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PANEL DISCUSSIONS

During the course of the High-Level Segment two panel discussions were held on “Youth and Agenda 21" and the 1997 Special Session of the UNGA.

PANEL DISCUSSION ON YOUTH AND AGENDA 21: The panel on “Youth and Agenda 21,” chaired by Nitin Desai, met Wednesday afternoon, 1 May 1996. Lova Andre (Sweden) described youth activities at CSD-4 and urged the UN to facilitate their involvement in all UN bodies and processes.

Ghada Ahmandein (Egypt) challenged governments to strengthen youth organizations and establish a youth task force in the CSD to ensure youth participation in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the international level. Regarding employment and enterprise, she proposed creating youth credit funds and encouraged youth groups to put forward business plans. Peter Wilson (US) stated that youth involvement in local Agenda 21s is essential and challenged governments to provide financial support for creating and maintaining them. He also challenged the private sector to be globally responsible and support youth activism.

Satria Candao (Philippines) addressed the problem of hunger amid plenty. She called for: a ban on patented seeds; food to be produced regionally and sustainably; and industrialized countries to be forbidden to export fertilizers that are prohibited in their own countries. Mariana Rodriguez (Argentina) stated that models developed by the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO reflect the interests of the most powerful entities in these organizations. She called for new development elements to be based on respect for the human being and to allow participation.

Robert Micallef (Malta) spoke about technology transfer and climate change. He called for: a global tax on emissions; incentives at the national level for renewable energy and energy efficiency; and CSD action to ensure that countries share the responsibility for technology transfer.

Several panelists then commented on their work on indicators. The indicators project involved work with scientists to determine indicators to measure and determine whether changes are sustainable or not. The project has provided opportunities for youth to cooperate with youth in other nations and with their governments. Those involved in the indicator project created an “indicator pack,” which provides information for teachers to integrate the project into their classes.

PANEL ON THE SPECIAL SESSION: Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria) chaired the panel discussion on the 1997 Special Session of the General Assembly on Thursday, 2 May 1996.

Amb. Tommy T.B. Koh (Chair of UNCED Preparatory Committee) called for greater attention to: protection of the atmosphere; measures to address urbanization; protection of oceans; clean drinking water; and global leadership. He said that the CSD should work as “a human bridge” between the UN and the real world. Maurice Strong (Chair of UNCED Secretariat) highlighted motivational and practical considerations. Regarding the latter, he called for: remaking industrial civilization through re-examining economic incentives; designing voluntary investment guidelines; and strengthening people’s initiatives.

Barbara Bramble (National Wildlife Federation and on behalf of a number of other NGOs) called for: extending the CSD mandate and developing new priority issues; involving ministries beyond the environment ministry; coordinating national positions; reducing poverty; resolving UN financial issues; measures on foreign direct investment and market mechanisms for sustainable development; and sectoral priorities such as transportation, energy and tourism. Henrique Cavalcanti (CSD-3 Chair) identified gender and age, food and water security, spatial planning and human settlements, and production and consumption patterns as priorities for the 1997 review. He also addressed conflict prevention, and a coordinated approach to sustainable development in populous countries.

Klaus T�pfer (CSD-2 Chair) focused on improved coordination, concentration and control within the UN framework. He stated that addressing energy efficiency and urbanization are the peace- keeping and disarmament policies of the future. He also highlighted linkages between globalization, identity, new communications technology and sustainable development. Amb. Razali Ismail (CSD-1 Chair) said the UN must demonstrate a capacity to undertake macro-coordination with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. The straitjacket of the traditional division of labor must disappear. The management concept discussed at Rio must be revisited. The term “sustainable development” has been dangerously co-opted by agents of free change.

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