Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 05 No. 114
25 February 1999
CSD INTERSESSIONAL WORKING GROUP WEDNESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 1999
Delegates to the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) on Consumption and
Production Patterns and Tourism met during morning and afternoon
sessions to discuss and give specific comments on the Co-Chairs'
summary of monday's discussion and text outlining elements for a
draft CSD decision on consumption and production patterns.
ELEMENTS FOR A CSD DRAFT DECISION
Co-Chair Hanif (Pakistan) stated that the discussion on the
outlining proposed elements for a CSD draft decision should
enrich and guide the document and bring it into harmony with the
thinking of the delegates. Delegates' general comments included
the EU's indication of agreement with the document's main thrust
of integrating consumption and production patterns as overriding
issues.He also commented on the different sections, including on
the need to achieve sustainable consumption by all countries,
the role of the affluent consumer and awareness raising. He
emphasized the importance of the impact of urbanization and
suggested that the CSD seek close cooperation with the Habitat
Agenda on these issues.
SAUDI ARABIA expressed reservations regarding text on targets,
indicators and standards,which he said were cited incompletely
or out of context from UNGASS documents. He indicated these
omissions should be corrected. CANADA suggested shortening the
text to provide a better basis for an action-oriented decision.
She said some elements needed to be included, such as shared
responsibilities within societies, public awareness and the role
of information to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
She also proposed expanding text on consideration of how
consumption and production patterns in developed countries
influence developing countries.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION welcomed inclusion of references to
education, information sharing, awareness raising, youth and
economies in transition. The US noted the desire of delegations
to overcome time consuming negotiations to produce results that
have little meaning beyond the United Nations. He said the Co-
Chairs' paper did not appear to be consistent with the concise
approach anticipated by delegations, with too many priorities
identified for future work. He said the AHWG would have to
shrink the document to reach the kind of outcome anticipated by
CSD Chair Upton (New Zealand). He supported Canada's proposal to
reformulate the paper. JAPAN, SWITZERLAND, NEW ZEALAND and
AUSTRALIA also called for a short, concise and action-oriented
text. Delegates then offered amendments section-by-section.
INTRODUCTION: Guyana, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, proposed
changing the calls for cooperation in the spirit of UNCED and
reiteration of the conclusions of UNGASS to note that changing
consumption and production patterns should: be with respect to
Agenda 21 and paragraph 28 of UNGASS; be in the context of
sustained economic growth and sustainable development; and take
into account the situation of developing countries adversely
affected by the process. The PHILIPPINES said all G-77/CHINA
countries may not agree with the proposal. BRAZIL and INDIA
associated their positions with the G-77/CHINA and stressed the
importance of this section in establishing the agreement's
context. BRAZIL highlighted Agenda 21 and the principle of
common but differentiated responsibilities in this context.
CANADA proposed incorporating the notion of shared
responsibility. NEW ZEALAND suggested combining the G-77/CHINA
proposal with references to Agenda 21, other international
agreements, and the Canadian proposal. The US agreed and added
the UNGASS agreement and the goal of eradicating poverty.
SWITZERLAND said the avoidance of "costs" of environmental
damage and social inequity should be broadened to include
tackling the environmental damage and social inequality.
AUSTRALIA suggested that developing countries' priority to
"increase consumption" should read "increase living standards."
PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE WORK: The US suggested that the
address consumption and production patterns in the context of
each sectoral issue considered at future CSD sessions.
EFFECTIVE POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION: The G-77/CHINA
proposed deleting references to involvement by "all levels" of
government and suggested adding references to the transfer of
"appropriate" technologies to "developing countries." The
UKRAINE suggested including "economies in transition" as
beneficiaries of technology transfer and the provision of
financial resources. The G-77/CHINA, the EU and other
delegations suggested deleting paragraphs on: the implementation
of non-discriminatory environmental taxes on luxury and
disposable goods that have negative environmental impacts; the
internalization of environmental and social costs into market
prices and the phasing out of subsidies with negative social or
environmental effects. SWITZERLAND proposed including references
to labels and labeling and ecological tax reform. The US
suggested using agreed UNGASS text on transfer of technology and
provision of financial resources. He also stressed the
importance of public awareness, participation and education, and
suggested including means for effective policy, such as economic
instruments. CANADA proposed gathering references to technology
transfer, information, public awareness, education, involvement
of women and youth, informed decisions by consumers, economic
instruments and improvement of environmental management in this
section. MEXICO and NEW ZEALAND proposed amalgamating paragraphs
on governmental involvement and cooperation with international
organizations, businesses, NGOs, youth organizations and other
stakeholders. The PHILIPPINES suggested including reference to
avoiding potentially negative effects on developing countries'
access to markets.
NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND CLEANER PRODUCTION: The G-
77/CHINA sought deletion of references to "cleaner production,"
"eco-efficiency," "codes of conduct" and "target setting." The
US and AUSTRALIA supported an emphasis on the key themes of eco-
efficiency, best practices, lifecycle management, cleaner
production and transfer of environmentally sound technologies
(ESTs). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION and UKRAINE added references to
economies in transition in the context of the transfer of ESTs
and capacity building. CANADA sought an introductory sentence on
the importance of greater efficiency in consumption and
production for increasing the quality of life. NORWAY cautioned
against deleting too much and suggested using bullet points to
highlight key themes including cleaner production, lifecycle
management, reporting, demand side management and eco-
efficiency. NEW ZEALAND also called for a shorter text.
In a paragraph on the dissemination of best practices in
production and environmental management, the G-77/CHINA
suggested deleting the qualifier "where appropriate" before a
reference to the transfer of practices in developing countries
and added "required technologies and know how." The EU sought
specific references to the role of business and industry in
AUSTRALIA suggested deleting a paragraph calling for studies of
cleaner production, eco-efficiency and demand-side management
because such work is already being undertaken by UN agencies.
The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting eco-efficiency and codes of
conduct. TURKEY suggested amending a reference to sharing
experience to include evaluation of the impact of environmental
management on the competitiveness of developing countries, in
particular their SMEs. CHILE said a reference to the lifecycle
of products should not go beyond references in the UN Guidelines
on Consumer Protection.
In a paragraph calling on governments to engage industry in the
debate on sustainable consumption and production, the EU added
the theme of "integrated product policies" and a reference to
government responsibility for eco-labeling.
GLOBALIZATION AND ITS IMPACTS ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
PATTERNS: The G-77/CHINA suggested that the proposed studies
examine the ways and means to promote sustainable consumption
and production patterns. The EU suggested that the scope be
widened to include environmental issues. A further proposal that
studies on the impact of globalization should include developed
countries was supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION. AUSTRALIA
proposed that assessments of transfer of consumption patterns
refer to unsustainable consumption patterns. The US proposed
that studies undertaken on impacts of globalization cover both
the positive and negative aspects and suggested deletion of
references to assessments on the transfer of consumption
patterns from industrialized countries to developing countries.
He proposed that the document refer to Governments alone and not
to international organizations so as to increase efforts to make
policies on trade and sustainable production and consumption
SWITZERLAND suggested calling for studies on the role of the
financial sector and of investments on environment issues and
improved coherence between multilateral trade standards and
multilateral agreements. NEW ZEALAND suggested that references
to trade and sustainable consumption include a reference to non-
creation of artificial trade barriers. CHINA expressed strong
reservation on references to universal environmental standards,
stating that the issue is best addressed in trade fora.
URBANIZATION AND ITS IMPACTS ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
PATTERNS: The G-77/CHINA said local authorities are subsumed in
references to government, and proposed deleting all references
to local authorities. To text calling for "developed country
expertise and financial resources," she suggested deleting
"developed country expertise." She also said "in-depth studies"
should be conducted at the national level. The US proposed
retaining "developing country expertise" and replacing
"financial resources" with developed country "experience." The
EU suggested adding references to the Habitat Agenda and the UN
Centre on Human Settlements. The EU, supported by AUSTRALIA,
proposed expanding the reference to waste collection systems and
disposal facilities to reference the "prevention, minimization
and recycling of wastes." The UKRAINE added "energy" to a list
of environmental and social impacts of urbanization. The US said
the text on "Earth Summit+10" should refer to the comprehensive
review to be conducted by CSD-10. He also suggested adding text
on consumer information and education.
CO-CHAIRS' SUMMARY OF MONDAY'S DISCUSSION ON CONSUMPTION AND
The Co-Chairs' Summary contains six sections entitled:
introduction, general considerations, natural resource
management and cleaner production, the impact of globalization
on consumption and production patterns, urbanization, and
consumer information and education and social values.
The EU said the text was factually correct and reflected the
AHWG's discussion. The US proposed adding qualifying language to
indicate that the text was not consensus language. BRAZIL also
cautioned that the draft gave the impression that the text was
based on a consensus. The G-77/CHINA proposed giving more
attention to the national activities that delegates discussed
and said the text failed to indicate that developed countries
should take the lead on the issue. AUSTRALIA sought to clarify
that a number of references to consumption standards should
refer, instead and inter alia, to living standards, income and
quality of life. JAPAN recalled its proposal for "social
systems" approaches to bringing about sustainable consumption
IN THE CORRIDORS
Budgetary implications (in both New York and Washington) will
compete with a desire to put the "Earth Summits" back on the
global media agenda in an emerging discussion on the possibility
of holding CSD/Earth Summit+10 outside New York. India, one
potential host country, is actively considering a suggestion
that Earth Summit+10 go to New Delhi. Bangkok and Manila are
also said to be possible venues. One observer suggested that a
final decision is unlikely this side of a presidential election
in the United States.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
DISCUSSION OF DRAFT DOCUMENTS: The AHWG is expected to convene
in Conference Room 4 at 3:00 pm to discuss the Co-Chairs'
summary and elements for a draft CSD decision on tourism and
SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION INTO THE 21ST CENTURY:
This Down to Earth side-event will present perspectives on core
issues for sustainable consumption and production and
implementation by stakeholders. It will meet at 1:30 pm in
Conference Room D.