ENB:05:70 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

OPENING SESSION

CSD-4 Chair Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria) opened CSD-5. He called for a reconfirmation of the definition of “sustainable development” as it emanated from Rio and for a balance of actions so the economic, social and environmental components can reinforce each other. He noted the importance of: greater efficiency, including through new technologies and the elimination of subsidies; intensive cooperation with the business community; new and strengthened partnerships; and political will to implement commitments.

Delegates elected Dr. Mostafa Tolba (Egypt) as CSD-5 Chair. He noted that the concept of sustainable development is still very debatable. He noted challenges with regard to climate change, biodiversity, desertification, ODA, technology transfer, protection of the ozone layer, consumption patterns, population and poverty.

Joke Waller-Hunter, Director of the DPCSD Division for Sustainable Development, emphasized that CSD-5 is a special session, as it serves as the “PrepCom” to UNGASS and will determine its outcome and success. The Special Session must reaffirm the highest levels of support for sustainable development, recognizing the interdependence of its economic, social and environmental components and reaffirming the developmental dimension of sustainable development. She said UNGASS should emphasize to the UN system, the World Bank, IMF and WTO the need for partnerships at national, regional and global levels. She stressed the need to send a solution-oriented document to UNGASS.

Delegates nominated Vice-Chairs Monika Linn Locher (Switzerland) from the Western European and Others Group and John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) from the Latin American and Caribbean Group. The provisional agenda and organization of work (E/CN.17/1997/1) were adopted.

Derek Osborn (UK), Co-Chair of the CSD’s Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group, invited delegations, in their role as creators and leaders of political will, to strengthen the Co-Chairs’ draft with new proposals for action and implementation. He also reported on work with his Co-Chair, Amb. Celso Amorim (Brazil), on the draft preamble, expressing personal and political commitments to implementation and partnership.

Dr. Manuel Rodriguez (Colombia), Co-Chair of the IPF with Sir Martin Holdgate (UK), presented the IPF’s report to the CSD. He expressed concern about persistent differences between developing and developed countries, including conflicting interpretations of UNCED agreements. He outlined the options recommended in the report, including the establishment of a forum to monitor and assist implementation and possibly to consider the need for a convention, or creation of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee. He stressed the importance of the proposals for action recommended by the Panel.

Birgitta Dahl, Chair of the High-Level Advisory Board, presented the results of the most recent Advisory Board meeting, which provided detailed recommendations on energy, transportation and water. The Board also highlighted the need to assume personal and collective responsibility for changing lifestyles. It stressed democracy as the most efficient basis for sustainable development, the need for an integrated strategy for sustainable energy development, and the phase-out of subsidies for energy production and consumption, particularly fossil fuels.

UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell stated that now is the time to consider how best to equip and empower UNEP to realize its potential as the UN voice for the environment. She reported that the nineteenth session of the UNEP Governing Council, in addition to taking decisions on chemicals and the marine environment, decided to establish a forum for environmental ministers as part of UNEP's governing structure. She highlighted ways that UNEP could advance sustainable development strategies for energy, freshwater resources, oceans and tourism.

Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO and Chair of the GEF, requested delegates’ support for a substantial GEF replenishment. He said significant results can be made in four areas: population growth; integrated land and water resource management; sustainable energy strategies; and the reform and strengthening of national and international institutions for sustainable development.

Maurice Strong, Chair of the Earth Council, reported on Rio+5. Recommended actions include: support for local Agenda 21s and national sustainable development mechanisms; new and effective delivery systems for financial assistance; GEF replenishment at a higher level; and support for UNEP.

[Return to start of article]