The High-Level Segment of CSD 18 opened during the morning, and two ministerial roundtables convened in the afternoon to address sustainable consumption and production and mining.
OPENING: CSD 18 Chair Ferraté opened the session, noting that the biggest challenges have been to reconcile environment with social and economic interests. UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said the CSD 18 themes are directly linked to the fight against climate change, efforts to restore weakened economies and work towards MDGs. Hamidon Ali, President of ECOSOC, highlighted the importance of empowering women and integrating gender equality into all aspects of sustainable development. Leslie Kojo Christian, Vice-President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly, said sustainable development is an overarching element of the UN’s work and the UNCSD in 2012 provides an opportunity to renew our commitment to achieve sustainable development. Gerda Verburg, CSD 17 Chair, said the world economy needs an urgent transition towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource sufficient path, and there is a need for a paradigm shift in agriculture.
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker, International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, addressed the challenges of decoupling environmental degradation and economic development. Ashok Koshla, IUCN, said the global economy is currently using more than 40% of the Earth’s resources and the MDGs are not likely to be achieved.
Yemen, for the G-77/CHINA, noted that mining is an important source of revenue for developing countries, but greater transparency and accountability is required by all actors at all levels. The EU said a well-structured process with a clear and accepted mandate should be set up and initiate work right after CSD 18 to develop a proposal for a 10-YFP on SCP. Nepal, for LDCs, said it is urgent to pursue a new development model taking into consideration the needs of the most vulnerable people. LDCs and Chile, for the RIO GROUP, stressed technology transfer, capacity building, and new and additional resources. Lebanon, for the ARAB GROUP, requested support for capacity building in cleaner production, establishment of national centers, use of market-based instruments, and public policies for sustainable development.
SPAIN discussed national initiatives for sustainable development, including: a national heavy metals plan; tax cuts for use of public transportation; and an integrated waste programme. ITALY called for the definition of a common global framework for action promoting regional and national initiatives in SCP. GABON described efforts to condition new mining to environmental and social impact studies. SOUTH AFRICA said the food crisis suggests a need to manage our natural resource base closely. IRELAND said a “cradle to grave” approach must be considered for waste management. GHANA said it subscribed to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative for mineral wealth management. NIGERIA said developing countries have become dumping grounds for end-of-life e-wastes.
SWEDEN committed to continuing the work for reaching a global agreement on climate change, highlighted the importance of the 3Rs and pricing the Earth’s resources, and supported development of a 10YFP on SCP. VENEZUELA said production should meet the basic needs of humanity and waste should be avoided. MOZAMBIQUE stressed national ownership and government leadership in the achievement of MDGs.
JAPAN supported the 3Rs and the development of a legally binding instrument on mercury, and said involving stakeholders, especially industry, is a key to successful policy development. EGYPT and MOLDOVA introduced their experiences in environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes. SAUDI ARABIA stressed coherence and synergy among chemicals and wastes conventions. NAMIBIA said more sophisticated early warning systems are needed for an adequate response to short-, medium- and long-term events. INDIA described the use of compressed natural gas as fuel for the Delhi public transport system.
MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLES: Sustainable Production and Consumption Patterns: Stefania Prestigiacomo, Minister of Environment and Protection of Land and Sea, Italy, and Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Ghana, co-chaired this roundtable. Tariq Banuri, DSD Director, introduced the SCP focus. Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, stressed the importance of a long-term development perspective and called attention to the “Global Biodiversity Outlook-3” and “Metals Recycling Rates and Metals in Society” reports. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker, International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, emphasized attention to the research and innovation agendas in order to shift from an emphasis on labor productivity to increased resource productivity. Kaarin Taipale, Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction, suggested considering construction of net-zero and positive energy buildings, land-use planning, and mobility, public transport and energy infrastructure in sustainable building. Mohan Munasinghe, Manchester University, said tools such as advertising should be used to make consumers more sustainable in their consumption patterns.
Singapore, for the G-77/CHINA, called for an ad hoc open ended working group to develop the 10YFP prior to CSD 19. GUATEMALA supported intersessional work. Spain, for the EU, said the 10YFP should be ambitious and SCP work should be based on a credible and coherent scientific basis. BARBADOS said the Marrakech Process should feed into the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting. CAMEROON and SUDAN described national activities. IRAN announced it is phasing out energy subsidies.
POLAND highlighted technologies and new instruments, awareness raising, and coordination of policies. GERMANY said the 10YFP should address harmonized environmental and sustainability quality labels, environmentally sound public procurement, and green information technology. INDIA and EGYPT shared their experience in SCP. ISRAEL introduced its experience in water management. CHILDREN AND YOUTH stressed education and a role for youth organizations in SCP.
FARMERS stressed training, education, extension programmes, and recycling schemes. FINLAND said 2011 would provide an opportunity to develop the 10YFP, which should be embedded in the UN system. NIGERIA said corporate social responsibility is a key to sustainable development, and appealed to ban illegal trans-boundary movement of hazardous wastes, especially e-waste, to Africa. INDONESIA said poverty reduction should be a main component in SCP.
The US said it does not support intersessional work on SCP. THAILAND described the use of economic tools to make SCP more feasible for consumers and producers. TURKEY noted the need to meet the demand side, as well as the supply side, of SCP. ECUADOR discussed its adoption of the concept of “living correctly” in order to achieve the well-being of all citizens. SOUTH AFRICA highlighted its focus on sustainable energy projects such as the distribution of one million solar water heaters over five years. FRANCE said action targeting consumers and consumption results in effective action on producers.
The PHILIPPINES said the development of an accessible financing facility is necessary. The ILO noted the potential for social dialogue and alliances at all levels to achieve better policy responses. BANGLADESH looked forward to the Marrakech Process recommendations regarding public and corporate procurement, producer responsibility of consumption and services, transport, tourism, food and manufacturing. BOLIVIA said we must acknowledge that the market has failed and that nature has rights in itself. The REPUBLIC of KOREA said it would play a bridging role between developed and developing countries on SCP.
SWITZERLAND supported a transparent process to develop concrete proposals for a 10YFP and said there will be no framework on SCP if we fail to make it happen. ARGENTINA said measures that distort trade should be avoided and any strategy should include the food sector. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said cultivated lands need to be restored after closing mines. CUBA said consumption and production patterns should change in developed countries first.
Managing Mining for Sustainable Development: This event was co-chaired by László Borbély, Minister of Environment and Forests, Romania, and Susan Shabangu, Minister of Mineral Resources of South Africa. Rachel Mayanja, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, called for fostering social development. Sam Spiegel, University of Cambridge, discussed governance challenges in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), and urged governments to engage with the informal sector. Kathryn McPhail, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), presented ICMM’s work, including on poverty reduction, revenue management, human rights and dispute resolution. Roderick Eggert, Colorado School of Mines, discussed challenges related to the fair distribution of mining’s surpluses, sustaining the benefits of mining by investing in education and health, and savings and stabilization funds.
Indonesia, for the G-77/CHINA, mentioned: benefits from mining are yet to be realized in developing countries; the task of clean-up; transparency, good governance and strong regulatory frameworks; technology provision; and capacity building. The EU said access to raw materials is necessary for the functioning of the world economy, and there is a need to do more with less and increase recycling and reuse of materials. ESTONIA referred to its oil shale industry, and CHILE, NIGERIA and PERU described national programs. CAMBODIA stressed ecological recovery. BELGIUM emphasized conflict prevention in mining and ending child labor. AUSTRALIA said mining can be an economic driver in indigenous communities. INDIA discussed land degradation and relief and rehabilitation solutions.
TURKEY highlighted research and development of technologies that reduce risks to workers. ARGENTINA said developed countries should provide support to developing countries so that mining activities can be developed. GUATEMALA underscored the need for ethics and respect in negotiation processes for extraction. GHANA said the UN should develop guidelines for mining sector good governance. KENYA stressed challenges in technological transfer and capacity. MONGOLIA said it has introduced ASM cooperatives. THAILAND described its “green and clean” mining policy, including strategic environmental assessments of mining activities. GABON described its work in diminishing the impacts of mining. TANZANIA said one million Tanzanians engage in ASM, highlighting key challenges including the absence of access to fair market arrangements. FINLAND outlined its new mining law, which it hopes will reconcile public and private interests. PALESTINE said occupying practices have impeded the development of the mining industry. SUDAN outlined the challenges of addressing ASM gold miners’ use of mercury.
WOMEN, supported by INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, called for an international tribunal on the effects of uranium mining and tailings. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said current mining practices violate human rights and “Earth rights.” BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY emphasized a life-cycle approach to mining. CHILDREN AND YOUTH, supported by WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS, said child labor should be addressed. NGOs called for the rehabilitation of mine sites.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Some conversations in the corridors continued to reflect on Tuesday’s discussion of partnerships. This was highlighted as the first time a discussion on partnerships had been brought into a formal plenary session, and might indicate that CSD was beginning to embrace what it is best at. A CSD role in sharing and disseminating applied research was also taken up in the corridors and side events, with some highlighting the recent launches of the Global Island Database, the Global Biodiversity Outlook, the announcement of a Global Chemicals Outlook for 2011, and the DSD and UNEP Chemicals report. These will add, according to some, to efforts to address issues on the CSD 18-19 agenda. Others suggested that Rio+20 must review the partnership methodology again, explaining this could provide important direction to the CSD.