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Volume 5 Number 285 - Thursday, 6 May 2010
CSD 18 HIGHLIGHTS
Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Delegates to CSD 18 continued discussing transport and chemicals issues during the morning. In the afternoon, they began their review of mining and waste management issues.

THEMATIC DISCUSSIONS

TRANSPORT: Chaired by Vice-Chair Menez, discussion of the item continued. Panelist Eran Feitelson, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, urged focus on transport accessibility, rather than flows. He commended BRT and other transport measures, and called for combining them in coherent packages. Panelist Maria Arce Moreira, International Forum for Rural Transport and Development, UK, highlighted the impact on economic opportunities and health of the poor in Peru by factors such as geographic isolation, travel cost, and unsafe conditions. She noted the challenges of gender, age and health vulnerability, and urged more research, investment and a participatory approach.

NORWAY and SWITZERLAND described taxation programmes and economic incentives used to reduce private car use and efforts to improve public transport systems. INDONESIA called for public-private partnerships advancing transportation infrastructure. MEXICO discussed challenges occurring when land use planning and infrastructure development authorization fall under different government purviews. INDIA said countries relying on small and medium shipping companies need technological and financial support for modernization of these industries. AUSTRALIA called for a strategic approach exploring national experiences and best practices in all countries. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES suggested examining the practice of “land grabbing” during biofuel production and its effects on indigenous communities. CUBA said all countries must be involved to achieve transport goals. JAPAN identified the difficulty of appropriating emissions from international maritime and air transport and suggested they should instead be tackled collectively.

EGYPT, MOROCCO and MONGOLIA discussed their efforts to improve means of transport in rural and remote areas. SAUDI ARABIA stressed ensuring continued availability of fuel. PALESTINE said the CSD should consider “man-made” restrictions to transport. FARMERS and WOMEN noted the need for improved transport infrastructure between farmland and markets. SOUTH AFRICA, NIGERIA and ARGENTINA summarized national initiatives in sustainable transport and highlighted use of BRT systems. ZAMBIA, IRAN and THAILAND called for international financial assistance and technology transfer for building transport infrastructure. BARBADOS and AOSIS noted the unique difficulties faced by SIDS.

The REPUBLIC OF KOREA spoke of plans to shift transport to rail and BRT, and focus on information and communication technology solutions. NGOs called for reducing movement of animals, stressing that food security should be achieved at local level. UNEP suggested using both regulatory standards and market-based instruments. GUATEMALA said road safety and safety of public transport users should be considered when promoting alternative means of transport. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY advocated scientifically sound multimodal and multi-fuel transport planning.  ISRAEL said “oil countries” should shift to smaller and more fuel-efficient cars.

CHEMICALS: Vice-Chair Raguz chaired this session. Panelist Craig Boljkovac (UNITAR), Chair of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), said the purpose of IOMC is to initiate international actions to achieve sound management of chemicals. Panelist Gillian Guthrie, Jamaica, highlighted the need to, inter alia: move from a project approach to an integrated lifecycle approach; promote national risk management policies and programmes; and promote access to green technologies.

AUSTRIA described activities involving chemicals leasing, noting the strategy was applicable to a multitude of industry sectors. KENYA highlighted its efforts to develop an analysis and needs assessment in line with the Libreville Declaration. JAPAN noted its commitment to a legally binding agreement on mercury. SOUTH AFRICA stated the major challenges to chemicals management included the lack of implementation of the GHS at all levels. TURKEY noted its chemical production has tripled since 1990. FRANCE outlined the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) policy in Africa to support regional programmes that are innovative and replicable. CHINA explained it has established import-export registration of toxic chemicals. SPAIN said the CSD provides an opportunity to foster synergies.

NGOs highlighted the lack of information on most of the 80,000-100,000 chemicals registered for use. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS stated main barriers to chemicals management include lack of regulation and enforcement. WOMEN advocated a “no data, no market policy.” AOSIS called on countries to ensure the Basel Convention Ban Amendment comes into force.

NAMIBIA discussed the risks associated with mixing medical waste with municipal waste. The CZECH REPUBLIC said the CSD should advocate a coherent approach to promote sound chemicals management. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) outlined its efforts to promote sustainable intensification of crop production. YOUTH AND CHILDREN called for pragmatic, yet precautionary, use of chemicals and for commissioning a comprehensive chemical pollution repercussions study.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stressed the need for improvements in capacity building, safety and security, and assessment of risks and hazards of chemical exposures. FARMERS highlighted the need for educating farmers in the use of crop protection products. JAMAICA, KAZAKHSTAN, NIGERIA and SENEGAL stressed the need to transfer technology and provide financial resources. UGANDA and BOTSWANA noted constraints in chemicals management in developing countries, including: lack of information, resources, capacity, technology and alternatives. SWEDEN highlighted the need for information on chemicals in products. AUC called for implementation of the Bamako Convention. UNEP said international legally binding instruments are essential.

WASTE MANAGEMENT: The session was chaired by Vice-Chair Menez. Nikhil Chandavarkar, DSD, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on waste management (E/CN.17/2010/6). Panelist Paul Connett, St. Lawrence University, highlighted problems associated with incineration and landfills, and advocated composting, recycling and reuse for achieving zero waste. Panelist Sonia Serrano, Colombia, shared experiences in environmentally sound management of solid wastes in Bogota, highlighting recycling and reuse activities.

Algeria, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed that economic instruments such as resource taxes and household user fees are useful for inducing overarching waste prevention behavior. Antigua and Barbuda, for AOSIS, highlighted the need to support robust public-private partnerships (PPPs) at the national level, and to address the social stigma associated with waste-to-energy plants. Egypt, for the AFRICAN GROUP, described a lack of awareness as a key challenge to sound waste management. The EU underscored the need to continue combating illegal shipments of waste, in line with the Basel Convention.

AUSTRALIA discussed key elements of its new national waste policy. NEPAL underscored the challenges of waste management in Kathmandu and said PPPs could be helpful. CANADA shared its experience in implementing extended producer responsibility programmes. INDONESIA said monitoring and supervision of hazardous waste transport was necessary. TURKEY highlighted its efforts to establish a system to collect and recycle waste oil. COLOMBIA described efforts to prevent e-waste, by giving used computers to rural schools.

NGOs highlighted successes in Serbia and India of waste pickers’ unions in protecting pickers’ rights. WOMEN noted that 15-20 million tonnes of e-waste are transferred from developed to developing countries annually. SWITZERLAND shared experiences of a mobile phone partnership initiative and other projects in developing countries. NORWAY highlighted waste prevention and recycling, and reported that it had reduced greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites by recovering energy from these sites. CHINA reported that it had enacted a Cleaner Production Promotion Law and Circular Economy Promotion Law.

ISRAEL highlighted the importance of reducing waste at its source, and reuse and recycling. IRAN introduced its steps towards environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes including recycling, reuse and composting. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION discussed its laws and regulations for environmentally sound management of wastes. In closing, Panelist Connett explained there were are least 6Rs, adding research, redesign and responsibility, to reduce, reuse and recycle. Panellist Serrano highlighted the need to encourage a culture that discourages waste.

MINING: Vice-Chair Alahraf chaired this session. David O’Connor, DSD, introduced the UN Secretary-General’s report on mining (E/CN.17/2010/7). Panelist Patrick Chevalier, Natural Resources, Canada, said the challenge is to ensure good governance, build partnerships and capacities, and channel national mining wealth into satisfying social needs. Panelist Juana Kuramoto Huaman, University of Maastricht, proposed facilitating dialogue, and improving accountability and fiscal transparency, as well as performance indicators and monitoring.

Indonesia, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed the need to: encourage participation of stakeholders; identify common features of good mining practices; and enhance management of revenues by developing countries to avoid “Dutch disease.” The EU called for good governance to ensure proper use of mining resources and protection of undervalued ecosystems and regions of biodiversity. GUATEMALA and INDIGENOUS PEOPLES noted effects of mining on the environment and health of indigenous communities. The ARAB GROUP said social factors should be considered when using natural resources through mining.

The AFRICAN GROUP said the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative should ensure best practices in corporate governance. CHINA emphasized sustainable exploitation and utilization of resources, and development and enforcement of proper laws and regulations. FRANCE stressed public consultation and said its development assistance includes training for miners. The US emphasized international programmes fostering sustainable development in mining including activities under the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership. CANADA and AUSTRALIA said mining can be a financial driver if done right, and called for environmentally sound mining.

GHANA termed mining as a catalyst for sustainable development, and suggested monitoring financial flows in the sector, partnerships, and aid for capacity building at local levels. ILO discussed work conditions and safety, small-scale mining and rights of indigenous people. LIBYA lamented the lack of professional cadres and inadequate information and coordination. CHILE said mining is an engine for reducing poverty and economic and social development, and stressed the role of the state and working jointly with mining companies. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY noted links between mining and other CSD themes, MDGs and food security, and emphasized engineer training. SENEGAL advocated partnerships. ISRAEL described national projects to reclaim quarries through special plans and funds. SWITZERLAND stressed the human rights dimension, objected to mining practices that cause social problems for artisans, and emphasized better information for consumers and market transparency.

UNEP called for a global initiative for mining developed in the context of sustainable resource management. BOLIVIA supported developing indicators on the benefits of mining and assessment and monitoring processes that are multilateral and will help us move toward new mining. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY described industry efforts to develop leadership in best practices.

IN THE CORRIDORS

As an initial review of two thematic topics came to a close, several delegates commented on the usefulness of the thematic discussions, without the pressure of impending negotiations, to allow an exchange of views on issues that are often contentious, such as e-waste. Some also commented that the mix of delegates provided opportunities for national experts (on chemicals, transport, mining and waste) to inform delegations represented by UN mission staff on technical issues. Others were impressed by the informed and active participation of stakeholders, but some cited the most exciting event in the corridors as the presence of actor Michael Douglas, UN Messenger of Peace, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the late afternoon, for an NPT event.

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Stephanie Aktipis, Ph.D., Melanie Ashton, Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D., Lynn Wagner, Ph.D, and Kunbao Xia. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2010 is provided by the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), the Government of Iceland, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into Spanish at this meeting has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, USA. The ENB team at CSD-18 can be contacted by e-mail at <lynn@iisd.org>.

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