At the beginning of the discussion, the PHILIPPINES, on behalf of the G-77 and China, expressed concern at the lack of a separate agenda item on the transfer of technology, but refrained from further delving into the matter in the hope that broader discussion would ensue at the ad hoc working group on finance scheduled for 6-10 March 1995. He stated that while the reports emphasized scientific and technical issues, the human orientation of development, which encompasses capacity building and technology transfer, is essential. TUNISIA and BRAZIL supported the Philippines and argued that there is a need for institutional mechanisms for transfer of technology.
GENERAL COMMENTS: During the course of the two-day discussion of the task managers' reports, a number of delegates made general or cross-cutting comments. AUSTRALIA said that this Working Group should present the CSD with a range of options on these complex issues. The third session of the CSD may want to reinforce a number of key Agenda 21 themes, including the need for national plans to complement regional plans; community involvement; a focus on causes rather than symptoms; and recognition that there is no single solution to any given problem. He also stressed the importance of paying attention to the role of indigenous peoples.
NEW ZEALAND said that the CSD should seek to promote three key principles in relation to this sectoral cluster coordination, consistency and effectiveness.
NORWAY drew the Working Group's attention to a recent meeting in Oslo on sustainable production and consumption, which took place from 6-10 February 1995, and had 300 participants. It addressed some of the driving forces behind many of the issues to be discussed by the CSD. The report from the Oslo Roundtable makes it clear that sustainable production and consumption requires change in economies and lifestyles.
SWEDEN made a number of comments of a cross-sectoral character, noting that the notion of land use in Chapter 10 provides a structure for the whole cluster. Agriculture, rural development and forestry (Chapters 11-14) are part of a flexible planning system (not in the sense of centralized planning). The special needs of the fragile ecosystems of drylands and mountains, as well as preservation of biodiversity, need to be accommodated. In organizing the treatment of these issues within the CSD context, there is a need for an integrated, holistic and people-oriented approach. Other considerations include the role of science and technology, financial issues, and the general economic environment.
PERU urged the need to comprehensively approach the themes on the agenda. However, he noted that other cross-sectoral issues that need to be addressed include: poverty alleviation; financial resources; transfer of technology; exchange and proper use of information and data; and institutions, participation, and human resources.
The UK made four general points. (1) The Secretary-General's reports were generally good, but proposals for action need to be more focused. (2) Since most activity is taking place at the national and local levels, there is need for national reporting and exchange of national experiences. (3) There is need to identify the important linkages across the issues with land use planning as being central to all. The question is at what level such integration should be done, although land use planning is often most appropriate at the local or community level. (4) Transfer of technology is vital to sustainable development and there is need to integrate it into concrete proposals.
The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed that the six issues under discussion are interconnected and cannot be isolated from one another. A top-down approach that includes local people and NGOs is necessary when addressing these issues. FRANCE raised the issue of energy for rural development and noted that it has organized a series of seminars on rural electrification using sustainable energy sources. NORWAY supported the recommendations in the Secretary-General's reports. However, he was concerned that although an integrated approach is being emphasized, it is likely that it does not take place in the field due to fragmented planning at the national level, which is likely to cause enormous strains during implementation. The Commission should therefore send a strong signal to the various agencies in order to ensure coordination and avoid duplication of efforts.
BANGLADESH recommended that community and social forestry be included in the Task Manager's report on forests, and stressed the importance of external financial assistance, especially in targeting poverty alleviation. DENMARK said that the issue of consumption and production patterns affects land management and stressed that it is important to take an integrated approach to sectoral and cross-sectoral issues. Out of the six sectoral issues, the CSD should concentrate on land use, agriculture, mountains and forests, but remember that land use is at the heart of all of these issues. The CSD can give political momentum to existing conventions on biodiversity and desertification.
ALGERIA noted that in the more than two years since Rio, achievements have been short of the expectations of developing countries. Treatment of desertification, forests, agriculture and biodiversity should take into account socio-economic dimensions, especially poverty. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said the CSD should consider establishing a databank for agriculture and energy, especially renewable energy.
INTEGRATED PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND RESOURCES (CHAPTER 10): Tim Aldington (FAO) introduced E/CN.17/1995/2 and drew attention to a recently concluded Workshop in Wagenigen, the Netherlands, in early February, which could provide additional material for consideration. He stated that land resources are important as they relate to all the other sectoral issues since it preserves natural habitats in the face of societally-induced land degradation. He noted the constraints of using fragmented scientific systems to sustain complex systems previously under traditional use. A new approach to land management, which integrates modern techniques, socio-economic, geographic and community involvement, is necessary. Local people should not only be involved in decision-making, they should have secure rights to use the land. This approach would address: (1) integrated land resource management; (2) national land use planning programmes; (3) cooperation of key actors in order to obtain stable land systems; (4) conflict resolution in peri-urban areas on land and water use; (5) intersectoral dialogue on land management; (6) collaboration in the development of essential tools including classification of land cover, agro-ecozoning and mapping; (7) information exchange and knowledge; (8) collaboration in promoting national and subregional action frameworks; and (9) the establishment of an international working group to facilitate the promotion of these activities.
The NETHERLANDS reported on a workshop on integrated planning and management of land resources held in Wagenigen, the Netherlands, from 20-22 February 1995. The workshop had two objectives to formulate recommendations and policy options for the implementation of Chapter 10 of Agenda 21 and to exchange experiences on integrated land management. The workshop examined the following three themes: integration of objectives and policy formulation for planning and management of land resources in rural areas; management of a planning process for the use of land resources in rural areas, taking into consideration the interests of all stakeholders; and possibilities for sustainable economic development in rural areas, with emphasis on non-traditional land use.
SWEDEN made four observations: (1) socio-economic aspects that lead to land-degradation need to be addressed; (2) urban growth and land-use conflicts must be examined in order to develop an interface between the cities and land; (3) coastal areas and land use, including pollution of coastal areas through agriculture, should be looked at; and (4) and the use of advanced technology and land-use practices needs to be examined.
CANADA supported the establishment of a programme to achieve the objectives of Chapter 10, including promoting the application of appropriate tools for planning and management, the strengthening of information systems and enhancing the scientific understanding of the land resources system. Canada expressed caution regarding a covenant for good land use as applied to a national policy tied to land title deeds. There is a need to strengthen the coordination between existing sectoral data systems on land and land resources, as well as national capacity to gather and assess data and formulate complementary and mutually supportive policies.
POLAND commented on the paragraphs related to countries with economies in transition in the reports on Chapters 10 and 14. Transition in the agricultural sector is a major problem, since privatization and land redistribution have repercussions that must be voiced in the debate on land resources in Eastern Europe. JAPAN said it is important that every nation formulate and implement an effective programme of action for land management, including cross-sectoral exchange of information, monitoring of resources and promoting wider use of traditional wisdom.
GERMANY did not support the proposal to draw up a covenant for good land use or to establish a working group, as called for in the task manager's report. There is a need to speed up implementation of Chapter 10 by planning and managing land resources in a sustainable manner. Organizations, governments and the UN should collaborate on issues as needed.
MALAYSIA stated that it is the responsibility of each country to develop its own integrated framework of decision-making on land resources, taking into consideration the social and economic framework. The international community should not involve itself in this matter. Consequently, there is no need for the proposed working group to prepare a report by mid-1995.
CHINA stated that the Secretary-General's reports were useful, but made some observations on Chapter 10: land is a limited resource with an increasing demand, causing a challenge for its rational utilization; management relies on legislative and economic incentives that would promote sustainable development and it is necessary to share experiences on this; and the application of scientific and technological processes would be important, especially for countries that are dependent on land resources.
AUSTRALIA noted that it is expensive and time consuming to collect the data needed for a detailed inventory of land and water resources, and suggested setting priorities for information dissemination. Alternatives include developing a checklist for nations to develop their own land use programmes or developing a holistic framework for land use. Australia supported the task manager's proposals in Chapter 10, but would like to see greater emphasis on rural development.
COMBATING DEFORESTATION (CHAPTER 11) AND THE FOREST PRINCIPLES: David Harcharick (FAO) introduced E/CN.17/1995/3 and said his organization is interested in hearing recommendations on the FAO's appropriate role. The report considered recommendations from NGOs, IGOs, UN agencies and governments and covers activities that have been undertaken since 1992, including awareness raising, improvement of programmes, policies and management. He noted that progress in developing countries and countries with economies in transition has been slow. Different approaches and initiatives have been developed in different regions, and the FAO has sent experts to assist in their harmonization. He then outlined some issues of a political nature that the CSD could address: consensus building defining the balance through which all the needs of the different interest groups can be met; consideration of the three options for the way forward to maintain a non-legally-binding document, to move to a legally-binding document immediately or to prepare one in the medium- to long-term period; and to address environment and trade related issues on timber production. He added that the most critical issue is defining the balance between protecting and utilizing forests.
AUSTRALIA said that how forests are dealt with in the CSD will set the international framework for this issue. Existing fora and conventions should be used where possible to advance the debate. The work on criteria and indicators on temporal and boreal forests (Montreal and Helsinki Processes) has progressed to the stage where it could be considered by the CSD. The CSD could recommend that appropriate UN bodies develop a work programme to comprehensively address forest issues and that the Biodiversity COP include forest biodiversity in its work programme.
CANADA noted the various country-driven initiatives that have been undertaken to increase understanding of and cooperation on forests and to develop scientifically-based criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. In order to ensure a comprehensive, cohesive and holistic approach to forests, there is a need for a legally-binding instrument on all forests and all forest values, with particular attention to the variety of efforts undertaken related to forests, including those within the biodiversity, climate change and desertification conventions. Canada also recommended that the CSD shape a unified programme of work on key forest issues that would report in 1997 as part of the five-year review of UNCED.
GERMANY said that forest management implies that several cross-cutting issues need to be addressed by considering the social, environmental and economic aspects of the different areas. The CSD has a political role to carry forward the commitments of Rio, by reviewing progress and finding ways and means to further progress on these commitments. It is up to the CSD to decide whether there is need for a legally-binding document. He supported the establishment of an intergovernmental working group that would prepare the options and proposals for submission for review by CSD in 1995 and define the working programme to be established. The group would work under the CSD, but be mandated by the General Assembly.
The AFRICAN FOREST ACTION NETWORK, on behalf of an ad hoc group of NGOs, called for the establishment of an intergovernmental inter-agency group to coordinate and be regularly serviced by agencies active in these programmes. Such a group would include the FAO, UNEP, DPCSD and UNDP. The DPCSD should serve as the focal point. This group should be open, transparent and fully representative of a broad range of stakeholders including IGOs and NGOs. The mandate of the group would be to: (1) conduct a more comprehensive review and recommend specific actions to address the underlying causes of forest loss; (2) make recommendations on the potential of existing instruments as mechanisms to improve forest management; (3) assess and make recommendations on the potential roles and responsibilities of the various regional forest-related agencies; (4) develop a process to improve information dissemination on the status and availability of forest resources worldwide; and (5) recommend and assess the need for global or regional instruments, including new accords and protocols to existing agreements.
FINLAND stated that forest issues cannot be adequately addressed without taking into account its relationship with other land uses. An intergovernmental working group should be established under the CSD, but assisted by other agencies and organizations including the FAO. The output of this working group should be reported to the CSD in 1997. The mandate of the group would include: developing global criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of forests; certification of timber production; resource mobilization; and resources for capacity-building in the protection and management of forests. The Group should ensure the participation of all stakeholders and address, in an open and transparent manner, the necessity for a legally-binding instrument.
NORWAY agreed that there is need for an intergovernmental working group to address all forests, and look into: criteria and indicators for management; certification of trade in timber products; enhancing forest cover and forest use in meeting human needs; the importance of cross-sectoral integration; facilitating open and fair trade for the sustainable management of forests; recognizing and duly supporting identity, culture and rights of indigenous peoples, their communities and other forest communities; promoting a focus on the utilization of existing forest resources and increasing financial resources; capacity-building at all levels; emphasizing that the next CSD look closely at activities of organizations dealing with forest issues; and identifying where coordination is needed and what activities should be considered.
AUSTRALIA said that the criteria and indicators developed under the Helsinki and Montreal initiatives could be harmonized, and certification and labeling schemes could be developed. Other proposals include: develop a clear work programme under the aegis of the CSD, taking into account all existing efforts, but with clear and shared objectives and principles; avoid duplication of activities; set up an open-ended intergovernmental working group that is supported by the relevant UN bodies and the CSD; foster timber certification; address transfer of technology; develop an institutional framework on forests; provide an analysis of the full range of existing instruments and mechanisms to achieve integrated forest management, looking at gaps and cross-sectoral linkages including cooperation mechanisms; and examine possible mechanisms, including the legal, environmental and financial mechanisms, to determine the need for a legally-binding instrument.
The UK concurred on the need for an intergovernmental working group to: harmonize efforts on criteria and indicators; commission research on linkages between forests and other ecosystems; examine ecolabling initiatives; and discuss the desirability of a convention. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said that consensus on sustainable forest management is needed and the CSD should accept more responsibility. Emphasis should be given to developing alternative fuel sources to reduce dependence on forests. SWITZERLAND raised the issue of mountain forests.
The IUCN highlighted issues that had emerged from an informal NGO/Government dialogue on Monday night. (1) The global community should not make premature decisions and should operate on a consensus basis, as it may not be the right time to make a definitive choice on legal instruments. (2) There is need for an independent assessment of existing agreements, processes and outcomes. (3) Regarding institutional arrangements, organizations should take the lead, but this should be a collaborative effort that includes major organizations. However, the CSD could help in identifying appropriate roles by coordinating the process or possibly establishing an intergovernmental working group on forests. (4) There is a common agenda in the various discussions on forests. (5) The discussion has become less political and more constructive, but an underlying sense of frustration threatens to undermine progress.
The US concurred on the establishment of a CSD working group, supported by UNDP, UNEP, FAO and other organizations, to carry the forest debate forward. This working group should address: national implementation of existing forest conservation policies; the need for new criteria and indicators and coordination of those already underway; the roles of existing organizations and coordination between them; research needs; a review of certification and labeling schemes in promoting sustainable forest management; how to inventory, assess and monitor forest resources; the role of assistance efforts; and the creation of an international network of protected areas. The working group could then assess the necessity of new international agreements on forests and submit a progress report to the CSD in 1996 and final recommendations in 1997.
FRANCE called for a permanent inventory of forest resources, aimed at emphasizing the trans-sectoral nature of forests. National forest action plans are useful to implement the Statement on Forest Principles and Chapter 11 in an integrated way, but they have to be flexible according to national priorities. France called for mobilizing all expertise in a coordinated and integrated way that would avoid competitiveness between UN and national agencies on forest management. With regard to the future programme of work, management criteria and indicators have to be established at the national level. Initiatives on international trade must avoid discriminatory practices and a trade war. Eco-certification must be clarified. There also must be an opportunity for a free and frank discussion on the timeliness of a legal instrument on all forests.
JAPAN said that the development of criteria and indicators is one of the more successful international initiatives in forest management since UNCED. The outcomes of the deliberations on criteria and indicators will affect the international framework on forest management and stimulate activities at the national level. Japan supported the proposal to establish a CSD working group on forests, however, before considering a legally-binding instrument, existing efforts should be evaluated in order to determine the necessary measures.
MALAYSIA supported the call for certification of timber products and stressed that the development of international criteria should be integrated and holistic, so as to cover all forests, through an intergovernmental process that involves all stakeholders. Malaysia did not support the recommendation in the task manager's report for a protocol to the Convention on Biodiversity. He also objected to the proposal for an eminent persons' group to work on forests, preferring an intergovernmental process, in order to ensure that national, not Northern, interests were represented.
CHINA said that the Statement on Forest Principles provides clear guidelines for conservation, management and sustainable development of forests, and a good basis for international cooperation. The necessity for a legally-binding instrument should be considered with the CSD playing a coordinating role. DENMARK and PORTUGAL also supported establishing an open-ended working group. ALGERIA thought that the idea of a legal instrument on forests is premature. The Biodiversity Convention is a useful instrument that embraces forests since it is about preserving ecosystems. The Biodiversity Convention must be implemented before the UN General Assembly can determine the need to prepare another legal instrument.
Bill Mankin, on behalf of the GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT, said that any future intergovernmental process to address forests should promote consensus building and be open-ended with full NGO participation.
NEW ZEALAND said that little is to be gained from producing a lengthy and unwieldy work programme for which sufficient resources are not available. He proposed the establishment of a two-year work process on forest issues. An initial progress report should be submitted to the CSD in 1996 and the outcome presented in 1997. The CSD should direct and oversee the process of work through the creation of an intergovernmental group, which is representative of regions and interests. The DPCSD should not be responsible for action, rather a team effort should be used involving FAO, UNDP, UNEP, ITTO and the Secretariats for the climate change and biodiversity conventions. All the relevant stakeholders must be involved, as appropriate.
Ian Fry of GREENPEACE suggested that the current discussion on establishing a working group on forests should include biodiversity institutions and other NGOs as support groups. Existing international instruments should be analyzed before creating a new one, especially since recent conventions have not had time to prove themselves.
COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT (CHAPTER 12): Franklin Cardy (UNEP) introduced E/CN.17/1995/4 and noted that it is a joint effort by UNEP, other agencies working to combat desertification, NGOs and governments. After 15 years of effort on desertification following the 1977 UN Conference on Desertification, Chapter 12 of Agenda 21 brought the issues into better focus and changed the emphasis from the technical to the political level. Of particular importance was the political impetus to negotiate the Convention, which was completed on time on 17 June 1994. The Convention places responsibility for combating desertification squarely on governments, with the UN playing a supporting role. Origins, causes and solutions at the local level are more widely recognized and the linkages with biodiversity, water, population, resource consumption, trade, economics, and social and cultural efforts are clear now. The report recommends that the CSD should: encourage States that have not yet done so to become Parties to the Convention; ask all countries to provide support to affected countries in Africa; urge governments and agencies to support the Secretariat in preparation for the first Conference of the Parties; and urge governments to recognize the mutually supportive relationship between combating desertification and sustainable development. The report also recommends that governments set up institutions for implementing national strategies and action programmes and stresses the need to mobilize financial resources to assist countries in implementing the Convention.
CANADA has already begun to allocate financial resources towards combating desertification. The Convention's Global Mechanism will be an important means of promoting actions leading to the mobilization and channeling of substantial financial resources. The PHILIPPINES expressed appreciation for the recognition of land-degradation in all environments. He drew attention to drought-related degradation, and stressed the need to address problems in all drought-prone areas, including the humid tropics.
FRANCE said that desertification and drought cannot be discussed without considering forest management, food security, demographics, education, marginalization of women and children, and trade policies. One of the advantages of the Convention is that the desertification problem was not just tackled from an environmental standpoint, but also takes into account socio-economic aspects and stresses partnerships. The CSD must encourage countries to sign and ratify the Convention as soon as possible. The CSD can also play a role in dissemination of information about the Convention. Priority has to be given to Africa and the CSD might reflect on how to invite various African countries to report on the action they have taken and the problems they face.
The US said that the Convention places an emphasis on planning, donor coordination and a bottom-up approach. URUGUAY supported the Philippines concerning preventative measures against the loss of soil productivity in arid, semi-arid and dry, sub-humid lands. The CSD should also consider the topic of soil erosion. JAPAN agreed that desertification is an issue that should be tackled using a participatory, multi-sectoral, integrated approach. The Convention is the embodiment of such an approach. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported urgent action for Africa on desertification, but stated that other affected regions, including Asia, should not be neglected. ALGERIA said that desertification is a problem of a global dimension, like the ozone layer and climate change. The CSD should also promote action to observe the international day to combat desertification.
CHILE announced that it is about to sign the Convention to Combat Desertification. MEXICO noted that it has great experience in managing arid areas, including monitoring and preventing the advancement of deserts, and that it is willing to share this experience.
INCD Chair Bo KjellÚn was pleased to hear delegates' support for the Convention to Combat Desertification and added that political support from the CSD is essential. He encouraged countries to ratify and implement the Convention as soon as possible. Soil deterioration in arid zones is a global problem, and KjellÚn hopes that the CSD will raise public awareness about the Convention around the world.
SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT (CHAPTER 13): Tage Michaelsen (FAO) introduced E/CN.17/1995/5 and noted that the existence of a special chapter in Agenda 21 provides an unprecedented opportunity to focus on mountains and related downstream areas. The main conclusion in the report is that there is agreement that awareness needs to be generated at the governmental level on the specificity of mountain issues. Sustainable mountain development must start with a change of attitude towards and treatment of indigenous people and mountain women, including recognition of the right to land, living conditions, protection from exploitation by drug dealers and tourist operations. The problems of mountain communities do not only stem from the lack of assistance, but also the lack of empowerment. The report recommends action in five areas: eradicating poverty; strengthening a global information network and database; strengthening country capacity; raising awareness through the preparation and organization of a world conference on sustainable mountain development; and formulating and negotiating regional or subregional conventions and possibly developing a global mountain charter.
SWEDEN noted: (1) the need to focus on water, and cultural and social patterns of mountain regions; (2) the difficulty of developing a global mountain charter due to these differences, and that regional action programmes may provide the best approach; and (3) the issue of tourism in such fragile areas needs to be addressed.
PERU underscored the need for governments to pay more attention to fragile mountains. Peru has begun work on a national programme on mountains relating to the Andes. Consequently, three meetings were held earlier this year, and one more is scheduled for April. He differed with Sweden on the need for a global mountain charter, which he views as necessary for proper management, hence the need for a world conference to address this matter. The US supported the need to provide assistance to facilitate the sustainable management of mountain ecosystems. There is a need to prevent soil erosion, promote sustainable tourism, environmentally sound mining and fishing, and mitigate the effects of natural disasters.
GERMANY stated that the expert meetings mentioned in the Secretary-General's report demonstrated the complexity of addressing sustainable mountain development as a global phenomenon. He noted that while mountain areas are faced with high risks that require prompt action, the need for a world conference on sustainable mountain development is questionable. Based on their experience in the alpine region, national, sub-regional and regional schemes including all stakeholders, rather than global initiatives, are more practical.
SWITZERLAND said that sustainable mountain development is a new subject that is not well outlined. Mountain regions are marginal in every sense of the word economically, socially, politically and culturally. Mountains harbor colossal water, energy, biodiversity and other natural resources on which two billion people depend. It is imperative to combat poverty in the mountain regions, involve the full participation of the people concerned, address the question of land ownership and respect the capacity and allocation of public resources for mountain development. Diversity between and within mountains makes it important to plan mountain development at the national level. The CSD should formulate clear indications or guidelines.
According to JAPAN, mountain development must be tackled in an integrated manner to address living conditions and better utilization of mountain resources. AUSTRIA outlined the value of mountains and stated that transport development has contributed greatly to the threat to mountain regions. There is need for integrated approaches to problem-solving that are innovative, dynamic and flexible. A global conference may not be the best approach to address the issue.
The FAO clarified that the proposal for a "world conference" does not connote the specific meaning given to it in the UN. Rather, it suggests inter-regional approaches, and emphasizes regional, national and subregional level meetings, such as the Alpine Convention.
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT (CHAPTER 14): Tim Aldington (FAO) presented E/CN.17/1995/6 and reported that the proposals made by the FAO are not ideal, but correspond to what can be realistically achieved. The eight proposals contained in the report have the full support of the 107th FAO Council. He then outlined the conclusions of the Report. (1) Productive agriculture is important for sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) as it deals with poverty reduction. (2) Achieving SARD is complex and slow and requires sectoral policies that are coherent and mutually supportive to maintain momentum. (3) There is need for deeper and wider understanding of the social, gender and economic relations between the farmer, the environment, the household and the community. This would enable the development of policy interventions and simple indicators for use in measuring sustainability that are accessible to a wide range of people. (4) More emphasis should be given to strategic or problem-solving research, which has so far been underfunded. (5) There is need for more assessment of the impacts of agricultural trade on SARD in order to redress problems as they emerge.
INDIA noted that SARD is particularly important in poor nations with large farming populations. Solutions involve: the application of better technologies where they are needed most; the ability to undertake good advice, which depends on the availability of resources to local governments; assistance to local governments in devising public policies, while being sensitive to national sovereignty; and identification of the role of the private sector and provision of an international enabling environment for indigenous knowledge and local experiences.
AUSTRALIA, supported by URUGUAY, said there is a need to reform agriculture and trade policies that lead to poor agricultural practices and environmental degradation. The Uruguay Round outcome is important, but only a first step. CANADA noted its cooperative work with other countries and international agencies to develop agri-environmental indicators.
The US noted that SARD is a basic building block for sustainable development and that the pest management programme has saved money in fewer crops lost and increased agricultural productivity. Stronger public participation is a key to SARD implementation and, thus, there should be closer linkages between research centers and farmers to ensure such programmes are farmer-driven. He emphasized the importance of conservation and sustainable utilization of genetic resources and supported the FAO process on plant genetic resources.
NEW ZEALAND said that policy reform in OECD countries is essential to improve market returns for developing countries, thereby contributing to SARD, the alleviation of poverty and improved access to suitable and productive technology. Any review of the Uruguay Round should include an analysis of the benefits for SARD and the possible benefits that further reform might bring. He expressed concern about the FAO comments on animal genetic resources, since at this stage this issue does not merit institutional development at the international level.
The EC welcomed the Secretary-General's report and endorsed its proposals. Policy reform is fundamental in programmes and projects for SARD, and this requires an understanding of the objectives to be undertaken. While the report focuses on the role of the FAO in providing assistance, the EC and donors should also provide help for priority activities included in the report, such as programmes and projects in land and water management. Trade liberalization is a key issue. He called for a more open trading system that promotes the efficient use of resources in economic and environmental terms. Its effects, however, must be monitored in order to avoid undesirable social and environmental impacts. There is a need for environmental indicators, based on a multi-disciplinary and scientific approach that is practicable and effectively uses data to measure progress.
MALAYSIA said there are still problems on how to recognize and measure the value of indigenous knowledge. There should be compensation and protection of farmers' intellectual property rights. CHINA said that SARD requires emphasis on key elements, including the examination and verification of existing laws and policies and adjustment of agricultural structures
The OECD pointed out that finance and technology are critical areas not addressed in the report. She outlined the on-going efforts in the OECD to utilize cleaner technologies and reduce the use of pesticides. Environmental education, economic policies and consumption and production patterns are three crucial issues that need to be addressed.
The INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS stated that farmers should be considered the focal point of any discussion of land issues for sustainable development. In this respect, the CSD needs to address capacity- and institution-building for farmers, including: strengthening farmers' organizations; enabling a two-way dialogue in the articulation of the needs of communities; enabling them to identify problems and formulate solutions; initiating a dialogue with inter-governmental agencies; and enhancing capacity in training and extension work.
BIODIVERSITY (CHAPTER 15): H. Zedan (UNEP) presented E/CN.17/1995/7 and noted that biodiversity cuts across larger issues such as trade and the environment. Thus, it is essential to consider different issues that demonstrate the cross-sectoral nature of biodiversity. Two gaps in scientific research related to biodiversity involve determining the total economic and ecological value of biodiversity, and the total number of species on earth and the associated rate of loss. The report highlights the experiences of major groups, but lacks input on implementation by governments. It also touches on finance and technology issues. He noted the difficulty in establishing the amount of additional funding that has been realized as a result of the additional work organizations have undertaken. The key recommendations to the CSD are: (1) coordination with other action plans and strategies at the national level; (2) studies on the impact of existing land tenure practices to be undertaken in collaboration with indigenous and local communities; (3) financial resources from the UN; (4) baseline data to measure success or failure of programmes; (5) effective mechanisms to realize human and technical capacity in developing countries; (6) economic tools to measure sustainable development in realizing the four objectives; (7) data on the benefits arising from resource use; (8) restructuring of remuneration policies and incentive measures for existing or new legislation; (9) discussion and studies on intellectual property regimes for genetic material; and (10) assessment of the possible negative impacts of agro-trade systems.
SWEDEN said there is need for more emphasis on genetic resources and to go beyond the recommendations of the Convention in addressing economic sectors. AUSTRALIA said that the Biodiversity Convention provides a good basis from which to move forward. The CSD needs to ensure that biodiversity is integrated into the various UN agencies. CANADA emphasized the key role of the Biodiversity Convention COP in achieving the objectives of Agenda 21 and acknowledged the roles played by the GEF as the Convention's interim financial mechanism and the FAO as the venue for related agreements on biological resource issues, particularly the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.
The US commended the work of the COP, called on those dealing with biodiversity to cooperate closely with one another, and urged all nations to ratify the Convention. JAPAN noted that Chapter 15 is multi-disciplinary and complex in nature and the CSD should promote interaction among the various intergovernmental fora. MALAYSIA said efforts must ensure that activities and programmes that are drawn up correspond to the Convention. The CSD should not take up issues that are outside the purview of the Convention. He noted that women in some parts of the world play a key role in ensuring sustainable land use, and expressed shock at paragraph 43, which misrepresents indigenous peoples.
CHINA noted the progress made at the first meeting of the COP, but added that some issues were still not settled. Although the developing countries are the main possessors of biodiversity, they still lack finances, have outdated technologies and lack human capacity, all of which should be addressed by the COP and the CSD. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the importance of information sharing and suggested that a clearinghouse mechanism might be established.
The NETHERLANDS COMMITTEE OF THE IUCN emphasized that biodiversity should be acknowledged as a cross-sectoral issue. The information from the COP should be taken into consideration. DENMARK said that the Biodiversity Convention needs additional ratifications. The cross-cutting nature of biodiversity should be considered at the national level. NEW ZEALAND said that the current work programme for the Biodiversity Convention is too ambitious and that the Secretariat does not have adequate resources to fulfill all expectations. Nevertheless, the CSD should support the Convention and ensure that all governments and international agencies work to support the Convention's objectives.
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