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HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

CSD Chair Klaus T”pfer opened the High-Level Segment by thanking delegates for their hard work over the past 10 days. He suggested that next year's meeting include more time for dialogue and hoped this would be discussed during the High-Level Segment. He noted the need to discuss how well everyone is sticking to their Rio commitments. He stressed the right to development. The conflict between East and West has ended and a new Cold War between North and South must be avoided. He suggested the need to: identify the means to find new, additional and innovative financial resources; achieve a balance between trade and environment and sustainable development; and give the CSD the political weight and profile to achieve effective work.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali noted that it is two years since the Earth Summit opened a new era in international cooperation and brought a permanent change in the way States view the environment. Sustainable development is at the heart of development activity in the UN and is now recognized as the cornerstone of national development policy. The crucial challenge is to maintain political will. In the Agenda for Development published this morning, the UN has tried to set development in a broader context. The next stage will require sustained commitment and new resources, alliances and partnerships. This was the message of Rio and should be the message of the CSD.

INDIA: Kamal Nath, Minister of Environment and Forests, said that India and the UK will host an international workshop on forests in July in New Delhi. If the aims of sustainable development are to be met, two parallel processes are necessary: fulfillment of basic needs of all people and moderation of resource consumption.

UNITED STATES: Amb. Madeleine Albright stated that the CSD has taken significant strides in making the Rio vision a concrete reality. The US intends to support next year's meeting by: promoting the conservation and sustainable management of all forests; seeking an effective convention to combat desertification; and implementing the Biodiversity Convention.

BRAZIL: Henrique Brandao Cavalcanti, Minister of Environment and the Amazon, noted the central position of financial resources and transfer of technology in implementing Agenda 21. He noted the importance of sustainable development and changing consumption patterns. He stressed the importance of the new ad hoc intersessional working group on sectoral issues.

GREECE: Elissavet Papazois, Under-Secretary of the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works, said the CSD must: establish itself as a powerful political forum; give equal attention to environment and development; develop its monitoring and review role; identify new and emerging issues in sustainable development; and have transparent and flexible arrangements for intersessional activities.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Commissioner for the Environment, Yannis Paleokrassas, explained the EU's strategic approach for achieving sustainable development and moderating consumption and production patterns. Environmental protection should be a central element in the strategy to combat recession.

BENIN: Jean Roger Ahoyo, Ministre de l'Environnement, de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme, said that after hundreds of statements and documents, it is time to focus on action. He noted the importance of financial resources and mechanisms, the target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA, and debt relief. The convention to combat desertification will help eliminate the nightmare of land degradation and poverty.

UNITED KINGDOM: John Gummer, Secretary of State for Environment, said that much has been accomplished and there should not be too much complaining. In the end, people's lifestyles must change. The CSD still lacks the language that will enthuse all. Sustainable development is a boring, although accurate, phrase. Action should focus on: national reporting; forestry; and trade and the environment.

MALAYSIA: Datuk Law Hieng Ding, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, said international trade is important for sustainable development. Developed countries should stop using questionable measures to prevent developing countries from benefitting from liberalized trade. Production and consumption patterns must be addressed. Commitment of new and additional resources and technology transfer have not been translated into realities.

COLOMBIA: Manuel Rodriguez Becerra, Ministro del Medio Ambiente, did not share in the UK's optimism because two years after Rio he finds the picture to be disappointing. A drop in the resources for developing countries, unilateral protectionist trade measures and obstacles to the transfer of technology all reflect a lack of commitment and political will. The CSD also needs active participation of finance, planning, industrial and agricultural development ministers.

THE NETHERLANDS: Jan Pronk, Minister for Development Cooperation, agreed with Colombia that we cannot be too optimistic. The world has changed a lot since 1992 -- there are more civil wars, unemployment and budgetary restraints -- and, thus, it is more difficult to focus on the environment. The CSD has not made much progress on a number of cross-cutting issues, such as trade, consumption patterns and finance. He hoped the High-Level Segment will give a boost to additional financial resources.

AUSTRALIA: John Faulkner, Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories, said that the CSD must play an effective role in monitoring, assessment and coordination. The test will be if the measures adopted here make a difference in the real world. National reporting and the development of sustainability indicators are essential. Genuine sustainable development will be achieved only if governments grapple with the hard issues.

ITALY: Altero Matteoli, Minister of the Environment, said that Italy adopted a National Plan for sustainable development in December 1993 and has also adopted a national programme for the stabilization of carbon dioxide emissions. Italy will organize an intersessional conference on sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

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