ENB:05:17 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

GENERAL DISCUSSION ON PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21

During the morning, CSD Chair Klaus T”pfer announced that the 1994 CSD Bureau is now complete. Amb. Ansari (India) is unable to assume the position of Vice-Chair and has been replaced by Ms. Savitri Kunadi (India). Dr. Tunguru Huaraka (Namibia) was elected Vice-Chair from the African Group. T”pfer also announced that India will chair Working Group I and Poland will chair Working Group II.

INDIA: Amb. M. H. Ansari noted that there has been useful discussion and action related to the physical environment since the last CSD High-Level Segment, however, important questions remain. He called the delegates' attention to the role of women in development, and advised that the productivity and status of women lead to and derive from the process of sustainable development.

TURKEY: Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment ™zger Akad stated that the challenge of sustainable development is a challenge of urban settlements. Habitat II, which will be hosted by Turkey in 1996, should establish human settlement policies that are vital to the achievement of Agenda 21 goals.

POLAND: Dr. Maceij Nowicki noted that consumerism is hampering the process of sustainable development. People in many developing countries and countries in transition want to adopt the same type of lifestyles as people in rich countries, as readily seen through satellite television. The CSD must develop strategies utilizing the same mediums that shape lifestyles.

FAO: The representative noted the imbalances in levels of production and consumption of food. Wide differences exist in production levels and the efficient use of resources. Some 800 million people are undernourished. He recommended that the CSD pay close attention to global, national and local aspects of food security.

INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The representative reported that the business community is making progress in environmental management. UNEP and ICC recently held a joint meeting to foster business progress in environmental management in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

NORWAY: The representative noted that in addressing the consumption and production issue, green taxes, cost covering charges, stronger liability legislation and other economic measures are of the utmost importance. The full cost pricing principle together with the polluter pays principle must be incorporated in any effective strategy.

CANADA: Amb. John Fraser noted that the major review of Agenda 21 in 1997 requires the development of indicators. The CSD needs to address the following: are we changing behavior on the planet, in our economies, and how we use natural resources; and are we making progress on the implementation of sustainable development in the long term?

EUROPEAN UNION: Greece, on behalf of the EU, reacted to two points raised Monday. The EU supports Amb. Razali's suggestion that elections for the Bureau take place prior to the CSD meeting. The EU still needs time to consider the Brazilian proposal for an ad hoc intersessional group. He suggested that Working Group I take up the issue.

DENMARK: Amb. Erik Fiil reported on the Copenhagen Workshop on Health, the Environment and Sustainable Development. The Workshop recommended establishing priorities for the promotion of an integrated approach. Increased funding for health and the environment is needed, and planning should be participatory and decentralized.

FRANCE: Amb. Jean Ripert informed the Commission that a full report of the French-sponsored meeting on water issues would be made in the working group. With regard to the G-77's concern about the proliferation of meetings, he noted the distinction between intersessional work organized by the Commission and the expert groups and roundtables that are less formal channels for consultation.

UK: The representative presented a summary of national progress in implementing Agenda 21, including the creation of a Governmental Panel on Sustainable Development and the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Development.

THE NETHERLANDS: Minister Hans Alders recommended that realistic targets need to be set in the follow up of the Drinking Water Conference. The format of national reporting must be simplified. The complexity of solutions to consumption and production must be understood.

AUSTRALIA: Amb. Richard Butler mentioned four key areas: trade and environment; consumption patterns; institutional arrangements; and standards. He attached great importance to the CSD's role and hoped that the political consensus developed here will help coordinate future activity in the UN system.

AUSTRIA: Amb. Harald Kreid addressed trade, production and consumption patterns, hazardous substances, and the usefulness of intersessional meetings. He noted that budgetary constraints do not allow for discussion of all relevant issues, and supported government-sponsored intersessional meetings.

GATT: Janet Chakarian outlined the report on GATT's activities related to trade and the environment, submitted to the CSD (E/1994/43). The GATT will be hosting a public symposium on trade, the environment and sustainable development in June.

UNCTAD: Ren‚ Vossenaar discussed the UNCTAD report (E/1994/47) submitted to the CSD. The report expands on the interlinkages between trade, environment and development and describes UNCTAD's cooperation with other international organizations.

SWEDEN: On behalf of the Nordic countries, Amb. Bo Kjell‚n welcomed the decisions on trade and environment adopted in Marrakech and called for close cooperation between the UNEP and the WTO. He noted the growing role of green consumer movements, and suggested that developing countries be supplied with appropriate information so they can also profit from this trend.

JAPAN: Itaru Umezu suggested that more successful rule-making with regard to trade and environment could result from providing input to the WTO. He suggested that an eco-labeling system should govern domestically produced and imported products and be transparent.

PHILIPPINES: Ronald Allarey reported on activities at the national level. Soon after UNCED, a Council for Sustainable Development was established and a National Action Plan for Sustainable Development was adopted.

PAKISTAN: Tariq Aziz warned the CSD against the tendency to continuously redefine Agenda 21. The CSD should review the implementation of Agenda 21 and should not lean on policy development. In carrying out the policy development role, we fall in the trap of continuously revising the commitments made at Rio.

IRAN: Amb. Gholamali Khoshroo, on behalf of the Contact Group of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), described the activities of this new regional organization. ECO has a new Committee on Environment and Health to enhance cooperation between member States. Major obstacles for the ECO region are the inadequacy of funding and technology.

URUGUAY: The representative described national actions Uruguay has taken to comply with Agenda 21. Uruguay's programme objectives include: combating poverty; promotion of environmental awareness; concentration on freshwater resources; change in consumption patterns; and meeting agricultural needs without destroying the environment. They have also developed an electronic system for the exchange of information on the environment.

SRI LANKA: Amb. Stanley Kalpag‚ said the CSD has a grave responsibility to ensure the effective follow-up of Rio, including keeping the spirit alive. He noted that a promising development has been the acceptance by industrialized countries that their consumption and production patterns have been a major cause of environmental deterioration.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: While elaborating upon sustainable development activities, the representative announced that the Russian Federation will soon ratify the conventions on climate change and biodiversity. Russia supports holding intersessional meetings on specific topics and urges that these be continued in the same manner.

MEXICO: The delegate noted that Mexico circulated the text of Agenda 21 domestically. He suggested that the CSD should have timely reports from other international bodies regarding their decisions on trade and environment.

INDONESIA: The representative noted that anything that hampers free trade is of concern to Indonesia. He stated that greater access to markets is one of the best guarantees for progress in sustainable development. He noted that ASEAN resolutions have spelled out policies that member nations must adopt to promote progress on environmental issues.

SWITZERLAND: The representative commented on three points: the role of the CSD; national reporting; and trade and the environment. Priority should be given to the CSD's coordinating function. National reporting should be simplified and information provided by the reports should be comparable. The CSD provides an excellent forum for work in trade and environment.

INTER-PARLIAMENTARIAN UNION: The representative noted that while there is growing awareness among parliaments about sustainable development issues, the work of the CSD is rarely brought to their attention. The Union requested greater contact with the CSD.

WOMEN'S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION: The representative noted that consumption patterns are a significant long-term contributor to the problems that must be addressed. WEDO is concerned that the words "equity" and "justice" have been used carelessly by the CSD. WEDO urged that the High-Level Segment focus on women and development.

AUSTRIA: Amb. Winfried Lang reported on the symposium on "Sustainable Development and International Law." Recommendations included: more frequent use of non-legally binding instruments; use of compliance-control machinery in international treaties; encouragement of capacity building; and priority to dispute avoidance over dispute settlement.

VENEZUELA: The representative of Venezuela rapidly noted her Government's measures to implement Agenda 21 including: the start of a national environmental plan; approval of new environmental laws; human resource capacity building in sustainable development; and adoption of new techniques for the management of toxic wastes.

SOCIETY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Pincas Jawetz noted that sustainability means finding a new architecture for the spontaneous social and political forces that are at work and for the necessary institutions needed at each level to manage the world in a sustainable way.

In his summation to the Plenary, T”pfer mentioned that now the Working Groups must translate discussions into concrete decisions. He mentioned that NGOs must be integrated into the discussions of the Working Groups and referred to a non-paper on the participation of NGOs and major groups, prepared by Amb. Arthur Campeau (Canada) and circulated by Amb. Razali.

[Return to start of article]