The Assessment describes the effects of: globalization; economic, social and environmental trends; major group activities; recent international environmental agreements and conferences; finance and ODA trends; and technology transfer. The final draft contains no brackets.
The 15-paragraph assessment notes the accelerated pace of globalization and the uneven impact of recent globalization trends on developing countries. The EU called for national and international environmental and social policies to ensure that globalization trends have a positive impact on sustainable development. CANADA added that many developing countries still require international assistance for sustainable development, and the least developed in particular continue to be heavily dependent on declining volumes of ODA. BELARUS highlighted the need for international support to help economies in transition become integrated in the world economy.
The text recognizes that although economic growth has allowed some countries to reduce the proportion of people in poverty, marginalization has increased for others. Too many countries have seen economic conditions worsen, public services deteriorate, and the total number of people living in poverty increase. However, population growth rates have declined, access to education has expanded, infant mortality has declined and life expectancy has increased in most countries.
The state of the global environment has continued to deteriorate. Overall, polluting emissions have increased, only marginal progress has been made in addressing unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and insufficient progress has been made in environmentally sound management of hazardous and radioactive wastes. Conditions in fragile ecosystems are deteriorating and renewable resources continue to be used at unsustainable levels.
Extensive efforts have been made by governments and international organizations to integrate environment and economic and social objectives into decision-making. The major groups have demonstrated what can be achieved by taking committed action, sharing resources and building consensus, reflecting grassroots concern and involvement.
Achievements since UNCED include: entry into force of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD); conclusion of the agreement on straddling and highly migratory fish stocks; the adoption of the Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States; the elaboration of the Global Programme of Action for Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities; and the restructuring and replenishment of the GEF. The G-77/CHINA added a reference to the insufficiency of GEF replenishment.
Progress has been made in incorporating the principles contained in the Rio Declaration, including common but differentiated responsibilities, which forms the basis of international cooperation, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle in various legal instruments. UN organizations and programmes have played an important role in the implementation of Agenda 21. However, much remains to be done to activate the means of implementation set out in Agenda 21, in particular in the areas of finance and technology transfer, technical assistance and capacity-building. ODA levels have declined, but there has been a sizeable expansion of private flows of financial resources to a limited number of developing countries and efforts in support of domestic resource mobilization have also occurred. The debt situation remains a major constraint on achieving sustainable development. Similarly, technology transfer and technology-related investment from public and private sources has not been realized as outlined in Agenda 21.
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