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GENERAL DISCUSSION ON PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21

Carlos Fortin (UNCTAD) introduced E/CN.17/1995/12 (Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development). Jyoti Singh (UNFPA) introduced E/CN.17/1995/15 (Demographic Dynamics and Sustainability). Joke Waller-Hunter, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, introduced documents E/CN.17/1995/13 (Changing Consumption and Production Patterns) and E/CN.17/1995/14 (Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development).

The floor was then opened for discussion. Norway introduced the report of the Oslo Roundtable and highlighted the need for: green tax reform and increased use of economic instruments; green buying policies; green liability rules; full access to environmental information on products; and the development of environmental indicators. Bangladesh noted the linkages between poverty eradication and environmental degradation. France, on behalf of the EU, said that developed countries have a special responsibility to reduce unsustainable consumption and production patterns.

Brazil noted the importance of trade liberalization in promoting an environmentally supportive international economic system. The European Commission noted the potential "normative" role of the Committee on Trade and the Environment of the WTO. UNEP could provide input on: the environmental impact of trade policies; internalization of environmental costs; and the polluter-pays principle. Canada said liberalized trade must be accompanied by poverty alleviation measures including debt relief and improved access to economic resources for women.

The US called for a balanced approach on trade and environment. He defended the role of trade policies in pursuing environmental objectives. Japan said the CSD should play a proactive role in helping the international community accelerate work on Agenda 21. The Republic of Korea supported strengthening international cooperation to enhance the mutually supportive relationship between trade and environment. Australia called on the CSD to play a coordinating role on trade and environment policies, including poverty and consumption issues.

<$TSpInterLn=1296> The Philippines called for eco-labeling to be tied to technology transfer. Switzerland noted the value of similar questions being raised in different fora as a way of generating diverse perspectives. Algeria noted the importance of the CSD's political visibility on mobilizing financial resources, technology transfer, and production and consumption patterns. Morocco said that environmental concerns should not serve as a pretext for hindering developing countries' access to markets. Friends of the Earth explained the concepts of environmental space and equity in its programme on sustainable development.

The Women's Caucus said transition to sustainability requires a reversal in patterns of inequality, displacement and monoculture. The UN system's failure to accommodate the perspectives and vision of women threatens its integrity. Consumers International Environment said projected energy increases highlight the responsibility of developed countries to go beyond palliative measures to address consumption and production patterns. Malaysia stressed improved market access and expressed concern about human rights and environmental conditionalities that restrict trade.

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