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OPENING PLENARY

Outgoing Chair Amb. Razali Ismail (Malaysia) opened the meeting and noted that steps to implement Agenda 21 have been taken at the international and national levels, but not with equal effect in all regions of the world. Adequate financing has not been mobilized to attain the CSD's objectives. Consumption and production patterns are a major issue for which little action has been taken. He called for the CSD to move from the role of consensus builder to agent of change. The CSD should look at cross-cutting issues and linkages with other conferences and international organizations. He introduced Dr. Klaus T”pfer, the German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, who was then elected as the new CSD Chair.

Dr. Klaus T”pfer recommended that to ensure concrete results the CSD must: analyze the implementation of the results of Rio; identify shortcomings in implementation; develop possible solutions; designate responsible actors at national, regional and international levels; and determine political priorities.

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD), queried the rumors that the Spirit of Rio is disappearing given the substantial action in areas such as the GEF, small island developing States, straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, coastal zone management and environmental conventions. Governments have set up mechanisms to address sustainable development issues. Desai asked delegates to address how assistance can be provided to NGOs to support their many activities.

Minister Hans Alders of the Netherlands reported on the Conference on Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation, which took place in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, in March 1994. The Action Programme advocates the efficient allocation of resources, to be accomplished in part by involving those at the lowest levels in decision-making processes. Alders paraphrased John F. Kennedy's call to action: "Ask not what the Noordwijk Declaration can do for you (that will come later), ask what you can do for the speedier implementation of the Noordwijk Declaration."

Thorbj"rn Berntsen, Minister of Environment of Norway, reported on the January 1994 Symposium on Sustainable Consumption. The main points of discussion included: the trends and damage from patterns of consumption and production should be studied; the effectiveness of instruments for changing unsustainable patterns should be examined; educational, training, and public awareness programs should be expanded; and pilot projects should be supported.

Olof Johansson, the Swedish Minister of the Environment, reported on the joint WHO/ILO/UNEP International Conference on Chemical Safety (ICCS) held in Stockholm last month. The Conference accomplished two main goals: establishment of an Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and development of a set of priorities for action on the effective implementation of Agenda 21 in the field of chemical safety.

The next item on the agenda was the election of the remaining members of the Bureau: Amb. Mohammad Hamid Ansari (India), Dr. Maciej Nowicki (Poland) and Minister Sergio Florencio Sobrinho (Brazil). The African Group is still consulting on its nomination to the Bureau. The Commission then adopted document E/CN.17/1994/1 "Adoption of the Agenda and Other Organizational Matters." The High-Level Segment, originally scheduled for Thursday, 26 May, will now begin on Wednesday, 25 May. Two working groups will commence work on Wednesday, 18 May. Working Group I will address agenda items 4 (Financial resources and mechanisms) and 5 (Education, science, transfer of environmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity-building). Working Group II will address agenda item 6 (Review of sectoral clusters, first phase).

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