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PROGRESS IN THE INCORPORATION OF UNCED RECOMMENDATIONS WITHIN THE UN SYSTEM

Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai introduced the documents for Agenda Item 5 (A/CN.17/1993/8, 9, 13 and 14) and said that the Inter-Agency Committee for Sustainable Development (IACSD) met and worked out a process for sharing responsibilities for Agenda 21 implementation. During the course of the day, 22 UN agencies and related organizations gave presentations. A number of agencies mentioned the need for greater coordination and cooperation within the UN system as well as with NGOs and the private sector. Many reported they are currently reviewing activities in relation to Agenda 21.

UNCTAD is working on linkages between commodity policy, environment and development. UNICEF said that follow-up to the World Summit for Children is encouraging. UNEP has placed its priorities in three areas: capacity building and partnerships with other UN agencies, IGOs NGOs and the private sector; catalyzing responses to environmental problems by bringing governments together; and sensing the environment. The World Bank's actions on Agenda 21 include: IDA replenishment; US$2.2 billion to 20 countries for environmental concerns; ensuring that lending is environmentally and socially benign; and partnerships with other organizations and NGOs. UNDP described its new Sustainable Development Network and Capacity 21.

UNFPA is developing an analytical framework to guide linkages between population, environment and development. WHO is developing a new strategy on health and the environment. UNESCO is promoting: education for sustainable development; ecosystem management; and support for training and capacity building. UNU is establishing a water resources center in Ontario and a center on governance in Barcelona. GATT said its priority is a successful outcome to the Uruguay Round. UNIFEM called for gender balance in institutions implementing Agenda 21. ILO is collaborating on the programme on chemical safety, completing a convention on the prevention of industrial accidents and has developed its own Agenda 21. The IMO is focussing on degradation of the marine environment from offshore oil and gas platforms and waste from ships. UNIDO is assisting in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol and other conventions. IAEA is focussing on capacity building and IFAD is adjusting its lending portfolio in response to Agenda 21. IMF is introducing poverty alleviation concerns into adjustment programmes. UN Drug Control Programme emphasized the relationship between the drug trade and the environment. The World Food Programme is increasing assistance for disaster mitigation. OECD is focussing on sharing experiences of OECD members in specific policy areas, peer reviews, and data indicators.

When the governments had the opportunity to comment, France, supported by Nigeria and India, suggested that agencies make statements during the substantive discussions on issues that fall within their mandates, rather than in the middle of an interminable discussion of agency activities. The US said the priority is to implement a system-wide sustainable development strategy, including restructuring and reallocation of resources. The EC said that future CSD sessions should allow more dialogue with the agencies. The Nordics suggested that interagency coordination would be enhanced if countries took a consistent position in governing bodies. Egypt said the IACSD should address the allocation of tasks and determine why there is overlap. China stressed increased coordination and cooperation on the basis of comparative advantage.

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