The adoption of Agenda 21 during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) also known as the “Rio Earth Summit” in June 1992, has called the creation of the Commission on Sustainable Development. The Commission was established to ensure the effective follow-up of the UNCED as well as review the progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the local, national and international levels. The CSD serves as a functional Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and has 53 member states and annually elects a bureau consisting of a Chair and Vice-Chairs.
The Commission held its first session in June 1993 and has convened annually since then at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA. It was during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 at Johannesburg, South Africa where two important documents were adopted that served as framework for action to implement the commitments to sustainable development: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration. The summit in Africa has called the Commission to meet in seven two-year “implementation cycles” as well as a multi- year programme of work for 2004- 2017.
For this year, the CSD is on its policy session of the fourth implementation cycle that focused on the following thematic clusters: Chemicals, Mining, Transport, Waste Management and the 10- Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Building from the results of CSD 18 that reviewed the barriers and constraints on the implementation of commitments under these clusters, the CSD 19 aimed to identify policy recommendations and measures based on the results of the review session.
CSD 19 Chair Laszlo Borbely, Minister of Environment and Forests from Romania, opened the session and stressed the importance of identifying concrete policy options, commitment and the means of implementation to enhance further the linkages between key elements of the session’s thematic clusters. Mr. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, underscored the significance of deciding on the Commission’s role in the institutional framework in preparation for the Rio+20 Conference in 2012.The Chair also mentioned the nominations of CSD 19 Bureau Vice-Chairs Mr. Eduardo Meñez of the Philippines for the Asia Group and Mr. Abdhelgani representing Algeria who were elected by acclamation while the Vice-Chair from Panama, Mr. Silvano Vergara Vásquez served as Rapporteur. Right after the election of the Bureau officials, adoption of the agenda and organization of work was conducted. This was followed by the delivery of Statements by politics groups and other stakeholders which consisted of their general comments on the Chair’s Draft Negotiating Text.
The Group of 77 and China (G77/China) led by Argentina emphasized the role of transport in the achievement of sustainable development and the need for a sound management of hazardous and toxic chemicals and wastes. Majority of the Statements delivered by political groups conveyed their support for the establishment of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on the Sustainable Consumption and Production. G77/China and European Union supported the approval of the 10YFP for 2011-2021 and stressed that the adequacy of the financial resources will be critical for the creation and execution of the provisions of the Framework. The same sentiment was shared by Nigeria as they underscored the need for identifying the means of implementation for the 10YFP. The Rio Group, led by Chile stressed that the development of the 10YFP should highly consider the concerns of the developing countries and should veer away from any conditionality or trade protectionism. The statements made by the group of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) emphasized the need for a framework for SCP that is forward looking, flexible and will highly consider the needs of their group.
From the group of the developed countries, US highlighted the vital role of scientific research and education and the participation of various groups especially women. However, US made a clear and strong statement that their country is not in the position of making new commitments given the budgetary cutbacks they are presently experiencing. Switzerland put forward the polluter pay and the precautionary principle and highlight that the 10 YFP shall pursue synergies among countries.
Other delegates from the Major Groups shared their priority policies that they wanted to pursue in the Session. Women called for a legally binding guideline on social and environmental responsibility while the Children and Youth called for financial mechanisms that support equity, integrity and justice. Indigenous Peoples emphasized the importance of addressing the life-cycle of unsustainable mineral production and consumption while the NGOs called for ensuring their full participation in the 10YFP. The group of Workers and Trade Unions underscored the need for the inclusion of trade unions in the Chair’s negotiating text. Business and Industry supported an institutional framework that allows markets to work for sustainable development. The Scientific and Technological Community highlighted the importance of global cooperation for scientific knowledge dissemination while the group of Farmers emphasized the need to address food wastes.
The draft Chair’s Text, which emerged from the CSD 19 Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting held last 28 February to 04 March 2011, served as the negotiating document throughout the policy session. The Working Group 1 was facilitated by Vice- Chairs Silvano Vergara Vásquez and Eduardo Meñez and tackled thematic clusters on Chemicals, Transport, Mining including the issues of interlinkages (IL) and cross-cutting issues (CCI), including means of implementation (MOI). Mr. Meñez was replaced by Director Yvette Banzon-Abalos from DFA-UNIO as facilitator during the second week of the session. Working Group 2 was facilitated by Vice-Chairs Andrew Goledzinowski and Abdelghani Merabet that focused thematic clusters on 10YFP on SCP, waste management and the preamble.
Highlights of the negotiations per thematic cluster and issues are presented below:
Financial resource was a critical issue during negotiations on the Preamble. Japan proposed changing “new and additional” to “adequate” financial resource while the G-77/China suggested a provision in the text that will strengthen the essential role of ODA in complementing and sustaining financing for development in developing countries. The G-77/China called for the deletion of a paragraph on the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, and suggested adding “on favorable terms” after “transfer of technology.” The US on the other hand preferred “on mutually agreed terms.”
The G-77/China suggested reference in the text that will include removing the obstacles to the full realization of the rights of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which was strongly opposed by the US, Canada, EU and Japan. Further, G-77/China called for a language with reference to paragraph 15 of the JPOI highlighting all countries should take action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the Rio principles, on common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, which were rejected by the developed countries such as EU, US and Canada. Other agreements on the Preamble of the final text are enumerated below:
- Reaffirm that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development;
- Recall the chemicals and wastes-related multilateral environmental agreements, including the Basel Convention, the Rotterdam Convention and the Stockholm Convention, and highlight the positive effects of synergistic initiatives among the conventions related to chemicals and waste and bear in mind the potential further to enhance coordination and cooperation of instruments and frameworks in the chemicals and wastes cluster;
- Note the need to strengthen implementation of relevant international conventions and agreements on waste management, especially the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal and the MARPOL Convention; and
- Stress that fighting corruption at both the national and international levels is a priority.
However, these agreements were not adopted by the Commission as the delegates did not reach any consensus on some provisions of the text.
The delegates agreed that sustainable transport is a key component to attain sustainable development and economic growth and the increasing challenges under this sector must be addressed. No outstanding disagreement was found in the transport portion of the text. The following were the resulting policy recommendations, however, these policy options were not adopted by the Commission:
- Encourage the provision of basic rural transport infrastructure and services to enhance poverty eradication and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
- Optimize the transport infrastructure and enhance sustainability and promote transport technology and systems innovation;
- Reduce air pollution from the transport sector by improving fuel quality, promoting vehicle fuel economy and emission standards;
- Provide transportation choices that improve access to better jobs, educational facilities, health care, and markets;
- Improve public transportation systems and transportation choices through, inter alia, integrated land use planning, in ways that link communities and facilitate access to jobs, markets and social services;
- Create an enabling environment for sustainable transport;
- Highlight the opportunity for developing countries to nominate sustainable transport as a priority in requests for development assistance, while recognizing the importance of financial institutions to assist in this endeavor;
- Encourage the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency and advanced energy technologie;
- Ensure stakeholder participation;
- Consider enhancing bus rapid transit, metro and light rail systems;
- Promote public-private partnerships to contribute to the construction and operation of transport systems;
- Employ integrated transportation, housing, and economic development planning that takes into account the circumstances of the location and community to reduce vehicle miles traveled;
- Promote greater use of railways and inland waterways; and
- Highlight the role of regional and international financial institutions in providing financial support to developing countries.
For this thematic cluster, G-77/China noted the need for an increased financial, technical and capacity-building support for chemicals management and highlighted the importance of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. EU stressed the role of chemicals in achieving the MDGs and in transitioning to a green economy. Switzerland emphasized the need to include other chemicals processes, including relevant partnership initiatives.
Provisions of the text with disagreements are those with reference to “green economy”; how to include the need for multinational corporations to “maintain the same standards” in developing countries; and linking text on strengthening national legislation with text referring to the Rio principles. Further, majority of the delegates agreed that sound management of chemicals is an important component to attain the MDGs. The chemical’s MOI was an outstanding issue as some proposed the MOI to be relocated under the main MOI text as supported by the group of developed countries, such as US, Switzerland, the EU and Japan while G-77/China preferred it to be retained in the chemicals section. There was no consensus on how to approach MOI which resulted in the deadlock of the negotiations. The G-77/China also suggested that financing should be “adequate, predictable, accessible, sustainable, new and additional,” which the US did not support. However, an impasse between the US and the G-77/China on the final placement of finance language prevented the adoption of the agreement. With no consensus on the following issues, policy options for Chemicals were not adopted:
- Retaining MOI in the chemicals text, particularly references to financing;
- Incorporating SAICM in UNEP’s consultative process on chemicals financing;
- Retaining specific reference to the MDGs on poverty eradication and environmental sustainability, and to the precautionary and polluter pays principles;
- Green economy;
- The role of the private sector for implementation and sustainable, long-term funding for sound chemicals management; and
- Whether finance is “predictable” or “reliable.”
There was no agreement reached in this thematic cluster since there were outstanding issues left unresolved leaving the non adoption of the text. The US tried to incorporate references to materials management in the text but was rejected by G77/China and the EU. US delegates also recommended to highlight the SCP patterns as an important element of waste management and also suggested reference to the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. The G77/China proposed the language on the implementation of the Ban Amendment under the Basel Convention pertaining to the improvement of the waste management infrastructure and technology which was not supported by US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Japan proposed the need for a legislative framework for the promotion of the 3Rs while EU suggested referenced on lifecycle thinking and eco-design. EU and Japan called for language on indicators and targets on the implementation of waste policies and strategies while a public participation in policy development and implementation was emphasized by the US.
The following were some of the agreed recommendations of the delegates but were not adopted by the CSD.
- Encourage, as appropriate, the use of national goals, targets and indicators, and the establishment of waste inventories;
- Promote the development and use of instruments, including plans, policies and strategies for waste management and infrastructure;
- Address the social and poverty issues related to informal waste management;
- Reduce the amounts of waste disposed of in landfills;
- Strengthen implementation of relevant international conventions and agreements on waste management, and strengthen the enforcement of the Basel Convention;
- Strengthen regional mechanisms to support multilateral agreements on waste, such as the Basel and Stockholm Convention regional centres;
- Carry out waste management with a lifecycle perspective;
- Encourage the use of extended producer responsibility, and the development of sustainable product policies, product lifecycle information, and the manufacturing of products that are easily reusable and recyclable;
- Encourage the use of economic instruments;
- Promote waste minimization, reuse and recycling as part of corporate social and environmental responsibility;
- Strengthen the dissemination and application of the Basel Convention technical guidelines on environmentally sound waste management;
- Consider approaches for identifying and managing specific waste streams such as plastics, construction and demolition waste, end-of-life vehicles, healthcare waste, e-waste, as well as pesticide containers;
- Increase efforts to collect, treat and increase safe recycling of “e-waste or electrical and electronic end-of-life equipment” and cooperate to address the growing problem of e-waste dumps, in particular in developing countries, including through existing mechanisms;
- Encourage the development of guidelines and other policies and strategies to address biodegradable wastes, including reducing their quantities in landfills; and
- Encourage the development of clearly defined effective actions to be taken by the Global Partnership on Waste Management, and the International Partnership for Expanding Waste Management Services of Local Authorities, as well as improve cooperation among existing partnerships.
Furthermore, there was a bottleneck on the following critical issues that led to non adoption of the text on waste management:
- Reference to the Executive Director with regard to UNEP’s consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes;
- Provision of adequate capacity building and resources, and support for technology access and transfer to prevent, minimize, reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and dispose of wastes in an environmentally sound manner; and
- On the provision of “new and additional” financial resources for developing countries to build environmentally sound waste management, infrastructure and technology, to raise awareness and to develop educational programs on waste management.
Although there were no outstanding areas of disagreement under this theme, several issues led to impasse and delegate did not agree on the following provisions of the text on mining: support to build capacity for industrialization of “developing” or “producing” countries to use their natural resources; sovereign right to national resource exploitation; and language regarding the “fair” distribution, derivation or scale of benefits. Further, the EU suggested deleting the G-77/China’s proposal on the fundamental role of states and “in accordance with national law and legislation.” The G-77/China emphasized its objections to encroachments on the sovereign rights of states.
The second week of the session, Director Yvette Banzon-Abalos of DFA-UNIO acted as Vice Chair and facilitated final readings of the mining text. G-77/China suggested that language on mercury should be located under text on chemicals while EU,US Australia and the Russian Federation preferred to retain in the section on mining. The working Group also focused on the text on legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks.
At the end of the negotiations, delegates agreed that mining and metals are “essential for modern living” and that countries have the “sovereign right to develop their mineral resources according to their national priorities,” and referred to mining’s role in reducing poverty and meeting the MDGs and noted that the sector is consistent with the Rio principles on sustainable development.
The following were the additional agreements identified by the delegates but were not adopted by the CSD:
- Create links between mining and other economic, social, and environmental sectors and promote benefits to communities;
- Develop comprehensive legal and regulatory frameworks and policies to promote sustainable mining and address potential negative social and environmental impacts;
- Foster provision of financial, technical and capacity-building support to developing countries and countries with economies in transition;
- Regulate mining activities, taking into account the impact of mining on biodiversity, water resources, and cultural heritage sites;
- Promote and protect the rights of local and indigenous communities, respect for their land rights, and promote the participation by Major Groups, local and indigenous communities, youth and women and other relevant stakeholders; and
- Improve governance by recognizing the work of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals, and Sustainable Development (IGF), including its Policy Framework for the mining sector.
10 YFP ON SCP
On the promotion of SCP, delegates from the G77/China group proposed the language that has reference “with the developed countries taking the lead while respecting their international commitments” but this was rejected by EU and US. G77/China also proposed that UNEP to serve as the Secretariat for the 10YFP while Australia suggested the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs for that position. The establishment of a trust fund was proposed by G77/China while other delegates wanted to tap the private sector to generate resources needed for the implementation of the 10YFP.
The G77/China noted the significance of having new and additional financial resources, transfer of technology on favorable terms and capacity building while US preferred language, “voluntary financial resources, transfer of and access to environmentally sound technologies on mutually agreed terms, and capacity building.”
G-77/China proposed to analyze the root causes of the current unsustainable consumption patterns and establishing concrete measures for changing them but were opposed by the US, Japan and EU. Further, US also rejected the G77/China’s proposal on having a universal, rules-based and equitable multilateral trading system.
The Working Group on SCP had the following policy recommendations, though there was no outstanding issues emerged under this theme, these recommendations were not adopted by the CSD.
- Establish a 10YFP on SCP covering the period 2011-2021, based on Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration and the JPOI;
- Request UNEP to serve, within its current mandate, as the 10YFP Secretariat wherein the Secretariat will maintain a list of all programmes, projects and initiatives under the 10YFP as a living document, to be updated regularly as new programmes, projects and initiatives join;
- All countries should promote SCP patterns, with the developed countries taking the lead and with all countries benefiting from the process, taking into account the Rio Principles, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities
- Establish a small board that will promote the 10YFP, guide the Secretariat, and assist the Secretariat in securing funding for SCP;
- Invite national governments and other stakeholders to designate SCP focal points for engagement with the 10YFP;
- Invite UNEP to establish a trust fund for SCP programmes to mobilize voluntary contributions from multiple sources, including public/donor contributions, the private sector and other sources including foundations; and
- Encourage governments, and other institutions and stakeholders to provide support for the implementation of the 10YFP
INTER-LINKAGES AND CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES, AND MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION
The following were the agreed policy recommendations:
- Accelerate convergence among the three pillars of sustainable development;
- Strengthen capacity building, promote technology transfer, the scientific base and exchange of information and knowledge to developing countries;
- Provide means of implementation critical for implementing global, regional and national policies in various areas, including the thematic areas of this cycle;
- Improve funding and strengthen public health systems;
- Consider that innovative financing mechanisms can make a positive contribution in assisting developing countries to mobilize additional resources for financing for development on a voluntary basis;
- Strengthen efficient and effective use and delivery of existing resources and sources of funding to address the increased needs of developing countries;
- Request the United Nations system and invite multilateral and development institutions, and the regional banks, within their mandates, to enhance their assistance;
- Call for the fulfillment of all ODA commitments;
- Call for the international community and the private sector to accelerate measures to Facilitate the development, transfer and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies, on mutually agreed terms, to developing countries, as appropriate;
- Strengthen human resources and institutional capacities;
- Collectively commit to raise awareness of the significance of education for sustainable development;
- Support a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system; and
- Support the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the Mauritius Strategy for the Implementation of the BPOA.
Delegates agreed that the five themes are interlinked and must be addressed in an integrated and coherent manner to improve implementation and taking into account the three pillars of sustainable development and legal frameworks while emphasizing that poverty and hunger eradication as an overarching objective. However there was no consensus on how to proceed on the following outstanding issues which resulted to the non adoption of the text on IL, CCI and MOI:
- G77/China proposed the provision of technology on “concessional” terms, but was not supported by the US;
- good governance which was supported by the US, EU, Japan, Canada and others;
- mention of specific groups of country recipients (least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and others);
- green economy (later changed to “transition to a cleaner and more resource-efficient economy”);
- fulfillment of all ODA commitments, including those adopted at the G-8 Glen Eagles Summit; and
- the rights of people living under colonial and foreign occupation as proposed by G77/China but rejected by the US
The High-Level Segment was formally opened by Chair Laszlo Borbely on 11 May 2011 held at General Assembly Hall. The Chair called for finding concrete solutions to address issues under each themes. UN Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang emphasized the need to have concerted efforts to finalize the negotiations and launch the 10YFP which will be a vital contribution for the Rio+20. Other well-known development practitioners were also invited to deliver statement during the LHS. Mr. Ashok Khosla, IUCN President, mentioned that Rio+20 needs to assess the unfulfilled commitments while Mr. Jeffrey Sachs of Earth Institute stressed that a technological roadmap is required to achieve sustainable development. He also called for a global carbon levy and regional cooperation as global institutions seemed slow to fulfill their commitments. NEDA Deputy Director- General Margarita R. Songco delivered the country statement where she accentuated the need for a stronger political commitment and international cooperation to pursue an enabling environment to address the challenges that threaten progress in sustainable development and an enhanced innovative partnerships and collaborations that will respond to the needs of developing countries. (ANNEX 1). On the other hand, Argentina for the G77/China emphasized the need for the following: transportation improvements for poverty eradication; multinational industries to use the same environmental and health standards when based in developing countries; hazardous waste inventories and bioremediation technologies; developed countries to take the lead in the implementation of the 10YFP; and broadening stakeholder participation in mining policy.
Further, majority of the ministers and heads of delegations talked about the following critical issues: importance of SCP, means of implementation, the role of transport in poverty eradication, green economy; good governance; and access to financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building.
Ministerial Roundtable on Developing Programmes and a Framework to Accelerate the Shift Towards SCP:
The Ministerial Roundtable on SCP was held on 12 May 2011 and was facilitated by Paul Magnette of the Ministry of Climate and Energy from Belgium, and NEDA DDG and Co-Head of Philippine Delegation Margarita R. Songco.
Several country positions were delivered by various ministers/ head of delegations conveying policy options on how to expedite the progress and move forward towards sustainable consumption and production. Mr. Mohan Munasinghe of Sri Lanka underscored the concept of “Millennium Consumption Goals” and highlight that cultural changes are needed to provide direction towards sustainable development. The Executive Director of UNEP called for a clear direction on the 10YFP to move forward initiatives on SD. Ministers showed their support on the establishment of the 10YFP, list of programmes in the text with reference to the Marrakech process, and UNEP as the identified Secretariat.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) emphasized the need to shift towards SCP or green economy to achieve energy and food security for developing countries. The UN World Tourism Organization highlighted the role of tourism in SCP while a representative of Children and Youth said that the 10YFP should be able to translate words into actions and the NGOs called for multistakeholder partnership in pursuing SCP.
Further, the Ministers highlight the following policy recommendations:
- Efficient institutional structures for its implementation;
- mobilizing financial and technical resources;
- green economy;
- decoupling economic growth from ecological degradation;
- closer cooperation among all relevant stakeholders; and transparency and mainstreaming SCP into planning and reporting.
- establishing regional centers to disseminate information and knowledge.
- adoption of the UN Green Economy Roadmap at Rio+20 with benchmarks and a monitoring system
- shifting towards SCP to achieve energy and food security for developing countries
- role of tourism in SCP
Ministerial Dialogue on Moving Towards Sustainable Development: Expectations From Rio+20
On 13 May, Chair Borbély opened the Ministerial Dialogue that tackled discussions on expectation from the Rio+20. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon emphasized the need for a strong 10YFP would be an important contribution for the Rio+20 as viewed as a significant venue for discussion on sustainable development that would require assessment of the unfinished commitments from the Rio Earth Summit. He also stressed that green economy will play a vital role to attain MDG targets.
South Africa shared that global crises have impede the progress on achieving the goals of the JPOI and MDGs. G77/China highlighted that all of the session’s themes, especially the SCP are correlated with the two themes of the Rio+20, and emphasized their support and cooperation for the succeeding negotiations to advance our progress especially towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. The host of next year’s Rio+20, Brazil, stressed that their country will ensure that the conference will “make a difference” and will highly encourage participation of the member states and various stakeholders not just to assess of the past commitments but also will look into the lessons learned as well as the better future that everyone wants to build. Brazil suggested that the unimplemented decisions during the UNCED and the WSSD should be considered in negotiations while the US mentioned that the conference must include practical and concrete solutions. Other delegates called for strengthening the Rio Principles, the inclusion of critical issues such as poverty and inequity and called for strengthening the Rio+20 preparations.
ESCAP shared that they are preparing a green growth road map as input for the Rio+20 Conference while the UNDP said that the Conference should strengthen the institutions concerning the three pillars of sustainable development. The NGOs underscored the importance of involving the CSOs in the Rio+20 process while the Business and Industry emphasized that the conference should be a catalyst for change while delegates from the Science and Technology Community assured of their active participation for the Rio+20.
The following were the policy recommendations raised by the delegates on governance and institutions:
- Strengthening the role of UNEP at the global level, strong governance at the national and regional levels and strengthening international architecture for sustainable development.
- Promotion of a flexible structure that will promote synergy, accountability and transparency and improve global governance.
- Strengthening of ECOSOC’s role on sustainable development and improving the functioning of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
- Strengthening of existing institutions rather than creating new ones.
- Enhance coordination and collaboration of the institutional framework in the implementation of the JPOI targets
Other delegates also showed their support on green economy as a driving force for achieving sustainable development and for poverty alleviation. Other delegates hoped that the Rio+20 will be a venue on the development of green economy which will provide preferential treatment for developing countries in terms of technology transfer, intellectual property rights, market access. Further the green economy should call for greening nature, money and profit.
Key issues/recommendations raised by the delegates on green economy:
- The right regulatory and market conditions must be to achieve an inclusive green economy (e.g. use of fiscal incentives, removal of harmful subsidies, improved access to finance, improve involvement of the private sector and other stakeholders)
- Adoption of UN Green Economy Roadmap that will consist of actions and a timetable for implementations, targets and indicators
- Green economy must not be used as a pretext for creating trade barriers and may also consider the notion of the blue-green” economy
- Green economy has not been clearly defined, thus the need for cost-benefit and possible risks.
- Green economy as an imperialist approach of green capitalism
- The important role of the manufacturing sector in implementing green economy and eradicating poverty, and introduced its Green Industry Initiative.
- Green economy is needed to help achieve equity and justice, and highlighted creation of green jobs, climate change, food, energy and unemployment.
Deputy Director-General Margarita R. Songco, Co-Head of the Philippine Delegation, delivered the country statement where she highlighted that the session should be a take off point for the most ambitious degree of political commitment and international cooperation to pursue an enabling environment, both at the national and international levels to address the challenges that threaten progress in sustainable development. She also emphasized that sustainable development will require an enhanced innovative partnerships and collaborations that will respond to the needs of developing countries.
For the two-week session, the PhilDel attended parallel negotiations of the Working Groups that dealt with the policy discussions on five thematic clusters including MOI/IL/CCI. The delegates had the access to actual discussion and negotiations. Members of the Philippine delegation also attended briefings/meetings of the G77/China group that served as venue to facilitate further discussions among members of the group on outstanding issues identified in the negotiating document and help build and strengthen G77/China position prior to actual negotiations in the plenary. The Philippines specifically requested the G77 to bring back the language on FPIC in the Text which was supported by other G77 members (e.g Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nigeria). Further, there was an indirect support from Saudi Arabia on Philippines’ proposal on FPIC, while South Africa rejected the proposal due to political dynamics in their home countries. On mining, the Philippine delegation pushed for the deletion of specific provisions that made references on the access of raw materials by developed countries and on the free and unimpeded trade of mineral resources. Philippines requested G77 to change all references to “responsible mining that complies with sustainable development principles but not accepted by all members of the G77/China group since according to them JPOI mentioned sustainable mining.
A bilateral meeting between the Republic of Korea and the Philippines was held on 13 May 2011. Deputy Environment Minister Jongsoo Yoon of Korea met with NEDA Deputy Director-General Margarita R. Songco to solicit support for Korea’s vying to host the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP-18) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2012. The Minister mentioned that the bilateral relations of Korea and Philippines, have been meaningful and contributed to beneficial partnership and also mentioned of their appreciation of Filipino workers’ competitiveness. With regards to the COP-18, the Minister stressed that Korea has the ample capacity to host the said event but would need to lobby for support from other Asian countries such as the Philippines. DDG Songco responded that while the two countries maintain its bilateral engagements, the Philippine government highly encourage a participatory process where position of concerned agencies/authorities from the Capital must be solicited prior to any direct communication on who to support (Korea or Qatar) for hosting the next year’s COP-18. The Korean officials thanked DDG Songco and other delegation from the Philippines for responding to the brief bilateral meeting with high hope that their lobbying tactics, they will be able to consolidate enough support to Korea for the COP-18 summit.
Elected Bureau for the CSD 20
Election for the CSD 20 Bureau was led by Chair Borbély on 13 May 2011. Mazhit Turmagambetov, Vice-Minister of Environmental Protection from Kazakhstan, was elected by acclamation as the new Chair while Bosiljka Vukovic from Montenegro was elected as additional Bureau member. It was agreed that other Bureau members will be elected at a subsequent meeting as other regional groups had not yet agreed on nominations.
Outcome of CSD 19
Several plenary meetings were convened in an attempt to adopt the outcome document. The Chair noted that there were outstanding issues on Chemicals, MOI and waste management that led to deadlock of the negotiations and resulted to the non adoption of the Chair’s text. In an effort to win approval of the delegates, the Chair prepared and presented the package text reflecting his proposed compromise on outstanding issues and suggested the approval of the Text. There was no consensus reached that resulted to the non adoption of the outcome document. Critical issues that led to this deadlock were the following:
Some aspects of the final text was not supported/agreed, thus the group do not accept the text
- The text should include reference on foreign occupation, and removing reference to the “transition to a cleaner and more resource-efficient economy,” which had replaced reference to “green economy,” but which the group characterized as “undefined.”
- Missing references to adequate and reliable funding and technology transfer, or to new and additional funding.
- US and EU
Refuse to open the document on the proposed the amendment by the G77/China
- Japan and Canasa supported the package text
- Arab Group
Sudan was disappointed as the package did not include reference to the plight of peoples under foreign occupation thus their group rejected the text’s adoption.
- Syria and Egypt referenced similar language on foreign occupation in other outcome documents which is a crucial concern for the Palestine. According to them this issue was agreed on at UNCED, the WSSD, and CSD 17.
- Saudi Arabia refused the adoption of the text since the MOI has no reference to “additional funding”.
Three Critical Issues:
1. Peoples’ rights in occupied territories.
The package proposed contained language on “removing obstacles” to realizing “rights of peoples living under foreign occupation,” which, according to the Arab Group very weak and prefereef the language from CSD 17 on “the rights peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and which must be combated and eliminated.”
2. Transitioning to a cleaner and more resource-efficient economy; and
The phrase was a compromise language replacing “green economy,” the G-77/China felt that this term was as undefined and ambiguous as the green economy.
3. Means of implementation.
The G-77/China preferred to keep MOI under each individual thematic section aside from keeping a separate section of its own, while the US and others preferred to move all elements of MOI into a separate section of its own to avoid duplication.
The Chair had several attempts to encourage the delegates to reach consensus and suggested that a resumed negotiations at a later date may be explored. However, the UN Division for Sustainable Development could not make any clear commitment on possible financing support for the delegates from the developing countries who would want to participate for the proposed meeting. There was a quorum count at 8:30am of 14 May 2011, but did not reach the required number for a quorum (only 23 delegations of the 53 members remained). Given this, the Chair did not call for a resumed session of the Commission and just leave the text as it is, with hope that there will still be a venue to reach consensus in other sustainable development work. Without consensus and failure to adopt the outcome document the Chair moved to close the session at 8:52 of 14 May 2011.
The failure of the CSD 19 might question now the Commission as a functional institution that has the responsibility of reviewing the progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and provide policy guidance. The result of the session led to reservations on the Commission’s ability to prepare for the Rio+20 in 2012. Many doubt of its capacity to facilitate and lead other countries on addressing critical development issues affecting our progress on sustainable development. Possibilities of being restructured or abolished or replaced by a more competent international agency who can perform better on SD issues may be considered
It may be high time to assess the past performance of the Commission and its possible impact on tackling two critical themes of the upcoming Rio+2o Conference: (a) the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development. The existing process or methods being adopted by the Commission may need to be revisited and incorporate more interactions and mechanisms that would increase the interest and participation of the ministers involved in the tree pillars of SD.
Most of the sessions of the CSD were participated by delegations/representatives from the environment ministries/department of the member states which may result to giving more emphasis on the environment aspect/ pillar of SD. The ministerial RTD on SCP was mostly attended by environment ministries rather than ministries of industry and commerce while the ministerial RTD on mining and transport were not attended by the responsible officials/representatives for these themes.
Lack of substantive follow-up on past CSD sessions’ recommendations since there was no clear mechanisms of reviewing past agreements or decisions of the Commission and ensuring the implementation of the commitments at the national level of the member states.
Recommendation on Philippine Participation
1. Strengthen preparations for the country’s participation in international negotiations. Preparatory work should include series of discussions with the Philippine delegation, DFA, in coordination with the Philippine Mission to the United Nations to prepare for the complexities/dynamics of international negotiations and how to build stronger positions of the Philippines especially on contentious issues during the actual negotiations.
2. Strengthen coordination with the PCSD and DFA on identification of representatives from concerned agencies and institutions as official delegates of the country in internationsl conferences/meetings. It is suggested to establish a clearer criteria, authority and process on pooling delegates that will represent the Philippines in international negotiations on sustainable development.
Rio +20 Preparations
1. The result of CSD 19, may contribute for the assessment as well as identification of the appropriate institutional framework for sustainable development as one of the critical themes of the Rio+20 Conference. Building from the result of the CSD 19, the PCSD may undertake a review and assessment of the current mandate of the Commission as well as other international, regional and national entities currently involved on SD policy making process.
2. Continuous coordination and strengthen partnership of the PCSD with DFA, together with other organizations and institutions in preparation for the Rio+20 Conference to generate the required inputs for the development of the Philippine Rio+20 Report containing the: a) 20-year Assessment of the Philippine Agenda 21 implementation and b) Country Strategy Paper on Green economy prospects in the Philippines.
1. Present the outcome of the CSD 19 to the PCSD.
2. Closely coordinate with DFA and NYPM for the Philippines’ preparation for and participation in the Rio+20 Conference.
3. Coordinate with concerned agencies and institutions in generation of the required inputs in preparation for the drafting of the Philippine Rio+20 Report.