Vol. 05 No. 151
Thursday, 27 April 2000
On the third day of the eighth session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development, the first meetings of the High-Level
Segment focused on land and agriculture, on preparations for
the ten-year review of the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development in 2002, and on the outcome of the
Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). A panel discussion
on trade and indigenous people took place in the evening.
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: LAND AND AGRICULTURE
CSD-8 Chair Juan Mayr opened the first meeting in the
High-Level Segment, focusing on land and agriculture.
INTRODUCTION: The UN Under-Secretary General Louise
Fréchette recalled the UN Secretary-General’s Millennium
Report, in which he equates "environmental freedom"
- the freedom of future generations to sustain their lives -
with other freedoms championed by the UN. She described the
continuing human plunder of the global environment, noting
that responses are often "too few, too little and too
late." She recalled the Secretary-General’s call for a
high-level public panel to assess biotechnology, and called
for further insights into globalization, investment, trade and
HIGH-LEVEL STATEMENTS: The EUROPEAN UNION called for, inter
alia: sustainable and productive land-use planning and
management, using participatory, transparent and accountable
decision-making; good governance; the primacy of domestic
funding for sustainable development; and equal access to land
and legal security of tenure. On sustainable agriculture and
rural development (SARD), the EUROPEAN UNION noted its support
for the World Food Summit targets, access to credit for
small-scale farmers, improved cooperation among donors, and
called for the progressive reduction of export support for
The G-77/CHINA called for measures to cushion the impact of
financial volatility on developing countries, the transfer of
environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) and support for
indigenous technologies, debt write-off, the achievement of
the ODA target of 0.7% of GDP, and political support for the
World Food Summit targets. He expressed difficulty with the
concepts of the multi-functional character of agriculture and
land (MFCAL) and sustainability impact assessment, and called
on delegations to address access to land by rural women.
IRELAND highlighted the adoption of an integrated strategy for
rural development, and noted the importance of international
efforts to relieve poverty and of security of land tenure.
SOUTH AFRICA said Agenda 21 was the height of enlightenment in
a century in which mankind sank to its deepest levels.
ARGENTINA opposed any reference to the concept of
multi-functionality in CSD documents. CHINA called for
increased ODA and poverty eradication, environmental
protection legislation, and testing of agricultural biological
products and technology. The UNITED STATES called for the
mobilization of civil society, and emphasized land tenure
security, conservation incentives and natural resource
valuation, and the role of urban agriculture in achieving food
security. AUSTRALIA underscored the need to empower, educate
and motivate local managers and, supported by URUGUAY, opposed
the concept of multi-functionality.
SAMOA, speaking for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS),
underlined the value of sustainable plans and management
schemes, Geographic Information Systems, and regional
cooperation. ICELAND highlighted the benefits of removing
unsustainable agricultural subsidies, supported biotechnology
as an important part of the solution, and emphasized the role
of the UN Convention on Desertification. SRI LANKA called on
the international community to provide aid for technology and
experts. URUGUAY called on developed countries to remove
agricultural subsidies and technical barriers to developing
country exports. TONGA, speaking for the Pacific Forum Group,
called for wider application of the Environmental
Vulnerability Index as an alternative to GDP and expressed
concern with the intellectual property rights regime. EGYPT
emphasized the need for practical action. HUNGARY highlighted
the multi-functional nature of agriculture. MEXICO called for
a focus on the Biosafety Protocol and deforestation. The
NETHERLANDS expressed concern with the decline of interest in
food security, as evidenced by decreasing levels of ODA.
Supported by AUSTRIA, he stated that attacks on
multi-functionality would not lead to confidence building. The
NETHERLANDS also called for a consultative forum on SARD.
TUNISIA emphasized the role of traditional, rural and organic
EXPERT INPUT: Gordon Conway, President of the
Rockefeller Foundation, said he defined sustainable
agriculture as agriculture that is resistant to stress and
shock, combining productivity, stability and equity. Miguel A.
Altiere, University of California, Berkeley, outlined the
achievements, trends and impacts of modern agriculture.
DIALOGUE: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA and JAPAN emphasized
the multi-functional nature of agriculture. INDONESIA
highlighted the need to improve access to land and ESTs.
FRANCE called for continuing debate with all stakeholders.
CANADA suggested avoiding a distracting debate on
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: PREPARATIONS FOR THE 2002 REVIEW OF
PROGRESS SINCE UNCED (RIO+10)
Chair Mayr introduced the High-Level Segment with a
thematic focus on the preparations for the 2002 review of
progress since UNCED. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary General for
Economic and Social Affairs, suggested that Rio+10 focus on
analyzing barriers to implementation. Yolanda Kakabadse,
President of the IUCN, recommended consideration of the topics
of sustainable energy, finance, trade, the economy,
conservation and looking at the possibility of creating a
counterweight to the WTO. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of
UNEP, called for an assessment of progress before Rio+10 and
suggested locating the conference in the developing world. He
recommended a focus on poverty and environmental security.
HIGH-LEVEL STATEMENTS: NIGERIA, on behalf of the
G-77/CHINA, suggested that: the CSD act as the preparatory
committee for Rio+10; a trust fund be created to facilitate
the participation of developing countries; and that developing
countries decide the location for Rio+10. PORTUGAL, for the
EUROPEAN UNION, called for CSD-10 to serve as the preparatory
committee for Rio+10 and for coherence between Rio+10 and
follow-up to other UN conferences. He urged ratification of
the Kyoto Protocol by 2002. JAPAN proposed the creation of an
expert group to provide input into the preparatory process and
that Rio+10 be held in Asia. FINLAND supported measurable
targets for eco-efficiency and an Asian or African conference
location. CANADA called for: Rio+10 to be a Head of Government
level conference; the CSD to undertake preparatory work; a shift away from negotiation of a declaration
document; and locating Rio+10 in a developing country. The
CZECH REPUBLIC recommended mobilization of civil society and
ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. GERMANY highlighted
poverty elimination, participation of Heads of State, and
ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. He also welcomed South
Africa’s offer to host Rio+10. CUBA highlighted transfer of
finance and ESTs. The UK recommended naming Rio+10
"Poverty, Development and the Environment,"
expressed preference for South Africa’s offer to host it,
supported calls for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and
for strengthening UN institutions, and proposed action
programmes on fisheries, food, freshwater and forests. POLAND
recommended that Rio+10 address poverty, consumption and
production patterns, energy efficiency, capacity building and
technology transfer. SWITZERLAND urged ratification of the
Kyoto Protocol and strengthening UN institutions, and offered
financial assistance to the developing country host of Rio+10.
BRAZIL offered to host Rio+10. KAZAKSTAN emphasized
regional-specific sustainable development indicators (SDIs).
MONACO highlighted the role of regional bodies and SDIs.
INDONESIA advocated participatory processes and recommended
locating Rio+10 in Asia.The REPUBLIC OF KOREA offered to host
Rio+10 and proposed the theme of sustainable development in an
era of globalization. SWEDEN called for steps toward financing
Agenda 21 and supported South Africa as Rio+10 host; the
RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported the Republic of Korea’s offer
DIALOGUE: MEXICO called for a group of eminent persons
and experts to help prepare the conference. ARGENTINA
supported Brazil’s offer to host Rio+10 and underlined the
importance of education for sustainable development. The
NETHERLANDS called for the adoption of the World Bank and IMF
approach to the preparation of a final text after summits.
DENMARK supported the view that stock taking should precede
Rio+10 and commended the suggestion that globalization be a
central theme. NEW ZEALAND underlined the popular ownership of
Agenda 21 and the need for varied styles of participation at
Rio+10. FRANCE said that globalization is challenging
international rules, and that Rio+10 must address global
institutional architecture, equity, debt, aid and investment.
BOLIVIA supported Brazil’s bid to host the event. YOUTH and
STUDENT NGOs called on governments to support youth
participation at Rio+10 and in preparations. EGYPT called for
a focused and costed agenda prepared by UNEP and DESA. GUYANA
called for attention to the systemic constraints on
implementation, including examination of whether the WTO
process contradicts UNCED objectives. HONDURAS underlined the
importance of national strategies. The UNITED STATES called
for a focus on environmental degradation, gender issues and
assessment of institutional arrangements. BELGIUM noted the
importance of public participation. SUDAN emphasized the
facilitation of developing country participation. The NGO
STEERING COMMITTEE stated that Rio+10 should set target dates
for the ratification of international agreements.
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: OUTCOME OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM
ON FORESTS (IFF)
IFF Co-Chairs Ilkka Ristimaki (FINLAND) and Bagher Asadi
(IRAN) outlined the IFF process and results, highlighting the
consensus reached on proposals for action and the proposed
establishment of a United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).
Many delegations endorsed the report and outcomes of the IFF,
particularly the creation of the UNFF. Many developing
countries underscored the need for financial support to
implement country-driven strategies. The UNITED STATES
announced a voluntary contribution of $800,000 for the
transition from the IFF to the UNFF. PERU called for
consideration of traditional forest-related knowledge. A
number of NGOs emphasized monitoring and participation.
DAY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE: PANEL ON TRADE AND INDIGENOUS
In the evening, a panel exploring the links between trade,
indigenous people and land rights was moderated by Vicky Tauli
Corpus of the Asian Indigenous Womenï¿½s Network. A
representative of the MAORI peoples described the indigenous
pre-European political economy in New Zealand. The JUDICIAL
COMMISSION FOR SELF-DEVELOPMENT noted, inter alia, that
indigenous peoples are affected by harmful environmental
practices that result from compliance with regional economic
agreements. DEFENSORIA MAYA described the current imbalance
between spirituality, humanism and materialism. The AMERICAN
INDIAN LAW ALLIANCE outlined problems associated with
indigenous participation in economic systems.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Informal ministerial discussions are reportedly focusing on
the possibility of lining up Rio+10 as the target date for
countries to proceed with ratification of the UNFCCC Kyoto
Protocol. Momentum has gathered behind this idea since the G-8
Meeting, where Japan and Russia joined the Europeans in
pursuing this timeline.