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Daily report for 29 January 2002

2nd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met in Plenary to continue consideration of the agenda item on the review of progress in the implementation of Agenda 21. During the morning session, delegates heard contributions from executive heads of United Nations agencies, financial institutions and convention secretariats, and in the afternoon, began the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue.


PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) opened the session and requested brief presentations from UN agencies on their contributions to, and challenges in, Summit preparations. Anna Tibaijuka, UN Centre for Human Settlements, highlighted sustainable urbanization and the needs of urban poor, and called for adaptive strategies and building local capacity. She identified contributions through partnerships, particularly with local authorities. Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP, stressed the need to achieve results and build cross-sectoral capacity. He highlighted the Capacity 21 programme, noted ongoing financing for development initiatives, and expressed hope that "what begins in Monterrey gets finished in Johannesburg."

G.O.P. Obasi, World Meteorological Organization, focused on: global climate issues; the need to protect essential life support systems and access to freshwater and sanitation; and threats to coastal areas and SIDS from sea level rise. He highlighted sustainability science, climate change impact assessments and enhancement of monitoring efforts to reduce impacts of natural disasters.

Klaus Töpfer, UNEP, called for a Summit with concrete action and implementation based on partnerships, Millennium goals, and responsible prosperity to overcome poverty and reduce consumption. He highlighted possible contributions of UNEP such as: assessment and early warning monitoring systems; technology transfer; health, environment and food security linkages; and trade-related capacity building. He called for a network of renewable energy centers and, especially with the Summit in Africa, addressing mining issues.

During an initial discussion, delegations requested clarification on subjects including: creative resource mobilization; cooperation among UN agencies in Summit preparations; issue management practice; governance; UNEP’s dwindling resource base; and UNDP’s inadequate attention to macroeconomic policies. In response, UN agency representatives supported UN institutional cooperation and noted the need for financial resources, capacity building, and methods to combat poverty and desertification. Töpfer said that Johannesburg should be a "summit of integration." Nitin Desai, WSSD Secretary-General, assured delegates that the Johannesburg process is a collaborative effort, both in substance and logistics.

Thoraya Obaid, UN Population Fund, noted that, ten years after Agenda 21, primary challenges remain, particularly poverty and gender inequality. She noted key problems such as lack of access to clean drinking water, health care and education, including reproductive health information and services, and called for integrated, interdisciplinary linkages between population and people’s rights.

Hama Arba Diallo, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), reviewed the history and goals of the Convention, including promoting sustainable development in drylands worldwide and addressing rural poverty and food security. He explained that 50 countries had developed national action programmes and called for further implementation of the Convention through bottom-up, participatory processes and additional financial and capacity-building support. Hamdallah Zedan, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), explained the Convention goals and emphasized that biodiversity underpins sustainable development. He noted the need for inter-sectoral cooperation and partnership, coordination of national level governance and implementation of related agreements. He called for capacity-building efforts, public awareness raising on the threats of biodiversity loss, development and implementation of the ecosystem approach, and an indigenous and local communities’ forum.

Ian Johnson, World Bank, called for sustained economic growth with social inclusion and environmental responsibility, and supported the Millenium Declaration’s poverty eradication goals. He noted that the World Bank plans to expand cooperation with Africa, prepare a report on innovative financing for sustainable development, and continue work on globalization to ensure benefits are more equitably distributed.

Mohammed El-Ashry, Global Environment Facility (GEF), called for a forward-looking Summit with concrete actions, and for partnerships and programmes that can be scaled-up and replicated. He identified financing as a central focus of Johannesburg discussions, and the need to find innovative and practical means for sustainable development financing. John Westley, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the main Summit challenge is to prioritize new investments for the rural poor, and that IFAD would continue investing in agriculture and rural development.

András Szöllosi-Nagy, UNESCO, reminded delegates that science and education should have prominent consideration at the Summit. He noted the human dimension of the digital divide and stressed that cultural diversity is as important for humans as biodiversity is for nature. Jacques Paul Eckebil, Food and Agriculture Organization, highlighted the role of agriculture for sustainable development, and its links to poverty and food insecurity. He recalled World Food Summit goals and highlighted policy constraints such as lack of political will and rural sector resources.

A subsequent discussion focused on: combating desertification through full implementation and funding of the UNCCD; governance; possible partnerships for capacity building; and utilizing science and technology for sustainable development. In response, Diallo and El-Ashry expressed skepticism regarding the establishment of new governing bureaucracies, and El-Ashry confirmed that no new areas for GEF funding would be designated, except for the Stockholm Convention and desertification.


Outlining the history of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues, Chair Salim opened the session and invited governments to respond following the presentations of major group representatives.

PRESENTATIONS: A representative speaking on behalf of WOMEN described achievements such as establishment of banking systems for women, and called for actions to ensure economic justice and practical mechanisms to encourage women’s voices at all levels of decision making.

A YOUTH representative called for: all governments to have youth ministries; 20% of ODA to go to sustainable development education; children to be recognized by the CSD as a major group; and youth and children to be given two hours at the Summit. An INDIGENOUS PEOPLES representative emphasized their right to self-determination, explained how their domination had led to unsustainable livelihoods, social crises and poverty, and called for policies and laws to protect their rights.

A representative of NGOS addressed progress since Rio, their vision and concrete proposals for the future that include the need to: revive the North-South deal; tame the forces of globalization; review global governance; and operationalize the precautionary and common but differentiated responsibility principles. A speaker representing LOCAL AUTHORITIES emphasized that local governments deliver sustainable development by addressing issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste management, and poverty. She proposed, inter alia, encouraging a culture of sustainability and accelerating the transition to sustainable communities and cities.

On behalf of TRADE UNIONS, a representative emphasized standard setting, monitoring and implementation of sustainable development in the workplace. He stated that core labor standards can be implemented so as not to constitute barriers to trade, and voluntary approaches must supplement, but not replace, regulatory activity. A representative of BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY reported on preparations for WSSD, expressed interest in anticipated WSSD partnerships and, stressing poverty eradication as the main agenda of the Summit, elaborated the sector’s role and requisite conditions for action. A speaker on behalf of the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY underscored its role in: the resolution of environmental and social challenges; decision making processes; capacity building; and education. Highlighting positive developments, a representative speaking on behalf of FARMERS identified: decentralization of decision making; acknowledgement of farmers’ role in safeguarding the environment; and promotion of sustainable farming practices. He called for prioritizing agriculture in policies and strengthening market power of farmers.

Thanking the major groups, WSSD Secretary-General Desai underlined NGO impact on the preparatory process and encouraged leaders of major groups to attend the WSSD.

DISCUSSION: In the ensuing dialogue, EGYPT expressed support for the NGO statement and called for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, and on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to indicate its contribution to sustainable development. Spain, for the EU, supported the idea of sustainable development governance, expressed interest in a parallel scientific forum in Johannesburg, and noted: various stakeholder interests; solutions to address farmers’ problems; and the leadership role of business and industry. The International Labour Organization (ILO), in response to Trade Unions, expressed its commitment to ILO core labor standards.

JAPAN and BANGLADESH emphasized stakeholder involvement throughout the WSSD process. HUNGARY queried business about the use of natural resources and changing production and consumption patterns, and proposed teachers and the media as additional major groups.

Responding, NGOs and Business and Industry expressed interest in a dialogue on corporate accountability. Noting declining government investment, a representative of Farmers said their developing country counterparts are disregarded and have capacity constraints. He called for consumer involvement in the WSSD. Representatives of Business and Industry called for a sustainability agenda in WTO discussions, NGO equality in actions, and for projects as the basis for partnerships.

The Women's representative called for greater corporate responsibility toward achieving economic justice. The Youth representative described various indicators that illustrate progress in youth-related initiatives. The representative for Indigenous Peoples described unequal relationships between indigenous peoples and business. The Science and Technology representative called for capacity building in developing countries to address local problems.

The Local Authorities representative reported on a worldwide survey on Local Agenda 21 and on a finding that water is the priority urban issue in all regions of the world. A representative of Trade Unions listed their gender-differentiated needs and proposed occupational heath and safety as a workplace model.


Although delegates were tight-lipped all day, rumors emerged in the evening that the anticipated consultations on sustainable development governance are likely to begin on Wednesday, 30 January. Following the brainstorming session in New York on 16-17 January 2002, two Bureau members, Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) and Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden), were charged with the responsibility of initiating informal-informal consultations with regional groups to develop draft text to be used as a basis for a planned informal discussion of this issue on Tuesday, 6 February.


DISCUSSION GROUP I: This group will meet from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to continue the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue, and will discuss progress achieved in applying integrated approaches to sectoral objectives of sustainable development. The group will discuss integrated approaches to cross-sectoral objectives of sustainable development from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.

DISCUSSION GROUP II: This group will meet from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and from 3:00 - 6:00 pm in Conference Room 4 also to continue with the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue. It will discuss progress achieved in enabling multi-stakeholder participation in sustainable development institutions and mechanisms.

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