Events convened on Monday, 27 May 2002
Briefing on the
DESA/UNCCD Panel of Eminent Personalities on the Poverty-Environment Nexus
and Implementation of the UNCCD
Adamou Namata, Minister of Water, Environment and Control of Desertification of Niger, expressed hope that the Agadez Call, issued by the Panel at its second meeting in Agadez, Niger, would be heeded by those with the ways and means to address desertification and land degradation. He also expressed hope that leaders would consider desertification at the upcoming G-8 meeting in Canada.
Mostafa Tolba, former Executive Director of UNEP, raised the recurring question of whether desertification is a rural or global issue, citing the large number of signatories to the UNCCD as evidence of a growing recognition that it is indeed a global problem. He highlighted the GEF's potential acceptance of land degradation as a focal area as a way to mobilize the donor community, and said that developed countries must be convinced of their stake in combating desertification in order to stimulate their involvement.
Australian Senator, noted the unique position of Australia as both a
country affected by desertification and a donor. He outlined Australian
aid programmes for land degradation, and expressed the desire to further
extend Australia's sharing of expertise and knowledge in this field.
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted several issues, including: the need for political will to implement the UNCCD and strategies to mobilize support for it; linkages between population and desertification; the lack of financial resources for the UNCCD; and GEF funding priorities.
Governing sustainable development: The next steps
Presented by the Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future-UK Committee and IUCN
Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future, presented an analysis by the
Stakeholder Forum of the text on an institutional framework. The analysis
assesses weaknesses in the text as presented to PrepCom IV, with overviews
of 11 key areas and commentary on individual paragraphs.
Discussion: Participants discussed, inter alia: the importance of integration between various levels of government and different ways in which this is carried out; sub-national levels of government; a definition of good governance that incorporates predictability, transparency, accountability and sustainability; and common sense in good governance.
Implementation Conference: Stakeholder Action for Our Common Future
Presented by the UN Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future, provided an update on the
Implementation Conference, which will take place from 24-26 August in
Johannesburg, and which will focus on implementation of sustainable
development agreements through collaborative stakeholder actions,
including potential Type II outcomes. She explained that the Conference
will focus on freshwater, energy, food security, and health, all with a
view to poverty eradication, social inclusion and empowerment, good
governance, gender equity, and corporate citizenship. She noted that draft
action plans are under development by Issue Advisory Groups for each of
the issue areas.
Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future, outlined current and future
efforts related to the Conference, which include continued development of
the draft action plans, further identification of potential partners, and
identification of funding sources for implementation of Conference
Water Aid, discussed the capacity and efforts of NGOs to engage in
partnerships, highlighting examples in the drinking water sector.
Linking local actions with strategies and mechanisms for sustainable development
Presented by the Governments of Indonesia and Bolivia
René Gómez-Garcia, Bolivian Ministry of Sustainable Development and Planning, described Bolivia's initiative to develop and implement a national strategy for sustainable development. He highlighted institutional capacity building, a strong participatory process, the implementation of local efforts in municipalities, and intragovernmental coordination as key determinants of its success.
Seth Vordzorgbe, Ghana, outlined lessons learned from Ghana's efforts to build linkages between local and national sustainable development strategies and mechanisms. He stressed the importance of, inter alia: pursuing strategic, integrated and coherent processes for development programming; enhancing the human focus of development strategies; building adequate capacity for development strategy formulation and implementation; and employing local knowledge.
Delfin Ganapin, Philippines National Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), discussed the role of coordinating mechanisms in promoting national-local linkages and multi-stakeholder participation in the Philippines. He emphasized that the PCSD and the Philippines' national Agenda 21 created critical paradigm shifts in policy at the national level and a political mandate at the highest level. He highlighted lessons learned, including that: general sustainable development policies and strategies must be translated into different local contexts; local people must "own" sustainable development efforts; the multi-stakeholder nature of the mechanisms facilitates local participation; it is easier to mainstream within existing roles and structures; and advocates are still needed to implement local Agenda 21 programmes.
Philip Dobie, UNDP, discussed UNDP's efforts to develop capacities for sustainable communities. He outlined successes and failures of Capacity 21, and noted that UNDP is now in the process of launching Capacity 2015, which will be a "platform" with broad ownership based on partnerships, and will focus on local-level activities. Its components will include capacity development for local sustainable development, national strategies for sustainable development, and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, as well as capacity building for small island developing States.
Resilience and sustainable development: Building adaptive capacity in a world of transformations
Presented by the International Council for Science
Brian Walker, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), discussed sustainable development with respect to resilience of socio-ecological systems. Defining resilience as the ability of such systems to maintain a certain state, self-organize and build capacity for adaptation and learning, he said sustainable development means maintaining the resilience of the desired states of socio-ecological systems, which requires identifying and managing the environmental, social and economic attributes that contribute to the systems' resilience. It also requires the creation of open collaborative institutes and networks.
Good governance: Implementing Principle 10 in the UN/ECE Region
Presented by the Environmental Law Institute
Environmental Law Institute, explained that this event would address a
range of issues relating to the Aarhus Convention on Access to
Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice
in Environmental Matters, as well as Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration
(access to environmental information).
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, said Principle 10 is implemented in
many parts of the world, and cited models of public access to information
in Italy, India, and Thailand as positive examples. He also noted
broadening acceptance of participatory democracy in Eastern and Central
Europe, which is based on public participation and access to information
and justice, and stressed the need to focus on decision-making procedures
that help to design strategies reflecting national and regional
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