58th Session of the UN General Assembly Adopts Resolutions
December 2003: Following the opening of the 58th session of the United Nations General Assembly (GA) on 16 September 2003 at UNHQ in New York, delegates engaged in general debate from 23 September to 3 October, and concluded the first part of its work on 23 December 2003 with the adoption of 281 resolutions on, inter alia
, HIV/AIDS, financing for development, human rights, terrorism, humanitarian assistance, and GA revitalization. Presented in what was described as a “shorter-than-usual results-oriented format,” the 2004-2005 budget of $3.16 billion was adopted with the intention of achieving more efficient use of resources through structural reorganization, redeployment of funds, and streamlining. The GA also adopted a “landmark” revitalization programme, approving a broad suite of changes ranging from honing the focus of its decisions, to paring down its workload, and deepening cooperation between the Presidents of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Stressing the need to take a hard look at fundamental policy issues, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced plans to create a high-level panel on threats, challenges and change. A panel of eminent personalities convened to address threats to peace and security, and examine other global challenges.
: The General Assembly's Plenary discussions focused on the Secretary-General's call for system-wide UN reform, collective security, the future of multilateralism, and other issues such as creating conditions for lasting peace in Africa and strengthening UN peacekeeping missions. The Assembly also adopted the UN Convention against Corruption in response to concerns regarding the problems and threats that corruption poses to the stability and security of societies. This anti-graft Convention was opened for signature at the High-level Political Signing Conference held in Merida, Mexico from 9-11 December. This GA session also played host to several high-level events and special meetings, including a ministerial-level meeting on HIV/AIDS and a High-Level Dialogue for the implementation of the outcome of the 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development.
On environmental issues, the GA adopted resolutions on sustainable fisheries, and Oceans and the Law of the Sea. The latter resolution, inter alia
, contains provisions on: capacity building; safety of navigation and flag State implementation; capacity building for the production of nautical charts; marine environment, and marine resources and the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems. The resolution sets out dates for the fifth meeting of the open-ended consultative process on oceans and the Law of the Sea (7-11 June 2004 in New York) and recommends that the meeting organize its discussions around new sustainable uses of the oceans, including the conservation and management of the biological diversity of the seabed in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to take several steps relating to the establishment of a regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, and accepts Iceland's offer to host an intergovernmental meeting in 2004 to finalize and formally establish the regular process.
: Focusing on financing for development, delegates in the Second Committee underscored the need to expand trade, increase overseas development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI), relieve external debt, reduce agricultural subsidies, and reform the international financial system. Many speakers remarked on how globalization has failed to benefit most developing countries, and stressed the need for improved South-South cooperation. The Committee also held six development-related panel discussions on topics such as international taxation, partnerships, microcredit, globalization, corporate responsibility, and trade. Drafts relating to financing for development forwarded to and adopted by the GA decide to, inter alia, set up a Committee on Financing for Development and convene the next High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development in 2005 at the ministerial level. A draft on follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development underlines the importance of increased investment in basic economic and social infrastructure, social services and protection, and urges governments to strengthen their efforts to achieve a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate.
In deliberations on environment and sustainable development, speakers underscored the need to implement international conventions addressing disaster reduction, human settlements, desertification, biodiversity, and climate change. A draft on the Convention on Biological Diversity was forwarded to and adopted by the GA, urging parties to facilitate biosafety capacity-building in developing and transition countries. Developed countries were encouraged to contribute to the relevant trust funds of the Convention, and State parties were urged to facilitate the technology transfer for effectively implementing the Convention. The text also underlined the need for increased financial and technical resources for developing and transition countries to implement the Convention and Protocol.
Speakers also welcomed the offer by the Government of Mauritius to host the International Meeting on the 10-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA) on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), to be held in August-September 2004, and were urged to contribute generously toward the success of this review. Following recommendations from the second committee, the GA decided that the international meeting would seek renewed international political commitment and focus on practical actions to further implement the BPoA, and that two days of information consultation would be held prior to the international meeting in Mauritius from 28-29 August 2004, if deemed necessary by the preparatory committee.
] [Resolutions adopted by the GA during its 58th session: http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide/r58.htm
High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation
The High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation convened from 16-19 December 2003 in Marrakesh, Morocco to consider concrete ways to enhance cooperation between developing countries in the implementation of recent international agreements on social and economic development.
Leaders of the G-77/China together with heads and high-level representatives of UN agencies and international aid organizations participated in a general debate, taking stock of the Havana Programme of Action, which was adopted by the First South Summit, held from 10–14 April 2000 in Havana, Cuba. Delegates further engaged in interactive thematic roundtables on: information and communications technologies for development; regional integration, trade and investment; food, agriculture and water; health and education, exchange of experiences and expertise; and the potential for South-south cooperation on renewable energy.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants adopted the Marrakech Declaration on South-South Cooperation, and the Marrakesh Framework of Implementation of South-South Cooperation. The implementation framework document agrees to the implementation of 50 measures and initiatives, most of which focus on: trade, finance, investment, debt management, capacity building and expertise exchange, technology transfer, food security, combating HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. Among other agreements, the implementation document supports the convening of a Water Forum following CSD-12, with a view to promoting the exchange of scientific and technological know-how and experiences and best practices among developing countries. More information is available at: http://www.maec.gov.ma/south/
ECA Regional Implementation Meeting: Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water
December 2003: The Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water convened from 8-12 December 2003 at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, bringing together some 1,000 delegates to address Africa's water crisis and to collectively implement actions envisaged in the African Water Vision, the Water Agenda of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
Throughout the week-long conference, delegates met in thematic sessions for two days to discuss: water, sanitation and human settlements; water and food security; protecting ecosystems and livelihoods; water and climate; financing water infrastructure; integrated water resources management (IWRM); water allocation; water wisdom; and water governance. They also met in multi-stakeholder sessions to discuss: achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and targets agreed upon at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); the Africa-EU Water Partnership; the Third World Water Forum; and water and gender. A special session on African inputs to CSD-12 also met in a parallel session.
In a concluding Plenary, delegates considered African ministerial commitments on implementation and partnerships for achieving water and sanitation targets, and a report of the African regional implementation review for CSD-12. The meeting's outcomes and recommendations will be transmitted for CSD-12 consideration.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin's
coverage of the meeting can be accessed at: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/rim/eca/
32nd session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
The 32nd session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) took place from 29 November - 10 December 2003 in Rome, Italy.
Delegates decided to limit the terms of office of future Directors-General to six years, renewable only once for a further term of four years. This new policy will apply from the 2005 elections onward. The Conference further passed the organization's two-year budget of $749 million, a $51 million reduction according to a FAO news report. The organization's budget was frozen from 1994 through 2001 at $650 million and increased in 2002-2003 to $651.8 million. According to the report, FAO would have needed a budget of $800.3 million for the next biennium to maintain the same purchasing power.
The Conference re-elected Aziz Mekouar (Morocco) as Chair of the FAO Council – the intersessional governing body – for the next two-years. During the meeting, delegates also heard several progress reports, and considered FAO's calls for increased action to address illegal fishing and enhanced support for SIDS. Ministerial Round Tables took place during the session to examine topics such as: the role of water and infrastructure in ensuring sustainable food security; developments in international trade negotiations on agriculture and their implication for food security; and the dimension of food safety in food security. Conference documents are available at: http://www.fao.org/unfao/bodies/conf/c2003/c2003-e.htm
ESCAP Regional Implementation Meeting
October 2003: At its eleventh session, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) invited the United Nations Regional Commissions to consider organizing regional implementation meetings to contribute to the work of the CSD. In response to this invitation, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) convened a Regional Implementation Meeting from 27-28 October 2003, at the UN Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. This meetings aimed to provide input on CSD-12's thematic focus, namely water, sanitation and human settlements.
Approximately 90 participants representing 28 governments and several UN bodies, intergovernmental organizations and Major Groups attended the ESCAP forum, which was jointly organized with the DESA and in collaboration with the UN Development Programme. Participants heard panel presentations, engaged in multi-stakeholder discussions, and shared experiences and lessons learned in the CSD-12 thematic issue areas. Three break-out sessions focused on experiences in the Asia, Central Asia and the Pacific regions. Participants also heard a presentation on and discussed partnerships for sustainable development.
Meeting coverage by Earth Negotiations Bulletin
can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/rim/escap/
ESCWA Regional Implementation Meeting Prepares for CSD 12
October 2003: At its eleventh session, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) invited the United Nations Regional Commissions to consider organizing regional implementation meetings to contribute to the work of the CSD. In response to this invitation, the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) organized a Regional Implementation Meeting from 19-21 October 2003, at the League of Arab States (LAS) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. This meetings aimed to provide input on CSD-12's thematic focus, namely water, sanitation and human settlements.
This meeting was held within the ambit of the Joint Committee on Environment and Development in the Arab Region (JCEDAR), a committee composed of representatives from ESCWA, the Technical Secretariat of the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE), the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the United Nations Environment Programme's Regional Office for Western Asia (UNEP/ROWA). Fifty participants from 14 governments, joined by representatives from intergovernmental and academic organizations, industry and NGOs, attended the meeting.
Participants adopted 10 decisions on, inter alia: follow-up measures to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) outcomes and the Arab Initiative for Sustainable Development; follow-up activities to the Abu Dhabi Declaration on the future of the Arab Environment Programme; a work programme for the environment up to 2005; priorities and achievements in the field of sustainable development; incentives to the private sector to invest in environmental projects; and the establishment of an Arab environment fund. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin
Second Meeting of the CSD-12 Bureau
October 2003: Bureau members for the twelfth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12) gathered for their second meeting on 3 October 2003 in New York.
They learned that agendas of previously scheduled meetings of the Regional Commissions have been adjusted to include discussion of the CSD-12 thematic cluster of water, sanitation and human settlements. These meeting's outcomes will be submitted to CSD-12 as a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the relevant conclusions and recommendations. The Bureau stressed that the High-Level Segment, which is scheduled to convene at the end of CSD-12, should pave the way for effective policy discussions in the lead-up to the Policy Year. Major Groups representatives will meet with the Bureau at its third meeting, on 18 November 2003.
For more information see the notes from the Bureau meeting: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/CSD12_bureau_meeting...
and the ENB summary of CSD-12 Chair Børge Brende's briefing following the Bureau meeting: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/csd/csd12/CSD12_Briefing_10.3.03...
2003 Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund
The Annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and related activities convened from 19-24 September 2003 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Government delegates from 184 countries were in attendance. The World Bank/IMF annual meetings, which took place from 23-24 September, were preceded by meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee, both of which delivered communiqués to the annual meetings. The Development Committee, a World Bank-IMF forum aimed at building consensus on key development issues, discussed a range of topics, including aid financing, global monitoring of the MDGs, the Bank's infrastructure action plan and debt relief. The Programme of Seminars (PoS), which convened from 20-22 September, included roundtable discussions, seminars and country briefings on the challenges and opportunities for prosperity, particularly in the Middle East and Northern African region. During the event, the World Bank launched four reports on trade, governance, gender and employment. More information is available at: http://www.imf.org/external/am/2003/index.htm
Governance for the Implementation of the Outcomes from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Countries with Economies in Transition
18 September 2003: A Workshop on “Governance for the Implementation of the Outcomes from the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Countries with Economies in Transition” convened in Istanbul, Turkey from 16-18 September 2003.
The State Planning Organization of Turkey hosted the meeting, which the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) helped organize. Eighty individuals from 24 countries helped develop the workshop's recommendations to help improve governance structures for implementing the WSSD outcomes.
Recommendations included calls to increase: awareness of sustainable development, transparency of decision-making processes, and engagement of civil society in the implementation process. The meeting report, including the recommendations, will be presented to CSD-12 at its April 2004 session.
For more information visit: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/Istanbul_workshop.ht...
YOUTH, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE CONFERENCE
Co-organized by the European Youth Forum and the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the Youth, Development and Peace conference met from 15-16 September 2003 in Paris, France to consider the role of youth in peace and development and to identify opportunities for cooperation between youth organizations and the World Bank.
The event provided youth with a forum to express their concerns and priorities and to make recommendations on international development issues and on the policies and actions of the World Bank. It also aimed to involved participants in creating a shared vision of how young people and the World Bank can work together. The four priority areas for cooperation addressed were HIV/AIDS and risky behaviors, education for peace, conflict prevention and resolution, and youth employment. The conference further provided an opportunity for the World Bank to receive input from youth organizations for its draft Children and Youth Strategy.
The event concluded with the agreement that the World Bank and youth would further work together in the coming months in the areas of development including education, HIV/AIDS and employment, and that the World Bank would work with its partners to broaden the participation of young people in poverty reduction strategies. Youth and the World Bank are expecting to meet again in 12 months to evaluate progress and implement further strategies. More information on the conference can be found at: http://wbln0018.worldbank.org/EURVP/web.nsf/Pages/YDP2003-Ho...
First Meeting of the CSD-12 Bureau
September 2003: The first meeting of the Bureau for the twelfth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12) met from 10-11 September 2003 in Oslo, Norway.
The CSD Secretariat briefed the Bureau on the state of preparation of the documentation for CSD-12 and five regional implementation meetings, which will convene between October 2003 and January 2004. The Bureau agreed in principle to schedule the High-level segment at the end of CSD-12. The second and third Bureau meetings will take place in New York; the second will take place on 3 October 2003 and the third will convene in November 2003. For the full report of the first meeting, visit: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/bureau_meeting_0903....
Pacific SIDS Regional Preparatory Meeting Prepares for 2004 Review of BPOA
8 August 2003: The Pacific Regional Meeting for the Review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took place from 4-8 August 2003 in Apia, Samoa. Organized by the SIDS Unit of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the regional preparatory meeting sought to review the progress achieved in ensuring positive long-term development of SIDS in the Pacific region and prepare a regional position for the International Meeting on the review of the BPOA to be held in Mauritius in August/September 2004.
In an “International Overview” working session, delegates discussed, inter alia, linkages between the BPOA, Millennium Development Goals, Monterrey Consensus, Doha Agreement, and post WSSD events and outcomes, while a “Regional Overview” session considered the draft Regional Assessment. Throughout the meeting, participants also engaged in working sessions and open discussions that addressed: national assessment reports and sustainable development strategies; objectives of the international meeting; how to improve implementation of the BPOA; the ministerial level preparatory committee meeting to be held at CSD-12; and modalities for action. [http://www.sidsnet.org/docshare/other/20030813142441_Apia_Me...
2003 Substantive Session of ECOSOC
August 2003: The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held its 2003 substantive session in Geneva, Switzerland from 30 June to 25 July 2003.
The session included a High-Level Segment, a coordination segment, a humanitarian segment, a general segment and a concluding session. Panels and discussions during the session addressed, inter alia
, rural development, the plight of 49 of the world's poorest countries, factoring HIV/AIDS into relief efforts, and how to assist conflict-torn Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Angola to enjoy stability and transition from relief to development.
“Promoting an integrated approach to rural development in developing countries for poverty eradication and sustainable development” was the theme for the high-level segment, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 2003. Participants in the meeting's Plenary sessions and round-table discussions emphasized rural development's key role in achieving the goals set by the 2000 Millennium Summit. Issues related to agricultural subsidies, growth enabling environments, fair terms of trade, investment in social services and infrastructure, and the expectations of developed and developing countries were also raised.
A Ministerial Declaration was adopted at the conclusion of the Segment. It called for, inter alia
, the reduction and elimination of agricultural subsidies, the implementation of the commitments developed countries made at the Doha trade conference in 2001 to facilitate market access for the products of developing countries, and pursuit of rural development through an integrated approach encompassing the economic, social and environmental dimensions.
The coordination segment convened from 8-10 July 2003 and considered “the role of the ECOSOC in the integrated and coordinated implementation of the outcomes of and follow-up to major UN conferences and summits.” ECOSOC adopted a decision welcoming the UN General Assembly resolution on this topic and the GA's request for the establishment of a multi-year work programme for ECOSOC's coordination segment, based on a list of cross-sectoral thematic issues common to the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits.
Another decision adopted during the session was a resolution recommending that the UN General Assembly designate the World Tourism Organization 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' boards.
For more information on statements made during the Segment, see:
Secretary-General Annan's statement to the High-Level Segment can be found at:
UN news stories on the Segment are at:
The ECOSOC homepage is at:
African Union Summit
July 2003: The African Union Summit took place from 4-12 July 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique.
With the theme of “Implementation of NEPAD as a contribution to Africa's Development,” the Summit comprised meetings of the Assembly, the Executive Council and the Permanent Representatives Committee. The Assembly adopted five Declarations on matters such as the upcoming fifth WTO Ministerial Conference, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, agriculture and food security, and NEPAD implementation. The Assembly also took over 20 decisions on topics relating to, inter alia
, human rights, poverty alleviation, corruption, democracy and good governance, defense and security, and terrorism. Decisions were also taken on a number of environment related topics such as the Action Pan of NEPAD's Environment Initiative, and the revised 1968 African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (Algiers Convention). The Algiers Convention incorporates the concept of protected conservation areas and also commits Parties to improving soil conservation, introducing sustainable farming practices, and collaboratively managing transboundary water resources. The revision of this treaty updates the convention with developments in international law, and the increasing focus on sustainable development.
The Assembly also adopted the draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights relating to the Rights of Women, which would, among other things, prohibit female genital mutilation, grant women the right to vote, set the minimum age for marriage at 18 and guarantee women the right to inherit and own property. More information is available at: http://www.africa-union.org/home/Welcome.htm
International Expert Meeting on Consumption and Production Patterns
19 June 2003: The International Expert Meeting on a 10-Year Framework of Programmes for Sustainable Consumption and Production convened from 16-19 June 2003 at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Over 100 participants from 54 countries attended this meeting, including representatives of government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and business and industry groups. The meeting was organized by the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA/DSD), in co-operation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The aim of the meeting was to work towards the development of a 10-Year Framework in support of regional and national initiatives to promote sustainable consumption and production. The need for such a framework was endorsed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) negotiated during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.
The meeting included Plenary sessions that provided participants with an overview of issues related to sustainable consumption and production patterns and an opportunity to hear the reports of regional expert meetings held recently for the Asia-Pacific and the Latin America and Caribbean regions. Delegates reviewed the Discussion Paper prepared by UN DESA/DSD and heard keynote presentations on the role of public purchasing power and consumer behavior in promoting sustainable consumption and production. Participants also convened in four working groups to discuss: human settlements and sustainable consumption and production; general policy instruments and analytical tools for sustainable consumption and production; tools for promoting sustainable consumption patterns; and tools for changing production patterns. An official report of this meeting will serve as expert input to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) for its consideration as part of its future work on sustainable consumption and production.
IISD RS' Sustainable Developments coverage of this meeting can be found at http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/sd/sdscp/
G8 Summit 2003
Leaders from the Group of Eight (G-8) countries gathered for their annual summit from 1-3 June 2003 in Evian, France.
The heads of state of the G-8 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US – met with leaders from emerging and developing countries – Algeria, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and South Africa – as well as representatives of the UN, World Bank, IMF and WTO and the President of the Swiss Confederation. The three issue areas on their agenda were promoting global economic growth, enhancing sustainable development and improving security.
The leaders discussed implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and Johannesburg agreements related to a number of issues, including through the adoption of an Action Plan on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development. This Action Plan focuses on three areas: global observation; cleaner, more efficient energy and the fight against air pollution and climate change; and agriculture and biodiversity. Those who had ratified the Kyoto Protocol reaffirmed their determination to see it enter into force.
The leaders agreed to widen their dialogue on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the G-8 Africa Action Plan and invited interested countries and relevant international institutions to appoint senior representatives to join this partnership. They agreed on ways to improve famine prevention mechanisms and long-term food security, and adopted an Action Plan to help meet the Millennium and Johannesburg goals of halving the number of people without access to clean water and sanitation by 2015. They discussed health issues related to: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; access to health care, research on diseases mostly affecting developing countries; eradicating polio by 2005; and improving international cooperation against new epidemics such as SARS. They invited their finance ministers to report in September 2003 on the financing instruments for development, including the proposal for a new international finance facility. They reaffirmed their commitment to the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and urged the IMF and World Bank to intensify their efforts to secure the full participation of all creditors. The leaders also welcomed work on the “e-government” model promoting efficiency and transparency in developing countries, confirmed their determination to strengthen international efforts to tackle the problem of illegal logging, endorsed an Action Plan to reduce the threat posed by excessive exploitation of marine resources and enhance maritime security, and established the G-8 Nuclear Safety and Security Group. For more information, see the G-8 Evian, France website at: http://www.g8.fr/evian/english/
Environment for Europe Fifth Ministerial Conference
Environment Ministers and senior officials from 51 countries in the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region met in Kyiv, Ukraine from 21-23 May 2003 for the Fifth Pan-European Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe (EfE).” This gathering represents the region's highest-level environmental forum.
Participants adopted a Ministerial Declaration that underlined the importance of the EfE process as a tool to promote environmental protection and sustainable development in the region and thus contribute to wider peace and security. Three Protocols to Conventions of the UNECE, one Framework Convention and several decisions were also adopted during the meeting. The Protocols address Strategic Environmental Assessment under the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention), Civil Liability and Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters under the Conventions on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Waters and International Lakes, and Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers under the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).
On 22 May 2003, Ministers from Central and Eastern Europe adopted and signed the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians. This Convention seeks to strengthen regional cooperation and support local projects in the mountain areas of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine. The Convention addresses the largest remaining wilderness in Europe outside of Russia. The Convention's negotiating process was sponsored by the Government of Italy and supported by UNEP and WWF.
Another highlight was a decision to formally adopt the goal of halting the degradation of the region's biological and landscape diversity by the year 2010, together with nine specific measurable targets for ensuring that this overall goal is achieved. The Ministers and Heads of delegation also endorsed the Guidelines for Strengthening Compliance with and Implementation of MEAs in the UNECE region. More information is available online at the EfE website at: http://www.unece.org/env/wgso/index_kyivconf.htm
GEF COUNCIL MEETING
The GEF Council meeting convened from 14-16 May 2003 in Washington, DC, US.
The Council elected Imeh Okopido, representing Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guines, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo, as its Co-Chair. The Council considered relations with other conventions, and reviewed and approved: an operational programme for the prevention and control of desertification and deforestation through sustainable land management; the introduction of standardized executive summaries of the project proposals in the work programme; the GEF's Business Pan for the fiscal years 2004-2006; the 2004 corporate budget; and a paper clarifying classification and terminology concerning cofinancing. The Council also reviewed the fee-based system, expressing concern regarding the rising trend in the fees, and revised the terms of reference for the monitoring and evaluation unit and its director. The meeting also considered: the Action Plan to respond to recommendations of the Second GEF Assembly; the policy recommendations of the third replenishment; the Second Overall Performance Study of the GEF and the WSSD; expanded opportunities for Executing Agencies; engaging the private sector; and results of the CSD. The meeting's documents and the Chairs' joint summary of this meeting are available at: http://www.gefweb.org/Documents/Council_Documents/council_do...
11th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development
9 May 2003: The eleventh session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-11) took place from 28 April-9 May 2003, at UN Headquarters in New York.
This was the CSD's first substantive session since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) met in Johannesburg in 2002. The Commission commenced with a three-day high-level segment, where over 40 high-level representatives at the ministerial level addressed the future modalities and work programme of the CSD and engaged in interactive ministerial round tables, with the participation of Major Groups, on the theme “Priority actions and commitments to implement the outcomes of the WSSD.” Regional implementation forums also took place and informed delegates of initial steps taken in each UN region to implement the WSSD's outcomes.
At the end of the first week, CSD-11 Chair Mohammed Valli Moosa, South Africa's Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, presented a Chair's draft decision on the future organization, programme and methods of work of the Commission, which was negotiated during the second week. Major Groups also presented their views on the CSD's future work programme during a multi-stakeholder dialogue at the end of the first week. During the second week, delegates considered and adopted decisions on NGO accreditation, the Bureau and preparations for the international meeting to review the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). A Partnerships Fair and Learning Center courses took place concurrently with the session.
CSD-11 concluded with adoption of the CSD's multi-year programme work for the period 2004-2017, which will be organized as a series of two-year action-oriented Implementation Cycles, with a Review Session and a Policy Session in each cycle. Each two-year cycle is expected to consider a thematic cluster of issues and a suite of cross-cutting issues, with the upcoming 2004/ 2005 cycle focusing on water, sanitation and human settlements. The CSD further decided on the modalities for reporting, partnerships and enhancing UN system coordination and Major Groups contributions. As CSD-11 drew to a close, a majority of delegates felt that the opportunity to revitalize the CSD had not been wasted. Within its somewhat modest mandate, CSD-11 fulfilled its tasks. However, it remains to be seen how the new structure will actually perform and inspire implementation of sustainable development. For the Earth Negotiations Bulletin's report outlining these discussions in detail, visit: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/csd/csd11/
2003 SPRING MEETING of the IMF-WORLD BANK GROUP
The World Bank's Development Committee and the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) International Monetary and Financial Committee held its annual spring meeting from 12-13 April 2003 in Washington, DC, to discuss issues related to poverty reduction, international economic development and finance.
The annual meetings provide a forum for international cooperation and enable the Bank and Fund to better serve their member countries. About 10,000 people attend the meetings, including some 3,500 representatives of the World Bank and the IMF member countries, roughly 1,000 representatives of the media, and more than 5,000 visitors and special guests drawn primarily from private business, the banking community and NGOs.
In a final meeting communiqué, the World Bank and the IMF renewed their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and global efforts to reduce poverty. According to the communiqué, “Slower economic growth, the war in Iraq, and failure to make more substantive progress on the Doha Development Agenda add to the challenge of implementing the global development agenda. We [the World Bank and IMF] therefore strongly reaffirmed our commitment to the global effort needed to reduce poverty in developing and transition countries and achieve the MDG.”
“Agreements and commitments alone will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” said World Bank Chief Economist Nicholas Stern. “More actions and resources are needed,” he added. “The cost of achieving the goals is likely to run to at least an additional $50 billion a year from rich countries over and above the resources from developing countries themselves.”
According to a new World Bank report entitled “World Development Indicators,” global poverty can still be cut in half by 2015, if rich countries lower trade barriers and boost foreign aid, and poor countries invest more in the health and education of their citizens. A full version of the communiqué can be found at: http://lnweb18.worldbank.org/DCS/devcom.nsf/(communiquesm)/
Informal Consultations for the Organization of Work during the 11th Session of the CSD
March 2003: Informal consultations convened from 24-26 March 2003 at UN Headquarters in New York to continue preparations for the 11th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-11).
Discussions focused on: the CSD's future Programme of Work; the future organization and methods of work for the CSD; how to enhance contributions from and participation of various implementation actors; and the CSD's role as a focal point for partnerships. Much of the discussion focused on suggestions contained in the UN Secretary-General's report entitled “Follow-up to Johannesburg and the Future Role of the CSD - The Implementation Track” (E/CN.17/2003/3).
On the CSD's future Programme of Work, comments included suggestions that the CSD focus on those aspects of sustainable development where it can add value, that it support implementation and provide for active involvement of all actors responsible for implementation, and that its work programme should attract the involvement of all ministers with portfolios relevant to sustainable development. Issues that require additional discussion include priority areas for the work programme, with the WEHAB areas (water and sanitation, energy, health, agricultural productivity, and biodiversity and ecosystem management), sustainable consumption and production patterns, poverty eradication and sustainable globalization, including corporate social and environmental responsibility, among the proposed options.
Comments regarding the CSD's future organization and methods of work included calls to avoid a proliferation of meetings and to recognize and support the regional and sub-regional dimension of implementation. A suggestion for two-year “Implementation Cycles” would have a “Review Year,” during which implementation progress would be assessed, and a “Policy Year,” during which measures to overcome constraints and gaps and new challenges and opportunities in implementation would be discussed. Participants stressed that reporting to the CSD should be comprehensive and based on national reports, regional and sub-regional inputs and contributions from international organizations, major groups and other stakeholders. Two options to guide theme selection for CSD sessions are whether the theme was previously addressed by the CSD and the theme's relevance for sustainable development. Questions about the timing of Ministerial Segments, the role and modalities of proposed expert forums, the need for creating sub-commissions and thematic task forces, and the role of country-led initiatives were also discussed.
On enhancing contributions from and participation of various implementation actors, speakers stressed the need: to promote coherence, synergies and coordination among all implementation actors with a view to supporting implementation; for all UN funds and programmes, specialized agencies and other organizations of the UN system, including financial and trade institutions and Regional Commissions, to be more actively involved in the work of the CSD; to monitor progress towards implementation by all implementation actors; to achieve a better balance in representation of major groups from the “North” and the “South;” and for scientific contributions to the CSD to be enhanced with a view to supporting implementation and providing an informed basis for decision-making. Some delegations felt there was a need to strengthen inter-agency arrangements aimed at supporting implementation and coordination, while others questioned the rationale for establishing any additional inter-agency arrangements or collaborative groups.
On the CSD's role as a “focal point” for partnerships, speakers noted the need for a transparent, participatory and credible monitoring mechanism on the partnerships, through such means as voluntary reporting, partnership reviews and other partnership-related activities during CSD meetings. Some noted that CSD efforts on partnerships should promote a more balanced contribution of partnerships to implementation (balanced both geographically and in terms of covering all programme areas of the WSSD Plan of Implementation). Some stressed the importance of agreeing on parameters to define partnerships while others felt that that it could be done by application of the Bali guidelines. The need to explore modalities for making partnerships accountable for all involved was also raised. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin briefing note outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/csd/csd11/CSD_Briefing_Note_marc...
SIXTH EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE
The United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) convened an extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France from 17-22 March 2003 to revise the operational guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, as well as determine clear procedures for emergency nominations to, and inscriptions on, the World Heritage List, particularly regarding the ‘In Danger' list.
The World Heritage Convention, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in November 2002, has been ratified by 175 nations of which 125 have properties on the World Heritage List. More information is available online at: http://portal.unesco.org/
AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON UN CONFERENCES AND SUMMITS
The Open-ended ad hoc working group of the General Assembly on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields met on 12 March and 27 March at UN Headquarters in New York.
The Working Group, established at the 57th Session United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), addressed implementation and follow up issues regarding various UN conferences and summits, as well as the work of the +5 and +10 reviews. The group also discussed implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals. For more information visit: http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecosoc/wgga/wgga.htm
FIRST MEETING OF THE AARHUS CONVENTION'S TASK FORCE ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Over 100 participants, including representatives from government agencies, environmental NGOs, judiciary, academia and other legal professions, attended the first meeting of the task force on access to justice, which took place from 10-11 March 2003 in Brussels, Belgium.
Established under the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), the task force meeting: examined good practices and identified further activities to support the Convention's implementation; assessed the impact of the costs of and delay in access to justice on its effectiveness and the needs of various stakeholders; and shared experience with access to justice in relation to relevant articles of the Convention. More information on this meeting is available online at: http://www.unece.org/env/pp/a.to.j.htm
UNESCO-NEPAD JOINT SEMINAR
Some 200 policy-makers, representatives of regional, sub-regional and non-governmental organizations, donors, members of parliament and experts met in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 5-8 March, to examine issues of education, water, biodiversity, cultural diversity and access to information and knowledge in Africa.
These topics were the core of debate at a seminar sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Blaise Compaoré, the President of Burkina Faso, and John Kufuor, the President of Ghana and of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), participated on 7 March in a high-level session chaired by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.
The Seminar addressed three main themes: how UNESCO can help its African member states integrate NEPAD's objectives in their national programmes; the best ways to involve parliamentarians, the private sector, NGOs, and civil society in strategies for development and the struggle against poverty; and how UNESCO, through its African offices, can help in building capacity and encouraging the implementation of regional and sub-regional projects. More information on this meeting is available online at: http://portal.unesco.org/
HIGH-LEVEL FORUM ON AID HARMONIZATION
Government officials from 26 developing nations and representatives from numerous bilateral and multilateral aid agencies met in Rome, Italy from 24-25 February to look at ways to streamline the policies and procedures that guide aid delivery worldwide.
The meeting, sponsored by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, focused primarily on voluntary application of good practices by donors and recipients and their application in country assistance programmes.
“The Rome meeting offers us the chance to change decades of past practices,” said James Adams, Vice President for Operational Policy at the World Bank. “Donors and developing countries need to work more effectively together to remove the bottlenecks in delivering aid. We can achieve that by reviewing our aid policies, procedures and practices and aligning them with a common approach that reduces the burden on the poor countries.”
The two-day meeting concluded with a Declaration of Harmonization, which emphasizes, inter alia
, the need to: ensure that development assistance is delivered in accordance with partner country priorities, including poverty reduction strategies and similar approaches, and that harmonization efforts are adapted to the country context; review and identify ways to amend individual institutions' and countries' policies, procedures, and practices to facilitate harmonization; intensify donor efforts to work through delegated cooperation at the country level and increase the flexibility of country-based staff to manage country programmes and projects more effectively and efficiently; expand country-led efforts to streamline donor procedures and practices, including enhancing demand-driven technical cooperation; and promote harmonized approaches in global and regional programmes.
Links to further information
Rome Declaration on Harmonization
World Bank press release, 21 February 2003
Informal Consultations for the Organization of Work during the 11th session of the CSD
February 2003: CSD-11 Chair, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Mohammed Valli Moosa, convened informal consultations in preparation for CSD-11 on 24-25 February 2003, at UN headquarters in New York.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear initial views of delegations on the scope and nature of the future programme of work of the CSD and, in particular, to allow for informal discussions on the Report of the Secretary General (E/CN.17/2003/3) and the proposed organization of work for CSD-11, as outlined in an introductory note from the Chair.
Chair Moosa noted that since his election as Chair of CSD-11, he had held several ad-hoc informal discussions and the overwhelming consensus was for CSD to operate in a substantially new way, moving beyond a “business as usual” approach. Highlighting the importance of CSD-11 as the first session since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Moosa said that this session would either “succeed or fail” to set the tone for the CSD's work for the coming decade.
Anne Kerr, UN Division of Sustainable Development, briefly introduced the Report of the Secretary-General emphasizing: the need to integrate the WSSD's outcomes with other UN summits and conferences; the two-year multi-cycle of work; global and regional implementation forums; options for the identification of issues for future CSD sessions; partnerships; and enhancing the role of international organizations and major groups in the work of the CSD.
Delegates commented on a variety of proposals, including when and how often the high-level segment should convene, options for the selection of thematic issues for the CSD, the identification of themes for the CSD's future work, partnerships, the role of major groups in the CSD, and UN system coordination and coherence.
In his concluding remarks, Chair Moosa welcomed the valuable contributions made by delegations and noted that the Bureau would consider these options and attempt to incorporate them into a revised organization of work for CSD-11. He urged delegations to consult with capitals on the outcomes of the informal consultations and the Secretary-General's report, and emphasized the need for appropriate ministerial representation during CSD-11.
For a full summary of statements and proceedings, see the Earth Negotiations Bulletin Briefing Note: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/csd/csd11/CSD-11_informals_repor...
FIRST NEPAD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WORKSHOP
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Secretariat, together with the South African Department of Science and Technology, held its first workshop on science and technology from 17-19 February 2003 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Attended by African government officials, national and regional economic bodies and intergovernmental organizations, the workshop focused on the contribution and utilization of science and technology as optimal instruments of growth and sustainable development on the African continent. Further discussion included: the development of a science and technology framework for NEPAD; a definition of priorities and plans for Africa's long-term agenda for science, technology and innovation; examining an integrated approach for science and technology within NEPAD; and strengthening partnerships and cooperation among African states.
Links to further information
Keynote address by South Africa's Minister for Science and Technology
Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments
18 February 2003: Approximately 35 participants from government, academic and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations gathered on 17-18 February 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland for the Third UNEP Working Group Meeting on Economic Instruments.
The Working Group provides a platform to help define modalities for the use of economic instruments for environmental management and sustainable development. A key aim of the Group is to enhance policy coordination at the national level related to the design and use of economic instruments, including maximizing the net development gains from trade liberalization.
Participants discussed two papers: “Opportunities, Prospects and Challenges for the Use of Economic Instruments in Environmental Policy Making” and “The Use of Economic Instruments to Implement Selected Multilateral Environmental Agreements.” The “Opportunities” paper provides practical guidance on when economic instruments may be appropriate and effective, how to introduce them and how to assess and respond to their economic, social and environmental effects. Using the framework presented in the paper, a number of country projects on economic instruments that UNEP has commissioned were reviewed to provide insights into the potential country-level use of the methodology proposed.
The second paper was prepared in close collaboration between UNEP and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Ramsar Convention Secretariats. It analyzes existing provisions in these Conventions and decisions of the Conferences of the Parties for the use of economic instruments, their implementation and relevant environment and trade implications. The meeting website contains links to the papers and to presentations made during the meeting, as well as a list of participants. For more information contact: UNEP DTIE Economics and Trade Branch; tel: +41-22-917-8243; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
; Internet: http://www.unep.ch/etu/etp/events/Economic_Instruments/2003_...
22nd Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Fourth Global Ministerial Environment Forum
7 February 2003: The 22nd session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council (GC) and fourth Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) took place from 3-7 February 2003, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nearly 1000 participants, including delegates from 148 countries, as well as representatives of UN agencies, international organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations, business and industry, and youth organizations, attended the week-long gathering. During the meeting, delegates considered a wide range of topics, including emerging policy issues, the role of civil society, international environmental governance (IEG), linkages among environment-related conventions, and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).
High-level ministerial consultations were held on the theme, “Implementation of the Outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.” Sessions focused on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), regional implementation of the WSSD's outcomes, the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns, and the use of the natural resource base to help combat poverty, including UNEP's contribution to the WSSD's biodiversity commitments.
The Governing Council concluded its work by adopting more than 40 decisions on issues relating to international environmental governance, post-conflict environmental assessment, water policy and strategy, a strategic approach to chemicals management, a mercury programme, support to Africa, production and consumption patterns, and the environment and cultural diversity. After protracted negotiations, delegates also adopted UNEP's Programme of Work and budget for the biennium 2004-2005.
UNEP Governing Council takes a number of chemicals-related decisions
At the 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council – held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 3-7 February 2003 – delegates reached agreement on a number of chemicals-related issues. These included decisions on lead, the Strategic Approach on International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and the global mercury assessment (see article below). The decision on lead encourages the sound management of lead-containing wastes through the application of technical guidelines and the reduction of lead exposure, and calls on governments to act in cooperation with the private sector on the phase-put of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint. On the Strategic Approach on International Chemicals Management (SAICM), governments agreed to continue developing the SAICM despite clear differences over the speed with which work should progress. EU, Norwegian and Swiss pressure for “substantive guidance” for the process was resisted by Australia, the US and Colombia. The decision mandates the SAICM Steering Committee to proceed with the further development of a strategic approach to be regularly reviewed in light of the WSSD's target. Regarding the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, the decisions invite States to ratify or accede to the Conventions, while the continued participation of the UNEP Secretariat is authorized as the interim Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention.
UNEP Governing Council Adopts “Compromise Decision” on the Global Mercury Assessment
Delegates at the 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council – held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 3-7 February 2003 – adopted a “compromise decision” aimed at addressing the dangers of mercury. The decision was taken after considering the report of the UNEP Global Mercury Assessment Working Group, an assembly of approximately 150 international experts. The report, which was finalized in a Working Group meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2002, calls on governments to consider a list of options aimed at reducing the risks of mercury. The decision notes that there is sufficient evidence from the Global Mercury Assessment to warrant immediate national action to protect human health and the environment from releases of mercury and its compounds. Governments are invited to submit their views on the possible medium- and long-term actions on mercury. These views will be compiled and synthesized for presentation at the Governing Council's 23rd session, with a view to developing “a legally binding instrument, a non-legally binding instrument, or other measure or actions.” The decision also includes requirements to consider further action on other heavy metals at the Governing Council's 23rd session.
Links to further information
Earth Negotiations Bulletin web coverage, summary report and analysis
UNEP Governing Council homepage
Global Mercury Assessment, UNEP Chemicals
UN Economic Commission for Africa Big Table Meeting
19 January 2003: The Third Big Table meeting of African Finance Ministers and their OECD counterparts took place from 18-19 January at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This year's discussion focused on economic and development issues arising from the Fourth World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Doha, the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, all held in 2002.
Participants also monitored the performance of Africa and its partners towards meeting shared goals in the context of mutual accountability. Key results of the meeting included a commitment to improve the effectiveness of aid and build stronger capacity in Africa to help reduce poverty. World Bank Vice President for Africa, Callisto Madavo, who also chaired the meeting, said that the meeting marked a transformation from a donor's club to a genuine partnership with Africa. “We are committed to aligning donor programmes behind national strategies, and reducing the burden on African partners by simplifying donor procedures.” More information is available at the UNECA website at http://www.uneca.org/thebigtable/