Summary report, 19–21 October 1994

UN General Assembly Discussions on Environment and Sustainable Development

The 49th United Nations General Assembly's Second Committeeconsidered Agenda Item 89, "Environment and SustainableDevelopment," from 19-21 October 1994. Topics of discussionincluded the implementation of decisions and recommendations of theUN Conference on Environment and Development (document A/49/463),the protection of global climate for present and future generationsof mankind (A/49/485), and the sustainable use and conservation ofthe marine living resources of the high seas (A/49/254 andA/49/522). Discussions on related issues, including the Conventionto Combat Desertification and the Conference on the SustainableDevelopment of Small Island Developing States, will be discussedofficially in the General Assembly plenary, although severaldelegates referred to them in their statements.

Most delegates noted a number of areas where progress has been madeover the last year, including: the entry into force of both theFramework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention onBiological Diversity; the negotiation and adoption of theConvention to Combat Desertification; the successful conclusion ofthe Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small IslandDeveloping States; the restructuring and the replenishment of theGlobal Environment Facility (GEF); and the conclusion of the GATTUruguay Round and its decisions in the area of trade andenvironment. Many delegates stated, however, that in spite of theseaccomplishments much more needs to be done to see Agenda 21translated from words to action, especially in the areas offinancial resources, transfer of technology, poverty alleviationand changes in production and consumption patterns.


Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and SustainableDevelopment Nitin Desai opened the debate by noting that theconsideration of this agenda item provides us with an opportunityto take stock of the pace of implementation of the commitmentsentered into at the Earth Summit. Since the Second Committee metlast year, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has heldits second session. The high level of participation in the work ofthe Commission and the commitment of the NGO community are a sourceof great encouragement. The Inter-Agency Committee on SustainableDevelopment and the High-Level Advisory Board on SustainableDevelopment, which is currently holding its third meeting, are bothfunctioning and represent the major institutional developments outof the Rio process.

Desai also noted other achievements since Rio, including thenegotiation of the Convention to Combat Desertification. On 14-15October 1994, 86 countries signed the Convention in Paris. TheFramework Convention on Climate Change has 96 parties and enteredinto force on 21 March 1994. The INC is making good progresstowards the first Conference of the Parties in Berlin next year.The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SmallIsland Developing States was a landmark event that recognized theimportance of a systematic effort to help SIDS move towardssustainability. In addition to these negotiations, there are otherthings happening with regard to coastal zone management, marinepollution, toxic chemicals, the ban on the export of hazardouswastes from OECD to non-OECD countries, and the preparations forthe first Conference of the Parties to the Convention on BiologicalDiversity. Nevertheless, there is a sense that the momentum of Riois being lost. Some perceive that there is a lack of implementationon the commitments on finance and technology transfer, and this istrue. In the year after Rio, ODA declined by 10%. He urgedgovernments to demonstrate greater political will and commitment toaction. Desai also highlighted the important role of thenon-governmental community in UNCED follow-up and the work of theCSD.

Hans Corell, Counsel for the UN Office of Legal Affairs,presented two reports, one that deals with the issue of drift-netpelagic fishing and the other with the UN Conference on StraddlingFish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. On the issue ofdrift-net fishing, he said that the report of the SecretaryGeneral, as contained in document A/49/469, is intended as afollow-up on activities inconsistent with General AssemblyResolution 46/215. This document is intended as an implementationreport and will be followed by subsequent annual reviews. In spiteof the resolution, the document shows that drift-net fishing isstill being carried out.

With regard to the Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and HighlyMigratory Fish Stocks, a report of the third and fourth sessions ofthis Conference appears in document A/49/522 and a revisednegotiated text submitted by the Chair, Satya Nandan, is appendedto this report. The new text appears in the form of a "draftagreement" and the issue of the form of the document was discussedat length in the last session of the Conference. While there was noconsensus on the question of the form, it had become the generalfeeling that there needs to be a legally-binding outcome to theConference.

ALGERIA (ON BEHALF OF THE G-77 and CHINA): Mourad Ahmia saidthat it has now been two years since the commitments of Rio andthat the results of the implementation of Agenda 21 have beendisappointing. The principle of common but differentiatedresponsibilities has not been translated concretely, and there havebeen no great signs of new and additional funding and transfer ofenvironmentally-sound technology. The developing countries feelbound by their commitments taken at Rio and they have a hugepolitical interest in the implementation of these measures. TheG-77 is happy that the Framework Convention on Climate Change hasfinally entered into force, but urged the parties to not go furtherthan the original mandate. Distinct categories of parties shouldhave distinct responsibilities and any attempt to undermine thisprinciple through innovative concepts such as that of jointimplementation would have negative repercussions.

GERMANY (ON BEHALF OF THE EU): Dr. Wolfgang Runge said thatthere must be more concrete commitments by the internationalcommunity with regard to sustainable development. The EU also feelsthat the working methods of the CSD must improve -- the CSD needsdialogue instead of debates and an integrated approach to theinterrelated questions of sustainable development. Closecooperation with NGOs and the business community are also of greatimportance. The CSD should be the political motor of sustainabledevelopment. With regard to the Convention to CombatDesertification, the EU feels that the process of elaboratingnational action programmes in developing countries is of thehighest priority and the EU is committed to continuing itsassistance. The EU believes that it will be able to find solutionsto the remaining questions in the Conference on Straddling andHighly Migratory Fish Stocks. The concepts of biological unity ofthe fish stocks concerned and the compatibility of conservation andmanagement measures applicable in areas under national jurisdictionand in the adjacent high seas, as well as effective enforcementprovisions, are crucial elements to protect the stocks for the nextgeneration.

ICELAND: Amb. Ossur Skarphedinsson, on behalf of the Nordiccountries, highlighted the success of the International Conferenceon Population and Development as well as the importance of theSocial Summit, the Women's Conference and Habitat II. Among themost important means to reduce the pressure on the environment areradical changes in the prevailing patterns of consumption andproduction. He also mentioned the importance of promotingsustainable development though trade. Countries must take effectivesteps towards rendering their economic policies conducive tosustainable development and constructive collaboration must beestablished to make trade and environment mutually supportive. TheNordic countries have been following actively the fish stocksConference and believe that, although there are still outstandingissues, a satisfactory solution can be found and the Conference canbe successfully concluded next year. Particular attention shouldalso be paid to the issue of pollution by so-called "persistentorganic pollutants."

ARGENTINA: Ambassador Ral Estrada-Oyuela noted thatalthough progress has been made in sustainable development, lessprogress has been made in the area of financial resources. Thesustainable use of the resources of the high seas and protection ofglobal climate are two issues of particular concern to Argentina.In a world where broad sectors of humanity are deprived of basicsustenance we cannot continue to witness the disorderlyexploitation of the high seas. He urged the international communityto agree on an international legally-binding instrument thatestablishes an effective regime for the preservation of livingresources in the high seas and the interests of coastal States.

With regard to climate change, although much progress has beenmade, additional measures may be needed. The participation of thedeveloping countries in the Convention needs to be clearer -- theonly quantitative commitment is that the developed countries mustreduce emissions to 1990 levels. Progress has been made in definingthe financial mechanism of the Convention. It is important toensure that the Conference of the Parties (COP) is the organ thatsets policies, criteria for eligibility and programme priorities.

MALAYSIA: Amb. Razali Ismail said that the CSD monitorsworldwide progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and is widelyacknowledged as the highest intergovernmental forum for discussingsectoral and cross-sectoral issues relating to sustainabledevelopment. While at the organizational level considerableprogress has been made, much more remains to be done on thesubstantive level. Sustainable development for the South iscontingent upon the provision of new and additional financialresources by the developed North, but so far the US$2 billionreplenishment of the GEF is the only new money available and it isa mere fraction of figures estimated at Rio. The issue of transferof technology also remains plagued. While the North claims that allcountries have a right to share such natural resources as forests,it will not allow the sharing of man-made resources. He alsohighlighted the importance of the participation of women, NGOs andindigenous people.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Wonil Cho expressed satisfaction with theCSD and its year-round intersessional work. He informed theCommittee that the Republic of Korea will be hosting a meeting ofexperts on access to and dissemination of environmentally soundtechnologies from 30 November - 2 December 1994. With regard toclimate change, he expressed regret that even after the 10th INCmeeting no agreements have been made on financial assistance andtechnology transfer and the criteria and method of jointimplementation. With regard to the Conference on Straddling andHighly Migratory Fish Stocks, he stressed the need for the mandateof the Conference to be carried out within the framework of UNCLOS.The Chair's revised draft should reflect greater balance betweenthe positions of coastal and distant water fishing States. Thesections dealing with new participants, compliance and enforcement,port State jurisdiction, and the abuse of rights and enclavesshould be further improved during the upcoming sessions. Heexpressed concern about the issue of arrest and detention bycoastal States and port States. The outcome of the Conferenceshould be the formulation of appropriate recommendations ratherthan a legally-binding instrument.

AUSTRIA: Gerhard Doujak expressed Austria's concern aboutpreserving the spirit of Rio. The Rio Conference laid down amilestone for the implementation of sustainable development. Thesegoals more than ever demand unconditional commitment by allpartners. He thanked the Secretariat for producing its bi-monthly"CSD Update," which makes the intersessional process moretransparent. Austria will continue its initiatives on sustainabledevelopment and international law. With regard to the ClimateChange Convention, commitments must be strengthened. A reduction inCO2 emissions after the year 2000 is necessary to achieve the goalsof the Convention. He appealed to other countries to consideradopting the Toronto Targets.

UNITED STATES: Herman Gallegos said that the US shares theview that review, encouragement and appropriate support at theinternational level for the implementation of Agenda 21 willcontinue to come primarily through the CSD. The last session of theCSD highlighted the need for some improvements in the way itcarries out its work, including: the use of a set of indicators ofsustainable development that would simplify national reporting andfacilitate comparisons; encouraging and facilitating thepreparation and use of national sustainable development strategies;and more effective coordination of the UN system's support for theimplementation of Agenda 21, including recommendations from therecent International Conference on Population and Development andthe upcoming Social Summit, Women's Conference and Habitat II.Intersessional activities should continue to be characterized byfreedom and flexibility. Any effort to restrain or restrictintersessional activity, for example by imposing unnecessarybureaucratic formalities, will be counter-productive. He announcedthat President Clinton will be hosting the Summit of the Americasin Miami, Florida, on 9-10 December, with sustainable developmentas one of the three major themes.

JORDAN: Faris Ammarin said that in the context of theimplementation of Agenda 21, the three components that need to berespected are human integrity, environmental integrity and theprinciple of economic efficiency.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The representative said that on thewhole a great deal has been achieved and the CSD is working well.In this process, a number of major legal instruments have beenharmonized or are already in force. He called on greaterintegration and cooperation between the CSD, ECOSOC, the BrettonWoods institutions and other organizations. He confirmed that theoutcome of the fish stocks Conference should be of a bindingnature.


CANADA: Amb. John Fraser noted that although significantprogress has been made in the two years since UNCED, there is stillgreat distance to go. The Conference on Straddling and HighlyMigratory Fish Stocks has made progress. The tabling of a draftagreement in convention form reflects the consensus to achieve abinding agreement. An effective regime for high seas fisheriesshould include effective conservation management measures,appropriate surveillance and control, and binding disputeresolution mechanisms. To implement the Conventions on ClimateChange and Biological Diversity, Canada is preparing a nationalaction programme on climate change and is organizing a biodiversitytechnology fair.

With regard to the CSD, Canada supports the idea of convening paneldiscussions, the participation of ministers of development andplanning as well as sectoral issue ministers, and greateropportunities for governments and major groups to showcase nationalreports. The 1995 session of the CSD presents the opportunity todefine more clearly what needs to be achieved by 1997. Canadasupports the use of intersessional meetings. He proposed that,where possible, draft texts for the CSD should be prepared inadvance of the session, perhaps shortly after intersessionalmeetings. Last week, Canada and Malaysia played host to theIntergovernmental Working Group on Forests. In March 1995, Canadaand the Philippines will host a meeting on toxic substances. TheCSD needs indicators of success and open and inclusive dialogue.

NEW ZEALAND: John McKinnon said that the objective ofrestoring the environment and sustainable development has notslipped from the international agenda, but the focus must remainsharp in order to make the best use of available resources. Whilethe CSD has inherited the Rio mantle, it is still not really thevoice of the post-Rio world and its functions need to be betterdefined. It should be both an instrument for review of the nationalimplementation of Agenda 21 by individual States and serve the roleof a "clearing house" for further international negotiations. Heemphasized the importance of preparatory work between the annualmeetings of the Commission. He also said that the Climate ChangeConvention needs to be strengthened. He expressed satisfaction withthe work of the Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish StocksConference and concern on the report that drift-net fishing stilltakes place in the Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay.

COLOMBIA: Amb. Julio Londoo said that in Rio it wasrecognized that international cooperation is crucial for reachingthe targets of Agenda 21. There have been various obstacles anduncertainty. The industrialized countries have not fulfilled theircommitments. Some progress has been made at the sectoral level, butthese outstanding achievements could be spoiled if the developedcountries do not remove restrictions on financial and technologicalflows. A favorable international environment is fundamental inorder to move along the sustainable development path. Only ifexternal obstacles preventing a sustained economic reactivation areremoved can the developing countries successfully applyenvironmental protection policies.

MEXICO: The representative said that the CSD has allowed aclose monitoring of the follow-up to UNCED and the progress thathas been made in the various areas. Still there is a great deal todo since the necessary political impetus apparent at the high-levelsegment needs to be translated into concrete international action.An important step was taken by linking the issues of transfer oftechnology and resources to specific themes. With regard tofisheries, he said that the elaboration of a new draft agreementshould be carried out in coordination with the work of the FAO onthe Code for Responsible Fishing.

TUNISIA: Amb. Slaheddine Abdellah stressed the human rightto a sound environment. Tunisia welcomes the adoption of theDesertification Convention. One must recall that the fight againstdesertification requires technical and financial commitments. TheConvention should be a way of mobilizing the potential of affectedcountries. Tunisia and Africa hope for the success of thisConvention to launch a world partnership to stop desertificationthat threatens the ecological balance in the world. In November,Tunisia will host a Conference on Sustainable Development in theMediterranean region. This conference will contribute to a renewedPlan of Action for the Mediterranean.

CHILE: The delegate said that despite past successes, it isstill necessary to make progress on the issues of financialresources and transfer of technology. In this area, no adequateprogress has been made and efforts to that end should include allthe sectors of society, including the private sector. From aninstitutional standpoint, the task of the CSD is to strengthen theresolve of the international community and to retain its democraticand concessional character.

BANGLADESH: The representative said that developingcountries lack the financial resources and technology to implementthe provisions of Agenda 21. Continued and enhanced cooperation andsolidarity are essential to make UNCED follow-up actionssuccessful. The question of finance and the issue of technologytransfer on concessional and preferential terms should receivepriority and the commitments of the international community must beimplemented. The establishment of the CSD is encouraging, butmeasures taken so far have fallen short of commitments. Theintersessional working groups should work effectively and helpimplement Agenda 21. Bangladesh has signed the Convention to CombatDesertification and calls for early implementation of itsprovisions.

CHINA: Yan Yanyi said there is still no sign of improvementwith respect to the various negative factors that seriouslyconstrain the efforts of developing countries to achieve the goalsof economic development and environmental protection. The questionof environment and trade has increasingly become a hot point in thefield of international environment and development. Theenvironmental question should not become a reason to engage inprotectionism. With regard to the Convention on Climate Change,China does not approve of any attempt designed to make thedeveloping countries accept concrete restrictive targets throughamending the convention or carrying out negotiations on newprotocols. With regard to the Conference on Straddling and HighlyMigratory Fish Stocks, China holds that: the work of the Conferenceshould be consistent with UNCLOS; no agreement has been reached onthe form of the final document; developing countries should receivespecial assistance; coordinated and integrated conservation andmanagement measures should be adopted in the entire range of thestocks; more flexibility should be given to the provisions forregional organizations; no unilateral action should be allowed onthe high seas under the pretext of conserving and managing the fishstocks; and there should be greater coordination among UNspecialized agencies to avoid duplication of efforts.

ROMANIA: The representative addressed the issues of nationalimplementation, the CSD and the GEF. He called for both verticalintegration, between the Secretariat and the other organizations,and horizontal integration among the thematic elements. Heexpressed his satisfaction with the work of the CSD and said thatsustainable development should go beyond the Rio agreements andconsist of lasting human development, peace, economic growth,social justice and democracy.

PANAMA: On behalf of the Central American States, thedelegate highlighted the importance of forest development andidentified the rich biodiversity of fauna and flora in this region.The Central American countries believe that the internationalcommunity must meet its financial commitments in order to respondto new urgencies. He also stressed the importance of a freshapproach to sustainable development that takes into account humancharacteristics, new technologies and appropriate productionpatterns.


POLAND: Wojciech Ponikiewski said that the CSD should havethe highest political profile and other ministers, includingministers of finance, should participate in its work. The CSD needsactive dialogue and an integrative approach. Poland hopes that thenew set of guidelines elaborated by the Secretariat will make thepreparation of national reports easier and improve theircomparability. Poland supports the need for indicators, but anysituation leading to simplistic conclusions drawn from suchmeasures will have to be avoided. The GEF budget does not meetexpectations, but if recipient countries prepare good projects theywill, in a way, oblige contributors to increase their pledges.There is also a need for a more focused approach in the sharing ofenvironmentally sound technologies and Poland is ready tocontribute to this endeavor.

TURKEY: Levent Murat Burhan commended the work done by theCSD so far and hoped that a broader perspective has been broughtinto its work on sustainable development. He announced that Turkeywill continue to support the GEF in the amount of about 4 millionSDR. The contracting parties to the Convention for the Protectionof the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution have decided to preparean Agenda 21 for the Mediterranean region. Turkey is also engagedin the preparation of another Agenda 21 with the Central Asianrepublics and Balkan countries. He invited all relatedinternational, financial and other organizations, especially theGEF, UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank, to support these efforts.

BULGARIA: The representative said that he adhered to thegoals and commitments of Agenda 21 but that he shared the view thata lot still remains to be done to achieve the necessary momentum.He said that other aspects of sustainable development should beincorporated, as is the case with the International Conference onPopulation and Development, the Social Summit, the Women'sConference and Habitat II. He supported debt relief initiatives andindicated that his Government had tabled a proposal for a debt fornature swap, which he hoped will be implemented. He called forgreater transfer of resources and capacity building, as well as thetransfer of environmentally sound technology on concessional terms.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Amb. Utula Samana highlighted theimportance of biodiversity in the search for long termsustainability. Biodiversity is and should be treated as a resourceand must be developed. Member States of the South Pacific Forumhave played an active part in the negotiations of the Conference onStraddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks and are also concernedwith the issue of transboundary movement of toxic wastes in theirregion. He said that the South Pacific is the largest nuclear-freezone in the world and he emphasized the importance of regionalefforts and initiatives.

SRI LANKA: Amb. Stanley Kalpage said that Agenda 21 has notbeen fully implemented by the developing countries because theyhave not been supported with means of implementation. Littleprogress has been made with regard to trade and private sectorflows, which are important sources of funding. The CSD could playa leading role in developing a consensus to elaborate rules toensure that international trade is free and fair and an appropriatelinkage between the CSD and the WTO should be established. Effortsto address sustainable development will only be achieved if povertyand unemployment are addressed globally. With regard to theConference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, SriLanka believes that regional organizations, such as the IndianOcean Marine Affairs Cooperation, should be utilized in theimplementation of the new regime in the high seas.

ISRAEL: Amb. Israel Eliashev said that the gap in standardsand capacities between rich and poor, mass poverty and starvationare still greater threats to universal peace and a stronger affrontto human dignity than any threat arising from the admitted neglectof ecological prudence and restraint. He stressed the need toensure that the CSD is an efficient and effective body andsupported the view that within the next CSD session, interestedparties could discuss national experiences in developing andapplying sustainable development strategies. The importance ofadequate funding mechanisms cannot be overemphasized. Technologymust be carefully selected and adapted to the specific needs ofcountries. He invited all countries to join Israel in the ventureof desert research to find practical solutions to desertification.In 1995, Israel and Japan will convene a seminar on land and watermanagement. He hoped peace will embrace neighboring countries sothat resources can be devoted to environment and sustainabledevelopment.

INDONESIA: Marwah Daud Ibrahim noted the importantactivities that have taken place since the Rio Conference. Withregard to the Conference on Straddling and Highly Migratory FishStocks, she supported the draft agreement and said that it shouldserve as a good basis for future negotiations. Indonesia supportsthe convening of two additional sessions in 1995. She regretfullynoted that the issues of financial resources and technologytransfer are still problematic and that much more needs to be doneif the commitments made in Rio are to be met.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Evans King, on behalf of the memberStates of the Caribbean Community, said that they had always urgedfor immediate action with regard to marine living resources on thehigh seas and he highlighted the progress achieved in theStraddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks Conference. UNCLOSprovides a broad legal framework for the conservation of thosespecies and the dual regime established for the Exclusive EconomicZones and the high seas should not be compromised by the process.He highlighted the precautionary principle that is prevalent in thedraft agreement and the acceptable standards for conservation andmanagement measures that are to take into account the bestscientific evidence available. He urged all States to participatein the process so that it reflects a global consensus.

AUSTRALIA: Anastasia Carayanides, on behalf of the SouthPacific Forum (SPF), highlighted the importance of forests,fisheries and climate change. With regard to fisheries, States havea duty to conserve the resources responsibly and Australia welcomesthe emergence of a legally-binding document on the issue ofstraddling and highly migratory fish stocks. Some members of theSPF do not have the resources to engage in protracted negotiationsand yet remain committed to the process. She also said that acohesive regional approach had been facilitated by the SouthPacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). She also expressedconcern at reports that drift-net fishing may be continuing in someparts of the world, although no longer in the South Pacific.

MYANMAR: Amb. U Hla Maung said that UNCED stands as alandmark, but the environmental degradation caused by negligenthuman activities is threatening our very existence on earth and,unless timely action is taken, the future of mankind could be injeopardy. He then highlighted the ways in which policies can beadopted to ensure that both the imperative of environmentalprotection and the opportunity for economic development reinforceeach other. He added that in Myanmar, as in many other countries ofthe region, the source of the problem lies not in industrialdevelopment and unsustainable lifestyles but in under-developmentand poverty. He called on all States to meet their commitments ingood faith.

JAPAN: Amb. Shunji Maruyama noted that it is essential thatthe CSD receive the political support necessary to enable it totackle the major issues in the area of sustainable development. Itmust address the root causes of these problems and express itsviews on controversial issues such as production and consumptionpatterns and trade and development. Environment and trade policiesmust be mutually supportive and the interaction between the CSD,the World Trade Organization, UNCTAD and UNEP is important. It isalso important to have the opportunity to share different nationalexperiences in the implementation of Agenda 21 and it might beuseful to conduct case studies. The CSD's working methods must alsobe improved, including shifting time allocated from general debateto discussion and dialogue. Japan is organizing a number ofintersessional activities to support the work of the CSD, includinga meeting of the working group on Criteria and Indicators forSustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests in November,a meeting of experts on finance in January (co-hosted by Malaysia)and a symposium on integrated management of land and waterresources (co-hosted by Israel).

MICRONESIA: Amb. Yosiwo P. George said that as theinternational community moves from negotiating to implementation ofthe Rio and post-Rio agreements, those nations having possession ofthe resources required to achieve our common goals must not applythose resources grudgingly or with hesitation. With regard to theClimate Change Convention, he noted that the small island Stateshad tabled a proposed protocol to the Convention that would requirespecific reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases bydeveloped countries on a specific timetable. The term "incrementalcosts" still awaits detailed discussion. Micronesia supports theelaboration of a binding legal document as the outcome of theConference on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

BOLIVIA: The representative highlighted the necessity fordeveloping countries to achieve fair and sustainable development.He called on developed States to reach their ODA target of 0.7% ofGNP and called for institutions that are manageable. He alsoemphasized the political dimension of sustainable development anda move to participatory democracy means changing the patterns ofdevelopment, production and consumption alike. He also highlightedthe need to ensure that the most vulnerable States are protected.

BELARUS: The delegate called on the establishment of closerties between the CSD and other regional organizations, such as theUN Economic Commissions. As one of the most environmentallyvulnerable States, Belarus has not been able to carry out all themeasures that it has agreed to, and also must face humanitariancrises and conversion requirements. He then described in greatdetail a proposal that his Government has made to hold a conferenceon the sustainable development of countries with economies intransition.


IRAN: The representative noted that ODA has reached itslowest level since 1983, GEF resources have fallen short ofexpectations and the question of transfer of environmentally soundtechnology on preferential and concessional terms has received onlylip service. The CSD must focus on critical issues and not becomemerely a talk show. Priority should be accorded to strengtheningthe CSD's relationship with the GEF Council. Iran has establisheda high-level committee on sustainable development and a specialcommission on desertification. Iran's ratification of theConventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change is in thefinal stage.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Karel Zebrakovsky said that the CSD has notsucceeded in mobilizing enough political will to generate strongercommitments. The CSD intersessional activities need to be moresystematic and coordinated. Greater cooperation between UNEP andthe CSD is also needed. The Czech Republic is implementing theClimate Change and Biodiversity Conventions, is considering signingthe Convention to Combat Desertification and will support adialogue towards a possible new convention on forests. The CzechRepublic is also hosting a CSD-related workshop on EconomicInstruments for Sustainable Development in Prague in January 1995.

UKRAINE: The representative said that an important step inimproving the work of the CSD is to integrate sectoral and crosssectoral issues. It is also important to link the elaboration ofsectoral agreements and the finances to implement them. He saidthat the proposal made by Belarus to hold a conference on thesustainable development for countries with economies in transitionis an interesting one. Ukraine advocates responsible fishingmanagement on the basis of international agreements and cannotaccept the attempts made in violation of UNCLOS to legalizeunilateral measures and apply them to the high seas.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: On behalf of the 12 countries of theCaribbean Community, Amb. Lionel Hurst focused on the Convention onClimate Change. He urged all countries not party to the Conventionto ratify it before the first Conference of the Parties in March1995. He stressed the dangers posed by sea level rise and climatechange that threaten the very existence of the Caricom States. TheCaricom States, as a subregion and as members of AOSIS, maintainthat the industrialized countries should take significant steps toreduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.These concerns are adequately addressed by the AOSIS draft protocolon greenhouse gas emission reduction, which calls for newcommitments by industrialized parties to reduce the emissions ofgreenhouse gases by at least 20% by the year 2005. Caricom supportsthe G-77 position with regard to joint implementation and the factthat the criterion of co-location of related Secretariats shouldnot be used to decide the final location of the permanentSecretariat. He urged that the debate on the AOSIS draft protocolbegin at the 11th session of the INC, with its subsequent adoptionat the first Conference of Parties.

NEPAL: The representative pointed out the need foradditional. efforts in the areas of finance and technologytransfer. Nepal has ratified the Climate Change and BiodiversityConventions and participated in the negotiation of the Conventionto Combat Desertification. It has set up an environmental policycouncil and is working on a regional action plan.

PAKISTAN: Samiya Waheed Junejo stressed the importance ofthe CSD's decisions on changing consumption and productionpatterns, since the CSD is the only intergovernmental forum dealingwith this issue. In order for the developing countries to realizethe goals of sustainable development, specific policies need to beformulated for a conducive international economic environment. Therecent stress on environmental conditionalities contradicts theprinciples of an open and free multilateral trading system. Whilethe CSD intersessional sectoral meetings have contributed to athorough analysis of some of the Agenda 21 sectoral areas, theyshould not affect the holistic review of Agenda 21.

GUYANA: On behalf of the Caribbean Community, therepresentative expressed concern about declining ODA flows and saidthat the specific nature of the GEF financing scope must beemphasized along with the call for new resources. The GEFreplenishment is a first step at a minimum level. Changingconsumption and production patterns rests with developed countries,but our own societies are confronted with detrimental patterns ofproduction and consumption. Attention should be given to thespecial situation and needs of developing countries, includingeradicating poverty and meeting basic human needs. It is notpremature to begin discussion of the format and scope of thespecial session of the General Assembly to review implementation ofAgenda 21 in 1997.

INDIA: Amb. T. P. Sreenivasan warned against reopening theRio commitments within the context of the Climate ChangeConvention. When speaking of common but differentiatedresponsibilities, developing countries have a scope to increasetheir emissions of greenhouse gases since their development processshould be encouraged rather than retarded. The COP is the supremebody and it is supposed to lay down programme priorities, but thereis still a lack of clarity on several concepts in the Convention,including full incremental costs, joint implementation and transferof technology. The developed countries have to bring about thepolitical will to implement this Convention. Following thesubmission of the draft protocol by AOSIS, India recognizes theneed to address the problem but this is not the time to strengthenthe commitments beyond the year 2000. If we start negotiations nowon a new protocol without a fundamental basis to implement theexisting Convention, the protocol may become a distraction.

VENEZUELA: The representative highlighted the extent of theprogress that has been achieved in the short time since Rio,particularly the Conference on the Sustainable Development of SmallIsland Developing States, the Convention to Combat Desertificationand the entry into force of the Conventions on Biodiversity andClimate Change. The CSD must be the intergovernmental forum wheredecisions are taken and, so far, the general speeches have takentoo much time and have not left enough room for actualnegotiations. It is not enough to have merely a reiteration of theobjectives of Agenda 21.

NAMIBIA: The delegate said that sustainable development isa global concern that should be addressed with global action. Thedelegate described the plans that Namibia has implemented toachieve sustainable development and also called for financialcommitments to be implemented. She highlighted the importance ofthe Women's Conference and Habitat II, since sustainabledevelopment is impossible to achieve amidst exclusion. With regardto the fish stocks Conference, she said that although theestablishment of an effective high seas regime is important, theinterests of small coastal States must not be compromised in theprocess.

URUGUAY: The representative said that just because theproblems are stated does not mean that they are solved. Uruguay hastaken a number of measures to implement the recommendations ofAgenda 21, but climate change is a global problem and it should beaddressed by the international community as a whole.

BRAZIL: Amb. Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg said that Brazilcontinues to support the strengthening of the role of the CSD,although it has not reached most of the targets established. Hesaid he was happy with the conclusion of the DesertificationConvention, although it fell short of some legitimate concerns ofAfrican States. It is the symbol of an awakening, but its successwill depend on the credibility of the international community,particularly when the ODA targets are attained and transfer ofresources and technology are implemented. Unilateral trade measuresto protect the environment will jeopardize sustainable development.

KENYA: C. M. Kang'e expressed concern over the lack ofimplementation of Agenda 21. Despite limited financial andtechnical resources, Kenya has set up a National EnvironmentalAction Plan, embarked on a review of environmental legislation andintegrated environmental considerations into overall nationaldevelopment plans. UNEP headquarters in Nairobi should not beweakened as a result of strengthening UNEP's regional offices.


On Thursday morning, the Chair of the Commission on SustainableDevelopment, Klaus T”pfer, reported on the work of the CSD. Hehighlighted the central points of the 14 decisions taken by theCommission at its second session in May 1994 on such issues asfinance, transfer of environmentally sound technology, trade andenvironment, and changing production and consumption patterns. Hethen proceeded to list a number of ways in which the work of theCommission can be improved:

  • Greater weight must be given to the political profile of the Commission.
  • The intersessional period must be used intensively to implement the decisions of the second session and prepare for the third.
  • The CSD will only be successful if it makes progress in the cross-sectoral issues of particular importance, namely finance, technology, trade and environment and consumption and production patterns.
  • The next session of the CSD must be in a position to decide as clearly and concretely as possible what needs to be done in a global perspective in order to enhance the implementation of the Forest Principles and Chapter 11 of Agenda 21.
  • National experiences must be incorporated into the work of the CSD.
  • The development of indicators for sustainable development must be discussed at the next session.
  • The CSD must continue to expand its contacts with other bodies inside and outside the UN system.
  • All major groups must continue to be involved in the work of the CSD.


On Friday morning the Vice-Chair and Rapporteur of the High-LevelAdvisory Board on Sustainable Development gave an informal briefingon their work. The High Level Advisory Board was created in July1993 to act as an independent body of advisors to theSecretary-General and through him to the UN System. The board metin September 1993 and March 1994 and submitted a report to thesecond session of the CSD. This week the Advisory Board held itsthird session and focused on the following topics: sustainable foodsecurity; trade and environment; capacity building; and forgingalliances between the UN system, governments and other actors(NGOS, science and industry) in the field of sustainabledevelopment. During its meeting, the Advisory Board met with theCSD Bureau, UNDP Administrator Gus Speth, Paul Kennedy, who isworking on the reform of UN System, and UN Secretary-GeneralBoutros Boutros-Ghali. The Advisory Board does not intend toproduce a comprehensive review but rather a critical analysis ofcertain aspects related to sustainable development.