Highlights from Friday, 2 March
Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and
Sustainable Development met in New York from 26 February to 2 March
2001. The Expert Group was established by the UN General Assembly
to prepare input for the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD-9). The Expert Group focused on key issues relating
to energy for sustainable development including accessibility of
energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced fossil fuel
technologies, nuclear energy technologies, rural energy and energy-related
issues in transportation, and regional and international cooperation.
Delegates discussed the issues on the basis of a Co-Chairs' proposal
for a draft decision and a compilation text based on views presented
by delegates in oral and written statements during the meeting.
Delegates failed to reach agreement on a number of contentious issues,
most notably nuclear energy and international cooperation. The general
negotiating atmosphere was tense, with negotiations stalling mid-week,
and finally gaining momentum late Thursday night. A revised Co-Chairs'
draft proposal, which contains many brackets, was adopted and forwarded
Above photo: Co-Chairs
Irene Freudenschuss Reichl (Austria) and Mohammad
Reza Salamat (Iran)
2 March: The Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development
met informally throughout the morning, afternoon and evening to
negotiate Section C (Key Issues), Section D (Overarching Issues),
and Section E (Regional Cooperation). Co-Chair Salamat said the
Group would complete a first read through of the document on the
understanding that Section F (International Cooperation) would be
sent to CSD-9 fully bracketed for further consultations at CSD-9. A
compromise text on nuclear energy was proposed by Co-Chair Salamat
based on informal consultations, but the text was bracketed in its
entirety and sent to CSD-9. The informal meeting adjourned at midnight
and the formal Closing Plenary convend at 1:15. The Group adopted
the draft report as contained in E/CN.17/ESD/2001/L.2. The report
will contain a draft decision for CSD-9, asking the CSD to adopt
the outcome of the Energy Expert Group. The Group of Experts agreed
to submit to CSD-9 the text annexed to this decision for the CSD's
consideration as an input to CSD-9. The Closing Plenary adjourned
at 2:00 am on Saturday morning.
Photo: Co-Chair Salamat (right) presents compromise text on nuclear
energy, which he said was the result of informal consultations.
Some delegates, incluidng Pakistan, Turkey and New Zealand, said
they could not accept the text until further consultations with
their capitals. The text was consequently sent to CSD-9 in brackets
NUCLEAR ENERGY TEXT Challenges: Nuclear power presently accounts
for 16% of the world's electricity generation. However, nuclear
energy is associated with a number of concerns namely nuclear
safety, spent fuel and waste management. The choice of nuclear
energy rests with countries. Several countries have been using
nuclear energy technologies safely and see no inordinate concern
in using and developing additional technology for properly managing
and controlling spent fuel and other nuclear materials. However,
several other countries, including Small Island Developing States
(SIDS), do not consider nuclear as appropriate or acceptable source
of energy for meeting their energy needs and are of the view that
nuclear energy is not compatible with the objectives of sustainable
development. For those countries that choose nuclear energy, the
challenge lies in finding cost-effective solutions and in addressing
nuclear safety and spent fuel and waste management as well as
public concerns on these issues. Recommendations: Governments,
taking into account national circumstances, are encouraged to:
a. support their national efforts, including research and
international cooperation as an effective tool in addressing the
issues of nuclear safety and spent fuel and waste management;
b. strengthen independent national regulatory agencies
and promote cooperaiton in nuclear safety across countries; c.
promote a high level of nuclear safety worldwide by IAEA; d.
improve the transparency of nuclear safety related decisions;
e. prevent the proliferation of fissile materials through
IAEA safeguards; f. promote public education and participation
as well as capacity building as well as capacity building on human
resources on energy and waste management by countries that choose
nuclear energy; g. further develop technological solutions
for long-lived radioactive waste; h. address the safety
of their nuclear energy installations, as being appropriate after
assessment by national regulatory authorities, including consideration
of the option of phasing out of such installations; and i.
more consultations; taking into account the high risk to human
health, safety, and the environment from the movement of nuclear
waste, the transboundary movement of such waste have to be done
in compliance with the international instruments.
Arabia, Iran and Indonesia consulting
advance fuel technologies, the G-77/China
said it could not accept a reference to carbon sequestration and
the reference remains bracketed as does a reference to promoting
carbon emission reductions
Salamat consulting with Andrea Alban (Colombia)
capacity building, Nigeria distinguished between needs of
countries of economies in transition and all developing countries.
On enhancing regional and international cooperation, Nigeria stressed
in particular to give access to energy for sustainable development
Marsh (US), John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Tuiloma Neroni Slade
US, Denmark and Antigua and Barbuda confer on nuclear energy
B on general principles, Saudi Arabia proposed eradicating
poverty is an indispensable requirement of sustainable development.
For developing countries, poverty eradication is the highest priority.
Environmental standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate
and of unwarranted economic and social costs, hindering developing
countries efforts to eradicate poverty. The EU called for bracketing
of the NGO Energy and Climate Change Caucus discuss the text with
members consulting on nuclear energy during a recess
(the EU) in consultations (left) and Per Almqvist (Sweden) speaks
with JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development
sent bracketed text to be sent to CSD-9 on making markets work
better. The bracketed text states, inter alia, that governments
are encouraged to reduce and gradually eliminate subsidies for
energy production and consumption that inhibit sustainable development,
and that governments should also promote environmental cost internalization.
The text also refers to giving due to the polluter-pays principle.
The EU preferred
renaming the section "making markets work towards sustainable
Margois (US) with Alison Drayton (Guyana)
writer Hernan Lopez speaks with Antonio Sergio Lima Braga of the
delegation (above left) and Algeria with Canada (above right);
Canada expressed concern over reference to developing national
strategies and indicative targets in enhancing the contribution
of renewable energies to total energy consumption. He said goals
or indicative targets are fine in industrialized countries, but
in other countries, they can and will lead to serious distortions
in the energy sector and the energy market. The EU preferred marinating
reference to indicative goals.
(left) and Japan (right)
on the proposed Energy and Transport exhibit
Marsh and Arthur Rypinski of the US delegation and Janet Stephenson
and David Drake of the Canadian delegation. Janet Stephanson
briefed participants on the status of the Energy and Transport
exhibit, which was scheduled to be held in parallel to CSD-9.
She said that due to insufficient financing and logistics the
exhibit would not take place, but could take place in some form
at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg
in 2002. NGOs expressed disappointment that the exhibit would
not be held as they had worked very hard in collaboration with
the US and Canadian governments. They were concerned that the
scope of the exhibit would widen to include for example nuclear