The World Summit on Sustainable Development
Second Preparatory Committee (PrepCom-II)
New York, 28 Jan - 8 Feb 2002
 
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Monday, 4 February

In the morning, the PrepCom heard an address from Jan Pronk, Dutch Environment Minister and Secretary-General's Special Envoy for WSSD. The PrepCom adjourned for groups to meet to discuss the List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion. Chair Salim had originally proposed that two discussion groups meet in parallel to address the various issues and the proposed clusters. However, some delegations preferred to meet in one Plenary to discuss all the issues and to delete the proposed cluster titles. In the afternoon, the PrepCom met in Plenary to discuss clusters related to globalization, poverty eradication and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. On Tuesday, delegates will address clusters related to health, energy and conservation and management of natural resources. Photo: Jan Pronk, Secretary-General's Special Envoy for WSSD, JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, and PrepCom Chair Emil Salim.

Statement from Secretary-General's 
Special Envoy for WSSD 

RealAudio of Pronk's statement: part one  part two
 
An unidentified delegate having a word with Pronk at the close of the morning Plenary session.
 

Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the WSSD, described his primary function of liaising between capitals and the Secretary-General (SG). He detailed some of the SG's concerns he has been sharing with heads of State, such as: ensuring that a high number of heads of State are in attendance in Johannesburg; promoting balanced regional representation; assuring heads of government that the WSSD will focus on implementation, commitments and partnerships, and that it will not be "just another environment conference;" and finally ensuring that discussions at WSSD will be "politically relevant in the present political situation." He told of the unanimously positive responses he has been receiving from heads of State, and the desire for a "real breakthrough" at WSSD. He related the feedback he has received from capitals thus far, which he grouped in terms of environment; social affairs; economy and trade; and politics and institutions. He concluded by saying that the present "coalition against terrorism" must be complemented by another coalition - a coalition for sustainable development, for humankind, against poverty - and the WSSD was a unique opportunity to create it.

 
Introduction of Chair's List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion
PrepCom Chair Emil Salim explains his proposed organization of work based on the prepared List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion. He said his paper was divided into the following clusters: making globalization work for sustainable development; poverty eradication and sustainable agriculture and livelihoods; changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; promoting health through sustainable development; energy, transport and protection of the atmosphere; conservation and management of the natural resource base for development; managing the world's freshwater resources; sustainable development of SIDS and management of oceans, marine resources and coastal areas; means of implementation (finance, transfer of technology, and science, education and capacity building); and sustainable development initiatives for Africa, and combating desertification. He originally proposed that two parallel discussion groups would discuss these issues. Chair Salim said the PrepCom would discuss strengthening governance for sustainable development at the national, regional and international levels on Thursday, 7 February.
RealAudio excerpt
 
Venezuela, on behalf of the G-77/China, said the Chairman's list introduced clusters that are not in Agenda 21.
 
Calling attention to the international environmental governance process underway and the consultations on sustainable development governance, the United States noted that national governance was missing from the list and said it needed to be addressed.
 
Joanne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, on behalf of the Secretariat, explained the relationship of the Chair's document to the report of the Secretary-General.
   
 
The Secretariat discusses procedure with Chair Salim
 
Chair Salim before the afternoon session.
 

Afternoon: Opening of debate on Chair's List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion

After consultations, it was decided that discussions would be held in Plenary and not in two discussion groups.


Chair Salim deleted headings A through C, and proposes that their grouping should be discussed and decided upon once the substance has been addressed. He explained once again the intent of the document as solely a basis for discussion.

 
Richard Ballhorn, Canada, preferred discussing the various clusters in two groups as it would be more time-efficient. Regarding the issue of a multilateral agreement on global corporate responsibility, he said this should be of a voluntary nature, and that it is up to individual countries to regulate corporations.
    
Saudi Arabia said the subheading on energy, transport and protection of the atmosphere went beyond what was negotiated in Rio. He said energy issues should be under poverty eradication.
 
Zimbabwe, on behalf of the G-77/China, inter alia, asked for clarification on the term "illicit crops," and for an additional paragraph on access to energy under the poverty cluster.
 
Spain, on behalf of the EU, raised four issues of importance to the EU under the cluster of globalization that need to be addressed: national action and governance; trade; direct foreign investment; and international and ecological governance. Regarding poverty eradication, he emphasized sustainable urban development as well as rural, and eradicating poverty through, inter alia, markets and increased trade.
 
The Holy See stressed the promotion and enhancement of well-being through the promotion of access to basic human services, and the strengthening of existing programmes instead of launching new ones.
 
The US said the Chair's list failed to state that the poor are not poor because of globalization, but because there is not enough of it. He stressed that open markets drive development, opposed launching new multilateral agreements, and supported better implementing those that already exist. He also opposed more corporate regulation.
 
Brazil, speaking for the G-77/China, said the Group appreciated the Chair's decision to eliminate the headings in the Chair's document. She said the Group would still prefer the distribution of work proposed by the G-77/China, but would work based on the Chair's document.
 

On the issue of globalization, Hungary reiterated the importance of the transboundary context and access to information, and said the Aarhus Convention is an important precedent. Regarding the Doha Development Agenda, he urged mentioning synergies of the WTO process with the Financing for Development and the WSSD.

 

Chile, speaking for the G-77/China, said the paragraph dealing with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) was too limited, and lacked any reference to technology transfer. She also stated that the group did not feel comfortable with the reference to the WTO playing a fuller role in making global decisions on sustainable development.
Zimbabwe, continuing for the G-77/China, stated that globalization is not just about WTO and trade, but that it's also about financing, labor flows and technology transfer; and felt that the text should reflect this diversity of meanings for globalization.

   
China said that if there is to be a multilateral agreement on corporate accountability, domestic and transnational corporate activities should be regulated. She also emphasized transfer of financial and human resources, reduction of financial risk, and strengthening market access of products from developing countries.

 

Everton Vargas, Brazil, said the Chair's document only highlights problems of developing countries and that sustainability will not be a reality until the current situation of developed countries is dealt with. He used the example of greenhouse gas emissions, which have been rising since 1992 despite international activities in that area. He asked how the PrepCom will establish links with decisions of, for example, the WTO Ministerial Conference and the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, and how they will be internalized.

 

Samoa supported the idea of corporate accountability and said that global environmental reporting is an important element of national governance. He also highlighted urban poverty, and specified poverty of opportunities in education, jobs and other benefits of society. He also said ecotourism should be given more prominence.
 
Japan supported Canada's concern that dealing with the Chair's text in one group and not two will make progress more difficult. Concerning a paragraph on improving market access for LDC products, he reminded delegates of a previous commitment made in Brussels in 2001 that allows for countries to consider effects on domestics producers. Accordingly, he suggested changing the paragraph to "improve preferential market access for LDCs by working towards the objective of duty-free and quota-free market access of LDC products."
 
Side Event: Science and Technology for Sustainable Development: Proposals for WSSD
 

This side event advocated the necessity of harnessing science and technology towards implementing the global sustainable development agenda, presented proposals for specific issue areas within this broader agenda and outlined a new international project in the emerging area of sustainability science. In particular it addressed: proposals for the WSSD on agriculture, energy and water; the potential of Geographic Information Systems for the implementation of Agenda 21; and the international Initiative for Science and Technology for Sustainability.

Photo: Calestous Juma (calestous_juma@harvard.edu), Director of the Science, Technology and Innovation Program at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, Chancellor of the University of Guyana and former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Calestous Juma said that many new opportunities exist in which science and technology can make contributions to sustainability programmes. He discussed the importance science and technology related such issues as the human condition, integration of disciplines, regional and place-based initiatives, and improvements on scientific and technology infrastructure, institutional arrangements and human capabilities. He said science and technology occupies a more significant role today and this has to do with the evolution of the idea of sustainable development. He cited raising awareness, consensus building, integrating issues into domestic policies, and operationalizing programmes as important to this evolution. He noted that the role of science and technology is critical in implementation and operationalization, and that universities should be recognized as major players in this new phase of implementation. He noted four areas where science and technology play an important role: energy; agriculture; water; and geographical information. Regarding energy, he highlighted: rural energy technologies; clean vehicles; clean coal power plants; and capacity and regional centers. He supported the idea of a consultative group on experts on energy along the same lines of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Regarding agriculture, he emphasized sustainable production, advances in the biosciences, and institutional partnerships. On water, he stressed the importance of: targets for water and sanitation; regional water technology centers, which would address, inter alia, transboundary considerations; and private sector and user groups. On geographical information, he discussed information for action, international partnerships and regional and local institutions. He stressed the importance of high resolution geographic information to manage natural resources at the local level. He stressed, inter alia, partnerships between universities in developed and developing countries, security related issues, institutions that can adapt quickly to changes, particularly in respect to the use of satellites. He urged countries to include technical experts on their delegations. He emphasized the need for feedback into the global system on performance. He proposed a sustainable development report that captures trends in sustainability worldwide, something along the lines of the Human Development Report of UNDP, with trends and benchmarks that indicate progress made. He hoped that the WSSD would discuss the character of such a report.
 

In the ensuing discussion, and regarding poverty alleviation strategies, he said they often fail to recognize the role of scientific and technological innovations in raising human capabilities to respond to local problems. Regarding institutions, it was noted that many institutions are already in place. Again the role of the university was highlighted, and Juma supported the idea of regional economic commissions becoming regional sustainable development commissions. Noting governments may not have the capacity to fund technical experts, one participant suggested that universities provide experts at their expense, and provide experts to developing country delegations. Another participant from Brazil noted the role of National Academies of Sciences, highlighting the experience in his country. A representative of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs called attention to the upcoming Beijing Forum on New and Emerging Technologies and Sustainable Development, and said DESA was looking for academics who would be interested in participating. (For more information, contact Kui-Nang Mak, DESA, makk@un.org). Another participant advocated more scientific input into the CSD process, and suggested reforming the multistakeholder dialogue to address this issue.

The Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability (ISTS) seeks to enhance the contribution of knowledge to environmentally sustainable human development around the world. The Initiative is based on an emerging vision of "science and technology for sustainability" that is: anchored in concerns for the human condition; integrative in bridging efforts across disciplines, regional and place-based; and fundamental in character, addressing the unity of the nature-society system. The initiative aims make significant progress toward strengthening the infrastructure and capacity to deepen science and technology's role in a transition toward sustainability; connect science and policy more effectively; and apply science and technology to place-specific problems of sustainable development. For more information, visit http://sustsci.harvard.edu/ists/index.html.

 
Side Event:
"State of the World: Ten Years after Rio," organized by the Worldwatch Institute

The Special Summit Edition, State of the World 2002, is dedicated to the WSSD, and provides perspectives on progress made since Rio, and highlights strategies for overcoming the continuing obstacles faced in building a sustainable world. It includes chapters on, inter alia, creating a more secure world as the challenge for Johannesburg, moving the climate change agenda forward, redirecting international tourism, reducing our toxic burden, and reshaping global governance. To order, email: wwpub@worldwatch.org or for more information, visit: www.worldwatch.org. Photo: Danielle Nierenberg and Hilary French, Worldwatch Institute
 

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