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Towards Earth Summit II: Recommendations for Actions and Commitments at Earth Summit II


Towards Earth Summit II
Manhattan Island, New York City
23-27 June 1997

special session of the general assembly
nineteenth session
manhattan island, new york city
23 - 27 june 1997

23 june 1997

original: english

Recommendations for Actions and Commitments
at Earth Summit II
Non-Governmental Organization Background Paper

Table of Contents

This document is the final revision of a series of drafts developed by the CSD/NGO Steering Committee. The document does not claim to speak for all non-governmental organizations, it does, however, reflect a commitment by the CSD/NGO Steering Committee to set up an open and transparent process of consultation among NGOs - and to use a variety of mechanisms for consultation - including online distribution and distribution by fax and conventional mail of successive drafts of this document.

A Preface to
NGO Recommendations for Actions and Commitments

We are a group of local, national, regional and global NGOs who have monitored and supported the CSD since the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, and who are active in advancing the goals of Agenda 21 and other Rio agreements.

The vision that drew us to Rio continues to guide our efforts and energize our actions: the earth in all its integral and interdependent life-support systems must be sustained, and its regenerative powers guaranteed for the present and all future generations. The true basic needs and life activities of human communities must be fulfilled, in relation to the carrying capacity of local and global ecosystems.

Despite the progress that has been made since the first Earth Summit, sustainable development - that overarching framework encompassing ecological protection, social development and economic equity - has not been achieved. Nor is any systematic means of monitoring progress in place. Accountability, renewed efforts and increased funding are urgently needed.

Action, not words should be the rallying cry at the Special Session of the General Assembly / Earth Summit II.

Protect Ecosystems
Promote Sustainable Communities and Societies
Provide Full Support for Sustainability
Strengthen Participatory Institutions and Decision-Making

Recommendations for Actions and Commitments
at Earth Summit II
Non-Governmental Organization Background Paper


Three years before the end of the millennium, representatives of civil society have come together to assess our current situation, to review progress made since the Earth Summit agreements, and to put forward our recommendations to the governments of the world on what actions must be taken if we are to overcome a long legacy of environmental degradation, poverty, and inequalities and to provide a new legacy for ourselves and future generations.

Many of us believe Humanity is awakening to the fact that we are a global community, inextricably linked in the Web of Life, and that we will survive or perish together. This document is a testament to that awakening, a collective effort to open our eyes to the pain and the potential, to rise from mere rhetoric to reality, and to take the steps necessary to create a just and sustainable world for all members of the planet. Such steps include the process of learning to work together, to understand and draw upon the creative power of our diversity, to sensitize ourselves to the disparities and the despair around us, and to build common understanding and partnerships.

The increasing globalization of pollution and wastes, products and services, information, people, and money forces us to understand the interconnections among issues from poverty eradication to environmental protection to changing production and consumption patterns. Because these issues are not simply isolated national issues but global systemic issues they require systemic solutions and strategies.

Too often, as in the draft report from the co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group, it is assumed that such international problems can be solved through "trade liberalization ... accompanied by environmental and resource management policies." This thinking often leads to strategies focusing on ecoefficiency, voluntary corporate codes, economic growth and free trade, and more rhetoric than concrete action in making sustainability, poverty eradication, and the internalization of costs and elimination of destructive subsidies national priorities. Clearly, many governments are more accountable to the private sector than to civil society. This situation must be reversed if the goal and principles of sustainable development are to be at the center of government policy. The evidence of the past five years has demonstrated a lack of political will by nations in implementing the principles of sustainable development above the obsession with promoting free trade and corporate rights.

We want to preserve this magnificent, fragile ecosystem for future generations. We want to ensure that everyone on this planet enjoy the right to food and housing, to clean water and education, to sustainable livelihoods within sustainable communities. None of us want to see our children or children in other countries drown in poisonous wastes. None of us want to be responsible for creating the toxic Earth of our nightmares.

No one individual or group has all the answers to the enormity of questions facing us today. However, we each have a part to play in the solutions. In the long run, we face the same reality: that we are children of the same Mother planet and common stewards of this Earth. We each have a responsibility to change the rules of the game, a game with far too many losers.

In the following pages, we present a range of recommendations from the NGO community. As representatives of the governments of the world, you have the power to champion and implement these strategies. We urge you to give the following document your full consideration for presentation to the Special Session of the General Assembly/ Earth Summit II. Let us carry forward the vision together.

1 Access to Earth Summit II and the General Assembly

We call for: Ensuring that the arrangements for the UN General Assembly Special Session are based on the newly revised Arrangements for Consultation with Non-Governmental Organizations - Part VII of Resolution 1996/31 - and that these arrangements should apply to strengthening NGO access to and participation in the General Assembly and its committees.

Implementation: As part of the CSD process, Members States, in close collaboration with the General Assembly President, needs to undertake to expeditiously achieve agreement on the adoption of NGO arrangements for the Special Session based on the above-referenced Resolution 1996/31, Part VII.

Rationale: The CSD's Member States agreed at their 1996 session, inter alia, that the General Assembly should ensure "appropriate arrangements for the most effective contribution to and active involvement of major groups, including non-governmental organizations, in the special session of the Assembly in 1997" (E/CN.17/1996/38).

The 51st Session of the General Assembly adopted Resolution 51/181, which provides, inter alia, that the General Assembly "Recognizes the important contributions made by major groups, including non-governmental organizations, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and in the implementation of its recommendations, and the need for their effective participation in preparations for the special session, as well as the need to ensure appropriate arrangements, taking into account the practice and experience gained at the Conference, for the substantive contributions to and active involvement in the preparatory meetings and the special session, and in that context invites the President of the General Assembly, in consultation with Member States, to propose to Member States appropriate modalities for the effective involvement of major groups in the special session..." (A/RES/51/181).

As agreed by governments, it is imperative that NGOs be able to participate in the manner called for in the UNGA resolution. NGOs have a great deal to contribute to the discussions, not as negotiators, but as consultants on the substantive issues involved. Therefore, the arrangements for NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC, as agreed to in Part VII of Resolution 1996/31, should form the basis for arrangements in the Special Session.

Beyond the Special Session, those 1996/31 arrangements should also apply to the General Assembly and its Main Committees. Moreover, we are keenly interested in ensuring effective NGO arrangements throughout the UN system. But the only issue facing Member States in this CSD preparatory process, consistent with the GA resolution, is that of ensuring effective NGO participation in the Special Session. That is the task that we ask to be accomplished as expeditiously as possible.

2 Sectoral Issues

2.1 Climate Change

We call for: The endorsement of a legally binding commitment to reduction of CO2 emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by the year 2005, and substantial reductions in other greenhouse gases, to be agreed at Kyoto, Japan in December 1997.

Implementation: The Special Session makes a declaration on CO2 emissions to go to the Conference of Parties meeting in Kyoto.

Rationale: In spite of some limited progress most industrial countries will not meet that target. Earth Summit II will offer the opportunity for a key political message to be sent to the upcoming Kyoto meeting of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention in December 1997. (See also sections on Energy and Transport).

2.2 Forests

We call for: The continuation and enhancement of the intergovernmental policy dialogue on forests under the CSD. This dialogue would include a high-level component and should promote in a transparent, participatory manner an action-oriented approach to solving critical forest-related problems involving all types of forests.

Implementation: This process should work towards the implementation of the Forest Principles, forest-related sections of Agenda 21, such as Chapter 11, and Proposals for Action developed under the IPF. Progress on the implementation of this work program would be reported annually to the CSD. The intergovernmental policy dialogue would also consider other arrangements and mechanisms, including legal arrangements, covering all types of forests and report on these matters to the CSD, at a special "Post-Rio" 10-year review.

Rationale: The Intergovernmental Panel on Forests made significant progress and reached consensus on a large number of Proposals for Action. However the Panel did not reach a consensus on the need for any new legal instrument on forests. Thus, the primary rationale for the continuation of the policy dialogue is to focus on implementation and action with clearly defined targets and timetables. At the risk of repetitiveness, the focus must be on implementation and action, now. This work should start immediately and not be distracted by a costly and time consuming debate over the need for a forest convention. At the same time, all options for exploring the efficacy of existing instruments and institutions, in relation to sustainable forest management, should be thoroughly pursued.

2.3 Chemicals

We call for: the expeditious negotiation of a legally binding instrument on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) that will focus on 'reducing and eliminating' those dangerous chemicals, not just controlling them; come to an agreement on Prior Informed Consent and a global harmonized system for the classification and labeling; and develop a Framework Chemicals Convention without delaying the expeditious negotiation of a treaty on POPs.

Implementation: UNEP should be entrusted with overseeing the establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for POPs, as agreed at UNEP's Governing Council 19, and the expeditious negotiation of that new, global POPs instrument, the conclusion of a global PIC instrument, and the development of a framework approach or convention for integrating chemicals-related actions and activities.

Rationale: We have approximately 100,000 chemicals now in commercial use and their potential impacts on human health and ecological function represent largely unknown risks. We have a number of agreements on chemicals moving to completion, such as the control of the production and use of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)- with negotiations set to begin in early 1998 and to conclude by 2000; the Prior Informed Consent procedure for international trade in hazardous chemicals, including a harmonized systems for classification and labeling of chemicals - with that new global instrument scheduled to be adopted and opened for ratification in late 1997; and the future elaboration of a framework approach or arrangement for integrating chemicals-related initiatives. There are approximately 100,000 chemicals now in commercial use and their potential impacts on human health and ecological function represent largely unknown risks. Other chemicals, such as lead (Pb), are elements which often remain on the earth's surface where its toxic effects expose generation after generation.

2.4 Oceans

We call for: The setting up of a more effective forum or mechanism for ocean-related dialogue and action, e.g., an Intergovernmental Panel on Oceans (IPO) or a sub Commission of the CSD, meetings of States Parties to the Law of the Sea Convention, and/or other appropriate mechanisms. Such an entity should contribute to the preparation of a comprehensive scientific assessment of the state of the oceans and the necessary policy recommendations, taking into account the related activities of UNEP and GESAMP - the Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution. We also request the Special Session to instruct the FAO to analyze the efficiency of current fishing fleet decommissioning schemes associated with excess of fishing capacity, on the basis of the objectives of the UN Fish Stocks agreement, the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries and related emerging strategies, with a view towards reducing capacity to sustainable levels, especially in relation to large-scale, industrial class vessels. Immediate action is also necessary to address problems of wasteful fishing practices, fisheries and oil platforms, and unsustainable aquaculture.

Implementation: The ocean dialogue and action forum would have close ties with or be subsidiary to the CSD, reporting annually to the CSD up to the year 2002, at which time it would make full recommendations to the 10th Anniversary Review of Rio. Given that the Law of the Sea Treaty is now in force, and agreement also offers possibilities for forums within which ocean-related dialogue and action can be discussed, with recommended actions forwarded to the UNGA as well as the CSD. The UN Division on Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, the ACC Subcommittee on Coastal and Ocean Areas (SOCA) and/or a subgroup of the CSD should be considered for purposes of serving as the Secretariat.

Rationale: There is no question that the present international machinery regarding Oceans lacks coherence. After all, the oceans are a vital food source, a global carbon sink and home to some of the most beautiful and diverse species on the planet. We know that 70% of the world's marine fisheries are being fished at their maximum level of productivity, are over-fished or are threatened, endangered or commercially extinct.

2.5 Freshwater

We call for: a negotiated international agreement or arrangement on freshwater by 2002. In the meantime, all nations must work to make freshwater quality, conservation and supply a priority of local, national and international policy, implementing the watershed approach.

Implementation: Agree to discuss freshwater in the CSD session of 1998 and give UNEP the mandate and funding to provide the international community with examples of best practice, drawing on relevant expertise such as UNEP's regional seas program.

Rationale: Today 20% of the world's population lacks access to safe water and 50% to safe sanitation with over 5 million people dying each year from the results of waterborne diseases. The Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater Resources of the World produced for the June meeting by the Stockholm Institute on Environment has raised freshwater to the top of the international political agenda. The report predicts that if current trends in water use continue around 2/3 of the world's population will suffer water shortages in the next 25 years. In developed and developing countries the current systems for water use are frequently not sustainable. Therefore, nations need to protect water resources. The watershed approach includes: development of methodology, establishment of policy, creation of basin teams, improving local capacity to protect water resources, and sharing responsibility for sustainable watershed and airshed protection and management through outreach, research, assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation.

We also call for: Recognition that it is essential to manage the water cycle as a whole. Development of resources, abstraction for use and treatment of waste water must be an integrated process.

Rationale: Water management areas must match supply with demand. River basins, or combinations of river basins, provide ideal boundaries. It is not sufficient just to recognize the importance freshwater for water supply purposes, it is equally important to understand the consequences of used water being put back into rivers. The challenge for the future is to accommodate all stakeholder interests. Water management processes need to take holistic approach probably across national boundaries.

We also call for: Governments to immediately enact laws to stop industrial use of water where it puts communities at risk. Through legislation governments should also force industry to use alternatives to freshwater in their production methods.

2.6 Energy

We call for: Sustainable energy policies that reflect the true costs of fossil fuels, including eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2005; substantially increased programs for energy conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency; and a phasing out of nuclear power. Governments to pledge not to develop untapped reserves of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas, nor pursue new exploration of these fuels.

Implementation: Governments to adopt legislation to remove subsidies for, and increase taxes on, unsustainable forms of energy - such as fossil fuels, nuclear power, and large-scale hydropower - and increase funding for energy conservation, including passive solar design, energy efficiency; and renewable energy programmes - especially to encourage solar, wind, fuel cells, and small-scale hydropower.

Rationale: Current energy practices in industrialized countries, which rely heavily on fossil fuels, are wasteful and environmentally harmful. Fossil fuel combustion contributes to global warming, acid rain and air pollution which threatens human health, property and the environment. Nuclear energy is also threatening to human health and the lack of waste disposal methods. Clean renewable power sources are readily available. Since Rio there has been little movement toward fundamental changes in energy production and consumption and no significant new investments in promoting renewable energy systems. Fossil fuel prices do not take into account various other internal costs such as direct and indirect economic subsidies and incentives for the exploration, generation, transmission and distribution of fossil fuel-based energy, plus external costs such as health and environmental costs. When these are calculated, the true costs of fossil fuel are many times that of current costs of renewable energy.

2.7 Transport

We call for: Transport to be adopted as a priority area in the five year work programme for the CSD; increase allocation of road space for public transport and non-motorized transport modes; measures which implement the polluter pays principle for transport; support for car-free areas in cities; promotion of land use planning which reduces the need to travel by car; support local and regional food systems wherever practical to reduce the need for long-distance transport of foodstuffs.

Implementation: International Development Agencies and governments should: actively promote public transport and non-motorized travel as the most sustainable forms of travel and prioritize their access to the street network; amend financial instruments to benefit people who choose to travel by more energy and cost efficient modes and at the same time remove subsidies to automobile travel by charging the full social cost of transport externalities; review existing land use planning policies to ensure that new development and infrastructure projects reduce car dependency and provide safe access by a choice of modes of transport; identify both direct and indirect impacts in undertaking their assessment and economic appraisals of infrastructure projects, ensuring consistent evaluation criteria between all modes.

Rationale: The sustainability of the Earth is increasingly threatened by the increasing use of private motor vehicles. Currently transport accounts for 58% of global oil consumed, and 25% of primary energy use, of which road traffic accounts for some 72%. CO2 emissions from the transport sector constitute the fastest growing and most threatening contributors to global warming as these emissions are projected to rise between 40% and 100% by the year 2025 unless action is taken to prevent this. Agenda 21 already endorses investment in pedestrian facilities, bicycle infrastructure and mass transit as effective pollution control measures. It further encourages the implementation of land use planning which reduce car dependency and overall travel. Habitat II reinforces these measures and specifically called for the polluter pays principle to be applied to the transport sector thus making the real costs of motorized transport more transparent. Translating these commitments into strategies for action should be a priority for the CSD. Reducing transport demand and car dependency also meets a range of cross-sectoral objectives such as these relating to human health and safety, urban and rural sustainable settlements and the conservation of natural resources and habitats.

2.8 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

We call for: Implementation of the provisions of Chapter 14 of Agenda 21 that call for sustainable and ecological food, production and distribution systems to protect the environment, contribute to the well-being of human and non-human inhabitants of the earth, and ensure the human right to food, including access to land, for all women, men, youth and children.

Implementation: Commit to capacity-building opportunities and structures to support farmers, women and men, especially small- scale producers and peasants, to enable them to employ agricultural methods that are ecologically sound, socially acceptable, and sustainable.

Rationale: Long-term food and nutritional security depends upon the ability of primary food producers to achieve sustainable food systems both now and in the future. Locally controlled ecologically-based production and distribution systems are better suited to protect the natural biodiversity, health and well-being of their communities. The industrial model of agricultural production is contributing, dramatically, to ecological disruption and the destruction of rural communities . Increasingly the globalized food system is the root cause of the social and environmental crisis in agriculture. This kind of energy-intensive and chemical-dependent agriculture degrades the fertility of soils, intensifies the effects of droughts, pollutes water, causes salinization and compaction, destroys genetic resources, wastes fossil fuel energy, contaminates the food supply, and contributes to climate change. (Refer to NGO Working Group on Sustainable Agriculture paper). As part of these efforts, the FAO/others needs to promote and ensure that agreement is achieved in relation to implementation of the Pollutant Transfer Registers, and the reduction of pesticide use by at least 50%.

2.9 Land

We call for: priority to be given to land use for food production for domestic consumption rather for export crops; conservation of ecosystems that sustain life; urgent land reform in developing countries to provide land to the landless; the recognition of indigenous peoples rights to land; and a participatory approach to land use and land management.

Implementation: A moratorium on a further conversion of agricultural land or land containing ecosystems significant to provide for the sustenance for food for people. Within the context of Agenda 21, Chapter 4, the CSD should initiate an action oriented and monitored process on the management of land and land based resources. International development agencies and national governments should encourage studies on the impact of trade and investment liberalization on land use and land ownership patterns.

Rationale: Agenda 21, Chapter 10, draws attention to the pressure on land as a "finite resource". Expanding human activities, including urbanisation, agriculture, transport, mining activities, recreation, military occupation, as well as desertification, are intensifying these pressures on land, food security and biodiversity. Land use practices are essentially driven by market forces rather than by the needs of populations. These need to be regulated. Finally the process of globalisation has added the danger of shifts in land ownership, especially in development countries, on top of the risks of conversion of land use for the benefit of the overconsuming 20% of the world's population.

2.10 Desertification

We call for: The promotion of continued implementation and global ratification -- particularly by developed/OECD countries -- of the Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa. The promotion of NGO participation in these mechanisms, as well as in the operation of the "Global Mechanism" now being negotiated under the Convention.

Implementation: The Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) emerged as a mandate from UNCED 1992. Several chapters of Agenda 21 are devoted to the problems affecting drylands and related desertification issues. It should be a high priority issue under discussion at the Rio+5 Special Session of the General Assembly. The CSD has devoted much attention to the process surrounding the ratification and implementation of the Convention. Most recently, the Report of the Ad Hoc Open- ended Inter-Sessional Working Group of the Commission on Sustainable Development identified desertification and drought as an issue for urgent action. The Commission should promote the implementation of the Convention and the facilitation of NGO participation in this process. It is essential that the Commission monitors the progress of the Convention in its first critical years of implementation. Specific ODA resources should be earmarked for the Convention's "Global Mechanism".

Rationale: Desertification is the degradation, through human and natural factors, of the world's arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid lands to the point where they can no longer sustain crops or other vegetation. Each year, desertification claims nearly 10 million acres of the world's arable drylands, in countries as diverse as Burkina Faso, India, and the United States. Every year, 24 billion tons of top soil is lost due to erosion, which costs the world $ 42 billion. An estimated amount of $ 10-22 billion per year is required to combat desertification for the next 20 years. Desertification has a devastating effect on human populations and the physical environment. It threatens the livelihood of over one billion people, including 35 million who are forced to abandon their homelands as farming becomes unsustainable and regional conflicts spread. International migration results from environmental degradation and unsustainable development practices. The process of desertification dramatically alters plant and animal habitat, contributes to vegetation loss and soil erosion, and degrades fresh water supplies. Some 35 million "Environmental refugees" fleeing the effects of desertification will likely become a major problem of the next century.

2.11 Biodiversity

We call for: All governments should ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by the end of 1997; and take immediate action to prevent further destruction of biodiversity and habitats, while providing for human needs in a sustainable fashion.

Implementation: The Special Session urge all countries to ratify the CBD; and to expand protected area networks, ensure adequate funding for their management, and integrate them into local economic development, enact legislation regulating access to and use of natural resources, build capacity to manage biological resources on a bioregional or ecosystem basis.

Rationale: It has been estimated that 40% of the world's species could be extinct within 25 years. Loss of biodiversity on this scale could have dramatic consequences. Hundreds of millions of people in developing countries depend directly on biological resources for their livelihoods. Loss and degradation of forests and wetlands exacerbates poverty. Genetic diversity provides diversity of agricultural and food products and increased ability to resist disease. Genetic diversity provides medical cures. Loss of our genetic resources prejudice the world's ability to feed itself. Genetic diversity plays a vital part in maintaining the health of global ecosystems: forests help to regulate climate, wetlands buffer pollution and serve as breeding grounds for commercially important fish species. It is also morally imperative to prevent extinction of other living species through human action.

2.12 Biotechnology

We call for: The CSD to strongly support the immediate adoption and implementation of an ecologically sound Biosafety protocol within the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Rationale: The dangers to health and environment posed by the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms are increasing daily.

3 Cross-Sectoral Issues

3.1 Access to Resources

3.1.1 Aid, Private Investment, Subsidies and New Financial Mechanisms

We call for: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) to be increased; donors to meet the 0.7% of GNP target for aid by 2002,; and for all aid to be better targeted to the objectives of the Rio agreements and post-Rio conferences; linkage of ODA and FDI to ensure that environmental and social legislation and institutions are strengthened to ensure that FDI is consistent with sustainable development; ensure that international investment regimes do not undermine countries' ability to regulate investment on environmental and social grounds or encourage relaxation of standards to attract investment; encourage corporate environmental management systems that internalise Rio agreements into business operations; negotiations to start on an international aviation fuel charge, the revenue from which should be channelled into mechanisms such as the GEF and UNDP's Capacity 21; reform of taxation to encourage ecologically and socially responsible behaviour; elimination of environmentally damaging subsidies in a socially equitable manner; a stronger focus on ecologically and socially responsible budget disbursements; stricter scrutiny to prevent abuse of all funds and corrupt practices at both national and international levels; establishment of a stronger global regulatory framework for international capital flows, in particular on speculative financial transactions, which can severely disrupt national economies and societies. States should act on the commitment made at the UN Conference on Women and Habitat II to ensure that corporations, including transnationals, comply with national codes, social security, and international law, including international environmental law. International agreements should be promoted that address effectively issues of double taxation, as well as cross-border tax evasion, while improving the efficiency and fairness of tax collection.

We also call for: The establishment of an Intergovernmental and NGO Panel on Financing (or a Sub-Commission of the CSD) to: identify those costs of the transition to sustainable development that are best financed by external assistance and how best to concentrate scarce development assistance funds; analyze and formulate proposals on options for new financial mechanisms for sustainable development; review the implications for sustainable development of private international investment, privatization, structural adjustment and debt; debate and make recommendations on means of delivering finance, such as micro credit and national environmental funds; The establishment of formal links between the CSD and key International financial bodies, including the multilateral development banks, the IMF, the OECD, the G7, the World Economic Forum and the banking community.

Implementation: The Special Session should express strong support for an increased GEF. The response of aid to the Rio conventions and post-Rio conferences should be improved by all donors. The introduction of an aviation fuel charge should be examined in the context of the expiry at the end of 1997 of the EU exemption of aviation fuel from excise duties. The Intergovernmental Panel on Finance would be a subsidiary body of the CSD.

Rationale: Developed countries have failed to meet their commitment under Agenda 21 to provide substantial new and additional resources. External funds are still urgently needed on a large scale. While official development assistance has declined, environmentally damaging subsidies are estimated at $500 billion per year worldwide. Eliminating these subsidies and redirecting part of the savings into supporting sustainable development in developing countries would be a 'win-win' option. Conversely, positive incentives should be provided for environmentally and socially desirable activities. Greater efforts are needed to ensure transparency and to eliminate corruption in the use of all funds, whether external or domestic.

Eighty percent of international private investment flows to a handful of developing countries, most of them not among the least developed. Scrutiny of the implications of this investment for sustainable development is urgently needed: these implications are frequently negative, or at best unknown. The Intergovernmental Panel on Finance would involve a diverse range of experts in its work, including representatives of finance ministries, the banking community, NGOs and the private sector. The Panel should build on previous work, such as that by the Expert Group on Financial Issues of Agenda 21, and develop formal proposals for new approaches to financing sustainable development at both national and international levels. Formalized links between the CSD and key bodies in the international financial system are needed to make international financial governance more transparent, participatory and responsive to the objectives of Agenda 21.

3.1.2 Debt Cancellation

We call for: Major debt cancellation announcements at the Special Session, as it is a critical centrepiece of the Rio formula, and promotion of initiatives for buying debt and channeling it to effective social and economic capacity building. Explain to the public the relationship of debt cancellation to stemming environmental degradation and ending the cycle of poverty.

3.1.3 NGO Participation in Economic Development

We call for: The development of mechanisms and support that enables NGOs and community organisations to have the opportunity to participate in economic development work that is environmentally friendly including the establishment of micro and regular business access to capital, credit, capacity-building and infrastructure, as called for by the Microcredit Summit.

3.1.4 Small Island Developing States

We call for: The financing and implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Implementation: SIDS allows us a unique opportunity to implement new development models and technologies - not to be used as mere laboratories but rather as master templates or blueprints. Programs can be implemented, monitored, analyzed and refined in much shorter time with less variables. The results could be used to develop specific and appropriate models that will advance sustainable development in real terms. The opportunity to create millions of soldiers to fight on the side of sustainable development is no small victory. Act now and save the world.

3.2 Trade

We call for: Support for a clear understanding that environmental, food and human rights conventions and other multilateral environmental (MEAs) and human rights agreements, norms and standards that fall outside the direct mandate and purview of the World Trade Organization (WTO) shall not be bound by WTO-related requirements; Trade and Environment Ministers to meet together before the next meeting of the WTO; an Intergovernmental Panel on Trade (or a sub-Commission of the CSD) to be set up which would: Explore, and make recommendations on, potential cross-sectoral mechanisms to reconcile trade and sustainable economic, environmental, and social development objectives; Explore and make recommendations in regards to the implications of free trade vs. fair trade on the impact on food security, rural communities, farmers, and peasants in developing countries, developed countries, and countries in transition, and on the migration of people in vulnerable rural communities to urban ghettoes; As part of a transition to a long-term environmentally sustainable agriculture, we advocate the development of policy instruments to secure commodity prices which reflect the true environmental and social cost of their production, and recommend the withdrawal of escalating tariffs on primary commodities exported from developing countries; Develop policy instruments to ensure that world trade rules do not undermine, but reinforce, food security, especially in net food importing food deficit countries; Develop recommendations on meeting the needs of developing countries for technical and financial assistance in the design, utilization and response to, trade measures and technical regulations; Research, and make proposals on, the criteria under which trade measures may be taken, including development of the concept of 'green tariffication', whereby if tariffs are deployed to protect industries meeting higher environmental standards, the revenue generated could be repatriated to developing countries - possibly in the form of an environment fund administered by a multilateral body for investment in cleaner technologies.

We also call for: Governments to pledge to create an effective new process/mechanism/strategy to strengthen links between the World Bank, IMF, WTO and post-Rio accountability which includes examination of sovereignty and foreign investment issues; To commit to expand efforts to eliminate negative effects on developing countries by reconciling WTO rule-making and global trade practices with the post-Rio agenda to include all the UN Conference agendas; To explore negotiation of a Food Security Convention that would encourage sustainable agriculture as part of a broader international agenda to advance food security; To re-commit to implement the Habitat II agenda which calls for governments to create "regulatory and legal frameworks ... to promote socially and environmentally responsible corporate investment and reinvestment in and partnership with local communities"; To pledge to work for international codes of conduct for corporations and to govern weapons trade and export subsidies; To commit to ensure that the code aims to enforce compliance with ILO agreements and promote an international code of conduct to protect the human rights of workers in developing countries, countries in transition and developed countries, and prevent their gender-based and economic exploitation by transnational corporations.

Developing countries should be assured of continued access to the expertise of UNCTAD in trade and investment issues. UNCTAD's role for the past 20 years in supporting the least developed countries on trade negotiations issues should not be relegated to the World Trade Organization in such a short period of time.

Implementation: The Special Session should declare that measures taken to implement global and other multilateral environmental agreements cannot be challenged in the WTO, and it should agree to the setting up of a new subsidiary body of the CSD to address these issues.

Rationale: Since the first Earth Summit, we have had the completion of the Uruguay Round of GATT and the setting up of the World Trade Organization. Serious concerns have been raised by NGOs and governments that deregulated global trade is creating increasing inequality, environmental degradation and social dislocation.

3.2.1 Fair Trade Versus Free Trade

We call for: Explore and make recommendations in regards to the implications of free trade vs. fair trade on the impact on rural communities and farmers in developing and developed countries, and countries in transition, and on the migration of people in vulnerable rural communities to urban ghettoes;

Develop policy instruments to secure commodity prices which reflect the true environmental and social cost of their production, and recommend the withdrawal of escalating tariffs on primary commodities exported from developing countries; Develop recommendations on meeting the needs of developing countries for technical and financial assistance in the design, utilization and response to, trade measures and technical regulations;

3.2.2 Trade Embargoes

We call for: the creation of mechanisms to offset the effect of trade embargoes not sanctioned by the United Nations on the sustainable economic and environmental development of affected countries.

3.2.3 Tourism

We call for: The CSD to include tourism in its next 5 year programme of work; strengthen and adequately fund the sustainable tourism office within the UNEP industry office that would gather a set of best practices and create a database for all groups to access.

Implementation: The Special Session to include tourism within its next work programme and that UNEP should be entrusted with adequate new and additional funds sufficient for this task. Governments to establish sustainable tourism policies and regulations, ensuring: responsibly zoned development; conservation and protection of natural and cultural heritage and resource;

Rationale: Tourism is the largest industry in the world, surpassing auto, steel, petroleum and weaponry. By the year 2010, it is expected there will be 935 million international travelers annually. The tourism industry can positively or negatively impact the global environment, and it is the responsibility of the CSD and UNEP to influence the course of the tourism industry toward sustainability.

3.3 Poverty Eradication

We call for: A renewed commitment to the eradication of poverty, and to fostering the prosperity of all people, and for governments to complete their poverty eradication strategies by the year 2001 as called for at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, including the setting of time bound targets for the implementation of these commitments by national governments. Countries should publish their progress on poverty eradication annually as part of their update on the development of sustainability to the CSD. These should be integrated with their sustainable development strategies. Progress reports based on poverty indicators should be published annually, taking into account both sustainable development and poverty eradication strategies.

Implementation: Governments should involve the people living in poverty in the making of the decisions which affect them, including the development of gender disaggregated indicators. Definitions of both absolute and overall poverty should reflect stakeholders access to certain basic services such as health, food security, education, water and sanitation. The relationship between poverty and war, plus the fact that a huge proportion of development aid is being replaced by or being directed to humanitarian aid, urgently needs to be addressed.

Rationale: Agenda 21 recognizes the significant impact that poverty and overconsumption have on environmental degradation and the impact that environmental degradation has on the achievement of prosperity and suggests that governments fulfill commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development at the earliest possible time.

4 Enabling Sustainability

4.1 Sustainable Production and Consumption

We call for: governments to place sustainable production and consumption at the heart of economic policy. Sustainable production and consumption needs to move beyond its currently marginalized status as a secondary "environmental" consideration and become the framework for national and international economic policy decisions. Social and economic development should be measured by the good returned to all of society, not the size of profits to a cluster of influential companies. Responsibility for achieving sustainable production and consumption must extend beyond that of environment ministers to become the mandate for all ministers, including trade and finance, as well as the responsibility of the heads of state.

Such a major shift in national policy should result in governmental actions which:

  • seek to overcome the gap between rich and poor and improve the quality of life of all current and future generations, nationally and internationally,

  • move towards equitable access to resources, while maintaining the carrying capacity of the environment and accounting for ecological limits, locally and globally;

  • convince companies to identify and report on production costs externalized to and subsidized by communities and the environment;

  • encourage recognition and respect for indigenous cultures already practicing sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods and helps protect rather than jeopardize their communities and ancestral lands;

  • institute clean production as a required standard, ensuring that products and production processes will not harm human health or the environment;

  • move beyond the current emphasis on efficiency to sufficiency, promoting sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods for everyone;

  • encourage and promote corporate responsibility for sustainable production and marketing practices, and at the same time establish mechanisms for holding corporations accountable for unsustainable practices;

  • provide a sustainable and just response to the negative social and environmental impacts of economic globalization, particularly with the trend towards increasing corporate rights above human, labor and community rights.

Implementation: The CSD should initiate a process of consultations with governments and major groups leading to the definition of time-bound, measurable global production and consumption targets by sector, to be followed by regular monitoring, evaluating and reporting on international progress in reaching those targets.

Governments should also initiate national public dialogues on the goals and strategies for achieving sustainable production and consumption, leading to the development and adoption of national sustainable production and consumption plans establishing time-bound, measurable targets for energy, transportation, food, chemicals, weapons and other areas, as well as government (e.g., environmentally sound purchasing).

However, dialogue and goals are not enough; action programs are necessary; examples include instituting or supporting:

  • the right and means to knowledge about products and production processes, especially about social and ecological impacts;

  • Extended Producer Responsibility;

  • ecological tax reform and elimination of destructive subsidies (including those for commercial advertising);

  • youth initiatives promoting sustainable lifestyles;

  • identifying and developing model programs to address industrial "hot spots" in communities suffering the consequences of unsustainable practices and policies;

  • microcredit initiatives to promote sustainable livelihoods;

  • inclusion of information about externalized costs on product labels.

Rationale: Agenda 21 states that "...the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries." While efforts emerging from the 1994 Oslo Roundtable, particularly those advancing ecoefficiency, represent positive steps towards changing these patterns, we have yet to see a significant reduction in the large share of resources consumed by industrial countries or in the shameful gap between the overconsumers in those countries and the underconsuming poor throughout the world.

Much greater political will, commitment and accountability is required by governments and industry. Without major intergovernmental action to end economic and fiscal policies which reward unsustainable practices by producers and consumers, individual companies cannot and will not internalize the costs they have traditionally externalized to the environment and society, nor will the advertising industry be weaned away from its celebration of the joys of overconsumption, nor will the underconsumers of the world be welcomed from the margins of consumer society into the security and dignity of living in a sustainable society.

4.2 Indicators of Sustainability

We call for: Recognition of the need to use indicators appropriately as a tool for community decision making. Data must be objective as possible, and all 'interests' must be involved (everyone who is impacted). As governments we commit to promote grass roots women's participation, particularly those involved in the Habitat process, and gender training for local Agenda 21 groups.

Implementation: The involvement of the stakeholder in the choice of indicators at the local, national and international level is fundamentally important, and top down, non-representative processes should not be tolerated. The CSD should, with governments and others, ensure many processes continue in the next five years of work of the CSD.

Rationale: The indicators that are measured should evoke happiness when they are improving and unhappiness when they are getting worse. If the change doesn't matter to the community, then you are not monitoring the right thing. If the process of developing the shared knowledge, shared understanding and shared vision for the future of your community isn't enjoyable, then you should figure out a different way to do it. In assessing progress toward the goals in Chapter 40 of Agenda 21, it will be much easier to measure activity than to evaluate results. There have been many important and well-conducted international, national and local initiatives dedicated to producing better and more relevant data. No one process represents any major groups or communities nor speaks for them. In developing information and indicators there is no one right way for a community to proceed. There are a variety of models from which one might choose, and there are more models all the time. Communities all over the world in vastly different economic, political, social and environmental circumstances, are experimenting with ways and means to develop information and indicators for neighborhoods, communities or nations. Through the process they are also building consensus on what actually matters to the future of the groups involved.

4.3 Corporate Accountability

We call for: The Special Session to effectively address the issue of corporate accountability, moving beyond simply the discussion of corporate responsibility. We recommend the following steps to accomplish this task:

  • Acknowledge the need for greater corporate accountability to society;

  • Establish mechanisms to monitor and assess corporate practices (e.g., to examine claims to best and worst practices);

  • Strengthen public access to information (e.g., right-to-know legislation; information on externalized social and environmental costs);

  • Reform current economic incentives (e.g., eliminate unsustainable subsidies and tax breaks) and improve liability instruments to discourage corporate wrongdoing;

  • Create mechanisms which empower local communities rather than large corporations (e.g., reforming international trade agreements which undermine rather than enhance the sustainability of local production and consumption systems; encouraging "good neighbor practices" which require corporations to establish meaningful dialogues and negotiations with the communities in which they locate);

  • Make clean production a required standard (e.g., adopt and implement the Precautionary Principle as part of industrial policy; adopt and implement the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility); and

  • Reduce political influence of corporations on governments (e.g., implement appropriate reforms to end financial contributions to political campaigns and lobbying of public representatives).

Implementation: The CSD should set up a Sub-Commission on Corporate Accountability for governments to examine and define their role and responsibilities to ensure corporate accountability to society. Such responsibilities to be examined should include but not be limited to the above recommendations. This Sub-Commission should provide mechanisms for consultation with and active participation by NGOs and community organizations, allowing for valuable inputs from populations and communities directly affected by various corporate policies and practices.

Rationale: Corporate accountability is an intrinsic but neglected element of Agenda 21. The Habitat II agenda calls for governments to create "regulatory and legal frameworks" to promote socially and environmentally responsible corporate investment and reinvestment in and partnership with local communities." With economic globalization, privatization, and the replacement of foreign assistance with an emphasis on private investment, there is a growing need for governments to ensure that corporations, especially TNCs, are accountable to society and the communities which they impact.

4.4 Information Ecology

We call for: A major commitment to analyze and explore the opportunities and implications of the rapidly evolving "information and communication ecosystem" and to identify critical information ecology issues relating to sustainability. We call for the design and establishment of, and support for participatory enabling environments - from community and interlocal networks to national and global frameworks - within which information and communications technologies, systems and processes - including traditional and non-electronic forms - can facilitate a transition to more open, equitable and sustainable communities and society.

Implementation: The Commission on Sustainable Development - CSD - should convene an Ad Hoc, Open-Ended Working Group on Information Ecology - with participation of non-governmental organizations as well as of member states and from within United Nations agencies, programmes and centres. The mandate of the Working Group should include the following:

  • to conduct a systematic review of the opportunities and implications for sustainability and equity of an ecologically sound approach to information flow;

  • to identify and address critical sustainability issues from a whole systems, full life-cycle costs, perspective regarding the transition from a predominantly material to an increasingly digital economy - including resource and capital cost implications.

  • to examine the development of effective mechanisms to support access to and transfer of ecologically and socially sound technologies;

  • to identify and address actual and prospective, direct and indirect economic, cultural, social and environmental impacts of the introduction of information technology;

  • to consider how information and communication technology can be used to strengthen effective community-based, participatory planning, decision-making and implementation processes relating to sustainability and equitable development, focussing on the use of information exchange mechanisms that are accessible at a grassroots level;

  • to examine the destabilizing potentials of modern information, communication and automation technologies, and to develop provisions to prevent the undermining of traditional and sustainable cultures and practices, or the jeopardizing of human, economic, social cultural and political rights;

  • to undertake an examination of the evolving information ecosystem in terms of equitable access to information in the North and the South, addressing intellectual property rights, trends towards concentration of ownership and control in information and communication technology and electronic media, access to information and communication infrastructure, and democratic, participatory processes, rights and freedoms;

  • to review, in the light of the rapidly increasing proportion of capital formation that is in the realm of intellectual property, and the need for development strategies that enable access to information and communication infrastructure as a critical means of enabling access to resources;

  • to set in process the design of a comprehensive sustainability information and communication environment. This should be designed to facilitate partnership-based integrative coordination of monitoring and implementation of the agreements of the "Rio cluster" series of global conferences;

Rationale: The evolution of information and communication technology - the progressive emergence of an "information age" - has been dramatic in the five years since the first Earth Summit. The integrative power of information technology is increasingly clear, as is its progressively growing capacity to model and map the properties of whole systems, however, the pursuit of a specific trend in technology can become unsustainable. Meanwhile, the increasing scale and role of information and communication technology in the global economy and the increasing impact of automation, the rapid growth in both access and inequities in access confirm that the implications of information technology extend far beyond the role envisioned in Chapter 40 of Agenda 21 as a support system for decision-makers and require comprehensive re-assessment by the CSD.

4.5 Local Sustainability

We call for: A recognition of the progress made by over 2,000 local authorities worldwide, in concert with their local communities, in developing Local Agenda 21s and to give further impetus to the initiative by encouraging national governments to support national associations of local governments NGOs and other major groups to establish national Local Agenda 21 campaigns.

Implementation: The CSD should work with ICLEI and the international associations of local government to prepare a review of possible measures by national governments to provide a supportive policy and fiscal framework for successful implementation of Local Agenda 21s.

Rationale: One of the most successful and meaningful outcomes since Rio has been action at the local level to prepare local plans for sustainable development, notably through the Local Agenda 21 initiative (Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 encourages local authorities to prepare local action plans - Local Agenda 21 - in consensus with their local communities). Progress has been most widespread in countries which have national Local Agenda 21 campaigns organized and supported by national associations of local government.

4.6 Sustainable Human Settlements

We call for: The Commission on Sustainable Development to support the implementation of the agreements reached at the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) for the development of policies and programmes for sustainable human settlements in both urban and rural areas.

Implementation: These policies and programmes should be carried out by Governments working in partnership with non-governmental organizations, local authorities, the private sector and other partners and major groups. Such policies should be based on a regional and cross-sectoral approach which treats villages and cities as two ends of a human settlements continuum in a common ecosystem.

By the year 2005 the majority of the world's population will live in urban areas which are also the largest consumers of national resources. While urban settlements hold a promise for sustainable human development by their ability to support large numbers of people, most cities - as well as their surrounding rural areas -are witnessing harmful and often uncontrolled patterns of growth creating soil, water and air pollution, waste and destruction of natural resources. Therefore sustainable human settlements require programmes to ensure the planning and management of production and consumption patterns, mobilization of local human resources and the establishment of the transport, information and communications infrastructure, and waste disposal systems needed to sustain their ecosystems.

Rationale: Appropriate social policies are required and should be implemented through the provision of social services for individual and community needs, taking into account economic, social and cultural as well as civil and political human rights and fundamental freedoms.

4.7 Social Services

We call for: More adequate provision for the role of social service organizations, a new provision is needed which would enable such organizations - both governmental and non-governmental - to participate directly in the development and monitoring of the implementation of an enabling social framework for sustainability and equitable development.

Implementation: There should be a clarification of the different nature and use of physical services and social services. The confusion on this issue is particularly evident in the current provisions concerning the eradication of poverty.

Provision should be made for social impact assessments in addition to the mostly health issues that tend to be addressed in environmental impact assessments.

Another limitation in the existing texts is that they only refer to urban areas and sustainable human cities.

Social services are equally required in rural areas and it is that the phrase "sustainable human settlements" or sustainable communities" should be used rather that "sustainable cities". Another issue is related to capacity building: we feel that social services are needed and should be developed as a tool for increasing the capacity building of individuals as well as communities.

Finally in developing information tools to measure progress emphasis should be placed on the use of social indicators and the role of non-governmental organizations in the development of such indicators.

Rationale: More adequate provisions for integrating the conclusions of the World Summit for Social Development into the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development. A holistic approach to the need for, and provision of, social services needs to be reflected in the documents.

There is also a need to distinguish between basic services - eg water, sanitation, road, and transportation, etc, and "social services" - eg welfare, social security, community organization, community services. The existing provisions in the text focus on categorical social areas such as health, mental health, family, education, housing, children, the aging, etc. and do not cover the role of social service organizations and the social services they provide to individuals and communities through integrated programs and projects which are developed by governments as well as private institutions at every level.

4.8 Education

We call for:

  • Designation of the Education Community as a Major Group by the United Nations in recognition of the vital importance of life-long learning, and of the key role of the Education Community in working towards the goals of sustainable development.

  • Creation of an Education 21 programme by which the Education Community will support UNESCO as task manager in implementing the recommendations embedded throughout Agenda 21 and subsequent UN initiatives.

  • Inclusion of related education policies in all strategies and plans for sustainable development.

  • The facilitation and funding of a broad spectrum of learning approaches and opportunities through education, public awareness and training.

Implementation: The CSD IV Work Programme on Education should be expedited. The involvement of the Education Community, broadly defined, would be strengthened by the CSD granting it Major Group status. Such designation would enable the Education Community and communicators, including the media, to participate as full partners in the design of the Programme, hence expediting the implementation phase for which they will play the critical role.

To enable the vitality and enthusiasm of youth to contribute fully to building sustainable development, governments should facilitate and fund the role of grassroots Youth NGOs and intergenerational partnerships, as well as adapting and providing for formal curricula. Special attention should be paid to the education and training of teachers, youth leaders and other educators.

The Bretton Woods organisations are urged to analyse their current investments in education with respect to the needs of promoting education for sustainable development.

Co-operation is urged at the international level involving all relevant bodies of the United Nations system, governments, major groups and NGOs. A new co-operative arrangement should be developed that is bold and imaginative and concentrates on a number of key undertakings during the next 5 years.

New partnership arrangements should be encouraged among educators, scientists, governments, NGOs,the media, youth, business and industry, indigenous people and all major groups and new communications technologies should be exploited for this purpose, taking into account local needs and values. This should also facilitate exchange of good practice and successful educative tools. Educators should incorporate media literacy and critical analysis within education for sustainable development.

The following workplan is recommended as a minimum requirement:

  • By the end of 1977 countries should have facilitated representation by the Education Community on all roundtables for sustainable development

  • During 1998, countries should establish national Education 21. Working Groups to derive plans to support implementation of Agenda 21 through national programmes.

  • By the end of 1999, groups within the Education Community should have completed consultations with stakeholders on the responses to Agenda 21 through Education 21 and should have formulated action plans.

  • During 2000, countries should publish their Education 21 national programmes and lodge copies of these with CSD.

  • At CSD 2001, UNESCO, countries and the Education Community will be required to report progress made in implementing this workplan.

Rationale: Chapter 36 is in many ways the most crucial chapter of Agenda 21. Education, awareness and training are referred to throughout Agenda 21 and also appear in the recommendations of the five follow-up Global United Nations conferences, a reminder that their successful implementation depends on the ability of people to carry them out.

Without public understanding and support, governments are hindered in their attempts to introduce and implement enlightened policies. Sustainable livelihoods require both people capable of engaging in sustainable production and knowledgeable consumers; the ability of nations to attract Overseas Development Aid or more importantly, Direct Foreign Investment is greatly affected by the education levels of the workforce. Alternative models of sustainable living should be recognised, such as those represented in the traditional wisdom of indigenous peoples.

The pursuit of sustainable development is unthinkable without active involvement of the Education Community, a group including teachers, lecturers, curriculum developers, administrators, adult and community educators, youth leaders, industrial trainers, countryside rangers and interpretative staff, environmental health and planning officers, education officers with NGOs, media people and representatives of learners in all contexts.

The learning which is thus facilitated covers many different aspects of human environmental relationships but subscribes to a unifying concept and to shared objectives.

4.9 Health

We call for: Insuring human health globally, for current and future generations, governments need to address the following environmental issues: treatment and prevention of: global warming; hazardous waste, including nuclear, chemical and biological materials; contamination of fresh water supplies; ocean pollution; contamination of air quality; deforestation; and desertification.

Rationale: There is clear evidence of rising rates, globally, of cancers, tuberculosis, lung diseases, lead poisoning, all of which are associated with various forms of environmental degradation. The most important consequence of environmental sustainability is the health and productive capacity of human beings. Healthy, productive people sustain healthy societies and economies.

4.10 Population

We call for: insuring universal access to quality primary health care, including the full range of reproductive health care and family planning services as well as to basic education, which includes educational strategies for responsible parenthood and sexual education.

Rationale: The current decline in population growth rates must continue in order to reach the goal of improvement of quality of life for present and future generations.

4.11 Culture of Peace

We call for: Governments to move from a culture of violence and war to a culture of peace by structuring their economies so that they are not dependent on the military. The UN should encourage transparency in arms transfers by expanding its register and should facilitate in non-violent prevention and resolution of conflicts.

Implementation: The Special Session should acknowledge the need to reduce military production, spending and arms trafficking in order to provide funds for development. Reduce military expenditures significantly, redirecting a portion of those funds to sustainable development; Shift research and development from defense-based industries to equitable development and socially responsible production to rectify environmental degradation and human rights violations; Respect the rule of law by acting upon the recent decision of the International Court of Justice on the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons; Embark immediately and conclude by the year 2000 negotiations on a nuclear weapons abolition convention that requires the phased elimination of all nuclear weapons within a timebound framework with provisions for effective verification and enforcement; Clean up and dispose of all toxic military waste in an environmentally sound manner; Implement an immediate ban on the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel landmines; Allocate funds and technology for removal of the more than 110 million mines already planted in 68 countries; Promote an international voluntary military force under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter to be used when absolutely necessary and promote environmentally friendly non-violent resolution to conflict whenever possible; Make non-violent conflict prevention and resolution training and human rights education a part of all formal and informal curricula in all sectors of society as mandated in the Plan of Action of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education; End obligatory military service; Promote community planning to prevent conflicts; Develop a new science "Public Peace" based on the model of "Public Health." This would involve keeping track throughout the world of where manmade violence was breaking out. Analysis of the data would show how it might be controlled. Early intervention would alleviate the need for military solutions and the resulting environmental degradation; Report responsibly to the UN Register of Conventional Weapons and adopt a Code of Conduct for Arms Transfers in order to restrain weapons proliferation. Require compensation to be paid by the military for past environmental degradation and human rights violations including harm to human health. Enter into a moratorium to cease all military activities that could cause environmental degradation (General Assembly Resolution - UN Charter of Nature) and human rights violations; Involve young people in the peace process and encourage volunteer youth task forces to assist in the processes of preventive citizen diplomacy, peace enforcement and peace-building.

Rationale: In keeping with the UN Agenda for Development, we believe that peace and development are indivisible and development cannot proceed easily in societies where military concerns are at or near the center of life. Societies whose economic effort in substantial part is devoted to military production inevitably diminish the prospect of their people for development.

4.12 Human Rights

We call for:

The CSD's continued consideration and recognition of the relationship and linkages between serious environmental degradation and human rights violations;

Governments to recognize and act on the recognition that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated and that human rights, peace and the right to development are essential components for sustainable development, as reiterated in the Rio, Vienna, Beijing, Cairo, Istanbul and Rome Agendas;

The private sector be held accountable as a major actor in both the realization and violations of human rights within the context of sustainable human development;

Women's human rights to be realized such that women can fully affect their role in environmental management and development.


The CSD should work with the Secretary General to assure proper implementation of the UN Commission on Human Right's decision which calls for the CSD to consider human rights and environment issues and to prepare a report based on the deliberations of these bodies.

States should ratify all existing international human rights conventions and covenants that have not been ratified and implement provisions of conventions and covenants that have been ratified, to include enacting and enforcing domestic legislation, administrative measure and judicial remedies so that all basic human rights can be effectively enjoyed by all women, men, youth and children, including marginalized groups of society.

States, UN Agencies, World Bank, IMF and the WTO should ensure that all corporations, including transnational corporations, be required to comply with national laws and codes protecting human and environmental rights and applicable international instruments and conventions.

States implement their commitment to the creation of national committees and centers for human rights education, in accordance with GA Resolution 49/184 such that human rights education can be effective and participatory means for ensuring sustainable development.

Rationale: A human rights framework is a prerequisite to an enabling approach to sustainable development. All human rights and fundamental freedoms are essential for sustainable human and social development. The 1994 Final Report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and The Environment for the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities concluded that there was widespread legal recognition of the linkage between human rights and the environment. Issues such as the eradication of poverty and hunger, ensuring adequate shelter for all, ensuring access to health care, education, freely chosen work or social security all address basic human rights recognized in international law. The international community has too often affirmed these human rights issues merely as goals or objectives without taking any action to regulate the new economic structures of globalization and liberalization which are leading to increased homelessness, poverty and environmental degradation. These issues should be addressed in the CSD+5 process as human rights issues, not merely as "objectives" or "goals". The exercise of and strengthening of respect for human rights can take place only when those in authority, as well as all stakeholders affected, are aware of those rights. Human rights education enhances the process of democratizing access to decision-making and political structures which is one of the key components of sustainable development.

5 Major Groups and Partnerships

5.1 Dialogue

We call for: Continuing the formal Dialogue Sessions between major groups and Governments through the next five year programme of the CSD and convene Major Group Dialogue Sessions at the CSD Intersessional Meetings beginning in 1998. The formal Dialogue Sessions would, inter alia, assist Major Groups to focus on the issues being discussed that year.

5.2 New and Additional Partners

We call for: Extending the concept of major groups to a partnership model as developed in the Habitat Agenda and grant partner / major group status to parliamentarians, older persons, and the education community.

5.3 Decision-making Framework for Participation

We call for: Decision making structures to be changed to enable a transition to sustainable production and consumption. The structures need to assure the following: access to information and participation in decision making of consumers and citizens in health and environmental impacts of products and production processes; the right to know and to participate in decision making by local communities whose livelihoods are affected by global trade and investment patterns; effective mechanisms to ensure that abuse of corporate power is countered; democratization of decision making within corporations

The new projected stakeholder models of governance or major group participation must take into account the disparities in economic and political power among different constituencies.

Rationale: While a lot is at stake with interlinking the debates on changing production and consumption patterns, on trade and sustainable development, and on finance, the common thread in all these debates is the challenge to develop new models of governance. Sustainable development will not be achieved without institutional change.

Decision-makers are only judged upon the consequences of their policies for a limited group of people. The effects of globalization, of which we only see now the beginning, will further increase the distance between decision makers in corporations and finance institutions on the one hand, and even governments and ordinary citizens whose lives are affected by these decisions on the other.

5.4 Indigenous Peoples

We call for: The application of the principles contained in the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration should be adopted in its present form. The recognition of the Indigenous Peoples' human rights, territorial rights, cultural rights, their knowledge systems, their sustainable land use systems and their rights to self-determination is a necessary pre-condition to their playing a meaningful role in global sustainability. This includes the recognition of the right of Indigenous Peoples to identify themselves and be recognized as Indigenous Peoples. The CSD should examine how these rights are being undermined by international finance and financial institutions and trade liberalization within the WTO framework. The CSD should monitor the Human Genome Diversity Project.

Implementation: The CSD to more effectively review Indigenous Peoples' contributions to global sustainability. The CSD should develop comprehensive impact reports for each of its sessions in order to review the consequences of national governments' actions in relations to Indigenous Peoples. Earth Summit II should reinforce the call for the involvement of Indigenous Peoples at the highest levels within the UN structure, including the creation of a permanent forum for Indigenous Peoples.

We also call for: Indigenous Peoples rights to their ancestral lands to be ensured above any consideration for national, private or other economic activities such as mining and logging.

Rationale: Forced evictions and displacement of Indigenous people creates a high risk of impoverishment both economically and culturally including; land loss, marginalisation, food insecurity, morbidity, unemployment and continuation of language. The preservation of Indigenous Peoples land base is essential to the existence and perpetuation of tribal society and culture.

5.5 Women

We call for: A pledge to enhance all governance structures, global and national, through the next century by adhering to the fundamental principles of equal representation and accountability; a pledge to achieve gender balance in governance, expanding, enhancing and improving affirmative action programs or other incentives that will encourage and support the leadership and involvement of women in political decision-making; a pledge to apply a gender perspective in all aspects of the implementation of Agenda 21; a commitment to promote grass roots women's participation, particularly those involved in the Habitat process, and gender training for local Agenda 21 groups.

We call for: The removal of legislative, policy, administrative, and customary barriers to women's equal rights to natural resources, including access to and control over land and other forms of property, credit, inheritance, information and appropriate new technology.

Implementation: Recognition of the pervasive and systemic violation of women's human rights, that women are significant agents for local and global change, and that gender equality is essential to achieving sustainable and equitable development.

5.6 Youth

We call for: Governments to implement Earth Summit commitments by ensuring the involvement of youth in all levels of decision-making; recognition of youth NGO initiatives towards social justice, economic equity, micro-enterprise development and ecosustainability; establishment of mechanisms and increased funding for North-South grassroots youth partnership; governments to ensure that youth have increased access to information and documentation; youth to be allowed to initiate and develop their own ways of working towards sustainable development.

Implementation objective: Increased support on all levels for awareness, skill-sharing and empowerment of youth as present and future leaders and agents of change.

Implementation activities: The Special Session must support and be open to new and innovative ways of actively involving youth NGOs in the Sustainable Development process and debate. Therefore we strongly urge the establishment of a system to ensure regular, democratic and balanced representation of young people at the CSD. Each National Delegation should include an NGO Youth Representative to facilitate the exchange of information to and from youth. The host country should ensure the widest possible representation of youth NGOs, in particular southern youth NGOs, in the process. If continued youth participation in the implementation of Agenda 21 is to be assured, firm governmental financial commitments must be made and adhered to. Young people should be partners in the development of educational curricula around all aspects of sustainable development. Young people should be encouraged to promote Agenda 21 through peer education. Further youth participation in the Agenda 21 process can be achieved through open dialogue sessions between youth and government at all levels. At a Local Agenda 21 level, youth should be enabled to take an active role in the auditing processes.

Rationale: Too few governments have taken strong steps to work with youth in recent years and achieving good intergenerational partnership. More remains to be done, and governments must find financial mechanisms to support youth involvement and empowerment in all regions.

5.7 Older Persons

We call for: Recognition of the critical importance of the growing global aging population in relation to sustainability and include older persons as a major group.

Implementation - Goals: Identify and utilize the skills of the older person at the local, national, and international level; Promote older person involvement in the activities of civil society; Ensure that each country supports, practices and enforces the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, in pursuance of the International Plan of Action on Ageing.

Implementation - Activities: Involve older persons in the education process as "visiting experts," especially with youth, on assorted environment and development activities; Both in the developing and developed countries, utilize the knowledge of and skills of the older person in areas of technology, management, agriculture, family care, medicine, and cultural heritage; Encourage the involvement and participation of older persons in the decision-making processes for a sustainable future; Develop materials for the older population, appropriate to their cultural heritage and values, that address issues for the older person as both consumer and producer.

Implementation - Means: Strengthen the Ageing Unit of the Social Policy and Development Division of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD), which acts as a focal point for interagency cooperation in the United Nations; Disseminate and apply the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, many of the principles having application to sustainable development; Provide and enhance accessibility and mobility for the older population; Launch information, education and communication campaigns on ageing and sustainable development to promote positive images of the ageing as a subject of general social relevance in which everyone participates; Provide key roles for older persons as voluntary or paid resource persons in public awareness campaigns on cultural traditions and heritage in the environment; Promote the expansion or establishment of intergenerational policies and programs; Institute national programs to promote productive ageing; Strengthen or establish national coordinating mechanisms on ageing; Promote the establishment and effective functioning of organizations of older persons.

Rationale: Older persons, although receiving recognition during World Summits on population, social concerns, women, and the city, were overlooked in Section 3 of Agenda 21. Their contributions to a sustainable future as a "major group" must be considered a priority. The growth of the global older population, citizens who are living longer productive lives, is one of the most challenging demographic trends of the twenty-first century. A steady stream of one million persons a month now crosses the threshold of age 60, and 80% of these are in the south. The total number of those age 60 and above is projected to reach 600 million by the year 2001 and go on to reach 1.2 billion by the 2025, over 70% in the south. This snapshot serves as a small illustration of a far-reaching, if quiet, demographic revolution now affecting the social and economic structures of societies. Clearly, the challenge is great. Responses have been guided by the "International Plan of Action on Ageing," A/37/51. In resolution A/45/106, the General Assembly designated "1 October the International Day for the Elderly." By its resolution A/46/91, the Assembly adopted the "United Nations Principles for Older Persons" with five major themes: independence, participation, self-fulfillment, dignity and care. In 1995, by resolution A/50/141, the Assembly established "1999 as the International Year of Older Persons." The framework for the year contains four major themes: situation of older persons; life-long individual development; multi generational relationships; and development and the ageing population. "The Framework" is outlined in the report of the Secretary General, A/50/114. Additional sources of information are available from the Web site http:/ -- International Year of Older Persons.

The Habitat Agenda, Chapter 1, Art. 17, reflects the member states' awareness of an ageing global population: "Older persons are entitled to lead fulfilling and productive lives and should have opportunities for full participation in their communities and society, and all decision making regarding their well-being, especially their shelter needs. Their many contributions to the political, social and economic processes of human settlements should be recognized and valued. Special attention should be given to meeting the evolving housing and mobility needs in order to enable them to continue to lead rewarding lives in their communities." The importance of Older Persons as a major group is found in the wealth of information, history, energy, and experience accumulated through their collective lifetimes. Given the size and potential force of this population, we cannot afford to ignore their needs. In a multigenerational society, older persons offer a generational link for humanity. They are vested with the responsibility of passing on a legacy. We must capitalize on the great human resource potential this major group offers. It is an exceedingly diversified pool of experienced and talented men and women with skills in environmental management, public policy, conservation, technology, prevention and leadership at every level, who can contribute expertise to every aspect of environment and development. Their knowledge, wisdom and prestige can be vital to educating, organizing, and mobilizing people and communities to ensure that environmentally sustainable development is practiced.

5.8 Inclusion

We call for: Recognition that discrimination on the basis of race, gender, economic status, ethnic background, religion, political belief, sexual orientation, age and disability continue to prevent the full participation of many social groups in developing and implementing strategies for sustainable development. Address these obstacles by implementing measures inter alia: to confront prejudice, hatred, and human rights violations through educational programmes and relevant changes in national curricula; invest in the empowerment and capacity building of marginalized groups; remove structural and legal impediments to the fully inclusive participation of all social groups.

Rationale: A human rights framework is a prerequisite to an enabling approach to sustainable development. One of the legacies of the Rio Conference was the concept of "stakeholders", connoting both responsibility and participation of all those affected by any policy or action. Making human rights paramount in sustainable development enables stakeholders to claim their basic rights and to become full participants in decision-making.

5.9 Occupied Peoples

We call for: Empowerment of ethno-cultural groups currently subsisting under occupation by foreign national powers. Provisions must be made for access to and utilization of natural resources central to social and cultural autonomy and economic sustainable development.

5.10 Media

We call for: the CSD to recognize the importance of local, national and international media participation in support of this process and encourage them to thoroughly communicate information about all levels of implementation of Agenda 21 and the work of the CSD.

Rationale: Media is a major force in the civil society and it could be useful in promoting the implementation of the Earth Summit agreements and the work of the CSD.

6 Institutional and Legal Issues

The Special Session of the General Assembly offers the opportunity to deal with some of the institutional issues that have developed since the Rio Summit.

6.1 CSD Agenda and Work Programme

The Special Session should continue to be the high-level policy forum and a forum for sharing experiences. The next 5 years should see a more focussed agenda for the CSD. Such a focussed agenda should include oceans, forests, freshwater, tourism, chemicals and cross sectoral issues such as finance, capacity building, sustainable agriculture/food systems, technological transfer, poverty, education, production and consumption patterns, trade and sustainable development and transport - as well as continuing to address emerging issues. The CSD should include a public education and dissemination of information strategy in each aspect of its work programme to heighten awareness on critical issues and governmental compliance in achieving the goals of Rio.

6.1.1 Election and Term of Commission Chairs

The Chair of the CSD and other UN Commissions should be elected at the beginning of Commission sessions and assume office from the conclusion of the session through to the end of the next session of the CSD (or other Commissions).

6.2 High-Level Coordination of Conference Follow Up

Ensure effective coordination and create a dynamic exchange between the follow up from the different UN Conferences and Summits. There should be joint high-level sessions of Commissions dealing with similar issues each year. For example if poverty is being discussed the Commission for Social Development with the Commission on Sustainable Development should be arranged at Ministerial level. The High-level Session of the Economic and Social Council should convene regular joint High-level segments of the Commission on Sustainable Development with other relevant Commissions (e.g. Social Development).

6.3 Integrated Monitoring Frameworks

We call for: The establishment through DPCSD of an integrated comprehensive framework - making effective use of modern information and communications technology - for systematic monitoring of the implementation of all the Rio agreements as well as the agreements of the other recent global conferences.

Information that the UN has available at web-sites and other new information technologies should be made accessible to the public on a no-cost basis

The development of indicators and criteria shall in no way undermine obligations incurred under treaties, covenants conventions or commitments made in conference action plans.

Implementation: Develop a comprehensive framework - to be accessible online - to enable the systematic monitoring and implementation of the agreements of the "Rio cluster" of United Nations conferences and proceedings; develop an integrated, fully searchable database that incorporates the text of all these agreements, that documents initiatives - including best practices - taken by intergovernmental agencies, governments and major groups, and that incorporates data and indicators that can help show current status and trends towards sustainability; the use of geographic information systems as a tool to assist in organizing and integrating information on measures; and measures to support capacity building in the use of information and communications technology - including the strengthening of information and communications infrastructure in developing countries

Rationale: There is currently no systematic framework in place by which it is possible to assess and monitor the extent and specifics of implementation of the Rio agreements. Modern information and communications technology offers a range of powerful tools to organize and integrate a broad base of diverse information, and to make it widely accessible. There are many areas of overlap between the Rio agreements and the other "Rio cluster" agreements - all of which, in one way or another relate to the attainment of a sustainable common future - so there is a need for an integrated process of monitoring implementation of the whole set of agreements.

6.4 Peer-Review Assessment

The CSD should establish a process of peer-reviewed assessment of each country's performance on the implementation of sustainable development building on the model on work done by OECD. NGO and national networks at a country level should be encouraged to develop parallel national reports. The CSD secretariat is urged to make available at an international level these national NGO reports.

6.5 Secretary General's High-Level Advisory Board

The High-Level Advisory Board should be closed down. It does not appear to have contributed anything substantial to the CSD process nor has there been evidence of a meaningful relationship between it and the partners / major groups that are involved in the follow-up process for the Rio agreements.

6.6 Committee on Natural Resources

Streamline the relationship between the Committee on Natural Resources and the CSD.

6.7 United Nations Environment Programme

We call for: Adopt further reforms to ensure a UNEP that is strong, effective, adequately funded and sharply focused, building on the decisions agreed at the nineteenth session of UNEP's Governing Council with respect to governance (in early April) and the Nairobi Declaration (in early February); submit regular reports to the CSD on priority activities and future program plans; and implement innovative measures to ensure the effective participation of NGOs and other major groups within civil society in UNEP decision making, information delivery and programme implementation.

Implementation: In the context of broader UN reforms, Environment Ministers, pursuant to the new governance mechanisms agreed at Governing Council, and the Nairobi-based Committee on Permanent Representatives, need to work with UNEP staff, other UN agencies, NGOs and other major groups in order to ensure that further reforms, including an effectively focused and implemented mission, are carried out. Proposals from this reform process should be agreed with a view to their being forwarded for adoption to the 52nd and 53rd sessions of the UN General Assembly in 1997-98 and the 20th session of UNEP's Governing Council in 1999.

Rationale: The recent governance decisions provide an important framework for examining and agreeing measures to further reform UNEP in ways that will ensure that its mission is effectively carried out. Toward this end, the Nairobi Declaration provides a constructive way of focusing UNEP's mission, for now, and further reforms should consider appropriate ways to advance such tasks as a) analysis of the state of the global environment and assessment of global and regional environmental trends, providing policy advice, early warning information and catalyzing and promoting international cooperation and action; b) furthering the development of international environmental law, including coherent linkages among existing international environmental conventions; c) strengthening its role in the coordination of environmental activities in the UN system; and d) promoting greater awareness and facilitating far more effective cooperation among all sectors of society and actors involved in the implementation of the international environmental agenda.

As part of such further reforms, participants in such decision making should consider seriously the possibility, at the appropriate time in the next few years, of building on the UNEP base by establishing a broader World Environment Organisation or some such similar structure that is authorized to address matters such as compliance and enforcement with respect to international environmental issues. Such an entity should be similar in authority and status to other international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization.

In its leadership role, UNEP also must assist states in ensuring that corporations including transnational corporations comply with national codes, social security, and international law, including international environmental law as was undertaken in the platform of action and Habitat II. In this role UNEP should act to establish mandatory international normative standards/regulations based on international law, and continually incorporate more stringent regulations as they appear in different states so as to continually move international law toward upward harmonization. In addition, UNEP should be encouraged to not support voluntary conformance to self-initiated standards of ISO 14000.

6.8 United Nations Development Programme

We call for: The work of UNDP's Capacity 21 programme to focus in the next five year phase of CSD to; Help countries produce their National Sustainable Development Strategies; Help work out programmes that would see those strategies enacted; and support the development of Local Agenda 21s.

6.9 United Nations Centre for Human Settlements We call for: The General Assembly should recommend a review of the work being carried out in the UN system on human settlement issues with the intention of strengthening the Centre for Human Settlements as the UN coordinator of all work on human settlement issues through the partnership concept for implementation of the Habitat Agenda.

Implementation: A holistic, integrated approach, acknowledging the interconnectedness and interdependence of all people with the natural environment, and encompassing a regional urban-to-rural view is necessary. Universal engagement of the population, participation by the user groups and stakeholders in all phases of the process, forging of public and private partnerships, and conscious efforts at community building as a vital force must become key elements of all national action plans.

Enlightened, innovative science and appropriate technology, adjusted to local human and natural conditions and resources, mindful of the accumulated wisdom of traditional knowledge, and employing the proper materials and methods of construction for optimal environmental and human health are critical for the social, economic, environmental and cultural sustainability of settlements. The close coordination of the work of the CSD and UNCHS, as well as the other pertinent UN agencies with programs on settlements, especially UNEP and UNDP is imperative. In addition to monitoring progress towards the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, holding a 5-year Habitat Review would help to re-focus world attention on this multifactorial issue.

Rationale: Few other human activities have greater impact on the natural world than human settlements. If the cumulative effect of land development, use of material resources, infrastructure, energy and industry is antagonistic to the survival of the planet, it is ultimately antagonistic to the survival of the human species itself.

6.10 World Trade Organization

There should be a formalization of the relationship between the United Nations and the World Trade Organization - in particular, between the CSD and the WTO's Committee on Trade and Environment - (this could take the form of a Memorandum of Understanding).

6.11 Coordination of Governmental Positions

There should be a clear commitment to facilitating effective coordination of governmental positions in each of the different fora they are involved with.

6.12 Earth Summit III

Convene a Special Session of the General Assembly in 2002 to review the progress and roadblocks to sustainable development. This Special session should be held at the highest level.

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