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HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

The High-Level Segment was held from 8-11 April. Many delegations emphasized financial issues and offered a range of views, particularly on declining ODA and the effect of globalization on sustainable development efforts. TANZANIA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, called on developed countries to reaffirm at UNGASS their commitment to reach the target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA by 2000. He cautioned against the assumption that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) can substitute for ODA and stressed the need to ensure that FDI reaches marginalized and least developed countries. He called for a multilateral regime for FDI to assist in the pursuit of environmentally sustainable development. A number of developing country officials, including MOROCCO, GABON, INDONESIA, MOZAMBIQUE and NICARAGUA, echoed these concerns and noted that: private sector resources only assist some countries; ODA is the only source of external financing for many countries; and a flexible approach to debt relief is needed to assist heavily indebted countries in implementing sustainable development.

The WORLD BANK highlighted the need for changes in the pattern and efficiency of financing and market transformation through partnerships. FINLAND stated that ODA should be channeled to the poorest countries and used to improve the enabling environment for private sector operations. The US said the CSD should make clear to the private sector that investment must aim for sustainable development while encouraging sustainable capital investment. JAPAN stated that developing countries should bear the primary responsibility for their own development with the assistance of developed countries.

MALAYSIA proposed adding globalization as a cross-cutting issue for annual CSD consideration. PANAMA called for consideration of globalization in any CSD examination of progress in implementing Agenda 21. NORWAY said social and environmental concerns must be taken into account by the global trading system, and liberalization should not be allowed to weaken environmental standards and agreements. EGYPT noted developing countries’ concern that environmental protection not be used as a guise for protectionism. CUBA said there would be no equity in sustainable development if countries focus only on privatization and pursuit of the perfect market.

On energy, the EU called for a common strategy for a sustainable energy future. The US said the CSD should lead an effort within the UN system to develop a programme of action for sustainable energy use. NORWAY and ICELAND called for increased use of renewable energy sources. SWITZERLAND and DENMARK proposed an intergovernmental panel on energy. The WORLD BANK noted the need to reform the energy sector. HUNGARY suggested that the CSD coordinate and synthesize existing energy sector initiatives and programmes within the UN. The NGO ENERGY CAUCUS called for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and increased programmes for energy efficiency.

The EU, supported by FRANCE and AUSTRIA, proposed a global freshwater initiative to ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all within ten years. Other ministers and ambassadors highlighted: the need for a multilateral fund to support efforts in water resource management, technology transfer and information exchange; disparities in access to clean water and sanitation in many African countries; and freshwater as a CSD priority. They also emphasized sustainable production and consumption patterns and noted: eco-efficiency; codes of conduct for promoting sustainable development; internalization of environmental costs of production at the international level; and disparity in national efforts to modify consumer behavior. The EU also called for a new initiative on eco-efficiency to address unsustainable production and consumption patterns.

On atmosphere, delegates focused on the desired outcome of the third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and stressed: the importance of reaching agreement on legally-binding commitments for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions at COP-3; realistic, achievable and legally-binding emissions targets for developed nations, including maximum flexibility in reaching targets and the participation of all countries; and implementing early and substantial reductions in GHG emissions.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) called on the international community to actively support the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). SPAIN, ALGERIA and EGYPT emphasized the importance of addressing desertification. Other issues highlighted included: UNEP restructuring, GEF replenishment, toxic chemicals and confirmation of the CSD as the central coordinating body on oceans issues.

Several countries supported the recommendation that the CSD establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to elaborate a global convention on forests. The EU, supported by PORTUGAL, FRANCE, GERMANY, AUSTRIA and GREECE, said a convention could: fill gaps in existing forest-related instruments; address trade in products from all types of forests; offer a framework for improved mobilization and more effective use of resources and technology transfer; strengthen national and international policies for sustainable forest management; enhance the priority of forestry in national budgets and among the donor community; enable countries to leverage more funding from multilateral organizations; and be completed by the year 2000. CANADA said the CSD should recommend launching negotiations this year. She noted that a convention would help coordinate ODA and promote new and innovative sources of finance and technology transfer. MALAYSIA supported seeking consensus on a time-bound schedule leading to an equitable and comprehensive global forest convention. RUSSIA favored a convention, even if such an instrument could not work perfectly.

BRAZIL, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, NEW ZEALAND, JAPAN, the US, AUSTRALIA and the GLOBAL FOREST POLICY PROJECT suggested that the CSD establish an open-ended intergovernmental forum on forests that is transparent and participatory and focuses implementation and follow-up of the IPF’s recommendations. INDIA emphasized countries’ sovereignty over their resources and, with URUGUAY, COLOMBIA, PERU, CHILE, ARGENTINA and ECUADOR, did not support a convention until its basis is fully established and necessary consensus emerges on its objectives. Many delegations, such as the PHILIPPINES and VENEZUELA, said any possible convention must include all types of forests and reflect varying national circumstances.

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