development,  13th Session
New York, 11-22 April 2005


A. Water

Access to basic water services

(b) Develop and strengthen human and institutional capacities for effective water management and service delivery, through:

(ii) Tapping local and indigenous knowledge in project development and implementation;

(c) Develop and transfer low-cost technologies for safe water supply and treatment, in accordance with countries’ needs, with a focus on the following:

(iii) Investing in research and development projects;

Integrated water resources management (IWRM)

(d) Recognizing that the 2005 target on IWRM may not be met by all countries, accelerate the provision of technical and financial assistance to countries in preparing nationally-owned
IWRM and water-efficiency plans tailored to country-specific needs, paying particular attention to economic development, social and environmental needs, supporting implementation through learning-by-doing, directed, inter alia, towards the following:

(ii) Providing technical and management support to local authorities and community based organizations, taking into account research, traditional knowledge and best practices, to improve water resources management within national policy frameworks;

(vi) Facilitating information exchange and knowledge sharing, including indigenous and local knowledge;

B. Sanitation

Access to basic sanitation

(k) Ensure effective capacity for building, operating and maintaining sanitation and sewerage systems, including by:

(iii) Tapping local and indigenous knowledge in project development and implementation;

(l) Ensure access to culturally appropriate, low-cost and environmentally sound sanitation technologies, including by:

(i) Promoting research, development and dissemination of information on low-cost sanitation options;

(ii) Investing in research and development projects including in applications of indigenous technologies and ecological sanitation;

Wastewater collection, treatment and reuse

(n) Expand and improve wastewater treatment and reuse, with a focus on the following:

(v) Research, development and dissemination of information on low-cost and efficient wastewater treatment technologies, including on water quality and reuse;

C. Human settlements

Integrated planning and management

(q) Support integrated planning and management of human settlements, incorporating land use, housing, water supply and sanitation, waste management, energy, employment and income generation, education and health care services, transportation and other infrastructure, giving due consideration to urbanization trends, in particular, to the needs of the urban poor in implementing the Millennium Declaration, with a view to preventing new slum formation, by:

(i) Integrating urban-rural linkages into national planning processes and promoting further research to inform policies and measures to manage urbanization;

Access to affordable land, housing and basic services

(r) Assist in providing access for the poor, in urban and rural areas, to decent and affordable housing and basic services, in accordance with the Habitat Agenda, through:

(viii) Promoting research, production and use of local construction technologies and building materials and integrating traditional knowledge and practices, as appropriate, in national housing policies;

Commission on Sustainable Development,  11th Session
New York, 28 April - 9 May 2003

Draft resolution I

Future programme, organization and methods of work of the Commission on Sustainable Development

(b) The review sessions will include a high-level segment, an exchange of regional experiences, dialogues with experts, including scientific experts, and sharing of best practices and lessons learned, with a view to facilitating implementation, as well as capacity-building activities, such as learning centres and partnership fairs;

(c) The review sessions will undertake the above-mentioned evaluation on the basis of:

(iv) The contributions of major groups, including scientific experts, as well as educators, taking into account paragraphs 139 (g) and 149 (c) and (d) of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, on their results-oriented activities concerning the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation;

Multi-year programme of work of the Commission for the period after 2003

20. Decides that contributions to the Commission from major groups, including the scientific community and educators, taking into account paragraphs 139 (g) and 149 (c) and (d) of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, while following the established rules of procedure and practices of the Commission, should be further enhanced, taking into account chapter XI of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, A/CONF.199/20

III. Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production

15. Encourage and promote the development of a 10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production to promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems by addressing and, where
appropriate, delinking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste. All countries should take action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development needs and capabilities of developing countries, through mobilization, from all sources, of financial and technical assistance and capacity-building for developing countries. This would require actions at all levels to:

(c) Develop production and consumption policies to improve the products and services provided, while reducing environmental and health impacts, using, where appropriate, science-based approaches, such as life-cycle analysis;

23. Renew the commitment, as advanced in Agenda 21, to sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle and of hazardous wastes for sustainable development as well as for the protection of human health and the environment, inter alia, aiming to achieve, by 2020, that chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment, using transparent science-based risk assessment procedures and science-based risk management procedures, taking into account the precautionary approach, as set out in principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and support developing countries in strengthening their capacity for the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes by providing technical and financial assistance. This would include actions at all levels to:

(d) Encourage partnerships to promote activities aimed at enhancing environmentally sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes, implementing multilateral environmental agreements, raising awareness of issues relating to chemicals and hazardous waste and encouraging the collection and use of additional scientific data;

28. Improve water resource management and scientific understanding of the water cycle through cooperation in joint observation and research, and for this purpose encourage and promote knowledge-sharing and provide capacity-building and the transfer of technology, as mutually agreed, including remote-sensing and satellite technologies, particularly to developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

IV. Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development

30. Oceans, seas, islands and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical for global food security and for sustaining economic prosperity and the well-being of many national economies, particularly in developing countries. Ensuring the sustainable development of the oceans requires effective coordination and cooperation, including at the global and regional levels, between relevant bodies, and actions at all levels to:

(f) Strengthen regional cooperation and coordination between the relevant regional organizations and programmes, the regional seas programmes of the United Nations Environment Programme, regional fisheries management organizations and other regional science, health and development organizations;

32. In accordance with chapter 17 of Agenda 21, promote the conservation and management of the oceans through actions at all levels, giving due regard to the relevant international instruments to:

(c) Develop and facilitate the use of diverse approaches and tools, including the ecosystem approach, the elimination of destructive fishing practices, the establishment of marine protected areas consistent with international law and based on scientific information, including representative networks by 2012 and time/area closures for the protection of nursery grounds and periods, proper coastal land use and watershed planning and the integration of marine and coastal areas management into key sectors;

33. Advance implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities25 and the Montreal Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities,26 with particular emphasis during the period from 2002 to 2006 on municipal wastewater, the physical alteration and destruction of habitats, and nutrients, by actions at all levels to:

(a) Facilitate partnerships, scientific research and diffusion of technical knowledge; mobilize domestic, regional and international resources; and promote human and institutional capacity-building, paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries;

36. Improve the scientific understanding and assessment of marine and coastal ecosystems as a fundamental basis for sound decision-making, through actions at all levels to:

(a) Increase scientific and technical collaboration, including integrated assessment at the global and regional levels, including the appropriate transfer of marine science and marine technologies and techniques for the conservation and management of living and non-living marine resources and expanding ocean observing capabilities for the timely prediction and assessment of the state of marine environment;

(c) Build capacity in marine science, information and management, through, inter alia, promoting the use of environmental impact assessments and environmental evaluation and reporting techniques, for projects or activities that are potentially harmful to the coastal and marine environments and their living and nonliving resources;

(d) Strengthen the ability of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and other relevant international and regional and subregional organizations to build national and local capacity in marine science and the sustainable management of oceans and their resources.

37. An integrated, multi-hazard, inclusive approach to address vulnerability, risk assessment and disaster management, including prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, is an essential element of a safer world in the twenty-first century. Actions are required at all levels to:

(a) Strengthen the role of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and encourage the international community to provide the necessary financial resources to its Trust Fund;

(b) Support the establishment of effective regional, subregional and national strategies and scientific and technical institutional support for disaster management; 

(c) Strengthen the institutional capacities of countries and promote international joint observation and research, through improved surface-based monitoring and increased use of satellite data, dissemination of technical and scientific knowledge, and the provision of assistance to vulnerable countries;

(d) Reduce the risks of flooding and drought in vulnerable countries by, inter alia, promoting wetland and watershed protection and restoration, improved land use planning, improving and applying more widely techniques and methodologies for assessing the potential adverse effects of climate change on wetlands and, as appropriate, assisting countries that are particularly vulnerable to those effects;

(e) Improve techniques and methodologies for assessing the effects of climate change, and encourage the continuing assessment of those adverse effects by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;

(f) Encourage the dissemination and use of traditional and indigenous knowledge to mitigate the impact of disasters and promote community-based disaster management planning by local authorities, including through training activities and raising public awareness;

(g) Support the ongoing voluntary contribution of, as appropriate, nongovernmental organizations, the scientific community and other partners in the management of natural disasters according to agreed, relevant guidelines;

(h) Develop and strengthen early warning systems and information networks in disaster management, consistent with the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction;

(i) Develop and strengthen capacity at all levels to collect and disseminate scientific and technical information, including the improvement of early warning systems for predicting extreme weather events, especially El Niño/La Niña, through the provision of assistance to institutions devoted to addressing such events, including the International Centre for the Study of the El Niño phenomenon;

(j) Promote cooperation for the prevention and mitigation of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from major technological and other disasters with an adverse impact on the environment in order to enhance the capabilities of affected countries to cope with such situations.

38. Change in the Earth’s climate and its adverse effects are a common concern of humankind. We remain deeply concerned that all countries, particularly developing countries, including the least developed countries and small island developing States, face increased risks of negative impacts of climate change and recognize that, in this context, the problems of poverty, land degradation, access to water and food and human health remain at the centre of global attention. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change27 is the key instrument for addressing climate change, a global concern, and we reaffirm our commitment to achieving its ultimate objective of stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner, in accordance with our common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Recalling the United Nations Millennium Declaration, in which heads of State and Government resolved to make every effort to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, preferably by the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 2002, and to embark on the required reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases, States that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol strongly urge States that have not already done so to ratify it in a timely manner. Actions at all levels are required to:

(a) Meet all the commitments and obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;

(b) Work cooperatively towards achieving the objectives of the Convention;

(c) Provide technical and financial assistance and capacity-building to developing countries and countries with economies in transition in accordance with commitments under the Convention, including the Marrakesh Accords;

(d) Build and enhance scientific and technological capabilities, inter alia, through continuing support to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the exchange of scientific data and information especially in developing countries;

(e) Develop and transfer technological solutions;

39. Enhance cooperation at the international, regional and national levels to reduce air pollution, including transboundary air pollution, acid deposition and ozone depletion, bearing in mind the Rio principles, including, inter alia, the principle that, in view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities, with actions at all levels to: 

(d) Improve access by developing countries to affordable, accessible, cost effective, safe and environmentally sound alternatives to ozone-depleting substances by 2010, and assist them in complying with the phase-out schedule under the Montreal Protocol, bearing in mind that ozone depletion and climate change are scientifically and technically interrelated;

44. (q) Promote practicable measures for access to the results and benefits arising from biotechnologies based upon genetic resources, in accordance with articles 15 and 19 of the Convention, including through enhanced scientific and technical cooperation on biotechnology and biosafety, including the exchange of experts, training human resources and developing research-oriented institutional capacities;

46. (c) Foster sustainable mining practices through the provision of financial, technical and capacity-building support to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for the mining and processing of minerals, including smallscale mining, and, where possible and appropriate, improve value-added processing, upgrade scientific and technological information and reclaim and rehabilitate degraded sites.

VIII. Sustainable development for Africa

62. (d) Support African countries in developing effective science and technology institutions and research activities capable of developing and adapting to world class technologies;

X. Means of implementation

106. Improve the transfer of technologies to developing countries, in particular at the bilateral and regional levels, including through urgent actions at all levels to:

(a) Improve interaction and collaboration, stakeholder relationships and networks between and among universities, research institutions, government agencies and the private sector;

(b) Develop and strengthen networking of related institutional support structures, such as technology and productivity centres, research, training and development institutions, and national and regional cleaner production centres;

(c) Create partnerships conducive to investment and technology transfer, development and diffusion, to assist developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, in sharing best practices and promoting programmes of assistance, and encourage collaboration between corporations and research institutes to enhance industrial efficiency, agricultural productivity, environmental management and competitiveness;

(d) Provide assistance to developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition, in accessing environmentally sound technologies that are publicly owned or in the public domain, as well as available knowledge in the public domain on science and technology, and in accessing the know-how and expertise required in order for them to make independent use of this knowledge in pursuing their development goals;

(e) Support existing mechanisms and, where appropriate, establish new mechanisms for the development, transfer and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries and economies in transition.

107. Assist developing countries in building capacity to access a larger share of multilateral and global research and development programmes. In this regard, strengthen and, where appropriate, create centres for sustainable development in developing countries.

108. Build greater capacity in science and technology for sustainable development, with action to improve collaboration and partnerships on research and development and their widespread application among research institutions, universities, the private sector, governments, non-governmental organizations and networks, as well as between and among scientists and academics of developing and developed countries, and in this regard encourage networking with and between centres of scientific excellence in developing countries.

109. Improve policy and decision-making at all levels through, inter alia, improved collaboration between natural and social scientists, and between scientists and policy makers, including through urgent actions at all levels to:

(a) Increase the use of scientific knowledge and technology and increase the beneficial use of local and indigenous knowledge in a manner respectful of the holders of that knowledge and consistent with national law;

(b) Make greater use of integrated scientific assessments, risk assessments and interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches;

(c) Continue to support and collaborate with international scientific assessments supporting decision-making, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, with the broad participation of developing country experts;

(d) Assist developing countries in developing and implementing science and technology policies;

(e) Establish partnerships between scientific, public and private institutions, including by integrating the advice of scientists into decision-making bodies to ensure a greater role for science, technology development and engineering sectors;

(f) Promote and improve science-based decision-making and reaffirm the precautionary approach as set out in principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which states:
"In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."

110. Assist developing countries, through international cooperation, in enhancing their capacity in their efforts to address issues pertaining to environmental protection, including in their formulation and implementation of policies for environmental management and protection, including through urgent actions at all levels to:

(a) Improve their use of science and technology for environmental monitoring, assessment models, accurate databases and integrated information systems;

(b) Promote and, where appropriate, improve their use of satellite technologies for quality data collection, verification and updating, and further improve aerial and ground-based observations, in support of their efforts to collect quality, accurate, long-term, consistent and reliable data;

(c) Set up and, where appropriate, further develop national statistical services capable of providing sound data on science education and research and development activities that are necessary for effective science and technology policy-making.

111. Establish regular channels between policy makers and the scientific community to request and receive science and technology advice for the implementation of Agenda 21 and create and strengthen networks for science and education for sustainable development, at all levels, with the aim of sharing knowledge, experience and best practices and building scientific capacities, particularly in developing countries.

112. Use information and communication technologies, where appropriate, as tools to increase the frequency of communication and the sharing of experience and knowledge and to improve the quality of and access to information and communications technology in all countries, building on the work facilitated by the United Nations Information and Communications Technology Task Force and the efforts of other relevant international and regional forums.

113. Support publicly funded research and development entities to engage in strategic alliances for the purpose of enhancing research and development to achieve cleaner production and product technologies, through, inter alia, the mobilization from all sources of adequate financial and technical resources, including new and additional resources, and encourage the transfer and diffusion of those technologies, in particular to developing countries.

XI. Institutional framework for sustainable development

E. Role and function of the Commission on Sustainable Development

149. With regard to the practical modalities and programme of work of the Commission, specific decisions on those issues should be taken by the Commission at its next session, when the Commission’s thematic work programme will be elaborated. In particular, the following issues should be considered:

(c) Give greater consideration to the scientific contributions to sustainable development through, for example, drawing on the scientific community and encouraging national, regional and international scientific networks to be involved in the Commission;

Commission on Sustainable Development,  9th Session
New York, 16-27 April 2001

Decision 9/2: Protection of the atmosphere

7. Noting the importance of several international legal instruments for global cooperation to protect the atmosphere, the Commission decides to:

(i) Encourage the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to consider supporting the increased involvement of academics and experts of developing countries in its work, including in the preparation of its reports and the incorporation of developing country scientific and socio-economic literature therein.

8. With respect to monitoring of the Earth’s atmosphere, the Commission emphasizes the importance of:

(a) Strengthening the systematic observation of the Earth’s atmosphere by the improvement of ground-based monitoring stations, increased use of satellites, and appropriate integration of these observations to produce high-quality data that could be disseminated for the use of all countries, in particular developing countries; 

(b) Encouraging the continuation of the work of the critical ground-based measurement programme for total column ozone coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) over the remainder of the decade in order to determine the potential net effects of ozone depletion;

(c) Supporting, as appropriate, international monitoring programmes, such as the Global Climate Observing System;

(d) Encouraging relevant international organizations, especially the United Nations specialized agencies, to jointly plan and implement a strategy for integrated global observations to monitor the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Commission on Sustainable Development,  8th Session
New York, 24 April - 5 May 2000

Decision 8/4: Agriculture

2. Priorities for action

(f) Biotechnology

24. Governments are encouraged to explore, using transparent science-based risk assessment procedures, as well as risk management procedures, applying the precautionary approach, as articulated in principle 15 of the Rio Declaration and recalled in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the potential of appropriate and safe biotechnology for enhancing food security for all and sustainable agricultural techniques and practices, taking into account possible effects on the environment and human health.

Commission on Sustainable Development,  7th Session
New York, 19-30 April 1999

Decision 7/1. Oceans and seas

II. Major challenges at the national, regional and global levels

3. Following the 1998 International Year of the Ocean, the Commission emphasizes the
importance of international cooperation, within the framework of UNCLOS and Agenda 21,
in ensuring that the oceans and seas remain sustainable through integrated management, and
that while respecting the sovereignty, jurisdiction and sovereign rights of coastal States and
recalling their rights and obligations in relation to the protection of the marine environment,
all States can benefit from the sustainable use of the oceans and seas. The Commission further
emphasizes the threats to these objectives from overexploitation of marine living resources,
including through illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing and unsustainable or
uncontrolled distant water fishing, and from pollution. In this context, the Commission
recommends that particular priority be given to:

(c) Better scientific understanding of the oceans and seas and their resources, of the
effects of pollution, and of the interaction of the oceans and seas with the world climate
system. This will be aimed at and facilitate proper assessment of the oceans and seas,
improving understanding of socio-economic issues, especially the effects of pollution,
developing better systems for the sustainable management and use of the resources of oceans
and seas, and comprehending and responding to such events as the El Niño phenomenon and
mitigating their impacts;

A. Capacity-building for action at the national level

4. In support of national action to implement the provisions of chapter 17 of Agenda 21,
the Commission invites the United Nations system and Governments, both in their bilateral
relationships and in the multilateral development and financial organizations in which they
participate, to review their programmes to ensure that priority is given to initiate or further 
develop, within the context of national plans, programmes for building capacities relating
to, inter alia, marine environment science, the administration of fisheries and shipping, the
control of activities likely to pollute or degrade the marine and coastal environment, and
cooperation and coordination with other States on marine environmental matters, including
development of early warning systems so as to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters,
especially those resulting from inter-annual climatic variability, such as the El Niño
phenomenon. In this regard, it is also important that Governments, the organizations of the
United Nations system and donors coordinate their actions. For the purpose of capacitybuilding,
regional and national partnership meetings involving major groups can make a
significant contribution to these activities.

III. Areas of particular concern

B. Land-based activities

27. In line with the 1995Washington Declaration on Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, the Commission urges the following: 

(c) Completion of the establishment of the clearing house mechanism to provide decision makers in all States with direct access to relevant information, practical experience and scientific and technical expertise, and to facilitate effective scientific, technical and financial cooperation as well as capacity-building and the transfer of environmentally sound technology in the context described in paragraph 3 (d) above;

C. Marine science

32. The Commission emphasizes that scientific understanding of the marine environment,
including marine living resources and the effects of pollution, is fundamental to sound
decision-making. Among other aspects of the global environment, this applies to the
interaction between atmospheric and oceanic systems such as experience with the 1997–1998
El Niño phenomenon. The Commission therefore:

(a) Regrets the lack of follow-up to its decision 4/15, reiterates those recommendations and welcomes the intention of IMO, working in partnership with other sponsoring organizations, to improve the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), and encourages them to undertake the actions recommended by the Commission in its decision 4/15. The Commission further recommends exploring the possibility of establishing a means for GESAMP to interact with scientific representatives of Governments and major groups;

(b) Invites the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to consider how the support
available for building scientific capacities needed for interdisciplinary, sustainable and
effective management of the marine environment in developing countries, particularly in the
least developed countries and small island developing States, could be extended and focused
more effectively. Recalling Commission decision 6/3 concerning the need for enhanced
science communication processes, the Commission encourages a contribution from the
forthcoming UNESCO World Science Congress on this question;

(c) Stresses the value both of the collection of reliable oceanographic data through
such systems as the Global Ocean Observing System, including the Global Coral Reef
Monitoring Network, and of periodic comprehensive scientific assessments of international
waters, such as the Global International Waters Assessment, including assessments of the
impact of physical and chemical changes on the health, distribution and productivity of living
marine resources.

33. To improve the scientific knowledge of fish stocks, the Commission invites RFOs,
within the framework of their competences, to cooperate with each other and consider 
strengthening catch surveillance, where applicable, as well as mechanisms for catch
evaluation, using scientific peer review systems to improve the scientific quality of fish stock
assessments, exchanging information on assessment techniques with each other and generally
enhancing transparency. The Commission invites FAO to assist and support this process. The
Commission also invites FAO to strengthen its global monitoring of fish stocks by increased
coverage, more consistent methodologies and frequent updating of information, in close
cooperation with States and RFOs, as appropriate.

34. The Commission notes the impact throughout the world of the El Niño Southern
Oscillation (ENSO), an example of the linkage between oceans and the atmosphere, and its
environmental, social and economic consequences, particularly for developing countries. The
Commission welcomes the intergovernmental expert meeting held at Guayaquil, Ecuador,
in November 1998, the intergovernmental meeting to be held at Lima in September 1999,
and the meeting on desertification and the El Niño phenomenon to be held at La Serena, Chile,
in October 1999. The Commission:

(a) Requests the Secretary-General to gather information on all aspects of the impact
of ENSO, through national reports on the implementation of Agenda 21, and to provide this
information to the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on ENSO in order to contribute
to the development of an internationally concerted and comprehensive strategy towards the
assessment, prevention, mitigation and rehabilitation of the damage caused by ENSO,
including that to coral reefs;

(b) Decides to consider at its eighth session the impacts of ENSO as part of its
examination of the integrated planning and management of land resources;

(c) Registers the importance of including the ENSO issue in the next quinquennial
comprehensive review of Agenda 21, and requests the Secretary-General to provide a
comprehensive report on which decisions on including the ENSO issue could be based;

(d) Invites all intergovernmental agencies concerned with aspects of the oceans to
consider, within their respective mandates, whether their programmes of work make sufficient
allowance for considerations of the potential impact of increased climate variability, and to
review through the various coordination arrangements what more needs to be done to ensure
adequate understanding of the prediction and coastal and marine impacts of such phenomena
as the El Niño phenomenon.

Commission on Sustainable Development,  6th Session
New York, 22 December and 20 April-1 May 1998

Report of the Commission on Sustainable Development on the Sixth Session
    (22 December 1997 and 20 April 1 May 1998)

D. Science for sustainable development

9. The Commission on Sustainable Development:

    (a) Recognizes the serious gaps in scientific capacities, especially in developing countries, and stresses the need for strong and concerted action at the national and international levels to urgently build up and strengthen the national scientific infrastructure and research management capabilities of these countries, to formulate national strategies, policies and plans for that purpose and to strengthen their science education programmes at all levels;

    (b) Stresses the need to improve the processes of generating, sharing and utilizing science for sustainable development and for more action-oriented interdisciplinary research, with greater focus on the prevention and early identification of emerging problems and opportunities;

    (c) Notes that the World Science Conference, to be organized jointly by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions in Budapest in June 1999, in cooperation with other United Nations agencies and international scientific organizations, provides a good opportunity to address key issues of science for sustainable development;

    (d) Urges the scientific community to work with government authorities, the education community, major groups and international organizations to strengthen science education at all levels and to overcome the communication gaps within the scientific community and between scientists, policy makers and the general public;

    (e) Invites Governments, the United Nations system and major groups to provide information on best practices and other illustrative examples related to the future sectoral themes of the Commission where science has been effectively employed to support the development and implementation of policies in these sectors;

    (f) Invites relevant international scientific advisory bodies and programmes to contribute, as appropriate, to the consideration of the sectoral themes of the Commission sessions in 1999, 2000 and 2001 on issues relevant to their interest;

    (g) Calls on multilateral and bilateral donor agencies and Governments, as well as specific funding mechanisms, to continue to enhance their support to strengthen higher education and scientific research capacities related to sustainable development in developing countries, particularly in Africa and the least developed countries. Such efforts should aim at:

(i) Strengthening research and teaching infrastructures in universities and their proper re-equipping as a critical precondition for the development of capacity in science and technology;

(ii) Linking technical assistance programmes to education and research in the broad field of environment and sustainable development;

(iii) Fostering university/business/civil society partnerships within and among countries;

(iv) Promoting regional and subregional cooperation training and research programmes and networks;

(v) Acquiring modern information technologies so as to ensure easy access to information sources around the world, as well as to be part of existing global and regional scientific and technological information networks to address the scientific needs of developing countries;

    (h) Encourages Governments of all countries to join forces with international organizations and the scientific community to strengthen the global environmental observing systems;

    (i) Invites the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions, in planning the World Science Conference in 1999, to take fully into account the interdisciplinary nature of sustainable development issues, with a view to strengthening the role of natural and social science in sustainable development and to mobilizing increased investment in research and development of scientific themes of sustainable development.

United Nations General Assembly, 19th Special Session
New York, 23-27 June 1997

Resolution Adopted By The General Assembly for the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21


101. 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 women.

102. 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. The promotion of existing regional and global networks may be useful for this purpose.

103. 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.

104. The international community should also actively collaborate in promoting innovations in information and communication technologies for the purpose of reducing environmental impacts, inter alia, by taking approaches to technology transfer and cooperation that are based on user needs.

Commission on Sustainable Development, 3rd Session
New York, 11-28 April 1995

Report of the Commission on Sustainable Development on the Third Session (11-28 April 1995)

2. Science for sustainable development

144. The Commission took note of the report of the Secretary-General on science for sustainable development (E/CN.17/1995/16), including the initiatives taken by national Governments, the United Nations system, other international organizations, major groups and the scientific and technological community to implement science-related policies and programmes.

145. The Commission welcomed the proposals for action contained in section III, which identified areas for priority actions that should be taken by countries and regional and international organizations, with a view to further enhancing the contribution of science to sustainable development, in particular in developing countries.

146. The Commission noted recent intergovernmental processes relevant to science for sustainable development, such as the establishment of the Commission on Science and Technology for the South (COMSATS), with its aim of creating 20 centres of excellence in the South as the frontier areas of science related to sustainable development, and the related Network of International Centres of Excellence in the South.

147. The Commission also noted the meetings of the Presidential Forum on the Management of Science and Technology for Development in Africa which, inter alia, led to the inauguration of the African Foundation for Research and Development (AFRAND).

148. The Commission highlighted the useful cooperation and collaboration with the Commission on Science and Technology for Development through its Panel on Science and Technology for Integrated Land Management, which provided an important input into the discussions of the Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group on Sectoral Issues.

149. The Commission stressed the importance of North-South and South-South cooperation and partnerships as mechanisms to support initiatives in capacity-building for science at the country level.

150. The Commission stressed the interdisciplinary nature of science and the need for related initiatives and research to reflect the linkages among the economic, social and natural aspects of science.

151. The Commission recognized the importance of indigenous people's knowledge and that indigenous sciences, traditions and communities should be consulted to help solve sustainable development problems.

152. The Commission:

(a) Invites the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 10/ the Convention on Biological Diversity 18/ and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa, 12/ to fully explore the possibilities of intensified scientific cooperation as provided for in those Conventions;

(b) Urges countries and international organizations to accord high priority to measures aimed at capacity-building and sharing of know-how in science, with particular emphasis on the needs of developing countries as provided for in chapter 33 of Agenda 21, particularly paragraphs 33.13 and 33.14 and, as relevant, paragraphs 33.15 and 33.16, as well as in chapter 35 of Agenda 21. In this regard, Governments, organizations of the United Nations system and other relevant intergovernmental organizations should:

(i) Share reliable and sector/country-specific information concerning scientific capacities and know-how and its impact on achieving sustainable development objectives in developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, and make this information available to the Commission, through, inter alia, well-documented case-studies;

(ii) Specify and implement activities, including through joint initiatives, cooperation and partnership arrangements, that are targeted towards enhancing the scientific capacities and capabilities of developing countries in the following priority areas: promoting general scientific education and sharing of know-how and training, particularly with regard to women; enhancing the status of science; enhancing the capabilities of decision makers to use existing scientific information in the development of sustainable development policies; improving the integration of science into national development policies and plans; promoting interdisciplinary approaches and use of new technologies; and increasing training in specialized scientific areas;

(c) Encourages Governments to enhance, with the support of intergovernmental and other relevant international organizations, international scientific cooperation, including North-South and South-South cooperation, taking into account current and planned efforts, for example, the initiatives of COMSATS and the Presidential Forum on the Management of Science and Technology for Development in Africa. In this regard, there is a need for:

(i) The networking of national and international centres of excellence which would build upon existing national and regional research, education and development institutions, organizations and programmes;

(ii) The enhanced participation of developing countries in international research programmes on global environmental issues, recognizing that in many scientific fields related to sustainable development, generation of new knowledge requires enhanced international scientific cooperation. Joint efforts could relate to:

a. Making full use and exploring the development of Global Environment Observing Systems;

b. Reinforcing and, where necessary, expanding existing international scientific programmes to ensure coordination and high-quality scientific results;

c. Identifying emerging issues for international scientific cooperation and addressing appropriate response strategies;

(d) Encourages initiatives at the country level to improve communication among science, industry, policy makers and major groups and to enhance the application of science. In this regard, Governments, the scientific and technological community, including universities, and the industrial sector should enhance cooperative efforts to ensure that the most recent and comprehensive scientific information is collected, synthesized and made available to interested groups. In addition, these groups should also cooperate to identify priority research needs in support of sustainable development;

(e) Invites the donor community to consider targeted financial support for the implementation of specific activities related to scientific capacity-building in the identified priority areas. In this regard, adequate funding is needed, inter alia, for:

(i) Promoting basic scientific education, enhancing interdisciplinarity between natural and social sciences, enhancing research on and development of new technologies and increasing training in specialized scientific areas, according to national priorities. Such efforts should also be part of relevant United Nations organization programmes and a goal of domestic education programmes in all countries;

(ii) Networking of national and international centres of excellence;

(iii) Implementing problem-oriented interdisciplinary research and demonstration projects, in particular in developing countries, in support of the development of sector-specific sustainable resource management policies.



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2 August 2005