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November 2001

Fifth Meeting of the WSSD Bureau

2 November 2001: The fifth meeting of the Bureau took place in New York from 1-2 November 2001. The Bureau was briefed on the state of preparations for the Johannesburg Summit and the outcomes of the preparatory meetings for the African and the Latin American and Caribbean regions. The Bureau also met with representatives of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to discuss each organization's WSSD-related activities. In its presentation, the GEF informed the Bureau that it was convening four thematic roundtables focusing on Energy, Forest and Biodiversity, Land, Water and Food Security, and Cross-Cutting Issues such as financing for environmental sustainability. To ensure high-level participation, these Roundtables are scheduled to be held on the margins of planned meetings such as the Second PrepCom and the Financing for Development Conference. The IMF noted that promoting high quality sustainable growth required taking social and environmental concerns into account, and added that it was tracking government spending on social sectors. It also reaffirmed that its role in the Summit process will include continuing to work with the World Bank and OECD to achieve the Millennium Declaration goals through market access, equitable foreign investment and increased ODA. The World Bank briefed the Bureau on the progress of the World Development Report, stating that the report will carry out a comprehensive review of existing development strategies, with a focus on the social and environmental impacts of these strategies. The Bureau suggested that the report should also address the issue of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. The Bureau decided that it would meet with all three groups again in Washington in December 2001 to further discuss their roles in the Summit process. Bureau members then approved the main issues for the brainstorming sessions planned from 15-16 January 2002 in New York. More information on the Fifth Meeting of the Bureau is available online at: http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/documents/bureaumeeti...

September 2001

UNECE Regional Ministerial Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

25 September 2001: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Regional Ministerial Meeting for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) took place from 24-25 September 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland. More than 500 participants attended the session, including government Ministers and other high-level officials, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and other major groups and stakeholders. Those in attendance represented the diverse range of countries within the UNECE region, which includes the members of the European Union, as well as Switzerland, the Transition Countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the US, Canada, Turkey and Israel. Observers from South Africa - the host government for the WSSD - were also present. The meeting aimed to outline key regional policy issues, priorities and follow-up actions for the WSSD, to provide substantial inputs to its preparatory process, and to forward regional views on international co-operation for sustainable development at the regional and global levels. Participants debated and adopted the Ministerial Statement to the WSSD, and considered follow-up to the UNECE/World Health Organization High-level Meeting on Transport, Environment and Health held in Geneva on 4 May 2001. Two Ministerial Panels were held, focusing on governance and sustainable development and on poverty and sustainable development. The results from this regional preparatory meeting will feed into the second preparatory session for the WSSD, scheduled for 28 January-8 February 2002 in New York. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin outlining these discussions in detail can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/wssd/WSEUR/