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DIALOGUES WITH MAJOR GROUPS

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY: The dialogue included panelists from a range of industries and discussed: business concepts; company management practices; small- and medium-sized enterprises; new business opportunities; transparency and commitments; awareness-raising in business; and partnerships and cooperation. In discussing future action, participants considered the role of business, government frameworks for change and business strategies. Panelists described: recycling and waste minimization; the chemical industry’s “Responsible Care” initiative; independent verification of environmental management schemes; environmentally-oriented investment funds; and the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development.

In the dialogue session participants noted: using targets in addressing eco-efficiency; involving small businesses in environmental practices; taxing environmentally negative practices; developing consistent environmental standards for developed and developing countries; and extending manufacturing responsibility. One participant asked if businesses have the right to “undermine” the FCCC negotiations and characterized some industry activities as “green-washing.” Panelists also discussed: capitalizing on the ability of business to adapt rapidly; “command and control” versus “performance-based” regulations; environmentally-damaging subsidies; cost internalization of environmental damage; tax reform; and technology transfer.

SYNTHESIS SESSION: The recommendations of business and industry, along with the other major groups, were outlined in a synthesis session. The scientific and technological communities called for: supporting basic science education and research for environment and development issues; assisting developing countries in national scientific capacity-building; coordinating within the scientific community; and raising public awareness of scientific and technological issues. The youth representative noted the priorities of funding and education, both formal training and peer education. The priorities for women included: developing mechanisms that promote representation of women in government; improving access to credit; supporting women to run for and be elected for government offices; and giving attention to the role of advertising in furthering gender stereotypes and unsustainable production and consumption. The indigenous peoples’ group requested that the CSD: promote the immediate adoption of the Draft Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples in its current form; examine impacts of globalization, the WTO and regional IPR agreements on indigenous communities; review the activities and effects of transnational corporations; promote dialogue between indigenous and non-indigenous groups and governments. The trade unions focused on increased recognition of the linkages between sustainable development and the workplace, as well as greater worker and trade union participation in decision- making bodies. They recommended putting the workplace at the top of the sustainable development agenda, especially for changes to production and consumption.

NGOs requested that the CSD: encourage dialogue at the local and national levels; incorporate trade, environment and development into its future work; and establish a panel on trade and sustainable development. Farmers recommended: a more comprehensive approach to food security by the international community involving representatives from all sectors of society; increased interaction between the UN and WTO; and facilitation by the CSD of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources as a protocol to the CBD. Local authorities aimed to strengthen partnerships between local, sub-national and national levels, examining obstacles and promoting decentralization. They called for active encouragement in each country for Local Agenda 21s.

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