Press Releases

    Round-up

     ENV/DEV/660
    10 June 2002

    After Two Weeks of Intense Negotiations, Bali Meeting Sends Implementation Plan to Johannesburg for Finalization

    Final Preparatory Committee for World Summit on Sustainable Development Concludes in Early Morning Session

    (Received from a UN Information Officer.)

    BALI, 7 June -- The fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development concluded its session early this morning by deciding to entrust its Chairman, Emil Salim (Indonesia), to facilitate agreement on all outstanding issues in a draft plan of implementation to be transmitted to the Summit.

    The draft implementation plan -- the subject of extensive negotiations during the two-week session - was not finalized. The text's introduction reaffirms the validity of Agenda 21 -- the comprehensive plan of action adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which embraced economic growth, social development and environmental protection to achieve sustainable development in the twenty-first century.

    Agenda 21, the text says, establishes the fundamental principles and programme of action for achieving sustainable development. In addition to the introduction, the draft text contains chapters on, among others: poverty eradication; changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production; and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development.

    Also tonight, a document was circulated during the meeting summarizing the informal meetings held during the session on partnerships (see document A/CONF.199/PC/CRP.4). Jan Kara (Czech Republic) and Diane Quarless (Jamaica), Committee vice-chairpersons, introduced the report.

    In other business tonight, the Committee adopted an orally revised draft decision setting out the organization of work for the Summit (see document A/CONF.199/PC/L.7) and a report on its work for the session (see document A/CONF.1999/PC/L.6). It decided that reports on the multi-stakeholder dialogue segment, the ministerial segment and the Committee's discussion on partnerships would be annexed to the report. Ms. Quarless (Jamaica), in her capacity as Committee rapporteur, introduced the report.

    The Committee also adopted a draft decision, sponsored by the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, by the terms of which it expressed its appreciation to Indonesia for having made it possible for the meeting to be held in Bali, Indonesia, and for the excellent facilities, staff and services placed at its disposal.

    The Committee also decided to transmit the elements of a political document to the Summit for consideration.

    Lowell Flanders, a senior official with the United Nations secretariat, noted several minor editorial changes to be made to the draft implementation plan.

    Maria Luiza Viotti (Brazil), Committee vice-chairperson, also noted an editorial change to be made to the text. Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan), Committee vice-chairperson, also spoke regarding editorial changes.

    Statements were made during the discussion on editorial changes by the representatives of India, Egypt, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Spain (for the European Union), Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, United States and Nigeria.

    Other statements were made by the representatives of South Africa, Spain (for the European Union), Venezuela (for the "Group of 77" developing countries and China), Japan, United States, Lebanon, Belgium, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    Nitin Desai, Secretary-General of the World Summit, made closing remarks, as did, Mr. Salim (Indonesia), Committee Chairman.

    Highlights of Preparatory Meeting

    Much of the session was given over to negotiations on the draft plan of implementation, with delegates working until late at night in an effort to reach agreement on the text. In addition to the negotiations on the plan of implementation, a three-day ministerial segment was held during which representatives discussed implementation of the Bali commitments, partnership initiatives, and elements for the political document to be adopted in Johannesburg.

    Opening the segment, Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of Indonesia, called for international cooperation to help developing countries utilize resources in a sustainable manner. The tendency to blame one another had become part of any discussion of sustainable development; conflicts and instability had often resulted. But, she said, closely cooperative endeavours were the only answer. Interdependence, in the global village, was real.

    Also speaking at the opening of the segment, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette noted that Secretary- General Kofi Annan had proposed five key areas for particular focus -- water and sanitation, energy, agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem management and health. It was important to have firm goals and targets in those areas and specify concrete commitments so that real progress could be made in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration.

    During the discussion on the political declaration, many speakers asserted that a concise, forceful, actionoriented document should be adopted by the heads of State and Government in Johannesburg. Committee Chairman Emil Salim (Indonesia) suggested that interdependence, sustainability, participation, equity and an enabling political environment were concepts that declaration might wish to promote.

    Speakers during the dialogue on implementation stressed, among other things, the need to move from ideals to actions to achieve sustainable development. When the segment took up partnerships, it was underlined that such initiatives should complement, not replace government negotiated declarations and plans of action.

    Another important aspect of the session was the "multi-stakeholder" dialogue. The three-day segment allowed a wide range of civil society and government actors to express their views on issues crucial to sustainable development, which included the importance of good governance, the role to be played by civil society at all levels of the process, and the importance of capacity-building and partnerships in promoting the social, economic and environmental pillars of development.

    "Major groups" representing women, youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities, trade unions, scientists and farmers participated in the deliberations, as did representatives of national governments.

    Also during the session a large number of "side events" promoting sustainable development were held by representatives of civil society, the private sector and government.

    Nearly 5,000 people, including government representatives, civil society participants, and United Nations staff attended the session. More than 170 countries were represented with some 120 Ministers in attendance. Emil Salim (Indonesia), chaired the Preparatory Committee. Committee vice-chairpersons were Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan), Maria Luiza Viotti (Brazil), Richard Ballhorn (Canada), Ihab Gameleldin (Egypt), Goran Engfeldt (Sweden), Ositadimna Anaedu (Nigeria), Jan Kara (Czech Republic) and Diane Quarless (Jamaica) who also served as rapporteur.

    Action on Chairman's Paper

    LOWELL FLANDERS, senior official with the United Nations Summit secretariat, called attention to editorial changes in the draft plan of implementation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which contained an account of the negotiations conducted in Bali on that plan (document A/CONF.199/PC/L.5 and add.1 to 5).

    MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) then read a bracketed paragraph (one on which consensus had not been reached) emphasizing the role of ethics in sustainable development.

    Representatives of India, Egypt, Canada, Norway, Spain (on behalf of the European Union), Belgium, Switzerland, Australia and Venezuela then commented on the revised text.

    KIYOTAKA AKASAKA (Japan) explained that some of the language under discussion was subject to further negotiation.

    The representative of the United States explained that country's opposition to language on the Kyoto Protocol.

    The representative of South Africa expressed hope that her Government and the Chairman could continue to work closely on preparation for the World Summit.

    The representative of Spain, on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said the Union welcomed the fact that the United Nations welcomed progress towards consensus on work programmes to eradicate poverty, sustainable consumption and production, protection of natural resources and strengthening institutional arrangements in all those efforts. The Union remained committed to a global partnership to be agreed upon in Johannesburg as a cornerstone of the global deal between developing and developed countries.

    The representative of Venezuela, for the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said she stood in solidarity in seeking consensus to implement Agenda 21. Despite all efforts made and the flexibility shown by the Group, consensus had not been achieved. Major concessions had been made by the Group. She underlined the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Eradicating poverty and moving to sustainable patterns of consumption and production were very important to the group, as was the struggle to achieve a healthy environment.

    The representatives of the United States and Canada then sought clarifications regarding editorial changes.

    The Preparatory Committee then decided to entrust the Chairman to facilitate agreement on all outstanding issues on the "Draft plan of implementation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development" for transmittal to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg for further consideration.

    The representative of Nigeria made a statement of an editorial nature.

    The representative of Japan thanked Indonesia for hosting the Conference. Considerable progress had been made on the plan of implementation, he noted. Utmost efforts should be exerted to finalize the plan and the other Summit outcomes.

    The representative of the United States said all could say it had been an arduous but productive two weeks. All could look back with satisfaction on the success that had been achieved. She appreciated the fact that tough issues had not been avoided -- rather, they had been confronted. She noted the importance of the Doha trade summit and the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey. She underlined the challenges ahead that must be met to ensure sustainable development.

    Possible Elements for Political Document

    Mr. SALIM (Indonesia) then drew the Committee's attention to document A/CONF.199/PCC or the working paper, which contained some possible potential elements for the political declaration. The Committee then decided to entrust the Chairman to prepare the paper containing potential inputs for a political declaration for transmittal to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

    Report on Partnerships

    The Committee then decided to annex the three Chairman's summaries from the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Segment, the High-level ministerial segment and partnerships ("type 2" outcomes) to the report of the fourth session of the preparatory committee.

    Summit Organization of Work

    LOWELL FLANDERS, senior United Nations official with the Summit secretariat, called attention to editorial changes in the draft decision submitted by the Chairman on behalf of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee, entitled, "Matters related to the organization of work during the World Summit on Sustainable Development" (document A/CONF.199/PC/L.7).

    The Preparatory Committee then decided to adopt the draft decision as contain in A/CONF.199/PC/L.7, as orally revised.

    The representative of Lebanon thanked the Government of Indonesia for hosting the Summit. He reconfirmed that the continued occupation of part of its land by Israel represented a breach of international law and negatively impacted the future development of the region. Occupation should be combated within the framework of international law. The Group of 77 would remain a fundamental platform working to achieve development for its members, he stressed.

    The representative of Spain (for the European Union) proposed an amendment to the decision on the organization of work of the Summit.

    NITIN DESAI, Secretary-General of the Summit, responding to the proposed amendment, said the specialized agencies would be invited to the Summit, by the terms of the text as it now stood.

    The representative of Belgium sought a clarification regarding Spain's proposed amendment.

    Mr. DESAI reconfirmed what he had said.

    The representative of Spain said he was referring to participation by heads of specialized agencies, and Mr. Desai said he had confirmed that they would.

    The representative of Venezuela, on behalf of the Group of 77, then introduced a draft decision entitled "Expression of thanks to the people and Government of Indonesia", which expressed gratitude to that country for hosting of the fourth Preparatory Committee.

    The Committee then adopted the draft decision.

    The representative of Indonesia, responding to that expression of thanks, expressed gratitude for the work that went into the Preparatory Committee and its accomplishments. The problem of sustainable development, he said, was a global one and it must be solved together or all would be buried together. In addition, all three pillars of sustainable development must be tackled together.

    A decade of experience with Agenda 21 had shown that political will was needed for progress, he said. He hoped that the achievements of Bali would be built upon in Johannesburg, for the good of this generation and future generations. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to host the Preparatory Committee and for the hard work of everyone involved.

    The representative of Saudi Arabia asked how delegations could help best with the process leading up to the Summit.

    Mr. DESAI said a "decision by exhaustion" had been taken and the full pleasures of Bali had not been enjoyed. A great deal had, however, been achieved -- that should be recognized. What was left was of course difficult. Political will to find common ground on the outstanding issues was needed. That was the challenge between now and Johannesburg.

    There was much to be done based on what had been agreed so far, he said. All parts of the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, would be brought together before Johannesburg to prepare for the outcome of the Summit. He thanked all those involved in the session.

    The representative of Iran thanked the Chairman for his work. He suggested that the mandate of the Bureau be extended to assist him.

    The CHAIRMAN asked for time to look into the matter. Making closing remarks, he said he hoped a sense of optimism could be maintained even though not all the work had been completed. He thanked all the vice-chairpersons for their work. He noted that 80 per cent of the programme had been completed, even if it had not all been agreed. Consensus on how to have full agreement had not been achieved. This was a "wake up" call - there was still work to be done, with disagreements between the North and South.

    Implementation Plan

    In its introduction, the draft plan of implementation reaffirms the validity of Agenda 21 -- the comprehensive plan of action adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which embraced economic growth, social development and environmental protection to achieve sustainable development in the twenty-first century. Agenda 21, the text says, establishes the fundamental principles and programme of action for achieving sustainable development.

    The present implementation text will further build on the achievements made since Rio and expedite the realization of those goals. "To this end", the text reads, "we commit ourselves to undertake concrete actions and measures at all levels and to enhance international cooperation.

    Efforts will promote the above-mentioned three components of sustainable development as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars. Poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are overarching objectives of, and essential requirements for, sustainable development.

    Those measures, the text asserts, should benefit all - particularly women, youth, children and vulnerable groups and involve all relevant actors through partnerships between North and South, and between governments, the private sector and organizations at all levels. As reflected in the Monterrey Consensus, such partnerships are key to pursuing sustainable development in a globalizing world.

    According to the text, good governance within each country and at the international level is essential for sustainable development. At the domestic level, sound environmental, social and economic policies, democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people, the rule of law, anti-corruption measures, gender equality and an enabling environment for investment are the basis for sustainable development.

    The gap between developed and developing countries points to the continued need for a dynamic and enabling international economic environment supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the areas of finance, technology transfer, debt and trade, and global decision-making.

    Peace, security, and stability "are essential" for achieving sustainable development and ensuring that sustainable development benefits all, the text says.

    Placing great emphasis on poverty eradication, the draft stresses the need to launch programmes aimed at meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people living in poverty. It also calls for halving the proportion of people who lack access to proper sanitation by 2015. It goes on to outline recommendations on a range of issues from limiting unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, to protecting the natural resource base of economic and social development, to combating environmental threats to health and diverse ecosystems. There are separate areas on actions recommended for Africa and small island States.

    Means of implementation are also taken up by the text, although a considerable amount of that portion of the document has not yet been finalized. The agreed text asserts that the implementation of Agenda 21 and the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration as well as in the current plan of implementation requires a substantially increased effort, both by countries themselves and by the rest of the international community, taking fully into account the Rio principles.

    Also included in the draft plan is a section on institutional framework for sustainable development, which states that such a framework is key to the full implementation of Agenda 21, to follow up on the outcome of the Summit and to meet emerging sustainable development challenges.

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