CHILDREN, AGRICULTURE, BUILDING CAPACITY IN
32 Agencies, Organizations Speak in Plenary Session
(Received from a UN Information Officer.)
JOHANNESBURG, 30 August -- At the World Summit for Sustainable Development this morning, 32 agencies and organizations called for attention to issues of children, agriculture, capacity-building, human and natural resources and population in the context of achieving the international aim of eliminating poverty, while protecting the Earth's resources.
The debate was held ahead of the Summit's high-level segment next week, when more than 100 world leaders will gather to build a commitment to better implement Agenda 21, the road map for achieving sustainable development adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development -- the Earth Summit -- held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Mark Malloch Brown, stressed that in order to meet the goals set at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, it was necessary first to succeed in changing the terms of the global debate. Population issues must be kept at the heart of the development agenda. Sustainable development was simply not possible without transparent democratic institutions capable of protecting the environment, while providing basic needs and economic opportunities. He noted that communities where people protected their ecosystems had better schools, health care and economies.
Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said there was no more direct route to environmental well-being than investments in children. In the decade since Agenda 21, there had been some impressive achievements, but there had not been satisfactory progress towards many goals and new challenges had emerged, such as HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of armed conflict and globalization. The Summit must emphasize a child-centred development paradigm, and stress that development could not be sustainable unless children were protected from vulnerability everywhere, and unless their rights to a basic education of good quality, nutrition, health, water and sanitation were fulfilled.
Kunio Waki, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said poverty reduction and protection of natural resource could not be achieved without addressing population issues. Global population was expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. It was, however, not growing as fast as it did before, thanks to the world's women and governments that gave them support and choices. Since UNFPA was established in 1969, overall fertility rates had dropped by half in the developing world. Developing countries with lower fertility and slower population growth had seen higher productivity, more savings and more productive investment.
Speaking on behalf the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, the President of the Dutch Farmers' Union said agriculture was the key to sustainable development. The drop in priority for agriculture from national budgets, donors and international institutions must, therefore, be reversed. Agriculture was key to food security, to conserving biodiversity and central to international action in trade and investment.
K.G. Ruffing, the Acting Director, Environment Directorate, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said one of the areas where OECD countries could show leadership was to increase the coherence and integration of their own policies. OECD countries were the largest donors of official development assistance (ODA), but at the same time had policies to protect and subsidize their own national industries. In many cases, the benefits of ODA were swamped by the effects of trade-distorting subsidies and other barriers to trade.
Also speaking this morning were: the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the Executive Director of United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat); the Executive Secretaries of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; as well as the Executive Secretaries of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Economic Commission for Africa, and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.
The President of the International Parliamentary Union, the Regional Director, Eastern and Southern African Office, International Civil Aviation Organization; the Director of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research; the Executive Director of the European Trade Unions Confederation; the Director-General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources; and the Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers also addressed the Summit.
In addition, representatives of Environmental Alert, Foundation to Promote Indigenous Knowledge, Estado Libre de Puerto Rico, Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, Commonwealth of Independent States, Permanent Commission for the South Pacific, United States Virgin Islands, Secretariat of the Basel Convention, and Mines Ministries of the Americas Conference participated in the discussion.
The Summit will meet again at 3 p.m. to continue hearing the views of agencies and non-State entities.
CAROL BELLAMY, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said children were humanity's most precious natural resource, and yet, a decade after Rio, they were still suffering the consequences of environmental negligence. Each year in the developing world, 11 million children under the age of five fell victim to the vicious cycle of poverty and environmental degradation, in most cases from easily preventable causes. Those deaths were not only a tragedy for children and families -- they were a blow to development, because they deprived communities and society of incalculable human potential.
She said there was no more direct route to environmental well-being than investments in children. The well-being of children was a critical indicator of progress in the pursuit of sustainable development and poverty eradication. In the decade since Agenda 21, there had been some impressive achievements, especially where there had been adequate resources, systematic follow-up, national ownership, effective leadership and involvement by a broad range of stakeholders. More than 175 countries were polio-free. Progress had been seen in the elimination of iodine deficiency disorders, a cause of mental retardation. But for all the targets met or nearly met, the progress towards too many of the goals has not been satisfactory. New challenges had emerged, such as HIV/AIDS, the proliferation of armed conflict and complex humanitarian crises. Globalization had brought enormous benefits to some, and devastated the lives of others.
UNICEF called on national leaders to ensure that in the course of the decade, every primary school in the world would be equipped with separate sanitary facilities for boys and girls and that every school had a source of clean and safe drinking water. It urged that the Summit commit itself to reaching the Millennium Development Goals of halving the number of people who lacked access to safe drinking water. Also, efforts must be redoubled to completely eliminate guinea worm disease. Those goals should be the minimum that the international community could do to assure a healthy environment for children. Investing in children was key, not only as a matter of child rights, but as good economics. The Summit must emphasize a child-centred development paradigm, and stress that development could not be sustainable unless children were protected from vulnerability everywhere, and unless their rights to a basic education of good quality, nutrition, health, water and sanitation were fulfilled, she said.
LENNART BAGE, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said clearly, now was not the time to renegotiate established goals. Rather, it was the time to implement and face the tough task of setting priorities, to make hard decisions about where to allocate newly pledged resources and identify the sectors and activities that could advance the 2015 goals. The Summit actions must start from the realization that widespread and entrenched poverty was not compatible with sustainable development.
He said three quarters, or 900 million of the 1.2 billion people who suffered extreme poverty, lived in rural areas and depended on agriculture for survival. For the farmers, fishers and herders, clean water and fertile land were fundamental to survival. To them it was painfully clear that natural resource management and development were not separate, unrelated goals. Make no mistake: it was those rural people who must be reached in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Fund's 25 years of experience in some of the poorest areas pointed to one important conclusion: even the poorest farmers were well aware of the importance of protecting the environment and were eager to adopt improved practices for sustainable use of land and water resources.
Investments in agriculture must play a pivotal role in the collective efforts, he said. Monies for education, health and other social investments must be matched by investments that enabled the rural poor to boost their productivity and raise their incomes. Agriculture was the biggest contributor to gross domestic product (GDP) and the main source of employment in most developing countries. Economic development and, indeed, sustainable development, was not possible without substantial economic growth for the many poor small-holders. Paradoxically, even as the focus on poverty had intensified recently, the proportion of official development assistance (ODA) going to agriculture and the rural sector had fallen sharply – by nearly one half between 1988 and 1999. Even developing country governments had "shied away" from agriculture over the past decade.
MARK MALLOCH BROWN, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that the international community had gathered here to build on the historic achievements of Rio, reverse the setbacks and ensure that the Summit became the launch pad for measures to achieve a safer planet. While the threat faced was global, its impact was most severe in the developing world. Degraded agricultural land and climate change, among other things, had a disastrous effect on the poor. The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the goal of halving poverty by 2015, would not be met without addressing the needs of the poor.
As the global development network of the United Nations, the UNDP was well placed to address development challenges, he said. To meet the Millennium Development Goals, it was necessary first to succeed in changing the terms of the global debate. Population issues must be kept at the heart of the development agenda. Also, too many people equated environmental protection with the curtailment of economic growth, rather than with its expansion.
Sustainable development was simply not possible without transparent democratic institutions capable of protecting the environment while providing basic needs and economic opportunities, he said. In communities where people were able to come together to protect their ecosystems, they also had better schools, health care and economies. In that connection, developing capacity was the core of the new UNDP and essential to broader national and global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
ANNA KAJUMULO TIBAIJUKA, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), said urbanization and globalization had become dominant over the last decade and had resulted in the majority of the population living in the cities, a trend that would continue. It was clear that globalization clearly brought with it irreversible changes in how resources such as water and land were used. Agenda 21 had become an urban agenda.
UN-Habitat was the focal point for implementation of the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21, she said. For this Summit, it had focused on sustainable urbanization in cooperation with 1,200 Habitat partners and had developed a framework for action. Sustainable urbanization covered environmental, social, economic and institutional sustainability, founded on the proposition that transformation from rural to urban life required a change in the institutional framework. UN-Habitat's framework for action corresponded with "Type 1" outcomes. Sustainable urbanization meant focusing on sustainable environment and required decent work and shelter as the basis for other activities.
NAJMA HEPTULLA, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Council, said during the last 30 years, from the 1972 Stockholm Summit to Nairobi in 1982 and Rio in 1992, the international community had learned that pollution killed people, animals and vegetation, and that poverty, in all its ugliness, nurtured yet more pollution and waste. Everyone also learned that mindless consumption and wasteful production exacted a heavy toll on human society and the environment. The environment itself, on which the very existence of humankind depended, was also being pressured beyond the point of no return.
She said, however, that the world had also learned that the solution to all those problems was within reach. Rapid technological advances could help achieve economic growth without harming the environment. What was now known as "green economics" had produced many creative ways in which environmental concerns could be incorporated into production and consumption. Despite all that wisdom, problems had persisted. The record of inaction that had build up during the past decade alone spoke for itself. The question, then, was how could the international community guarantee that it would not continue to fail?
Speaking as politician, she said, it was clear that a democratic deficit in decision-making, both nationally and internationally, had to be overcome. Far too many governments and institutions in the position to act were focused only on narrow interests. More often than not, they did not respond to the will of the people and most certainly did not pursue the common good. Democracy could only be suppressed for so long, she said, and people everywhere were making their voices heard. With that in mind, parliaments had been working, at national and international levels, to provide a parliamentary dimension to the work of intergovernmental organizations working on sustainable development issues. Parliaments aimed to promote the views of the people in national and international forums and monitor international process of their behalf.
GERARD DOOMBOS, President, Dutch Farmers' Union, speaking on behalf of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, said the majority of members came from developing countries. For farmers, the first priority was to recognize that agriculture was the key to sustainable development. The drop in priority for agriculture from national budgets, donors and international institutions must be reversed. Agriculture was key to food security, to conserving biodiversity and central to international action in trade and investment. It was the main user of freshwater resources and was central to producing bio-energy.
As result of the Summit, farmers had taken the opportunity to form partnerships, covering such areas as management of water, land, genetic resources and energy. Farmers were also strengthening partnerships in the area of research and technology. The Federation was pleased to be partner with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other major groups in the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Initiative. Partnerships were good, but must be supported by capacity-building and good governance. Successful development of agriculture required democratic, consultative processes that involved farmers' organizations. The United Nations had a responsibility, too. It should consolidate the multi-stakeholder dialogue by establishing an institutional structure to facilitate the building of partnerships.
Partnerships also needed the right environment to attract investment into agriculture and to encourage young people to choose a career in farming, he said. Farmers needed to be able to live from their work. They needed access to markets free from distortion, as well as peace and stability. The United Nations should work with civil society in partnerships for peace. Further, civil society partnerships must not be used by governments to do less for sustainable development.
HAMMDALLAH ZEDAN, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity, said biodiversity had always been essential for human existence and development. It formed the basis of agriculture and hence was the genesis of all food sources. Biodiversity was also the source of medicines, as well as materials and renewable energy components. It provided water and indispensable services -- from clean air to climate stabilization and food control.
The Convention on Biological Diversity had emerged from the Rio Summit to reverse the trends that were increasingly leading to the destruction of biodiversity. It sought to do that by integrating conservation and economic development and by ensuring that the benefits of biodiversity continued to flow and were shared equitably. The past decade had been encouraging, as the Convention had been used as an effective tool for policy development and consensus-building. The landmark Cartagena Protocol on Biodiversity had been adopted and, with more than 30 States parties, would probably soon enter into force.
He said that, although many encouraging partnerships towards implementing the declarations and conventions had emerged following Rio, real implementation had been daunting, primarily because of a lack of resources and political will. Implementation had also been hindered by structural and institutional failings, such as questionable government policies and incentives, relating, in particular, to trade and agriculture. For real progress to be achieved, those and other serious issues must be addressed. It was essential to put biodiversity in the forefront of thinking about development and poverty reduction. That meant, above all, integrating biodiversity concerns into sectoral policies, particularly economic and trade schemes. The developed countries would have to take the lead in adopting positive policy approaches towards sustainable consumption and production.
HAMA ARBA DIALLO, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said that few realized that the Convention stood as one of the most concrete achievements of Rio. It was the prime tool to address desertification and drought -- two challenges affecting the livelihood and food security of over 900 million people worldwide. It was encouraging to note that at the Summit there was welcome consensus on the need to provide the Convention with a financial mechanism, and thereby effectively address the single most important obstacle to its implementation. Rio had given birth to the Convention and Johannesburg would undoubtedly set the path of implementation through its effective funding.
The Convention, he continued, was now ready to move from its initial conceptual phase to a much-awaited implementation phase, based on its national action programmes, which constituted the very building blocks of its implementation. The effective and timely implementation of the programmes would dramatically contribute to achieving the objectives of the Millennium Declaration by restoring the productive capacity of the land and substantially increasing the income of affected grass-roots communities.
Desertification, an extreme stage of land degradation, was a global environmental problem, he said. As such, the Convention's effective implementation would unquestionably generate positive effects on the mitigation of climate change by increasing carbon sinks and also mitigating the loss of biodiversity.
JOKE WALLER-HUNTER, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that climate change had an impact on sustainable development. Indeed, the extreme weather situations that were currently facing southern Africa, Asia and Europe -- be they floods or drought -- were consistent with predictions. Climate was changing and the challenge to limit and cut emissions and adapt to changes already taking place had arrived.
Climate change affected drylands by influencing fresh water supplies, heat extremes, the humidity and temperature of soils and agricultural production, she explained. It threatened biological diversity on land and in the sea. As climate zones shifted, ecosystems were disrupted and species that could not migrate or adapt died. There would be direct and indirect impacts on health, such as increases in water and animal-carried diseases. The greatest challenge was in the energy field, where energy strategies must recognize that switching to a de-carbonized economy was possible and essential.
The Convention on Climate Change and its sister conventions on biodiversity and desertification provided coherent frameworks for promoting and implementing sustainable development, she said. For climate change, the time had come to shift gears and emphasize the implementation of existing agreements. In the implementation phase, it became clear that the three conventions often addressed the same resources and were better off working together.
PELIN AYAN, Youth Association for Habitat and Agenda 21, said youth embraced their role as key partners in sustainable development today and in the future. But youth needed forums structured for and by them. National and international governments should spare no effort to ensure that youth-oriented civil society initiatives were prioritized for action. The particular aim of such action would be to create and strengthen national youth councils. It was important for those councils to work as an umbrella for other youth organizations, and to foster cooperation between national and international organizations working on sustainable development.
She went on to urge governments to provide youth and youth organizations with technical and financial support. Free, quality education for all, taking into account local and multicultural perspectives, was also essential. Governments that were serious about achieving sustainable development, and equally serious about including youth in their efforts, should also commit to promoting education programmes in health and reproductive health care to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Governments should also commit to other youth-oriented actions within the frameworks of Agenda 21 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She added that governments must agree to provide employment for young people, as well as move to eradicate unsustainable labour practices. Inter-generational justice was at the core of sustainable development. Youth wanted to be considered not only the leaders of tomorrow, but the partners of today.
JOSE ANTONIO OCAMPO, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said the region possessed natural resource endowments and ecosystems of worldwide importance, and was vital in terms of the supply of global environmental services. The Amazon basin and other ecosystems had contributed in stabilizing the climate system by acting as carbon sinks. The region also preserved the biodiversity represented by the genetic resources of many of its ecosystems.
The absence of markets to capture the economic value of those global environmental services jeopardized the region's ability to guarantee their constant flow, he noted. Mechanisms would have to be found to finance efforts to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of globally important natural resources and ecosystems. The negotiation of the Clean Development Mechanism provided for by the Kyoto Protocol was the first initiative taken at the global level to create a market of that type.
Underscoring the importance of Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration, which referred to "common but differentiated responsibilities", he noted that it explicitly acknowledged the "environmental debt" that the developed countries had built up in the course of their own industrialization process. That principle provided the political foundation for their assumption of greater environmental commitments than the developing countries in multilateral agreements, and for their leadership role in transferring resources and technology to developing nations.
KIM HAK SU, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said that the Summit had marked the culmination of a series of global meetings beginning with the Millennium Summit, which had sought to achieve sustainable development while providing for the needs of the world's people. The main obstacles identified in that regard were of paramount importance to the ESCAP region, particularly poor water and sanitation. Two children died every minute from-water borne diseases in his region.
In addition, he continued, the rapid growth in energy consumption had increased air pollution, and the biodiversity of the region was severely threatened. Agricultural productivity was also under threat, as soil erosion was prevalent in over 80 per cent of the region. The situation was further aggravated by recurrent floods. The frequency of natural disasters was likely to grow with the effects of further climate change.
A regional vision to address such formidable challenges had been articulated in a regional action programme for sustainable development, he said. Seven innovative initiatives had been proposed to translate that vision into reality. New alliances and partnerships must emerge among stakeholders for that process to succeed. The path ahead had been laid out in both Agenda 21 and the Millennium Development Goals, as stated by the Secretary-General. The world could ill afford another 10 years or even one more year of poor implementation of Agenda 21. ESCAP stood ready to play its role in that regard.
K.Y. AMOAKO, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said sustainable development could be defined as the merger of human well-being and natural resource stewardship. ECA had developed an index that jointly measured the economic, environment and institutional sustainability of African countries. The index sought to answer the question of what the main obstacles to achieving sustainable development were, as well as the critical areas for policy interventions, among other things. Combining 27 key indicators, it tracked the performance of 38 African countries between 1975 and 2000.
He said the results were sobering. While some countries had made good progress, many had slipped down the rankings. Overall sustainability was positively correlated with institutional development, human and physical capital accumulation and productivity. Greater overall sustainability went hand-in-hand with greater institutional constraints on decision-making powers of the executive, greater openness of political competition and more widespread civil and political rights. That evidence pointed to a key message: national efforts to achieve sustainable development must emphasize productive capacity and its key determinants, namely institutions, as well as human and natural resources.
He said statistical capacity must be strengthened to monitor performance. The results must be fed into the process of influencing policy at the highest level. Africa must do better with linking results to policy change. The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) could provide impetus for ensuring timely and sustained action on the outcomes of the Summit.
DOROTHY KAGGWA, Environmental Alert, said as world leaders were gathering in Johannesburg for the Summit, some 800 million people throughout the world lived below the poverty line, with no access to basic services such as medical care or sanitation. While delegations were negotiating the future of the world's poor, it was essential to recognize the important role that trade could play in achieving sustainable development for all. Trade could be a source of immense wealth and was perhaps one of the surest ways to reduce poverty.
At the same time, she continued, the basic rules that governed trade were patently unfair. The human and environmental costs of unfair business, trade and marketing practices were immense. She, therefore, called upon governments to review trade liberalization policies that had led to the destruction of local and rural markets and had replaced them with corporate-owned products and service delivery systems. She added that World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities had killed local industries. Western governments should review tariffs, so that local governments, particularly from within the developing world, could have access to markets. The Bretton Woods institutions should also review their trade policies and schemes.
Perhaps the answer was for developing countries to close their markets until they were developed enough to compete at global levels, she said. She also expressed deep concern at trade distorting subsidies, which contributed to the lack of access to Western markets by small countries, and called upon Western governments to review their policies on subsidies. She also called for the inclusion of women in agriculture. She added that active investment in small-scale agriculture to promote job creation and crop production was essential, particularly since most workers in the developing world were small farmers.
MERVAT TALLAWY, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said that as the Summit was moving towards the adoption of its final outcome, the question now was how to move towards the implementation stage and ensure that the coming decade would be more fruitful than the previous one. Sustainable development required partnerships among all stakeholders and among all levels. In the debate, the regional aspect had been stressed as crucial, if implementation was to achieve the stated goals. The regional commissions were liaisons between the international community and partners at the national level.
ESCWA, she noted, had been active in promoting regional cooperation and integration for sustainable development. In that regard, a number of policy decisions had been adopted, including on water resource management, energy conservation and empowerment of marginalized groups. During the past decade, her region had witnessed tangible achievements in many areas, with marked improvement in health and education. Yet, those achievements did not match the aspirations of the region's people. That slow progress was due primarily to the conflict, social turmoil and economic sanctions of the past decade, all of which had led the diversion of scarce resources to military expenditures.
Unfortunately, she went on to say, that situation persisted. Regional peace was essential to world peace. The region must move from a decade of conflict to a decade of lasting peace and the international community must assume its responsibility, in that regard.
PETER PIOT, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, said that countries most affected by the AIDS epidemic were beginning to face a human resource crisis that would only get worse unless infected people were treated and prevention efforts increased. The crisis would not only significantly undermine progress towards sustainable development, but even "underdevelop" some of those nations. By the most basic measure of development -- life expectancy -- AIDS had already erased 50 years of progress in the worst affected countries. Across sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, for example, life expectancy had dropped from 62 years to 47 years.
Nowhere was the interconnectedness of development, population, environment, health, trade and stability better illustrated than in AIDS, he said. For example, half of all new infections were in people under 25 years old. Theirs was the generation that could be devastated by AIDS, with some dying and many more seeing their lives destabilized. Another example lay in rural life, where the epidemic undermined food security, as food reserves, livestock and land were sold to pay health costs. With the loss of agricultural skills, the food impact of AIDS would resound for generations. As urbanization continued, rural areas threatened to become unsustainable repositories of the very young, the very old and the sick.
If the world was to stand any chance of meeting its aspiration for sustainable development, its action agenda must include a full-scale attack on AIDS. Serious resource commitments to fully fund AIDS prevention and treatment programmes were needed, as well as leadership from governments and communities to break the silence around AIDS and develop the capacity to respond. Action on AIDS must be integrated into the core of development practices across sectors, in government and civil society, and a major commitment must be made to redress the human resource crisis provoked by AIDS.
KENNETH G. RUFFING, Acting Director, Environment Directorate, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said the priorities for action were clear: achieve more sustainable consumption and production patterns and decouple environmental pressure from economic growth; ensure sustainable management of natural resources; and work in partnership to eradicate absolute poverty. In some areas, however, there were major obstacles to the necessary policy reforms, resulting in a distinct "implementation gap" between policy advice and action. The result had been a deterioration in environmental conditions and the continuance of poverty, hunger and disease.
He said one of the areas where OECD countries could show leadership was to increase the coherence and integration of their own policies, including integrating sustainable development concerns across ministries and ensuring that existing policies did not work against each other. OECD countries were the largest donors of ODA, but at the same time had policies to protect and subsidize their own national industries. In many cases, the benefits of ODA were probably swamped by the effects of trade-distorting subsidies and other barriers to trade.
OECD played an important role in reinforcing political will by monitoring country progress towards sustainable development, which helped countries identify the effectiveness of their policies and facilitated peer review and peer pressure, he said. OECD's unique system of country surveys helped to foster good governance by ensuring accountability in government policies using peer review, and by sharing best practices. Having agreed on a list of sustainable development indicators, each economic and development review of OECD countries would include a new section assessing the country's performance. That was a new departure for OECD and an important one to ensure transparency and accountability in moving towards sustainable development.
ONEL ARIAS, Foundation to Promote Indigenous Knowledge, said before any real steps towards achieving sustainable development were taken, it would first be necessary to consider what it meant and how it would be gauged. For their part, indigenous people were certain that it was a mistake to define it within Western parameters, in which wealth and consumer goods were valued over human beings. That view was also rooted in economic power overlooking all else, and considering "poor" or impoverished everyone and everything outside those narrow parameters.
Indigenous people would not accept being characterized as poor, he said. Rather, they were rich in cultural diversity, land and traditions. The global crises of poverty and the distribution of basic resources lay in colonial models that had been so destructive that the planet was now in crisis. Indigenous populations found this troubling, not least because they depended on land for subsistence, food sources and the maintenance of food security. It was imperative for world governments to put into practice economic and social models which promoted sustainable production, use and development, particularly regarding forests.
He said governments must turn away from the promotion of seed patents, mono-agriculture and genetically engineered crops. They should work toward a view of collective health and development. They should also strengthen the capacity of wider society, so that initiatives that focused on sustainable production and agricultural practices were more readily accepted. Indigenous communities would continue to seek partnerships and associations with governments and transnational bodies to maintain access to traditional lands, based on principles of good faith and equity.
KUNIO WAKI, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said poverty reduction and protection of natural resource could not be achieved without addressing population issues. It had taken thousands of years for the human species to reach the 1 billion mark in 1830, but just 170 years to reach 6 billion. Global population was expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. Global population, however, was not growing as fast as it did before, thanks to the world's women and governments that gave them support and choices. Since UNFPA was established in 1969, overall fertility rates had dropped by half in the developing world, a truly historical achievement.
He said all over the developing world, women were the managers of natural resource. Greater progress towards sustainable development, therefore, depended on greater progress for women. They needed access to education, credit, income opportunities and land ownership. Developing countries with lower fertility and slower population growth had seen higher productivity, more savings and more productive investment. They had integrated population and gender concerns into development policies and programmes.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo had agreed that universal access to education and health care, including family planning, safe motherhood and HIV prevention, was critical. Those population goals were key to meeting the Millennium Development Goals of cutting global poverty and hunger in half by 2015, reducing maternal and child mortality, curbing HIV/AIDS, advancing gender equality, and promoting environmentally sustainable development. Despite agreement, international funding for the goals set in Cairo had not even reached the halfway mark, and only five countries had met their fair share of the target funding. Some of the resources freed from debt relief should be channeled to education and health care, especially family planning, safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS education and prevention.
LOT MOLLEL, Regional Director, Eastern and Southern African Office, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said that since the Earth Summit, air transport had continued to grow. World traffic had increased 66 per cent in the period between 1992 and 2000. While a decline had been witnessed in 2001, growth was expected to stabilize in 2002 and then return to traditional growth patterns.
The ICAO, he said, was conscious of its responsibility to achieve maximum compatibility between the development of civil aviation and environmental protection. Among the issues in that regard was aircraft noise, which was a problem for many. Developments in that area included a new noise standard adopted in 2001 and the endorsement by the ICAO Assembly of the concept of a balanced approach to aircraft noise management.
Work in the area of aircraft emission management, another area of concern, had benefited from the inputs of the International Panel on Climate Change, he noted. The primary focus in that connection was the further development of technology and standards on reducing fuel emissions. States' views differed on the extent to which they would apply environmental standards in the field of civil aviation. The ICAO had succeeded in the past on delivering solutions that were acceptable on a worldwide basis. Following the attacks of 11 September, the international civil aviation community had taken major measures to ensure that such acts never happened again.
FRANCISCO REIFSCHNEIDER, Director, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, said despite intensive efforts and some successes, widespread poverty, chronic hunger, unfair markets and pervasive environmental degradation had persisted and make the goal of global sustainable development an elusive one. Indeed, at the dawn of a new century, the human family was facing daunting development challenges, including the rapid loss of biodiversity, pervasive malnutrition and increased food demand.
Sustainable agriculture held the key to meeting those social, economic and environmental challenges. He said agriculture and the environment were closely linked, so growth in the agricultural sector reduced poverty and, among other things, protected the planet's ecosystems. Agricultural science and research must be mobilized to meet the world's development challenges. He said that his organization recognized that at its core sustainable development was about ensuring the well-being of people and the ecosystems on which they depended for life.
He said that science and technology had been important elements in mounting a response to development challenges. Strategic alliances between national agricultural research and development programmes, farmers, civil society and advanced research institutions had produced major successes with positive local impacts that were consistent with the goals of Agenda 21. Highlighting some specific examples, he noted that in partnership with others, Afghanistan had launched its largest ever seed supply effort, with the hope of restoring the country's agricultural sector after so many years of war and strife. Such growth would not only be essential for sustainable development, but lasting peace as well.
MARC SAPIR, Executive Director, European Trade Unions Confederation, said his organization was a key actor in the construction of a social Europe, ensuring access to water, education, democracy and equity for all. It mobilized workers for attainment of those objectives and negotiated with the organization of European employers. Following Rio, the Confederation had taken active measures to affect world policies.
He said the Confederation recognized that environmental questions were connected to actions on social rights, equity and democracy. The growing inequalities between North and South were unsustainable. He, therefore, called for reforms at all levels and a global plan to defeat poverty and ensuring human rights. That would require the recognition that fundamental social rights, among others, were fundamental factors in poverty eradication. He called on the European Union and associated States, and the industrialized world as a whole, to take the lead. He also called for a rapid increase of ODA to attain the 0.7 per cent of GDP target and for debt-reduction policies for heavily indebted poor countries.
All that would require compliance with social labor rights and international standards, he said. It also required changes in existing policies and adoption of new ones. Each country must have the right to develop its own agricultural models. Subsidies in that sector must, therefore, be stopped, as it constituted a threat to world food production. The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol required tax reform and reduction in demand, increase of the use of renewable energy and access to energy for all. The production of chemicals created dangers to workers and society, and that problem needed to be addressed. All those changes required investment, research and new jobs, as well as the recognition of the key role of workers, he said.
SOREN CHRISTENSEN, Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, said that one of the main challenges for the Nordic countries was to connect the three pillars of economic, environmental and social sustainability and make them interoperative. In 1998, the Nordic nations had adopted a political declaration on sustainable development, which agreed that regional challenges should be met on a regional basis. The Nordic strategy "Sustainable Development -- New Bearings for the Nordic Countries" was adopted in 2001.
The strategy focuses on efforts to integrate environmental considerations and sustainable development into six important sectors -- energy, transport, agriculture, business and industry, fisheries, and forestry, he said. Five essential cross-sectoral issues had also been included -- climate change, biological diversity, the sea, chemicals and food safety. The main responsibility for following up on the strategy's objectives lay with Nordic governments, but local authorities, business and industry and non-governmental organizations would also participate in the strategy.
As an example of one of the strategy's long-term sustainable goals, he outlined what had been decided for Nordic marine areas. The goal stipulates that discharges of hazardous substances, such as heavy metals and substances that were slowly degradable, must come to an end before 2020, and that discharges of nutritional salts to areas with eutrophication problems must be reduced by 50 per cent. In addition, concentrations of naturally occurring hazardous substances in the marine environment should approach their original background concentrations by 2020.
ACHIM STEINER, Director-General, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, said that the natural resources on which economic activity was based were threatened as never before. Environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity had not been halted, and had in fact increased. There was no creative accounting with poverty and environment. "We cannot juggle our figures and cook the books, and somehow present our costs as profits." Poverty eradication was based on the equitable sharing of the benefits of a healthy natural resource base.
At the current stage of negotiations, he said, the environment was getting short-changed, especially in relation to trade. Trade liberalization was a means to an end, not an end in itself. The goal was sustainable development, and each of the international regimes and institutions should be judged on its contribution to poverty eradication and maintaining a viable natural resource base. The Summit must build the bridges between trade and environment, between investment and development, and between finance and sustainable development.
The responsibility of the Summit, he added, was to express the will of the world for justice and equity, for a world that did not squander its riches for the short-term benefit of a few, for a world that protected its natural resources for current and future generations. For many species, ecosystems and communities, it might be too late.
MIGUEL SOTO-LACOURT, Acting Secretary-General, Estado Libre de Puerto Rico, said the delicate balance between growth and protection of national resources depended on the knowledge of the effects of unsustainable production, use and consumption practices. Only by understanding that balance could present and future generation create a sustainable society rich in development opportunities for all.
He said Puerto Rico had initiated a wide array of plans and programmes based on conservation and the sound use of natural resources. Those initiatives had resulted in the adoption of specific policies on land use, among others. The next step was to rally the people of the country behind a sustainable development model that would promote the government's goal of ensuring broader development and economic growth, within the framework of environmental protection and ecological resource conservation. He added that Puerto Rico must also take its place in the global picture by taking its place among the recognized small island developing States, which would be equally vital for its future.
He said that, while the country struggled towards progress on many developmental fronts, it could not ignore certain realities, particularly geographic location, vulnerability to natural disasters, and a highly dependent national economy. Particular concern must be expressed for the dire situation on the island of Vieques, which because of its use as a military training base by the United States, had quickly devolved from a place of beauty and tranquility into the site of a major ecological disaster. Although the true scale of the pollution and degradation of Vieques might never be known, dealing with what the island had become would remain a challenge for decades to come. When military activities there halted next May, Puerto Rico would be faced with a monumental ecological challenge.
INESE VAIDERE, Chair, Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, said her organization comprised nine countries bordering the Baltic Sea. The organization was convinced that sustainable development was the key issue in environmental policy and was prepared to contribute to change in unsustainable behaviour. Equipped with 25 years experience, it had become an important player in the region and in the protection of the environment of the Baltic Sea. It was dedicated to prevention and elimination of pollution and to ecological restoration of the area.
Among its priorities were: the strengthening of cooperation with the European Union and other organizations; reinforcement of the protection of coastal areas, including fisheries; environmental dangers because of increasing maritime traffic; and elimination of environmental hotspots. Success in those areas could only be achieved by strictly using an integrated approach. The Commission was a living example for real intergovernmental cooperation with real results. It was eager to receive new inputs from the World Summit and to contribute to it as well.
YEFIM MALITIKOV, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said that many of the declarations made so far were on paper. The Rio commitments were far from being implemented. Meetings such as the current one had a short-term effect only. The international community operated in an ineffective way, using simple, outdated tools. If technological progress had actually been achieved, the world would have already had an electronic government. The world suffered from persistent analog thinking in a digital age. Knowledge was constantly changing and the world was constantly lagging behind knowledge as it developed. That sluggishness cost the world dearly.
He stressed the role of education in that connection as vital and underestimated. The information age was moving so quickly that life-long education was required. The principle of life-long education must be implemented in all government policies. There was also a deficit of teachers. In addition, the education budget in most countries amounted to about 6 per cent of the total national budget. No State could afford to continue in that manner. To date, new remote technologies, including satellite technology, had not been a State priority. That situation must be changed. The CIS had managed to create the Modern University for the Humanities, a satellite university whose services were used by more than 2,000 non-governmental organizations today. Such education, a demonstration of Type 2 partnerships, should be a priority for the Summit.
ULISES MUNAYLLA-ALARCON, representative of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific, said countries of the region could be proud of their long history of cooperation on activities to preserve their resources, study costal zones and to produce social and economic benefits from the sustainable use of those resources. In August 2000, regional governments had signed the Galapagos Accord to protect local ecosystems, which had since become a significant part of the maritime regime in the region. He went on to highlight other regional initiatives that had been undertaken to protect the region's living resources, costal ecosystems and environment.
He said that leading up to the Summit, a declaration had emerged out of regional preparatory meetings. That declaration emphasized the importance of the South East Pacific as one of the most productive marine and costal zones in the world. It also stressed the need to enhance the capabilities of the countries in the region to build sustainable development efforts in line with the Millennium Declaration. Regional leaders also expressed concern about unsustainable practices in coastal marine zones. The declaration also expressed concern at the inadequate provision of funding to promote implementation activities in line with Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration. The Commission viewed the protection of oceans, seas and costal regions as an essential component for supporting life and the sustainable development of the people living there.
CARLYLE CORBIN, Minister of State for External Affairs of the United States Virgin Islands, said sea-level rise and ocean heat content continued to threaten small island shorelines and, in a number of cases, to endanger the very existence of countries. The impact on fresh water quality and availability as a result of climate change was of major concern. Thus, he applauded this month's adoption by the Pacific Islands Forum of the comprehensive Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy calling for "urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions and for further commitments in the future by all emitters". Caribbean heads of government shared the Forum's grave concern over the shipment of radioactive material through their oceans and seas, and the potentially catastrophic impact of that practice in the event of an accident.
In 2001, he said, the territorial legislature had convened an economic development summit, from which a draft sustainable development document had been prepared. The Government had moved forward, in conjunction with the local university and key non-governmental organizations, with the development of a Virgin Islands marine park encompassing some 60 square miles. The private sector had contributed to the overall effort with the completion of s training manual to guide developers in the construction of sustainable tourism facilities.
He expressed concern, however, that the marine park initiative might be compromised by recent action to remove from the Territory's jurisdiction more than 3,000 acres of marine resources. In that connection, the United States Virgin Islands welcomed the recommendations on the Special Committee on decolonization in June reminding the international community of consensus General Assembly resolutions in support of "the inalienable right of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories to own, develop, or dispose of their natural resources, including marine resources, and to establish and maintain control over their future development".
SASHIKO KUWABARA-YAMAMOTO, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, said that 10 years since Rio, the generation of wastes and emissions of pollutants or contaminants to soil, air and water continued to present major threats to people and the environment. The problem was particularly acute in the urban areas.
Sustainable development could not be achieved without effective measures to alleviate the problem of wastes, she said. The safeguarding of clean water, air and soil to protect human health and the ecosystems could not be realized without the environmentally sound management of wastes and their reduction at the sources. A strong economy could not be realized without bringing the high cost of waste management to a reasonable level.
She called for global action for the creation of the strategic partnership that could help a quantum jump in reducing hazardous and other wastes in all countries, developed or developing. Within the framework of the Summit's implementation plan, governments would renew their commitment to sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle and of hazardous wastes for sustainable development and for the protection of human health and the environment. In that regard, cooperation between the Basel Convention and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and other chemical conventions should be further strengthened.
VICTOR SILVA, Mines Ministries of the Americas Conference, said that the organization was a ministerial level, mining policy forum representing 23 governments in the Americas and the Caribbean, which was focused on the sustainable development of minerals and metals. The Mines Ministries of the Americas recognized the important contribution of mining to economic development and acknowledged the role that sustainable development of minerals and metals could have in alleviating poverty and improving the well-being of its member communities, while minimizing the environmental impacts of mining development.
He said the group was also committed to promoting the implementation of policies, supported by scientific knowledge and which would foster the development, promotion, sound management and safe use of minerals and metals. At the third Summit of the Americas, leaders and heads of State committed themselves to the sustainable development of minerals and metals in their hemisphere and to the promotion of their environmentally sound exploitation and management. They also recognized the importance of the social and economic dimensions of mining-sector activities. Also, member governments were implementing policies under a sustainable development framework, which addressed issues such as mine closure, small-scale mining, market access, safe use of minerals and metals, occupational health and safety, and the role and participation of civil society and communities, he said.
WALTER ERDELEN, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that over the past decade, and well before that, UNESCO had sought to implement an integrated vision for sustainable development. The quest for sustainable development transcended personal, sectoral and national concerns and required a global and holistic approach.
Drawing on its multi-sectoral mandate, UNESCO had established five priority themes for sustainable development, including education for a sustainable future, promoting and applying science for the future, and promoting cultural diversity. All five themes had been set within the organization's firm commitment to the fight against poverty. Sustainable development required new ways of thinking and acting. Education policies worldwide needed to be focused on sustainable development. Much of current education fell far short of what was required.
UNESCO, he continued, was ready to assist States to reorient their education policies towards sustainable development. In that connection, it supported proposals for an international decade for education on sustainable development. In addition to the political text at the Summit, partnerships were most significant to providing practical demonstrations of the inter-linkages at work in the area of sustainable development.
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