Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development Nitin Desai opened the debate by noting that the consideration of this agenda item provides us with an opportunity to take stock of the pace of implementation of the commitments entered into at the Earth Summit. Since the Second Committee met last year, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has held its second session. The high level of participation in the work of the Commission and the commitment of the NGO community are a source of great encouragement. The Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development and the High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development, which is currently holding its third meeting, are both functioning and represent the major institutional developments out of the Rio process.
Desai also noted other achievements since Rio, including the negotiation of the Convention to Combat Desertification. On 14-15 October 1994, 86 countries signed the Convention in Paris. The Framework Convention on Climate Change has 96 parties and entered into force on 21 March 1994. The INC is making good progress towards the first Conference of the Parties in Berlin next year. The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was a landmark event that recognized the importance of a systematic effort to help SIDS move towards sustainability. In addition to these negotiations, there are other things happening with regard to coastal zone management, marine pollution, toxic chemicals, the ban on the export of hazardous wastes from OECD to non-OECD countries, and the preparations for the first Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Nevertheless, there is a sense that the momentum of Rio is being lost. Some perceive that there is a lack of implementation on the commitments on finance and technology transfer, and this is true. In the year after Rio, ODA declined by 10%. He urged governments to demonstrate greater political will and commitment to action. Desai also highlighted the important role of the non-governmental community in UNCED follow-up and the work of the CSD.
Hans Corell, Counsel for the UN Office of Legal Affairs, presented two reports, one that deals with the issue of drift-net pelagic fishing and the other with the UN Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. On the issue of drift-net fishing, he said that the report of the Secretary General, as contained in document A/49/469, is intended as a follow-up on activities inconsistent with General Assembly Resolution 46/215. This document is intended as an implementation report and will be followed by subsequent annual reviews. In spite of the resolution, the document shows that drift-net fishing is still being carried out.
With regard to the Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, a report of the third and fourth sessions of this Conference appears in document A/49/522 and a revised negotiated text submitted by the Chair, Satya Nandan, is appended to this report. The new text appears in the form of a "draft agreement" and the issue of the form of the document was discussed at length in the last session of the Conference. While there was no consensus on the question of the form, it had become the general feeling that there needs to be a legally-binding outcome to the Conference.
ALGERIA (ON BEHALF OF THE G-77 and CHINA): Mourad Ahmia said that it has now been two years since the commitments of Rio and that the results of the implementation of Agenda 21 have been disappointing. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities has not been translated concretely, and there have been no great signs of new and additional funding and transfer of environmentally-sound technology. The developing countries feel bound by their commitments taken at Rio and they have a huge political interest in the implementation of these measures. The G-77 is happy that the Framework Convention on Climate Change has finally entered into force, but urged the parties to not go further than the original mandate. Distinct categories of parties should have distinct responsibilities and any attempt to undermine this principle through innovative concepts such as that of joint implementation would have negative repercussions.
GERMANY (ON BEHALF OF THE EU): Dr. Wolfgang Runge said that there must be more concrete commitments by the international community with regard to sustainable development. The EU also feels that the working methods of the CSD must improve -- the CSD needs dialogue instead of debates and an integrated approach to the interrelated questions of sustainable development. Close cooperation with NGOs and the business community are also of great importance. The CSD should be the political motor of sustainable development. With regard to the Convention to Combat Desertification, the EU feels that the process of elaborating national action programmes in developing countries is of the highest priority and the EU is committed to continuing its assistance. The EU believes that it will be able to find solutions to the remaining questions in the Conference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The concepts of biological unity of the fish stocks concerned and the compatibility of conservation and management measures applicable in areas under national jurisdiction and in the adjacent high seas, as well as effective enforcement provisions, are crucial elements to protect the stocks for the next generation.
ICELAND: Amb. Ossur Skarphedinsson, on behalf of the Nordic countries, highlighted the success of the International Conference on Population and Development as well as the importance of the Social Summit, the Women's Conference and Habitat II. Among the most important means to reduce the pressure on the environment are radical changes in the prevailing patterns of consumption and production. He also mentioned the importance of promoting sustainable development though trade. Countries must take effective steps towards rendering their economic policies conducive to sustainable development and constructive collaboration must be established to make trade and environment mutually supportive. The Nordic countries have been following actively the fish stocks Conference and believe that, although there are still outstanding issues, a satisfactory solution can be found and the Conference can be successfully concluded next year. Particular attention should also be paid to the issue of pollution by so-called "persistent organic pollutants."
ARGENTINA: Ambassador Ra�l Estrada-Oyuela noted that although progress has been made in sustainable development, less progress has been made in the area of financial resources. The sustainable use of the resources of the high seas and protection of global climate are two issues of particular concern to Argentina. In a world where broad sectors of humanity are deprived of basic sustenance we cannot continue to witness the disorderly exploitation of the high seas. He urged the international community to agree on an international legally-binding instrument that establishes an effective regime for the preservation of living resources in the high seas and the interests of coastal States.
With regard to climate change, although much progress has been made, additional measures may be needed. The participation of the developing countries in the Convention needs to be clearer -- the only quantitative commitment is that the developed countries must reduce emissions to 1990 levels. Progress has been made in defining the financial mechanism of the Convention. It is important to ensure that the Conference of the Parties (COP) is the organ that sets policies, criteria for eligibility and programme priorities.
MALAYSIA: Amb. Razali Ismail said that the CSD monitors worldwide progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and is widely acknowledged as the highest intergovernmental forum for discussing sectoral and cross-sectoral issues relating to sustainable development. While at the organizational level considerable progress has been made, much more remains to be done on the substantive level. Sustainable development for the South is contingent upon the provision of new and additional financial resources by the developed North, but so far the US$2 billion replenishment of the GEF is the only new money available and it is a mere fraction of figures estimated at Rio. The issue of transfer of technology also remains plagued. While the North claims that all countries have a right to share such natural resources as forests, it will not allow the sharing of man-made resources. He also highlighted the importance of the participation of women, NGOs and indigenous people.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Wonil Cho expressed satisfaction with the CSD and its year-round intersessional work. He informed the Committee that the Republic of Korea will be hosting a meeting of experts on access to and dissemination of environmentally sound technologies from 30 November - 2 December 1994. With regard to climate change, he expressed regret that even after the 10th INC meeting no agreements have been made on financial assistance and technology transfer and the criteria and method of joint implementation. With regard to the Conference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, he stressed the need for the mandate of the Conference to be carried out within the framework of UNCLOS. The Chair's revised draft should reflect greater balance between the positions of coastal and distant water fishing States. The sections dealing with new participants, compliance and enforcement, port State jurisdiction, and the abuse of rights and enclaves should be further improved during the upcoming sessions. He expressed concern about the issue of arrest and detention by coastal States and port States. The outcome of the Conference should be the formulation of appropriate recommendations rather than a legally-binding instrument.
AUSTRIA: Gerhard Doujak expressed Austria's concern about preserving the spirit of Rio. The Rio Conference laid down a milestone for the implementation of sustainable development. These goals more than ever demand unconditional commitment by all partners. He thanked the Secretariat for producing its bi-monthly "CSD Update," which makes the intersessional process more transparent. Austria will continue its initiatives on sustainable development and international law. With regard to the Climate Change Convention, commitments must be strengthened. A reduction in CO2 emissions after the year 2000 is necessary to achieve the goals of the Convention. He appealed to other countries to consider adopting the Toronto Targets.
UNITED STATES: Herman Gallegos said that the US shares the view that review, encouragement and appropriate support at the international level for the implementation of Agenda 21 will continue to come primarily through the CSD. The last session of the CSD highlighted the need for some improvements in the way it carries out its work, including: the use of a set of indicators of sustainable development that would simplify national reporting and facilitate comparisons; encouraging and facilitating the preparation and use of national sustainable development strategies; and more effective coordination of the UN system's support for the implementation of Agenda 21, including recommendations from the recent International Conference on Population and Development and the upcoming Social Summit, Women's Conference and Habitat II. Intersessional activities should continue to be characterized by freedom and flexibility. Any effort to restrain or restrict intersessional activity, for example by imposing unnecessary bureaucratic formalities, will be counter-productive. He announced that President Clinton will be hosting the Summit of the Americas in Miami, Florida, on 9-10 December, with sustainable development as one of the three major themes.
JORDAN: Faris Ammarin said that in the context of the implementation of Agenda 21, the three components that need to be respected are human integrity, environmental integrity and the principle of economic efficiency.
RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The representative said that on the whole a great deal has been achieved and the CSD is working well. In this process, a number of major legal instruments have been harmonized or are already in force. He called on greater integration and cooperation between the CSD, ECOSOC, the Bretton Woods institutions and other organizations. He confirmed that the outcome of the fish stocks Conference should be of a binding nature.
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