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Volume 5 Number 287 - Saturday, 8 May 2010
CSD 18 HIGHLIGHTS
Friday, 7 May 2010

Delegates to CSD 18 completed their review of sustainable consumption and production during a morning session, and discussed interlinkages and cross-cutting issues and means of implementation during the afternoon. The first draft of the Chair’s Summary will be distributed on Monday morning, 10 May.

THEMATIC DISCUSSION

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: Vice-Chair Jaeckel chaired the dialogue on SCP. Panelist Greg Norris, Harvard University, US, presented new universal opportunities that are emerging to assess product supply chains. He explained the global nature of this transformation, which builds on transparency and open universal access and, with the help of the Internet, promotes new markets and changes consumption patterns. Panelist Anna Jones-Crabtree, US Department of Agriculture, described the use of place-based efforts to reduce the consumption footprint of the US Forest Service. Using the example of local Green Teams, she illustrated key results and lessons learned in consumption reduction activities, which emphasize personal action.

CUBA said the green economy, if it is meant to reduce poverty, should be based on the sustainable development principles of UNCED and the WSSD. ITALY: noted that the multiple crises make us reconsider SCP patterns; reminded delegates that it chairs the 10-year framework programmes (10YFP) task force on education; and asked the Secretariat how this session is going to discuss the elements of 10YFP. ARGENTINA said any SCP strategy should take into account Rio and Johannesburg summit outcomes, and cautioned against “green protectionism.” WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS said barriers to changing SCP patterns include excessive reliance on voluntary action and exclusion of workers from enterprise management. FINLAND urged governments to set an example in making the transition to sustainable behavior.

BRAZIL said countries must ensure that voluntary SCP approaches such as food labeling do not lead to trade-restrictive policies. WOMEN called for recognition as active agents of change in SCP. The UK stressed top-down, bottom-up and horizontal partnerships and collaboration on SCP issues. MEXICO prioritized government involvement, product design and education. TURKEY emphasized its integrated approach to SCP. The NETHERLANDS said the private sector should be more visible in the CSD discussion. MOROCCO highlighted SCP efforts including a solar energy project, wind energy strategy and the creation of a “green guide.” SOUTH AFRICA highlighted its efforts to increase efficiency through its National Business Initiative programme, among others. COLOMBIA noted its national SCP efforts and the regional meeting of SCP experts in 2009. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY noted the need to focus on energy inputs and outputs of recycling activities, including social attitudes. BARBADOS said that “living sustainably” was the theme of its “Environment Month.” NORWAY noted increased education for individuals may lead to more sustainable consumption patterns. AUSTRALIA described its whole-school approach to sustainability education. FRANCE explained its use of a “bonus/malus” tax system for automobiles.

SENEGAL and VIET NAM highlighted the need for financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building. LIBYA and UGANDA said overspending and poverty are two extreme unsustainable patterns of consumption, and therefore there is a need to overcome both. THAILAND stressed importance of sharing knowledge, information and lessons learned.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said ensuring sound consumer choice is essential for achieving SCP. INDIA appealed to developed countries to provide financial resources for research and development of SCP technologies in developing countries. KENYA said her country needs to have concrete projects to develop SCP technologies, as well as to scale up efforts in developing SCP policies.

EGYPT said it was making efforts to implement renewable energy projects. SRI LANKA highlighted the benefits of its National Cleaner Production Centre, and said it was hosting the Ninth Asia-Pacific Roundtable on SCP in June. Explaining it is an import-based economy, MAURITIUS highlighted the need for global, as well as national and local efforts on SCP. SAUDI ARABIA described efforts to address water scarcity, including using desalination. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES underscored the need to use traditional knowledge systems and customary governance to achieve SCP.

Panelist Jones-Crabtree challenged participants to consider how they could implement SCP on an individual level. In response to questions on how to address both over- and under-consumption, Panelist Norris stressed the need for an integrated framework to enable individuals to become a net positive influence on the planet.

INTERLINKAGES AND CROSS CUTTING ISSUES AND MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: This session was chaired by CSD Chair Ferraté. Panelist Wolfgang Sachs, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy, Germany, described the industrial economy as an oil tanker and the ecological economy as a sailboat to highlight the three requirements of SCP:  dematerialization, regeneration and moderation. He said dematerialization requires taking a different direction to technological progress focusing on increasing productivity of resources. Sachs said, although this might lead to higher upfront costs, in the mid- and long-term the economy is much more efficient. He also noted that regeneration requires conversion of technology to embody human imagination and inventiveness, and explained that moderation signifies that “more is not always better.” Sachs also noted that curbing high consumption and performance “leaves more space” for poor people on the globe.

The G-77/CHINA called for “bridging the gap” between policies and implementation in development. The EU highlighted the importance of improving education and the inclusion of sustainable growth and development in the EU 2020 strategy. CANADA called for: good governance; use of science and technological information; gender equality; and national governance and partnerships in the transition to the green economy. The Canadian International Extractive Sector was described as an example of good governance. SWITZERLAND said issues of food security and poverty eradication should be considered and noted the need for increased sustainability along the entire agri-food system. He reiterated that the precautionary principle and polluter-pays principle are still valid and important guiding policies for sustainable development. INDONESIA emphasized the inter-linkage between sustainable development and MDGs and called for: financing for sustainable development; global governance assisting developing countries to meet financial challenges; and a global partnership promoting investment for technology transfer.

NORWAY said sustainability in the cluster under review depends on good governance, including regulations, transparency, financing and the fight against corruption. ARGENTINA said a global strategy on SCP should take into account the Rio agreements, including: equity; common but differentiated responsibilities; transfer of technology; and financial resources. ITALY said a strong commitment is required to address the issue of SCP, and that investment in education for sustainable development is an investment for the future.

MOROCCO highlighted the need to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on poverty eradication and, with GUATEMALA, emphasized the importance of traditional knowledge. GUATEMALA said international cooperation should adapt to the national processes and conditions, and stressed integration and synergies between all environmental treaties, as well as equitable sharing of resources. MAURITANIA said drought and desertification are issues of major concern in his country.

WOMEN suggested: combining traditional knowledge with modern knowledge; developing a system for common labeling of chemical products; and including women in the decision-making process. NGOs suggested: recommitting to the values outlined in Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation; creating international programmes of support for regional and national initiatives on SCP; and committing to creating a “sustainable and fair economy.” FARMERS stressed: developing an integrated crop and livestock production system; supporting women farmers; and having financial resources and the capacity for sustainable agricultural production.

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS stressed reducing resource and energy use. CHILDREN AND YOUTH highlighted the need to strengthen education in order to address cross-cutting issues, and said governments should formulate action plans to increase budgets and raise awareness on the importance of education. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES cited conflicts, inequity, and the lack of food and water as major challenges, and said they should have greater involvement in all decision-making processes.

LIBYA highlighted the need to: reinforce international cooperation; bridge the technology gap; and find adequate finance to ensure that vulnerable countries progress towards implementing the MDGs. NGOs cited the positive experience of Capacity 21, noted that Capacity 2015 never materialized, and suggested support for Local Agenda 21s and incorporation of SCP in the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Panelist Sachs, in his concluding remarks, pointed out that the green economy means a resource-light, rather than a clean, economy, and noted that lifestyles in rich countries should be at the center of attention, but acknowledged that there are heavy consumers in the South as well. BRAZIL remarked that the concept of green economy has not been defined, and that discussion of this is necessary. Tariq Banuri, DSD, highlighted several objectives, in particular, achieving more with fewer resources, avoiding the notion that all are obliged to reduce, getting away from a sense of insecurity, and recreating optimism, with SCP providing the way forward.

Panelist Marina Fischer Kowalski, Klagenfurt University and Vienna Institute of Social Ecology, spoke of several trends that have a destabilizing effect on human development: unprecedented use of resources; population growth; unequal distribution and accessibility of resources; and different consumption rates. She said some countries achieved a higher human development index with less resource use, and called for a new transition to sustain humans on Earth. Highlighting that between 1973 and 2005 much progress was achieved with less carbon emissions, she concluded by stating life is becoming less resource dependent, and that the focus should shift from growing the economy, to improving wellbeing.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION inquired about Panelist Fischer-Kowalski’s hypothesis that the decoupling of consumption and growth patterns was triggered by the energy crisis. He contended the decoupling was caused by the birth of, and the subsequent continued growth of the tertiary sector. Fischer-Kowalski said the 1970s were the first time in post-World War II history when industrial countries realized that abundance may have impacts, as well as the psychological impact of Limits to Growth.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Several delegates had misgivings about the Chair’s announcement Friday afternoon that his summary of the first week’s discussions will not be available before Monday. While they understood the Chair’s desire to incorporate all of the SCP, interlinkages, cross-cutting issues and means of implementation debates and to polish the draft, as well as get it translated, this delay would leave less time for studying a paper that usually provokes many amendments from the floor. Others hedged their bets on the relative merits of delaying the draft: if the extra time contributed to a significantly improved one, it would probably be considered a very good idea.

In another development, a participant was heard expressing doubt about the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) PrepCom contact group discussions expected to convene next week, and their strain on the limited human resources of small delegations. On a more formal plane, some indicated this parallel format would not reflect the tacit understanding, reached during the negotiation of the General Assembly UNCSD resolution, that the CSD and the PrepCom must remain two separate processes.

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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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