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MEDIA REPORTS

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2003

 

Sustainable Development Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2003

 

INDEPENDENT REVIEW MULLS OVER COMPATIBILITY OF EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES WITH WORLD BANK’S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

Launched by the World Bank to discuss its future role in the extractive industries with concerned stakeholders, the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) aims to produce a set of recommendations that will guide involvement of the World Bank Group in the oil, gas and mining sectors. The independent review met recently from 11-13 December in Lisbon, Portugal to discuss the recommendations from the EIR’s final report entitled “Striking a Better Balance.”

 

The basic question addressed throughout the review process was whether extractive industries projects can be compatible with the Bank’s goals of sustainable development and poverty reduction. Based on over two years of consultations and research, the EIR says it believes that there is still a role for the World Bank Group in the oil, gas, and mining sectors, provided that its interventions allow extractive industries to contribute to poverty alleviation through sustainable development. The review highlights three necessary enabling conditions: pro-poor public and corporate governance, including proactive planning and management to maximize poverty alleviation through sustainable development; much more effective social and environmental policies; and respect for human rights. The final report will be officially presented to World Bank President James Wolfensohn at the end of December, and the bank will decide whether to follow the EIR’s recommendations in March 2004.

 

Noting that many of the EIR’s recommendations signal the need for a shift from traditional support of extractive industries, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) says the recommendations are likely to meet with strong resistance from the Bank’s shareholder countries. The large environmental grassroots organizations also released a report entitled “Hands Off: Why International Financial Institutions Should Stop Drilling, Piping and Mining” at the Lisbon meeting, which highlights global and local resistance to large-scale mining projects funded by international financial institutions though analyzing 11 case studies.

 

Links to further information

Extractive Industries Review website

http://www.eireview.org/eir/eirhome.nsf/englishmainpage/about?Opendocument

Hands Off: Why International Financial Institutions Should Stop Drilling, Piping and Mining
http://www.foei.org/media/2003/handsoff.html

Friends of the Earth International press release, 11 December 2003

http://www.foei.org/media/2003/1208.html

 

INITIATIVE CHAMPIONS NOBEL PRIZE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Over one million people and organizations from 106 countries have signed onto the call for a Nobel Prize on sustainable development. These signatures were posted online on 10 December, the day the official Nobel award ceremonies took place. Emphasizing that sustainable development is one of the most important conditions needed to guarantee quality of life, the initiative points out that the original Nobel prizes have been subject to change over time, allowing the institution to adapt to changing views, while preserving its original intention of awarding people who through their work improve the lives of mankind.

 

While calling for a new prize, the initiative also sees the possibility of revising current prizes, for example modifying the Economy Prize to a prize for sustainable leadership. Aware that the Nobel Foundation is “not enthusiastic” about a new Prize, the initiative will continue seeking support through the coming year. A new network on Sustainable Leadership will be established in 2004.

 

The initiative was first championed by Dutch parliamentarian Boris van der Ham, British Euro-MP Chris Davies and former UN-Youth Representative Ingrid Aaldijk.

 

Links to further information

The Nobel Prize for Sustainable Development

http://www.sustainable-prize.net/

 

NOVEMBER 2003

 

EARTHSCAN ACQUIRED BY JAMES & JAMES, WORLD’S LARGEST PUBLISHER OF SUSTAINABILITY PUBLICATIONS CREATED
James & James Limited has recently acquired Earthscan Publications Limited, creating the world’s largest publisher committed to delivering information on sustainability and environmental technology. Founded in 1990, James & James is a publisher of titles on renewable and sustainable energy, waste management and conservation. Earthscan, founded in 1987 by the International Institute for Environment and Development, has been a subsidiary of Kogan Page Limited since 1992.

 

Links to further information
The Bookseller.com, 11 November 2003

http://www.thebookseller.com/?pid=4&did=9625

James & James website
http://www.jxj.com/

Earthscan website

http://www.earthscan.co.uk/

 

WORLD’S FIRST ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ACADEMY OPENS
A new global network of university law departments concerning all fields of environmental law has been established by IUCN-The World Conservation Union. Launched at the network’s first colloquium held recently in Beijing, the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law is the fruit of eight years of work by the IUCN and its Commission on Environmental Law, comprising 900 legal experts from over 130 countries. The Academy plans to convene annual colloquia, promoting research on cutting edge environmental issues in various parts of the world. Research areas in the pipeline include identifying legal reforms required to maintain, restore or enhance the robustness of biological systems, and defining and elaborating international environmental humanitarian law applicable during times of armed conflict. The Academy further plans to explore legal measures appropriate for implementing the Kyoto Protocol and managing ecosystems.

 

Links to further information

Environment News Service, 4 November 2003

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2003/2003-11-04-02.asp

 

ANTI-CORRUPTION TREATY APPROVED BY UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The international community has agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fight against corruption, through the recent adoption by the General Assembly of the UN Convention against Corruption. Provisions against embezzlement, bribery, diversion of funds and property are binding, while measures against money laundering, abuse of power, influence trading and illicit enrichment are encouraged.

 

Among the innovative aspects of the Convention are provisions that make it more difficult for stolen assets to be stashed away. UN Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa states that “a new major breakthrough of the convention is the importance governments have attributed to the recognition that assets that are stolen … should be repatriated. Not only does this mean recovery of assets is possible, but this is a very important element of deterrent: the idea money cannot hide anymore.”

 

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan adds that this requirement “to return assets obtained through corruption to the country from which they were stolen … introduces a new fundamental principle, as well as a framework for stronger cooperation between states to prevent, detect and return the proceeds of corruption.”
 

A record number of 125 countries took part in the negotiations of this treaty, which began in Vienna in January 2002. The Convention, which will require 30 ratifications for entry into force, will be open for signature at a conference to be held from 9-11 December 2003 in Mexico.

 

Links to further information

UN Wire, 3 November 2003

http://www.unwire.org/News/328_426_10012.asp

Website of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/crime_cicp_convention_corruption_docs.html

 

SEPTEMBER 2003

 

DIFFERENCES IN ADDRESSING THREATS TO PEACE AND SECURITY HARMING MDGS
Divergence over how to address threats to international peace and security is jeopardizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “Events have shaken the international system,” Annan stated.  “I am not even sure whether the consensus and the vision that the Millennium Declaration expressed are still intact, [with governments] sharply divided about some of the most fundamental issues … While there is agreement that there are new threats, we don't seem to agree what exactly they are, or how to respond, or even whether the response should be a collective one,” Annan said during a recent press conference, where his annual report to the General Assembly was launched.

 

The report entitled Implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration discusses progress towards the MDGs and addresses issues relating to peace and security, development, and human rights, democracy and good governance. In the report, Annan distinguishes between “hard” and “soft” threats, with the former being threats such as terrorism and the latter including threats posed by, inter alia, environmental problems, contagious diseases, economic dislocation, crime, domestic violence, and poverty. These soft threats he noted often form the root causes of armed conflict. The report’s conclusions note that we can no longer take for granted that multilateral institutions can stand up to today’s global challenges and suggest that radical reform of certain international institutions may be needed.

 

Links to further information

UN Wire, 8 September 2003

http://www.unwire.org/News/328_426_8160.asp

Implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration, 2 September 2003

http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/6955300.html

 

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR UN DECADE OF EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
In its role as lead agency for the promotion of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), UNESCO hosted the first inter-agency meeting on DESD on 5 September 2003. Representatives from FAO, ILO, UNAIDS, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNU, the World Bank and WFP attended. In his opening remarks, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura stressed that “the ‘education’ in ESD is not just formal schooling but embraces a wide range of learning experiences and programmes.”

 

The DESD will begin 1 January 2005. UNESCO is currently seeking comments on the draft International Implementation Scheme it has prepared in its role as facilitator in the promotion of the Decade. The UN CSD Education Caucus is helping solicit comments and will submit them to UNESCO by October 2003. The draft can be obtained by contacting Pam Puntenney, Education Caucus, at pjpunt@umich.edu. Comments should be sent to Puntenney by 20 September 2003.

 

Links to further information
UNESCO’s work on ESD

http://www.unesco.org/education/esd/

 

AUGUST 2003

 

GLOBAL STUDY ON FOOD SECURITY LAUNCHED
A global study on food security has been launched to examine how agricultural science, knowledge and technology can improve the livelihoods of the rural poor and reduce poverty in developing countries. Entitled the Budapest Declaration, the agreement was the fruit of regional and global consultations hosted by the World Bank and held between January and June 2003 by a coalition of representatives from governments of developed and developing countries, NGOs, UN bodies, the private sector, scientific institutions, consumer groups, and producer organizations. The study, which will look into the economic, environmental, health and social implications of current and future agricultural technologies, aims to anticipate plausible future scenarios for food security in the next 20-50 years.

 

Robert Watson, Chief Scientist of the World Bank and a Co-Chair of the Consultative process, said the assessment would bring together farmers’ local knowledge and the work of university, government and private sector laboratories. He added that “the proposed process would be conducted using an open, transparent, representative, and legitimate process, involving a representative set of experts from all relevant stakeholder groups. It will develop a consensus on what is known and unknown, explain different points of view, and identify the uncertainties.”

 

Links to further information

International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology website

http://www.agassessment.org/

World Bank press release, 7 August 2003

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20122638~menuPK
:34457~pagePK:64003015~piPK:64003012~theSitePK:4607,00.html

 

EMINENT PERSONS’ PANEL ON CIVIL SOCIETY AND UN RELATIONSHIPS REQUESTS INPUT
The Secretary-General’s Panel of Eminent Persons on Civil Society and UN Relationships has prepared a survey to canvas experiences related to the UN and its relationship with civil society actors, the private sector and parliaments. The Panel has been charged with developing practical recommendations for the Secretary-General on possible improvements; responses to the survey will assist the Panel to better understand the range of experiences at all levels. The deadline for responding is 1 October 2003. More information about the Panel and the survey can be accessed through http://www.un.org/reform/panel.htm

 

CSD SECRETARIAT REQUESTS INPUT FOR STATE OF IMPLEMENTATION REPORTS
The 12th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12), at its April 2004 meeting, will evaluate progress in implementing Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, as well as the implementation of the thematic clusters of Water, Sanitation, and Human Settlements. To contribute to CSD-12’s evaluation process, the CSD Secretariat encourages major groups to provide input for the Secretary-General’s State of Implementation reports and a Background Paper on Major Groups’ views on overall progress. The deadline for contributions to the State of Implementation reports is 31 October 2003 and to the Background Paper is 15 February 2004. Contributors are encouraged to provide information “in the form of factual evidence to allow a fact-supported analysis of progress achieved in the implementation of the commitments, goals and targets.” Major Groups wishing to contribute should visit http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/mgroups/csd12_callforinput.htm.

 

JULY 2003

 

UN LAUNCHES COMMISSION ON THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND DEVELOPMENT
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recently launched the Commission on the Private Sector and Development. Annan said the high-level Commission “was created as a direct response to the growing notion that achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the meeting of the challenges facing humanity can only occur if the private sector is involved.” Paul Martin, Canada’s former Finance Minister, and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, will co-chair the Commission, which is convened by the UN Development Programme. The Commission has been charged with developing recommendations on how to promote strong indigenous private sectors and initiate concrete programmes with the highest potential impact in private sector development.

 

Links to further information

UN press briefing, 25 July 2003

http://www.un.org/News/briefings/docs/2003/UNDPbrf.doc.htm

UN news service, 23 July 2003
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=
7812&Cr=development&Cr1=commission

 

NORWAY AND SWEDEN CREATE FUND FOR POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENT
Norway and Sweden have jointly created a Poverty and Environment Fund focused on small-scale environment-related activities that promote poverty reduction. Both countries will contribute $3.6 million over the next three years, with Norway contributing $2.3 million and Sweden $1.3 million to the fund, which will be administered by the Asian Development Bank. The Fund will finance technical assistance projects and other activities in the areas of: protection, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystem services; reduction of air and water pollution; and disaster prevention and reduction of vulnerability to natural hazards. The fund will also finance research and studies that have the potential to form the basis of policy dialogue, awareness-raising, and capacity building on poverty-environment linkages. It will also support dissemination of lessons learned and compilation of good practices for addressing the environmental dimensions of poverty.

 

Links to further information

ADB press release, 22 July 2003

http://www.adb.org/Documents/News/2003/nr2003099.asp

 

ECOSOC RECOMMENDS UPGRADING THE WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION
At its annual meeting in Geneva, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a resolution recommending that the UN General Assembly designate the World Tourism Organization as a specialized agency of the UN. The World Tourism Organization is an intergovernmental organization that serves as a global forum for tourism policy and issues. The status change would put the organization on the same footing as other UN agencies, such as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and would give it a voting role in inter-agency mechanisms such as the Chief Executives Board.

 

Links to further information

UN press release, 10 July 2003

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=7695&Cr=ecosoc&Cr1=
 

APRIL 2003

 

TRADE UNIONS PRESS THEIR CASE TO G8 AND OECD

Trade union representatives presented their positions to French President Jacques Chirac about the upcoming G8 Summit in Evian and played a role in the three days of economic and social policy discussions held at the OECD annual Ministerial meeting and the related OECD Forum debates.

 

On 25 April 2003 a delegation of international and G8 trade union leaders led by Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney met with President Chirac, host of the G8 Evian Summit. Chirac said his main goal would be to launch a “plea for economic growth” at the June Summit. Regarding the rules needed to underpin a “responsible economy,” the labor leaders suggested that the G8 adopt a Declaration setting out what these should be and called for a legally binding framework for corporate governance. Regarding the Summit theme of “solidarity,” the trade union delegates urged that more be done to ensure that NEPAD connects with African workers and their unions. On this, President Chirac expressed concern that globalization risked creating a two-speed society. He wanted to launch a discussion at Evian on “how to make globalization more human.” On “security” there was agreement on the need to create a “global democratic system” based on multilateralism, even if some of the multilateral institutions had to be modernized.

 

Following this meeting, a TUAC delegation held pre-Ministerial talks at the OECD with Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand and this year’s chairperson of the OECD Council. In her official summary of the conference, presented on April 30, Prime Minister Clark referred to the dialogue with TUAC, which she said “had stressed the importance of confidence for promoting growth and in this context the need for good corporate governance, even if there were alternative views expressed about how this should be achieved.”

 

Links to further information

TUAC news, 29 April 2003
http://www.tuac.org/News/default.htm#9
Links to statements made during the OECD Council Meeting and the Chair’s Summary http://www1.oecd.org/subject/mcm/2003/press-releases.htm

 

ILO OFFICIALLY EMBRACES SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is now formally taking concrete steps to help implement outcomes from the WSSD. Following a presentation on an analysis of WSSD outcomes prepared by the ILO Committee on Employment and Social Policy, the ILO Governing Body at its 286th session called on its Director General to “develop proposals for follow-up action related to the Johannesburg Summit and for such follow-up action to include the relevant elements of the Programme and Budget proposals for 2004-05.” Trade unions expressed satisfaction with this request, stating that it is a strong indicator of success in their plan to promote a global programme of workplace assessments. UNEP has recently agreed to work with Global Unions and the ILO to develop such a plan, while trade union representatives have asked an OECD Environment Minister's meeting to consider how they might support its development.

 

Links to further information

Sustainable development information exchange forum, 3 April 2003

http://www.iisd.ca/whats_new/ILO.doc   

 

MARCH 2003

 

UNEP INITIATES STUDY ON ENVIRONMENT IN IRAQ

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has initiated a study to assess the status of the environment in Iraq. The study, requested by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, is aimed at providing an overview of key environmental issues in the context of the current conflict and is in line with the mandate for UNEP’s post-conflict activities set by its Governing Council. Drawing on information available from media, government and NGO reports on the unfolding conflict, the report will contain recommendations for avoiding, minimizing or mitigating risks to the environment and human health, and is likely to identify priorities related to the management of freshwater and waste, as well as means of preventing further ecosystem degradation in Iraq. It will also identify and suggest possible responses to environmental hazards arising directly from the ongoing military conflict. Of particular concern are Iraq�s Hawr Al-Hawizeh marshlands, which are likely to disappear if urgent action is not taken to reverse wetland desiccation and achieve at least partial restoration. T�pfer said he hopes that the end of hostilities in Iraq and the rehabilitation of the country would include a full assessment and action plan for the restoration of the marshes.

 

UNEP has also made available on its website - http://www.unep.org - information on �Conflict and the Environment in West Asia (Iraq, Kuwait and the Gulf Region).� The website includes various statistics and assessments conducted after the 1991 Gulf War, as well as other relevant documentation.

 

Links to further information

UNEP Press Release, 22 March 2003

http://www.unep.org/Documents/Default.asp?DocumentID=298&ArticleID=3920

UNEP Press Release, 21 March 2003

http://www.unep.org/Documents/Default.asp?DocumentID=298&ArticleID=3918

UNESCO World Heritage report � Iraq

http://whc.unesco.org/nwhc/pages/news/main2.htm

 

ANNAN CHALLENGES WORLD�S SCIENTISTS TO ENGAGE IN DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
The way in which scientific endeavors are pursued globally is marked by clear inequalities, said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an editorial in Science Magazine. Noting that developing countries invest much less on scientific research and produce fewer scientists, Annan warned that this unbalanced distribution of scientific activity creates problems for both the scientific community in developing countries and for development itself. He urged scientists and scientific institutions around the world to resolve this inequity and bring the benefits of science to all. Annan also called on scientists to engage in conflict prevention, to help address international issues, such as the global water crisis, and to build technical capacity in developing countries by, inter alia, enhancing access to scientific knowledge.

 

Links to further information

Science Magazine editorial, 7 March 2003

http://www.itu.int/wsis/newsroom/news/kofi_annan1.html

 

FEBRUARY 2003

 

HIGH-LEVEL REVIEW OF UN-CIVIL SOCIETY RELATIONS TO BE LED BY FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to chair a blue-ribbon panel on relations with civil society. The �Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-Civil Society Relations� will look into the modes of participation in UN processes of non-governmental organizations, as well as of other non-governmental actors such as the private sector and parliamentarians. The Secretary-General has asked the Panel to identify best practices within the UN system and in other international bodies and to use them as a basis for recommendations to be issued within 12 months. The Panel is also asked to find ways to make it easier for civil society actors from developing countries to play a full role in UN activities. There are 11 additional members on the Panel who are affiliated with governments, non-governmental organizations, academia and/or the private sector: Bagher Asadi (Iran), Brigitta Dahl (Sweden), Peggy Dulany (United States), Andr� Erd�s (Hungary), Asma Khader (Jordan), Juan Mayr (Colombia), Malini Mehra (India), Kumi Naidoo (South Africa), Mary Racelis (Philippines), Prakash Ratilal (Mozambique) and Aminata Traor� (Mali).

 

Links to further information

UN press release, 13 February 2003
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/sgsm8604.doc.htm

Tim Wall, UN Department of Public Information; tel: +1-212-963-5851; e-mail: wallt@un.org

 

JANUARY 2003

 

WSSD PARTNERSHIP SPURRING AFRICAN STATES TO SWITCH TO UNLEADED PETROL

A survey carried out by UNEP, a leading member of the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, indicates that within five years most African countries will have phased out, or be close to phasing out, lead from petrol. Four countries � Egypt, Libya, Mauritius and Sudan � have completed the phase-out and four other nations or dependent territories � Morocco, Reunion, Tunisia and Western Sahara � will join them in 2003. Meanwhile, 22 additional states, including Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo and Uganda, have or are in the process of drawing up action plans to phase out leaded fuel by 2005-2006. Plans are underway to bring the remaining countries, many of which are in Central Africa, on board to deliver the goal of a lead-free continent and a lead free world.

 

Klaus T�pfer, UNEP's Executive Director, attributed the progress to work already underway as well as to the new impetus from the global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. This voluntary partnership was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) with funding and support from Governments, the private sector, including the oil and automobile industries, civil society and international organizations. Partners have pledged nearly $500,000 for the project. UNEP is acting as a �clearinghouse,� through which the various partners will gather and exchange information on key issues including the status of phase-outs in developing countries.

 

Links to further information

Workshop On The Phase Out Of Leaded Gasoline in East Africa website

http://www.unep.org/dpdl/urbanenvironment/workshop

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