- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
- Name: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
- Submission Document: Download
UNECE inputs to the compilation document for Rio+20
Part 1. UNECE
? Ministerial Declarations and Decisions adopted by Member States
Part 2. Member States and Regional Groupings
? United States
? European Union
Part 1. UNECE
MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS ADOPTED BY MEMBER STATES
Seventh ?Environment for Europe? Ministerial Conference, Astana, 21?23 September 2011
Ministerial Declaration: Save water, grow green! (ECE/ASTANA.CONF/2011/2/Add.1)
1. We, the Ministers and Heads of delegation from 44 countries in the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the Representative of the European Commission, met at Astana from 21 to 23 September 2011, in the seventh of a series of Ministerial Conferences held as part of the ?Environment for Europe? (EfE) process.
2. We confirm our commitment to improve environmental protection and to promote sustainable development in the ECE region. We reaffirm the important value of the EfE process as a unique pan-European forum for tackling environmental challenges and promoting broad horizontal environmental cooperation among countries in Europe, North America, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and as a pillar of sustainable development in the ECE region for 20 years. We are committed to the objectives and priorities of the EfE process as agreed in the EfE reform plan adopted by ECE in 2009. We reiterate the importance of the involvement of civil society, including business, women, non-governmental organizations and other groups, in decision-making to improve the environment.
3. Water is critical for economic and social development and environmental protection. Water management and water quality have improved in the past 20 years in many subregions. However, there are numerous remaining pressures, including chemical pollutants, and progress has often been weak regarding access to safe water and adequate sanitation, especially in rural areas, in particular in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Many countries are experiencing a continuing decline in their water-related ecosystems and their services, and climate change impacts on water resources are already visible. Improvements to the current institutional framework for water management may need to be undertaken.
4. We encourage improvement of water and environmental systems and policies, and intersectoral cooperation, including, inter alia, National Policy Dialogues on Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Supply and Sanitation. We agree to pursue implementation of principles of integrated water resources management, an ecosystem approach and the integration of ecosystem values in economic accounting.
5. We invite countries to ratify and implement the relevant multilateral environmental
on the Protection and Use of
Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) and its Protocol on Water and Health. We underline the role of ECE in assessing the obstacles to ratifying the ECE environmental agreements and in assisting countries to ratify and implement these agreements. We encourage riparian countries to undertake and implement agreements on transboundary waters, to strengthen institutional frameworks and to develop strategies including on environment and security issues and for adapting their water management to extreme events and climate change.
6. Additional financial resources need to be mobilized for investments from all sources for improvement in the water sector, including for water supply, sustainable sanitation and more efficient, environmentally sound irrigation systems and improved technology. We stress the need to include water and environment issues in national development plans. We therefore encourage a more systematic use of economic instruments, the provision of incentives for water efficiency and the generation of revenues to finance water services aiming at full cost recovery prices for water, while making adequate provisions for vulnerable social groups. We encourage enhanced donor coordination in order to focus our joint efforts on needs-driven issues.
7. We welcome the Second Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters in the ECE region, prepared under the auspices of the ECE Water Convention. We invite the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention to cooperate with the regular process of environmental assessment and the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in future assessments.
8. We endorse the Astana Water Action and welcome the initiatives launched by interested countries and organizations during our conference aimed at improving water management and strengthening transboundary cooperation. We invite countries and other actors to implement the Astana Water Action and to report progress to the Committee on Environmental Policy.
9. We stress the need to strengthen efforts, including through cooperation with the private sector, for the transition to a green economy by supporting the decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation, including through the internalization of externalities, as well as stimulating green investment in various economic sectors, applying effective mixes of policy instruments to promote resource efficiency and supporting research, innovations, education and training to secure the achievement of a green, and competitive economy. Natural capital and ecosystems are critical economic assets. Environmentally harmful subsidies are obstacles for greener economies and investments in sustainable policies.
10. We recognize that energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change and move to a green economy. Investments and policy reforms to promote energy efficiency are particularly effective for this transition.
11. We agree to take the lead in the transition to a green economy and to make a substantive contribution to the discussions on green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty alleviation at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to take place in Rio de Janeiro from 4 to 6 June 2012 (Rio+20). We invite ECE to contribute, together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and relevant international organizations, to the development of the Rio+20 Green Economy outcomes.
12. Sustainable consumption and production are fundamental to green the economy and we agree to pursue completion and implementation of a 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production.
13. Building upon the success of the ECE Environmental Performance Review (EPR) Programme, we invite ECE to conduct its third cycle of EPRs, which may include environmental governance and financing in a green economy context, countries? cooperation with the international community and environmental mainstreaming in priority sectors.
14. We welcome the ?Europe?s Environment: An Assessment of Assessments? report, coordinated and produced by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the countries, the Regional Environmental Centers (RECs), MEA secretariats, ECE and international organizations. This assessment clearly demonstrates the linkages and gaps between the challenges that exist and the means to evaluate and address them. To keep the pan-European environment under review, we decide to establish a regular process of environmental assessment and to develop the SEIS across the region. These will serve multiple policy processes, including MEAs, and include capacity-building of countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and South-Eastern Europe to monitor and assess their environment. We invite EEA and its partners to develop an outline for how these actions could be performed and to present it to the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy.
15. We welcome the work of the Environmental Action Programme Task Force and we invite the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to continue this work, including on the themes of this Conference, in cooperation with RECs and other partners.
16. We recognize the role of RECs in communicating and implementing initiatives and call for strengthening their contributions in both promoting green economy and better environmental governance at the local, national, subregional and regional levels.
17. We welcome and support, as appropriate, the ?Green Bridge? Initiative and Partnership Programme, and encourage its further development. We invite interested Governments, international financial institutions, the private sector and other stakeholders to join this Programme to promote an environmentally sustainable, equitable and prosperous future in both the pan-European and the Asia and the Pacific regions.
18. We invite the Committee on Environmental Policy to convene in 2013 a mid-term review to assess progress of the implementation of the outcomes of the EfE Conferences.
19. We invite offers of interest from Governments to host the next EfE Ministerial Conference for consideration by Committee on Environmental Policy.
20. We express our gratitude to the Government of Kazakhstan for having hosted this Conference and we wish to thank it and the people of Kazakhstan for the warm hospitality that we have received.
Sixty-fourth session of the Economic Commission for Europe (29 -31 March 2011, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Salle XIX)
DECISION ADOPTED BY THE SIXTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE
A (64) THE WORK OF THE ECONOMIC FOR EUROPE
The Economic Commission for Europe,
Recalling the ECE reform adopted in December 2005, welcoming its implementation and achievements, and underlining the importance of its first five-year review that will take place in 2011-2012, with a view to drawing conclusions on the future work priorities of the ECE,
Acknowledging that the new ECE governance structure is an important step towards enhancing the accountability, transparency and horizontal coherence of the ECE work and promoting further progress in effective governance, results-based management and a programme of work responding to member States? priorities and needs, taking into account the economic changes in the region and in the world,
Confirming that ECE provides a multilateral platform for promoting Pan-European and Transatlantic economic integration and facilitating greater cooperation among its fifty-six member States, makes a useful contribution to the promotion of sustainable development and the achievement of the MDGs and general stability in the region, and is well placed to continue to address transboundary issues and contribute to building a coherent regional economic space,
Noting ECE?s efforts to contribute through its areas of expertise to reducing disparities and existing differences in levels of economic development and environmental protection, Taking note, with appreciation, of the work of the revamped Regional Coordination Mechanism which is an important tool to enhance policy coherence of the United Nations development work and strengthen cooperation with other UN entities at the regional level,
Recognizing that ECE has reinforced cooperation with partner organizations which, in turn, helps to increase the impact and relevance of the ECE work,
Encouraging the Commission to continue to share best practices beyond its region, as appropriate, and in line with the United Nations mandates, including through cooperation with its partner regional commissions and United Nations system-wide coordination mechanisms,
Appreciating the support of ECE to countries with economies in transition through its operational activities, including through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and One UN,
Recognizing the ongoing need to support economies in transition in their continuing
in this respect, noting that 90 per cent of ECE technical cooperation activities and funds have been provided to countries with economies in transition, including 18 countries eligible for Official Development Assistance, according to the OECD rules,
Noting the decisions taken in the intersessional period to provide trade related guidance to the UN Centre on Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business and requesting the full implementation of these decisions, Acknowledging ECE?s work to implement the United Nations? global mandate on gender equality by promoting the economics of gender as a factor of sustainable growth and development,
1. Reaffirms the strategic directions adopted by the 2005 ECE reform, without prejudice to the outcome of the 2011 -2012 review of that reform, which should make use of lessons learned and best practices;
2. Welcomes the progress to date and the value of ongoing efforts to ensure better functioning and performance of the Executive Committee;
3. Reaffirms the commitment of its member States to support and strengthen the effective implementation of the organization?s mandate, to ensure its continued substantive relevance and greater visibility, and to maintain and promote its relevance as a regional forum in its areas of expertise, meeting effectively the changing needs of its member States, and taking into due account the specific needs of its countries with economies in transition;
4. Encourages ECE to continue to exercise its catalytic role by bringing the sustainable development goals agreed by the international community down to the regional level and supporting their implementation;
5. Welcomes the global outreach of ECE?s instruments, norms, standards and activities for the benefit of other countries and regions that underlines the importance of further improving and streamlining the already close cooperation and relations between ECE and other partners in the region;
6. Requests ECE to continue its contribution to UN system-wide coherence at the national, regional and global levels, as requested in General Assembly resolution 62/208 on the Triennial Comprehensive Review of Operational Development of the UN system and General Assembly resolution 62/277 on UN system-wide coherence;
7. Requests the Executive Committee to duly consider the outputs, as appropriate, of the discussion at the sixty-fourth session of the Commission when it reviews the work programmes of the ECE Sectoral Committees during the intersessional period, and similarly requests the respective Sectoral Committees of the ECE to duly consider the said outputs, as appropriate;
Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Conference on Sustainable Development
1. Decides to organize the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UNCSD on 1?2 December 2011 in Geneva, based on the decision by the 64th session of the General Assembly that in 2011 the regional implementation meetings will become regional preparatory meetings for UNCSD (A/RES/64/236);
2. Invites member States to explore the possibilities of making an extrabudgetary contribution to help defray the costs of the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UNCSD;
Ministerial Conference on Ageing
1. Recognizes the central role of the UNECE Working Group on Ageing in coordinating the regional element of the second cycle of review and appraisal of the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and its regional implementation strategy (MIPAA/RIS) in 2011-2013;
2. Decides to organize the UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing on 19-20 September 2012 as a concluding regional event of the second cycle of review and
appraisal of the implementation of MIPAA/RIS and expresses its gratitude to the Government of Austria for the willingness to host the meeting;
Frequency of the Commission Session
12. Taking into consideration the fact that the Executive Committee is empowered to act, in conformity with its Terms of Reference, on behalf of the Commission in between the biennial sessions of the latter and expressing its satisfaction with the performance of the Executive Committee in this capacity, decides that the next session of the Commission will be held in 2013 and defers its final decision on the frequency of the session;
Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia
13. Welcomes further progress in the SPECA programme and its role in promoting regional economic cooperation and facilitating peace and stability in Central Asia, as well as the strengthening of its cooperation with Afghanistan through participation in the High-level Core Group of the Regional Economic Cooperation Council on Afghanistan (RECCA);
1. Further requests that work be undertaken, in cooperation with the WTO and other organizations, to encourage and ensure the full participation of all countries with economies in transition in the WTO Aid-for-Trade Initiative;
2. Notes the results of the SPECA Aid-for-Trade Roadmap Ministerial Conference and requests the secretariat to work with the WTO and other organizations to support the follow-up to this Conference and ensure the continued participation and involvement of SPECA countries in the WTO Aid-for-Trade initiative;
Innovation and Competitiveness
16. Supports the undertaking of Innovation Performance Reviews within the mandate of the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Integration;
1. Recognizes the importance of General Assembly resolution 64/255 on Improving global road safety and its implementation and takes note of the launching of the Decade of Action for Road Safety and of the ECE initiatives to scale up road safety activities;
2. Supports ECE in its efforts to improve coordination with other UN and non-UN international actors in the sectors impacting road safety and search for additional resources for the work on road safety and calls upon the international donor community to provide additional funding in support of road safety action programmes at ECE;
19. Takes note of the successful work done by the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations
20. Takes note of the conclusions contained in the White Paper on Sustainable and Efficient Inland water transport in Europe and requests the secretariat, in close cooperation with the main stakeholders, to assist member States in the implementation of the White Paper?s policy recommendations, as well as to assume new specific tasks in support of the IWT development, subject to the availability of extra-budgetary funding;
21. Takes note of the Paper on ?Transport for sustainable development in the UNECE region? that highlights country best practices, as well as the main challenges in improving economic, social and environmental sustainability of transport infrastructure and services;
22. Welcomes the global project on CO2 reduction in inland transport (For Future Inland Transport Project ? ForFITs) and invites all member states to actively participate in its implementation;
23. Takes note of transport infrastructure development in Europe and Central Asia, as well as of the progress of the Trans-European Motorways, Trans-European Railways and the Euro-Asian transport linkages projects and invites the secretariat to continue its support to these country initiatives, and consolidate its relations with other organizations concerned;
24. Requests the Executive Committee to ensure the unimpeded functioning of the TIR convention and to ensure that the full budget of the mandated agency is externally audited in accordance with generally accepted international standards.
Sustainable forest management and the International Year of Forests
25. Reiterates its commitment and support to the work on forests and timber undertaken by ECE and welcomes the proposed activities for the International Year of Forests;
26. Also reiterates the need to avoid duplication of efforts and activities and to develop and strengthen synergies at the pan-European level on work on forests, building upon the already excellent cooperation with FAO where there is a joint ECE/FAO programme of work and joint secretariat arrangements to support this programme;
27. In this regard, requests the secretariat to continue to offer the expertise and services of the ECE/FAO Joint Section in support of Pan-European forest activities, including the Forest Europe process as well as other relevant processes at the global level (e.g. the United Nations Forum on Forests);
Housing challenges in the region
28. Invites the Committee on Housing and Land Management, after its annual session in October 2011, to report to the Executive Committee, first on the possibility of holding a Ministerial meeting in 2012 to assess progress in the implementation of ECE housing instruments and to define future policy directions for the Committee?s work, and second on the outcome of the work of the relevant open-ended Working Group on the pros and cons of a possible legally binding instrument on housing;
29. Encourages the Committee on Housing and Land Management to consider land administration and "real estate markets"? as a key components of its work;
Seventh ?Environment for Europe? Ministerial Conference and the Environment and Health Process
30. Recognizes the significant role of the ?Environment for Europe? process in advancing environmental governance across the region, and expresses its appreciation to the Government of Kazakhstan for hosting the Seventh ?Environment for Europe? Ministerial Conference; acknowledges the importance for the region of the two Conference themes, i.e. sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems, and greening the economy: mainstreaming environment into economic development; and expects that Conference outcomes will serve as an important contribution to the regional input into the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio + 20);
31. Welcomes the cooperation of UNECE and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in implementing the Parma Ministerial Declaration, including the creation of the European Environment and Health Ministerial Board and the Environment and Health Task Force. In this context, recognizes the importance of joint activities and promotion of synergies in addressing environment and health related issues through advancing the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health, the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme, the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, the Joint Task Force on Health Aspects of Air Pollution; and through the Environmental Performance Review Programme;
32. Recognizes the value of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) hosted by UNECE including important instruments on water, air, environmental impact assessment, industrial accidents, and public participation and access to information and justice in environmental matters.
33. Emphasizes the importance of good quality statistical data as a basis for formulation of adequate and evidence-based policies to address the growing concern about sustainable development and environment-related quality of life, and requests the Conference of European Statisticians to develop recommendations and agree, after taking into account existing statistics at regional, subregional and national levels, on a common framework for measuring sustainable development within the realm of official statistics;
34. Supports the work with national environmental experts and official statisticians on addressing methodological discrepancies, data gaps and lack of clear guidance related to the production of environmental indicators in key areas such as clean air, energy, drinking water, waste, forest biodiversity, and sustainable transport;
35. Recognizes the need for robust, timely and comparable statistics on environmental indicators e.g. on climate change, and for strengthening the capacity of the National Statistical Offices in producing statistics on environmental indicators;
36. Encourages ECE to continue to work for regional dialogue, integration and cooperation through safe norms and standards for production, transformation, transit and transport, and uses of energy that contribute to secure, affordable, and sustainable economic development;
37. Takes particular note of its work on energy efficiency and renewable energy and encourages its continuous active engagement at the global level with other UN agencies, including the other regional commissions and UN Energy, on the range of energy topics, including national natural resources;
38. Endorses the ?Best Practice Guidance for Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines? and decides to propose to ECOSOC that it recommend its application to all countries worldwide;
39. Invites the Executive Committee to consider how to better interact with the Chairpersons of ECE Sectoral Committees with the aim of ensuring its role in terms of governance and oversight in the intersessional period;
40. Invites the Executive Committee to decide on the modalities of the upcoming review which it will carry out with a view to proposing decisions on the matter to be taken by the next ECE session.
Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).
(Fourth session, 29 June ? 01 July 2011, Chisinau)
The Meeting discussed the role of the Aarhus Convention in promoting sustainable development, debated the Convention?s successes and failures to advance sustainable development in the UNECE region and the Convention?s role in inspiring the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) for delivery on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, which was adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit by 172 Governments beyond the region.
The Meeting adopted the Chisinau Declaration (ECE/MP.PP/2011/2/Add.1) as a lead-up to the Rio+20 Conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.
?Rio plus Aarhus ? 20 years on: Bearing fruit and looking forward?
1. We, the Ministers and heads of delegation from Parties and Signatories to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), together with representatives of other States, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians and other representatives of civil society throughout the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe region and beyond, gathered at the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties, are convinced that environmental rights and democracy are essential elements of good governance and informed decision-making and a prerequisite for achieving the objective of sustainable development. Since the adoption of the Rio Declaration in 1992, and continuing through the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, we have seen a continued reinforcement of environmental democracy, including the adoption of the Aarhus Convention, its Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, as well as the United Nations Environment Programme Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, which reflect the Aarhus principles at the global level.
2. The Convention has strongly contributed to putting Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration into practice and has proved an effective tool for promoting public participation in environmental decision-making and access to information and justice in environmental matters. It will continue to do so through amongst other things the compliance mechanism, a special instrument in the sense that it can be triggered directly by the public; the active and continuous participation of civil society representatives through all its processes; an effective clearinghouse mechanism which showcases information on laws and practices throughout the UNECE region relevant to public rights; and capability to address many sectoral environmental matters. We recognize there are still considerable obstacles to overcome in order to achieve a full and balanced application of Principle 10 in the Aarhus family. We remain committed to work for full implementation of the Convention.
3. Openness, transparency, a wide participatory approach and accountability are key principles and objectives of the Aarhus Convention. Through the promotion of these principles in international environmental decision-making processes, the principles of the Aarhus Convention can be directly applied to the Rio+20 process. We underline the importance of promoting these principles in international I and of continuing to promote them in the preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) 2012.
4. Worldwide, social, economic and environmental challenges are becoming increasingly complex and interrelated. This fact should not discourage the public from involvement in decision-making. Governments must provide the necessary stimulus, tools, information and assistance to enable transparent decision-making processes in order to ensure informed, balanced and effective public participation. Making decisions and decisionmaking processes fully accountable to the public whom they should serve should become essential and not only procedural.
I. Aarhus and the green economy
5. The will and action of Governments and intergovernmental bodies to properly reflect public concerns should be matched by commitment and action from all stakeholders, including the wider business community in order to achieve sustainable development. In this regard corporate social and environmental responsibility, transparency and accountability could help to achieve this goal. Clear action should be further promoted among the wider business community.
6. The recent economic crisis and recovery programmes can provide both an incentive and an opportunity to take a more sustainable path. Innovation and technological progress can contribute to reducing our ecological footprint, but by themselves they will not lead to sustainability and a better quality of life. There has been progress in recognizing the economic benefits of sustainability as well as the potential opportunities it presents for society as a whole, including enterprise. The economic and social value of the environment and environmental impacts of today?s actions should be fully reflected in all decisions at policy, strategic and project levels, particularly in the light of increasing pressure on resources for rapid global economic development and population growth. The social dimension of sustainable development, which includes key elements such as Poverty eradication, employment, social inclusion, corporate responsibility or gender equality, is also closely linked to public participation in decision-making.
7. Similarly to the greening of the economy, public participation in decision-making is not a self-standing objective, but rather an instrument for achieving the sustainability and well-being of society. We consider that, in line with Principle 10, citizens should be invited to participate in defining and implementing green economy programmes and in choosing the most appropriate road maps to sustainability.
II. Aarhus and environmental governance
8. Achieving good environmental decision-making at the national level is closely related to environmental governance at the global level. In this regard, we consider that the preparations for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and its deliberations should serve as a model of how to implement Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, with a high level of public participation, including a wide range of stakeholders being given an opportunity to present their visions for a sustainable future and influence decision-making.
9. While the last two decades have witnessed the adoption or upgrading of a range of important multilateral environmental instruments, including the Aarhus Convention itself, the efficiency of international governance on environmental matters could still be significantly improved. The environmental part of international policies remains arguably the weakest of the three pillars of sustainable development.
10. Improved coordination, effectiveness and a synergistic implementation of multilateral environmental instruments must continue to be a priority. The Aarhus Convention provides an opportunity in this regard, through its engagement with other multilateral agreements, as has been the case already through work on the promotion of public participation in international forums and the regular exchange of information on activities among convention secretariats. Joint workshops, such as with the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, are also good examples of how Aarhus and other international conventions have succeeded in working together.
11. It is vital that the public has effective channels for input into international environmental processes as well as input at the national level. The process of deciding on priorities, mandates and financial contributions for the range of international agendas, by no means limited to environmental policy, should not only be more efficiently coordinated, but also transparent, inclusive and accountable. When defining positions in relation to their international agenda, Governments should strive to reflect the views of the public on sustainable development.
12. We request the Participants in the Rio+20 Conference to take into account the Aarhus Convention principles in their consideration of the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), including the options for broader institutional reform identified in UNEP?s Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome, as a contribution to strengthening the IFSD by improving international environmental governance.
III. Looking ahead
13. We recognize there are still steps to be taken in order to achieve a full and balanced application of Principle 10 in the Aarhus family. Both at global scale, by further introducing the Aarhus Principles in other environmental conventions, as well as within our Convention, the planned in-depth evaluation of the functioning of the Convention will help us in further improving its implementation, thus strengthening our contribution to putting Principle 10 into practice.
14. We are aware that we owe it to future generations to minimize the depletion of environmental resources that should remain available to them. The children and youth of today are watching our steps, which will determine the quality of life for them and their children. We have a duty to serve by example in making the right choices.
15. We consider that our work in implementing the Aarhus Convention is paving the way for a universal application of Principle 10. While .. ecognizing that there are different ways to implement that principle, we offer to share our experience with all countries that wish to join the Aarhus family, to replicate its achievements or to be inspired by this most ambitious venture in environmental democracy undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations. In this regard we draw their attention to the procedure for accession. We stand ready to contribute to the success and outcomes of the Rio+20.
Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact
Assessment in a Transboundary Context serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (First session, Geneva, 20?23 June 2011)
The Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment adopted a declaration, the text of which is included below and available at:
http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/documents/2011/eia/sea/ece.mp.eia.sea.2.e.pdf pages 31-33
We, the high-level representatives of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) member States and of the European Union, gathered in Geneva from 20 to 23 June 2011 on the occasion of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context serving as the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment,
Welcoming the entry into force of the Protocol as a key legal instrument for fostering environmentally sound and sustainable development, aiming at integrating environmental, including health, considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes that set the framework for future development consent for projects and, to the extent appropriate, policies and legislation,
Recognizing strategic environmental assessment as a key instrument to ensure that environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the strategic decision-making process regarding plans and programmes that set the framework for future development consent for projects and, to the extent appropriate, policies and legislation, and cannot be considered in isolation from it, and that concerned citizens should have the opportunity to participate in strategic decision-making processes, in accordance with principles 4 and 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,
Recognizing also that strategic environmental assessment can help achieve the Millennium Development Goal of integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes to ensure environmental sustainability,
Acknowledging the importance of coordinated international cooperation among governmental organizations in the region in assessing environmental, including health, effects, in particular in a transboundary context,
1. Welcome the entry into force of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment and support the implementation of its provisions;
2. Recognize the contribution of strategic environmental assessment to sustainable development, in particular in the UNECE region;
3. Acknowledge the importance of an integrated approach to environmental protection and of the mainstreaming of the environment into economic development through the implementation of the Protocol;
4. Underscore the potential for exploring linkages between strategic environmental assessment at the level of plans and programmes ? and, to the extent appropriate, policies and legislation ? and environmental impact assessment at the project level, and that such linkages should be explored with the aim of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of environmental assessments and of facilitating the decision-making process at the strategic and project levels;
5. Emphasize that Parties to the Protocol should observe that proposed plans and programmes that fall under the provisions of the Protocol and are within their jurisdiction or control comply with article 7, paragraph 2, as well as annex IV, paragraph 7, of the Protocol, and thereby accomplish that the measures to prevent, reduce or mitigate significant adverse transboundary environmental, including health, effects are described and assessed;
6. Also emphasize the importance of promoting public participation in strategic environmental assessment;
7. Further emphasize the potential for furthering sustainable development when environmental concerns are considered and integrated, to the extent appropriate, in the preparation of proposals for policies and legislation;
8. Recognize that strategic environmental assessment can be an appropriate mechanism to introduce the consideration of climate change impacts in plans and programmes that are prepared for regional development planning, and for town and country planning or for land-use planning, and thus to increase adaptive capacity;
9. Invite the UNECE Executive Secretary to continue to provide adequate secretariat support for the Protocol and request the allocation of regular United Nations budget funds to ensure the stable and effective provision of secretariat functions for the Protocol;
10. Also invite the secretariats of other conventions, as well as relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations, to participate in and support the relevant activities under the Protocol and to promote the application of the Protocol within their fields of competence;
11. Recognize that the successful implementation of the Protocol depends in part on adequate administrative and financial resources being made available to support and maintain the initiatives necessary to achieve its goals and, in that respect, and bearing in mind the special situation of countries in transition, call upon Parties, Signatories, other States and institutional financing organizations to endeavour to ensure that the resources necessary to meet the workplan are provided;
12. Welcome the efforts of countries with economies in transition to develop capacity to implement the Protocol, notably through the Belgrade Initiative on Strategic Environmental Assessment, led by Armenia, Belarus and the Republic of Moldova, and encourage Parties to support actively these efforts;
13. Encourage the Parties and Signatories to the Protocol, as well other States, to develop further capacity for the Protocol?s ratification and implementation on the basis of demonstrated need, giving particular support to the countries of South-Eastern and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and, wherever possible, working with regional institutions to make expertise and resources available as necessary;
14. Recognize with appreciation the valuable work carried out by the Signatories, the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization and others to provide guidance in the practical application of the Protocol;
15. Invite civil society and all stakeholders to continue to assist with and contribute to the implementation and application of the Protocol, noting that the meetings under the Protocol provide for an exchange of views and information;
16. Encourage multilateral lending institutions and bilateral aid agencies to apply the principles of the Protocol to the development and implementation of their plans and programmes and, to the extent appropriate, policies;
17. Call upon member States of UNECE that have not yet done so to ratify the Protocol and invite other States that are Members of the United Nations to accede to the Protocol;
18. Recognize that strategic environmental assessment is a unique and important instrument for planning and policymaking related to greening the economy;
19. Invite the Seventh ?Environment for Europe? Ministerial Conference, to be held in Astana from 21 to 23 September 2011, to take into consideration the importance of strategic environmental assessment in the Conference?s two themes of sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems; and greening the economy: mainstreaming the environment into economic development;
20. Request UNECE to report within the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (Rio+20) on the contribution of the Convention and, in particular, the Protocol to the implementation of the principles proclaimed by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1 (Vol. I)).
The Astana Water Action ? a collection of possible actions for improving the status of water and water-related ecosystems through their more sustainable management ? was approved by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Environmental Policy at its special session as an outcome of the Seventh ?Environment for Europe? Ministerial Conference (Astana, 21?23 September 2011).
This initiative was developed by the Chair of the Bureau of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), assisted by the Bureau of the Water Convention, the Water Convention secretariat and a drafting group composed of members nominated by the Committee on Environmental Policy.
Countries and other stakeholders are invited to commit to implementing some of the actions and to report on their progress at the future meetings of the Committee.
1. The Astana Water Action was developed in spring 2011 by the Chair of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) Bureau, assisted by the Bureau, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Water Convention secretariat and a drafting group composed of representatives of Austria, Azerbaijan, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Monaco, the Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, the United States of America and Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of the following international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs): the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe); the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/Environment and Security Initiative; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); the Scientific Information Centre of the Interstate Commission for Water Coordination of Central Asia; European ECO-Forum, the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health; and the Global Water Partnership (GWP).
2. At its special session held from 24 to 27 May 2011 in Geneva, the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy endorsed the Astana Water Action as an outcome of the Seventh ?Environment for Europe? Ministerial Conference.
3. The action proposals are structured according to the agreed questions for discussion at the Astana Conference (see ECE/ASTANA.CONF/2011/1, annex) and the official substantive document on sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems (ECE/ASTANA.CONF/2011/3). In addition, the Astana Water Action builds upon existing policy documents, declarations and guidance material already adopted under UNECE, as well as other international organizations, NGOs and processes.
4. The Astana Water Action is a collection of possible actions for improving the status of water and water-related ecosystems through their more sustainable management. They are meant to serve as a supporting tool with concrete suggestions for Governments for an improved implementation of their past commitments in water management, assessing the current status of actions in support of sound water management and identifying priorities.
5. Due to the different situations in countries of the UNECE region in terms of the status and management of their water and water-related ecosystems, the actions are not ranked or evaluated in a systematic way: priorities for actions will differ among countries reflecting the current state and actual challenges to water management. The arrangement and order of the lists of such actions in the present document should, therefore, not be seen in any way as constituting a ranking of the actions or conferring priority on those mentioned first; the intention has been, rather, to permit ease of reference in discussions on the draft.
6. The time frame for the Astana Water Action is 2012?2015.
7. In particular, the objectives of the Astana Water Action include the following:
(a) To provide suggestions for Governments on possible concrete actions to take to better manage their water resources according to the local/national/regional challenges they face, also including issues not currently addressed;
(b) To further the implementation of the water-related commitments expressed, for example, in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the outcome documents of the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development;
(c) To invite Governments to commit on a voluntary basis to implement some specific actions contained in the Astana Water Action and to report on their successes and further challenges on water issues at future meetings of the Committee on Environmental Policy;
(d) To provide arguments for improving Governments? funding basis for water management from all sources.
8. The Astana Water Action should be seen as a complement to present policies, programmes and strategies at all levels, which takes due account of existing instruments and processes and which is flexible enough to deal with new ones, without duplicating efforts.
9. In order to make the Astana Water Action more practical and concrete, as well as to increase its political relevance, Countries and other actors are invited to voluntarily commit to some specific actions contained in it or other similar actions, using the template developed for this purpose (see annex). Countries and other actors should register their commitment to actions as soon as possible (preferably by 30 August 2011) so that this can be acknowledged at the Ministerial Conference and presented in an informal document complementary to the present one.
10. Subsequently, countries and other stakeholders who made commitments are encouraged to implement the actions they committed to and to report on progress at future meetings of the Committee on Environmental Policy.
I. General actions
11. Some actions are of a general nature and important for a coherent implementation of any water action, such as:
(a) To make water and water management integral parts of development strategies at local, national or regional levels;
(b) To improve the communication and cooperation on water between different institutions, ministries and sectors and integrate sectoral policies, e.g., water, health, environment, agriculture, forestry, transport, energy, finance and education;
(c) To involve stakeholders (e.g., water users and NGOs) in water development plans, programmes and management in basins, including in river, wetland and lake restoration;
(d) To develop curricula for water and sanitation professionals at all levels, as well as cross-sectoral curricula;
(e) To invest in the human capital, i.e., in improved operational/staff capacities of water administration and management institutions through trainings, etc.;
(f) To budget sufficient financial resources to finance water management (measures and staff).
II. Sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems
A. Which policies proved to be effective to value and protect water-related ecosystems, including payment for ecosystem services? What are the main obstacles and gaps?
12. Proposed actions:
(a) Develop integrated water resources management (IWRM) plans for basins (for rivers, lakes, groundwaters) with action programmes, prioritized listing of initiatives and estimated costs and sources of finance, taking into account present and future water demands;
(b) Establish and enforce strict pollution reduction targets for municipal and industrial pollution sources as well as discharge permits from municipal and industrial sources to support adequate water quality levels;
(c) Improve the institutional arrangements for water entitlements and water allocation systems;
(d) Develop and implement sustainable abstraction of groundwater and surface water, taking into account the local conditions, based on permits;
(e) Improve contingency planning for a range of industrial accidents;
(f) Provide extension services1 and promote exchange on good agricultural practices and associated cost savings (such as soil conservation, nitrates pollution prevention, etc.);
(g) Apply good management practices in the mining industry during operation and after decommissioning such as ?mining for closure?, in order to reduce the environmental impacts, especially on water bodies2;2
(h) Continue funding and implementing the National Policy Dialogues (NPDs) on integrated water resources management and water supply and sanitation in countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia within the European Union Water Initiative.
2. Monitoring and information management, assessment and research
13. Proposed actions:
(a) Establish and/or upgrade existing nationwide monitoring networks based on a set of indicators for water quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater bodies to evaluate the effectiveness of water management policy and guide further decision-making on possible setting or revision of water targets;
(b) Implement water quality assurance programmes;
(c) Invest in the establishment and maintenance of automatic metering/ monitoring stations; in particular, introduce automated around-the-clock water quality data recording systems for specific types of industries as an important part of pollution control and early warning and alarm systems in case of accidents;
(d) Encourage regular biomonitoring of water resources, for example based on macro-invertebrates/algae, for rapid, cost-effective assessment of quality of water bodies;
(e) Use geographic information systems (GIS) mapping in a basin to identify and display the man-made infrastructure and ecosystems, noting problems and opportunities;
(f) Identify (and map) non-point sources of pollution such as agriculture (fertilizers, pesticides, including obsolete stockpiles of pesticides, manure), untreated wastewater and leakages from latrines and septic tanks, especially in rural areas;
(g) Identify hot spots of point sources of pollution from untreated to partly untreated wastewater from industries, mining, toxic landfills and tailing ponds to prioritize actions;
(h) Identify through inventories other point sources of pollution, such as from settlements or municipalities with more than 2,000 inhabitants;
(i) Introduce labelling to inform consumers on products that are ?water friendly?, e.g., have been produced with low water consumption methods or maintain ecosystems for water;
(j) Monitor and assess the state and performance of water-related ecosystems that depend on water bodies as well as the state of other ecosystems such as wetlands and forests that provide water to water bodies;
(k) Define and monitor environmental flow for rivers, deltas and wetlands, and specify environmental flow for years of different water availability with a view to ensure their sustainability;
(l) Catalogue and prioritize degraded water-related ecosystems for restoration initiatives;
(m) Estimate the values of ecosystem services, for example through the assessment of costs of avoided damages resulting from lost ecosystem services, costs of replacing ecosystem services, or costs of providing substitute services such as additional water treatment.
14. Proposed actions:
(a) Establish new and expand existing Ramsar Sites4, as well as establish transboundary protected areas, and develop and implement management plans for them;
(b) Protect, maintain and restore ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, riparian zones, etc. (to improve water quality, hydrological regime, and natural hazards mitigation, as well as the natural habitat);
(c) Coordinate IWRM plans and relevant measures for specific watersheds with existing land-use/spatial development plans, national (and local) forest and biodiversity programmes (Convention on Biological Diversity), wetlands management plans (Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat);
(d) Apply the principle of environmental flow in rivers, to ensure the ecosystem needs/health; in managed catchments, seasonally mimic the natural flow regime to the greatest extent possible to protect, restore and sustain their ecological health;
(e) Involve the private sector in managing ecosystems for the services they provide;
(f) Develop and expand the use of payments for ecosystem services (PES), including new pilot projects on PES6.
B. What policies proved to be effective in addressing human health issues related to water quality and quantity? What are the main obstacles and gaps?
15. Proposed actions:
(a) Ratify or accede to and implement the UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health;
(b) Ratify or accede to and implement the family of conventions related to chemicals impacting on water such as the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants;
(c) Introduce and apply the user-pays and polluter-pays principles as an incentive for efficient and sustainable water protection and use, in line with the principle of cost recovery;
(d) Introduce or further develop sustainable/progressive pricing for water supply and wastewater treatment;
(e) Introduce policies and measures to ensure access to affordable water supply and sanitation for poor and disadvantaged groups, for instance through targeted subsidies;
(f) Invest in environmentally friendly sanitation and wastewater treatment, appropriate operation and maintenance;
(g) Strengthen compliance with drinking water standards;
(h) Elaborate water safety plans for water supply, sanitation facilities and recreation, considering also cyanobacteria and toxic algae;
(i) Introduce/revise and enforce the delimitation of water protection zones around water abstraction facilities and beyond, for surface water and aquifer recharge, as well as establish inventories and mapping of such zones;
(j) Promote community mobilization and engagement in ensuring proper water supply and sanitations systems management and maintenance, especially in rural areas, and introduce community-based small-scale water supply and environmentally friendly sanitations systems for rural and remote areas;
(k) Provide schools with safe water and environmentally friendly sanitation facilities, in particular those to be used exclusively by girls.
2. Monitoring and information management, assessment and research
16. Proposed actions:
(a) Upgrade and strengthen surveillance and control of waterborne diseases so as to detect existing but also emerging diseases;
(b) Develop and implement simple monitoring systems, in particular for small-scale and very-small-scale water supply and sanitation systems, including private wells;
(c) Identify pollution hot spots, and make cost-benefit analysis of water quality measures for different uses, such as industry and drinking water supply, tourism and commercial fishing;
(d) Inform populations of rural areas on the challenges of pollution point sources such as manure, pit latrines, open waste water gutters, etc., and those of nonpoint sources. In particular, inform consumers of water from shallow private wells about the danger of pollution, its sources and possible health consequences and on how to handle unsafe water and/or how to get access to safe water;
(e) Make information on the status of drinking and bathing water quality and related health risks available to the public via all media (Internet, radio, television, newsletters, etc.);
(f) Establish a system of public fish consumption advisories indicating where human health is at risk from toxins in fish tissue through water pollution;
(g) Support research to improve understanding of emerging potential waterborne threats to human health.
C. What are the priorities/challenges in adapting management of water and waterrelated ecosystems to extreme weather events and to climate change?
17. Proposed actions:
(a) Integrate water resources management into the national climate change adaptation strategy and integrate water-related disaster risk reduction into national development plans;
(b) Develop, update and implement basin-wide drought and flood management plans jointly with all relevant sectors, including at the transboundary level;
(c) Develop early warning systems and contingency planning, in particular for water supply, sanitation and wastewater plants in basins, to prevent and minimize damage from extreme weather events;
(d) Jointly consider land-use planning, flood and drought risk management, as well as the remediation of hydromorphological alterations of rivers;
(e) Restore, and where possible, reconnect flood-plains with their waterways and apply proper spatial planning measures to optimize their flood-tolerant use and to ensure their long-term maintenance;
(f) Introduce/review information and the tools to facilitate rainwater infiltration, harvesting and reuse in urban and rural areas;
(g) Continue the programme of pilot projects on climate change adaptation in transboundary basins and the platform for sharing experience in this regard under the UNECE Water Convention, as well as other international initiatives of UNECE countries, United Nations agencies, and international organizations.
2. Monitoring and information management, assessment and research
18. Proposed actions:
(a) Develop and/or maintain and upgrade hydrometeorological data systems to improve the availability and reliability of climate-related information;
(b) Develop vulnerability assessments and mapping of expected climate change impacts; exchange data at transboundary level as a basis for decision-making;
(c) Assess the safety of hydrological infrastructures during extreme weather events and, if necessary, take actions for improvement. For example, assess the actual and potential role of water reservoirs and revise their operational rules during such events if necessary;
(d) Promote research and study of climate change related processes, e.g., glacier/permafrost melting, desertification, etc., and their impacts on water resources, as well as the health-related impacts, e.g., on drinking water distribution systems, and how to better predict and prevent human exposure to waterborne pathogens.
D. What are the experiences and lessons learned from the cooperation in transboundary basins to improve water quality, manage water quantity and protect ecosystems?
1. Legal framework
19. Proposed actions:
(a) Implement or accede to and implement UNECE conventions such as the Water Convention;
(b) Accede to amendments to open the Water Convention and the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) to countries outside the UNECE region;
(c) Develop cooperation with countries outside the geographical scope of the UNECE region, especially the neighbouring regions, to exchange best practices and experience;
(d) Develop, ratify and implement new bilateral/multilateral agreements for transboundary cooperation on specific water bodies in accordance with the UNECE Water Convention. In particular, sign and ratify those agreements which have been negotiated for a long time and are ready to be signed; strengthen implementation of existing agreements, and review and revise them if needed;
(e) Strengthen joint bodies for the management of transboundary water resources, broaden their mandate to address all aspects of IWRM and enforce their decisions at the national level;
(f) Link global and regional multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) dealing with or touching upon water at the national level, for example through MEA water support groups;
(g) Improve transboundary cooperation on shared groundwaters with a view to concluding and implementing bilateral/multilateral agreements for their protection and sustainable use.
20. Proposed actions:
(a) Link transboundary water cooperation to other related policies, such as agriculture, forestry, energy, navigation, tourism, health, industry, etc.;
(b) In transboundary basins, develop and implement IWRM plans jointly through water bodies? (rivers, lakes and groundwater) basin councils, joint bodies, river basin commissions or other types of institutions;
(c) Where needed in transboundary basins, establish conflict prevention and management mechanisms, include such mechanisms in transboundary agreements and make use of international possibilities in this regard, including the mechanisms to support implementation under the UNECE Water Convention;
(d) Develop and implement transboundary cooperation aimed at the maintenance, protection and restoration of transboundary water-related ecosystems in the basins such as forests, riparian zones and wetlands, including through establishing transboundary protected areas.
21. Proposed actions:
(a) Establish joint funding mechanisms at a transboundary level to promote investments with positive transboundary externalities, such as wastewater treatment, ecosystem conservation and pollution abatement, by providing grants, technical assistance and loans to local companies and organizations;
(b) Share benefits but also costs of measures that benefit all countries in a given basin (e.g., the Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic on the Use of Water Management Facilities of Intergovernmental Status on the Rivers Chu and Talas);
(c) Promote coordinated action by linking investments to transboundary agreements;
(d) Promote coordination between donors and international organizations on financial support for transboundary management, as well as possibly for the establishment of transboundary institutions (i.e., initial funding-seed money).
4. Monitoring and information management, assessment and research
22. Proposed actions:
(a) Develop, establish and maintain joint systems for monitoring, assessment, forecast and early warning in transboundary basins;
(b) Harmonize existing reporting obligation and data formats;
(c) Ensure free and transparent exchange of information on water quantity and quality (surface and groundwater) in the transboundary context, which is easily accessible on the Internet;
(d) Provide online catalogues of existing regional and intersectoral water-related regulations;
(e) Identify and address hot spots in transboundary basins of lakes, rivers and groundwaters and perform risk assessment (loss of livelihoods, migration, environmental pollution/degradation, physical security and increase in conflict dynamics);
(f) Improve information and stakeholder participation in transboundary water basin management planning and its implementation, while supporting NGO participation in transboundary water bodies restoration and management measures.
III. Sustainable management of water and greening the economy
A. What policy mixes and practical tools, such as integrated water resources management, pricing, standards, and water users associations, can be most effective to improve water efficiency by different water users, especially in agriculture, households and industrial operations?
23. Proposed actions:
(a) Create and support water user associations to manage water demand locally;
(b) Require water metering of all water users;
(c) Increase water-use efficiency in buildings through building standards/codes;
(d) Introduce environmentally friendly, water-saving sanitation systems;
(e) Reduce leakages in water distribution systems by identifying them, as well as developing financial and practical plans for reducing them;
(f) Promote rainwater harvesting on the household and agricultural levels;
(g) Encourage reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture based on WHO guidelines on the safe reuse of wastewater, excreta and greywater for agriculture8;
(h) Adapt agriculture to the local climate and water availability, including by growing less water-consuming crops;
(i) Scale-up the modernization of irrigation and drainage systems to enable sustainable water and land use;
(j) Improve water accounting in the agricultural sector, such as through metering and water volume payment systems in irrigated agriculture, if needed with some state support/incentive/subsidy for the equipment;
(k) Develop public-private partnerships for increasing the efficiency and productivity of water use in industry and in agriculture, as well as its reuse and use lifecycle assessment for assessing the water footprint of products.
B. How can we encourage investments to take into account the impacts on water quantity and water quality, energy and resource efficiency and vulnerable populations?
24. Proposed actions:
(a) Make water a major part of greening the economy, and consider the nexus water-food-energy; conduct national water-energy-food nexus assessments for coordinated and coherent measures;
(b) Invest all revenues from water fees into basin and local water management, including for water supply and wastewater treatment;
(c) Raise awareness on present and future water consumption by different economic sectors including virtual water/water footprint in products;
(d) Promote water-efficient techniques and low-water-content products in intranational and international trade;
Part 2. Member States and Regional Groupings
· Twenty years after the Earth Summit, Canada recognizes that more needs to be done to address the challenge of sustainable development. It is clear that progress needs to be more comprehensive and effective.
· The Rio+20 Conference is an opportunity to reinvigorate efforts towards sustainable development through an international renewal of political commitment. It should highlight the economic importance of the sustainable use of natural resources and raise awareness of the economic and social costs of environmental damage and its associated impact on human well-being.
· As indicated in our National Submission to Rio+20, Canada looks forward to working constructively towards a successful Conference that will result in practical and concrete outcomes and avoid a ?one size fits all? approach to green growth.
· Canada is actively engaged in the preparatory work for the Conference and sits on the Preparatory Bureau.
· Canada?s approach to sustainable development emphasizes transparency and accountability and stresses the importance of integrating sustainability considerations at all levels of government planning and decision-making. The cornerstone of Canada?s approach is the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, which is an integrated, whole-of-government, results-based approach to achieve sustainability.
· Canada would like to see a concise outcome document that fosters the sharing of best practices, encourages the exchange of information, improves the capacity to measure progress and provides support for the active engagement of the private sector.
· The Conference can help make the case that a transition to a green economy can be consistent with the environmental, economic and social objectives underpinning sustainable development and Poverty eradication.
· Canada sees Rio+20 as an opportunity to identify (1) policy tools and best practices to facilitate this transition, as well as (2) a balanced suite of voluntary indicators for measuring progress towards a green economy. Our National Submissions includes a number of concrete examples and proposals, drawn from Canadian best practices, to move this discussion forward.
· Canada joins others in believing that there cannot be a ?one size fits all? approach to green growth. Country circumstances, such as the economy, geography and climate, must be considered when developing policy tools and indicators.
International Framework for Sustainable Development
· The Conference is an opportunity to promote better coherence and coordination of existing mechanisms and structures for addressing sustainable development issues in the UN system, in particular at the country level where the impact in people?s lives is the greatest.
· Canada believes this should be done by focusing on practical strategies to improve existing mechanisms, structures and program delivery, while reducing inefficiency and duplication.
· Canada?s National Submission outlines a proposal to better integrate sustainable development considerations within the UN system. This could involve improving the effectiveness, coherence and coordination of UNEP and UNDP, as well as reforming the UN Commission on Sustainable Development to make it more focused and effective. Canada is also open to a discussion on whether ECOSOC could play a more integrative role on international sustainable development issues.
· We believe that, in light of the current global economic situation, it is not realistic or practical to envisage the creation of new organizations or funding mechanisms.
· Main outcomes of the Rio+20 conference for the theme green economy in the context of sustainable development and Poverty eradication should be an international green economy roadmap and the commitment of countries to develop national green economy action plans.
· As a matter of fact, the Ministerial Conference ?Environment for Europe? held recently in Astana made a very similar proposal by concluding: ?A useful and practical outcome for the Rio+20 Conference could be an internationally agreed roadmap for the green economy. Such a roadmap should consist of a political and an action-oriented part. The political part should consist of a political commitment for accelerating the transformation to the green economy. The action-oriented part should consist of a toolbox with concrete instruments and measures and a clear distribution of work and responsibilities.? (Chair?s summary of the Seventh Ministerial Conference ?Environment for Europe?, § 90)
· Rio+20 is the time for reviewing the Commission on Sustainable Development as it was established twenty years ago in Rio and has not been able to fulfill its functions in a satisfactory manner. Amongst others, a state driven peer review on actions undertaken for implementing sustainable development at the national level should be introduced. It should be designed as an open interactive dialogue with the state being reviewed. The peer review provides an opportunity for other states and civil society to raise questions and concerns, and for the state under review to respond.
· An agreement on a broader reform of the environmental pillar would be a major contribution to a strengthened institutional framework for sustainable development. It is crucial for the Rio+20 conference to settle on an ambitious reform package for strengthening international environmental governance that takes into account the Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome.
· Rio +20 must prioritize resource productivity and efficiency as ways to promote sustainable development.
· Rio + 20 should seek to make governments around the world more transparent and accessible, to better engage citizens, and to build new networks across all sectors of our societies. The role of women and youth is also fundamental to securing a sustainable future. The meeting itself should be a marketplace of ideas and we look forward to presentations, side events, and the launch of networks and initiatives during the civil society days and the Conference that advance inclusive action on sustainable development.
· The UN needs a body through which governments can cooperate to recommend environmental policies, promote best practices, and build national capacity for governance, monitoring, and assessment. That institution ? the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) ? already exists and, at Rio +20 we need to work together to strengthen it within the UN system to assure a viable environmental pillar that can meet 21st Century demands. We do not believe that alternative proposals for a new statutory institution on the environment, a WEO or UNEO, will strengthen environmental governance or solve any of the problems that we all recognize persist.
We think the more effective course is to focus intellectual and financial resources on strengthening existing institutions that have already proven their worth and avoid the distraction of trying to set up something new and untested. The UNECE also offers an example of how regional UN bodies can contribute to strengthening the environmental pillar of sustainable development.
· Rio +20 should encourage the global community to scale up investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy access by creating a commercial landscape that demonstrates a return on capital and attracts private sector investments to underserved areas and populations. To achieve this, governments must target public resources carefully to leverage private capital to reduce the risk and cost of capital, to stimulate innovation, and to create competitive and viable markets for electricity and energy.
· Cities are major consumers of resources, and also centers for job creation, making them the front line of a green economy. Coordination of place-based policies can enhance transportation choices, improve air and water quality, reduce waste, maintain reliable water and energy supply, advance public health and awareness, use public resources more efficiently, help mobilize private investment, and strengthen local decision-making. Cities offer opportunities for capturing cross-cutting efficiencies, for example across water and energy systems, with joint strategies for resource management and public-private finance
· As noted in the UNECE Environment for Europe Astana Declaration we need to manage our water more efficiently and effectively in an integrated way identifying effective ways to manage transboundary water resources effectively. Water and water related ecosystems are keys to a green economy, sustainable development and poverty alleviation. We need to work to better manage hydrological variability, incentivize sound water resources management through policy and regulatory reform and behavioral change, and increase the productivity of water resources by both improving efficiency and reuse.
· While there is no one metric used today that goes ?beyond GDP,? an important first step towards better characterization of market externalities ?such as depletion of natural resources or negative public health outcomes?is for national governments to systematically quantify, monitor, and assess our natural capital. Rio + 20 should prioritize the ability of all countries ability to monitor and assess their own environment and integrate that information with social and economic information to inform the development decision making process. Further, we should commit to working together on methodologies to move closer to achieving multi-dimensional measures of wealth. The UNECE Environment for Europe Astana Declaration agrees to the development of a pan-European Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS). This is an important example of what countries and regions can do to improve science and information decision making for sustainable development, based on a commitment by governments, to collect verify and make available environmental information and assessment, in a way that is transparent and understandable to their public and decision makers.
Proposals for operational outcomes: elements of a green economy roadmap
1. In order to give renewed impetus to sustainable development, Rio+20 needs to agree on a shared vision for change that can help to put the world on track towards sustainable development and is able to deliver results within agreed time frames. The main operational outcomes of Rio+20 should include a green economy roadmap with deadlines for specific goals, objectives and actions at the international level as a significant contribution to sustainable development and Poverty eradication.
2. For the green economy roadmap, the EU proposes a number of actions as outlined in this document. This includes a capacity development scheme for voluntary countryspecific and, where appropriate, region and sector-specific actions and a limited number of cross-cutting and thematic international actions that contribute to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and Poverty eradication in a specific area.
3. At Rio+20, the acknowledgement and encouragement of voluntary national commitments and actions by State actors as well as stakeholders to achieve a green economy in the context of sustainable development and Poverty eradication should also take place as to ensure a bottom-up approach and the shaping of innovative partnerships.
4. The proposals made are not meant to be final proposals; they should rather be considered as a contribution to the international dialogue on the outcomes of the Rio+20 conference. The EU and its Member States are interested in sharing and exchanging ideas and look forward to further suggestions on the outcomes of the conference.
1. Proposals for cross-cutting actions
Measuring progress - models and indicators
Further develop and strengthen indicators complementing GDP that integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions in a balanced manner.
Provide global outlook and assessments on energy, water, food and other resource areas, based on a partnership of international and UN organisations.
· The aim is to publish a new World Resources Outlook [by 2015]
Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)
Establish a 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP), as elaborated in the negotiations in the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, based on Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
Capacity development scheme
Establish a capacity development scheme - with input from the UN system, International Financial Institutions, bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector - to provide country-specific advice, and, where appropriate, region and sector-specific advice to all interested countries on the transformation to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and Poverty eradication and to assist them in accessing available funds
- In the spirit of the bottom-up approach, it would be up to the interested countries themselves to specify the policy areas to focus on, based on their national priorities and institutional arrangements and respecting national differences.
- This capacity-development scheme would rely on enhanced coordination between existing structures and a more efficient, better-coordinated use of existing resources. The task of improving coordination between existing structures would be mandated to those reformed and strengthened IFSD structures decided on at Rio+20.
- A coherent approach would be facilitated, taking into account, inter alia, the MDGs Acceleration Framework and the ongoing work on poverty-reduction strategies and national sustainable development strategies. The work on the Low Carbon Development Strategies and Plans and national strategies for mitigation and adaptation actions (NAMAs) will be an essential component of this effort. Furthermore, green economy capacity development should go hand in hand with efforts to foster good governance and anticorruption policy.
- In order to enable interested countries to choose from a menu of possible actions and best practices, a toolbox or best-practice guide could be compiled, providing information about appropriate legal, economic and other instruments and policies designed to help all key actors accelerate the transition to a green economy. This will also enable the sharing of national and regional experience of green economy policies. Management of natural resources should build on transparency and accountability, taking into consideration people in poverty and marginalised groups.
- An ambitious but realistic timeframe for each country seeking advice would help with implementation. For example, all interested countries should be matched to the actors most appropriate to provide the country-specific advice and should have received such advice by 20XX (date to be specified). The essential implementation steps should be completed by 20XX (date to be specified).
Research and scientific cooperation
Establish a mechanism for international research cooperation on major sustainable development challenges.
Strengthen the development and implementation of GEOSS to include sustainable development aspects
Innovative finance and subsidies
Launch an international process to promote the role of innovative and private instruments of finance, including by highlighting their importance in areas such as climate change and biodiversity, and stress the role of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development.
Ensure commitments to gradually eliminate subsidies that have considerable negative effects on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable development, complemented with measures to protect poor and vulnerable groups, inter alia by expansion of existing G20 and APEC commitments regarding the rationalization and phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in the medium term to all UN Member States and timely implementation of the strategic goal and targets on subsidies harmful to biodiversity set out in ?The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020? decided in Nagoya 2010.
2. Proposals for actions in specific areas
Strengthen the implementation of internationally agreed goals for water and sanitation and expand commitments and initiatives addressing the following main aspects:
- Renewing the commitment made at the Rio+10 Conference to the development and implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management at national level and for joint management of transboundary waters.
- Continuing commitment and support to accelerate access to sanitation and safe drinking water for all (MDG7) within reasonable timeframes, as well as other water-dependent MDGs.
- Proposing a new commitment to reduce water pollution from households, industrial and agricultural sources and promote water efficiency and the use of wastewater as a resource, particularly in expanding urban and peri-urban areas.
- Building on international partnerships on water and sanitation (such as the EU water initiative) and reinforcing the involvement of economic actors as well as participation of stakeholders, including people in poverty, marginalized groups and in particular women, who play a central role in water management at local level.
- Scaling up investments and developing innovative financing mechanisms in the areas of water resources and ecosystems, sanitation infrastructure, water policy reform, prevention of water-related risks due to global changes, and the uptake of relevant new technologies to improve resource efficiency.
Promote international initiatives and partnerships to better address the "water/energy/food security nexus", involving economic actors and promoting appropriate goals and concrete initiatives to foster action. This could create synergies with other initiatives such as the ?Sustainable Energy for all initiative or the ?Global Soil Partnership?.
Food and Agriculture
Promote investments in food security by improving access to local and global agri-food markets for (small-scale) farmers, with special attention to women (e.g. by establishing a scheme).
Establish schemes that expand public-private partnerships and facilitate multistakeholder and certification initiatives to promote sustainable, climate-smart and high-productive agriculture and agri-food chains and markets.
Strengthen cooperation of International Organizations dealing with the issue of food security and support, inter alia implementation of the 2004 Voluntary Guidelines to Support the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security.
Promote the implementation of the planned Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security under the FAO Committee on World Security.
Build on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL) launched by the Secretary-General, including its concrete goals
- Provide universal access to a basic minimum level of modern energy services for both consumption and production uses by 2030.
- Pursue the SE4ALL goal of doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 through promoting the development and use of renewable energy sources and technologies in all countries.
- Increase efforts to improve energy efficiency at all levels with a view to doubling the rate of improvement by 2030.
- Develop an accountability framework including timelines and benchmarks for progress and for tracking the provision, delivery and results of stakeholder commitments.
Promote mechanisms for international dialogue and cooperation on developing and exchanging sustainable energy technologies between countries and between the public and the private sectors.
Promote progress on REDD+ and FLEGT initiatives at all levels.
Promote horizontal policy frameworks as well as market instruments that effectively slow, halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation and promote the sustainable use and management of forests, as well as their conservation and restoration. This should unleash the full potential of forests for sustainable development and improve the resilience of forest ecosystems to environmental risks and disasters. Initiatives under this heading would address the following key issues:
- Promote public-private partnerships and strengthen dialogue and information flow between science and practice along the whole value chain.
This would focus on innovation in the field of new forest-based products and responsibility for forest management that takes climate change, biodiversity and other global challenges, (such as water scarcity, poverty, hunger, and employment) into account. Step up efforts to address gaps in valuation of forest goods and services and to mainstream forest values in national policy making processes.
- Ensure transparency of value chains and markets for bio-based forest products and services through the enhanced use of certification systems and schemes for improved market access and consumer acceptance.
- Promote benefits for people through setting up legal and policy frameworks for the participation of forest rights holders groups and other stakeholders in decision- making, and in the design of benefit sharing mechanisms.
Further develop the existing monitoring of the state of forests and harmonise reporting on sustainable forest management, forest function and forest condition for multipurpose usage with a focus on international reporting obligations by relevant international conventions and agreements. Support efforts of the FAO and GEOSS to strengthen and further develop remote sensing services for global forest monitoring.
Soil and sustainable land management
Enhance and foster the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification as a global policy and monitoring framework.
Promote partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of soil resources for future generations such as the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) proposed by the FAO.
Promote scientific studies and initiatives aimed at raising wider awareness of the global economic benefits of healthy and productive land and soil such as the Economics on Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative.
Marine Environment ? oceans
Ensure a commitment by those UN Member States that have not yet done so to become parties to UNCLOS.
Agree to launch the negotiation of a new implementing agreement under UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity, in particular addressing marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and the access to and benefits of sharing genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).
Ensure a commitment to deliver and continue to support a more meaningful UN Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects.
Promote a holistic and integrated approach to the governance of oceans, seas and coasts by all States including through the development of cross-sectoral policy tools. Such an approach should include conservation and management measures and address cumulative environmental impacts, in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, in a way that is coherent, compatible and without prejudice to the rights and obligations of all States under UNCLOS.
Develop a global action plan to combat marine litter and pollution.
Recognize the significant economic, social and environmental contribution of coral reefs to island and coastal States, including by promoting regional cooperation on the model of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), and encouraging the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).
Confirm existing commitments and step up all actions envisaged under paragraph 31 of the JPOI to achieve sustainable fisheries in particular the universal adoption of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA). This includes:
restoring and maintaining stocks at levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield, ratification of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, adoption and implementation of modern fisheries management principles such as the ecosystem and precautionary approaches as well as the need to improve scientific knowledge in order to base measures on the best available science, improved cooperation between States including through effective Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and other Regional Conventions, the reduction of fishing overcapacity and the reduction of significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems.
Eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by developing a common approach to combat it and by adopting and implementing effective tools including through the ratification of the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures Agreement and other relevant international agreements.
Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use: Investing in natural capital for a Green Economy
Strengthen the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services in policies and decision-making processes at international, regional and national levels, including through promoting the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the economy and encourage investments in natural capital through appropriate incentives and policies which support a sustainable and equitable use of biological diversity and ecosystems. The aim is to protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Establish in this context an International Partnership amongst governments, international organisations, NGOs, financial actors and private companies to share and promote best practices relating to 'Investing in Natural Capital'.
Initiatives under this heading would address the following key issues:
- measuring natural capital (statistics and trends, indicators, research and development, valuation of ecosystem services);
- integrating physical and monetary natural capital values in accounting and reporting systems at national and international level (e.g. System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA), ecosystem accounting, economic and social progress reports, accounting and reporting rules for businesses);
- promoting incentives and policies to encourage investment in natural capital (market-based instruments and innovative financing instruments for ecosystem protection and restoration, promoting business models that integrate risks and opportunities relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services).
Strengthening and building on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), to step up efforts towards a more robust, coherent, effective and efficient international regime for chemicals throughout their lifecycle. Taking into account increasing and shifting global production and use of chemicals as well as trade in products containing chemicals, the WSSD commitments on chemical management should be strengthened, and their implementation better monitored, in order to reflect the developing knowledge base as well as new policy approaches recognising the need for greater transparency and industry responsibility. Further international efforts should build on and strengthen the multi-sector, multi-stakeholder dimension of SAICM, and further develop and broaden ongoing efforts to increase coordination and cooperation within the chemicals and waste cluster, ensuring that hazardous substances that have been identified as being of global concern can be addressed rapidly through agreed processes. Sustainable and adequate long-term funding will be important. In this connection, the EU and its Member States will give consideration to UNEP's forthcoming proposals on financing to assist developing countries with sound chemical and waste management and seeks an integrated approach that combines nationally mainstreaming such management, including in national development strategies, involving the private sector and providing external support for the incremental costs of achieving global environmental benefits.
Further develop and broaden ongoing efforts to increase synergies and coordination and cooperation within the chemicals cluster and the waste cluster.
Sustainable management of materials and waste
Foster the development of policy and planning instruments enhancing resource efficiency and encouraging waste prevention, minimisation, reuse and recycling, based on the polluter-pays principle and extended producer responsibility (e.g. take-back schemes, fee systems), enabling better resource allocation and improved conditions for the poor.
Improve the quality and reliability of waste-related data and indicators for better inventories, monitoring, implementation, policy development and general access to information.
Promote public - private partnerships aiming to enhance capacity and technology for environmentally sound waste management, based on international standards, as well as to mobilize financial resources and investment, while ensuring coherence and avoiding duplication with already existing partnerships and other relevant work at international level.
Sustainable urban development
Mobilise a renewed process at local level in order to ensure that urban development is sustainable by integrating in the work of the whole UN system the agenda for sustainable urban development as well as the good practices, lessons learned and partnerships implemented by cities.
Promote an integrated and holistic approach to building sustainable cities
Support the scaling up of successful experiences as a means to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty globally.
Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development
Introduction / background
Governance structures are crucial in helping to deliver sustainable development, green our economies and eradicate poverty. However, current arrangements for Sustainable Development Governance are not effectively responding to the challenges before us.
Against this background, it is clear that governance arrangements in all three pillars of sustainable development need to be strengthened, better coordinated and made more coherent. We need to ensure that the economic, social and environmental dimensions work closely together. The Rio+20 Conference provides a unique opportunity for forward- looking IFSD discussions contributing to better implementation and greater integration of sustainable development at all levels and in all countries.
Global Sustainable Development Governance
Reinforcing the architecture for sustainable development governance at the global level will require, in particular, strengthening of and better co-ordination and coherence between the UN organizations responsible for sustainable development in order to ensure better linkages between the three pillars and to improve implementation of existing commitments. This will also require reinforcing and mainstreaming environmental issues in a balanced manner.
During the preparatory process for Rio+20 a number of reform options have been suggested. These include, inter alia, reform of the United Nations General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the possible establishment of a Sustainable Development Council. The position of the EU and its Member States on all these reform options remains open and we welcome the views of others on how to best achieve an ambitious outcome for IFSD at Rio+20. The outcome of the joint Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (EC-ESA) study on IFSD will serve as an important source of information for comparing the various options, for assessing possible interrelatedness and interdependence between options and for evaluating the extent to which options would fulfil the required functions.
Initial/preliminary considerations by the EU and its Member States on some of the options put forward for global sustainable development governance reforms are set out below. These options are not mutually exclusive and could be pursued as a combination of options.
· As the main deliberative organ of the UN, the UN General Assembly provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion and political guidance at the highest level. The main aim should be to ensure that sustainable development issues are mainstreamed on its agenda, thereby effectively providing overall political direction to the implementation and review of the UN?s sustainable development work. Consideration could be given to the practice of scheduling high-level meetings and thematic debates that are interactive and inclusive in nature as important tools for facilitating in-depth discussion on current issues of critical importance.
· ECOSOC has a pivotal role to play in ensuring coherence, coordination and implementation in the area of sustainable development through its mandate on 2 of the three pillars, high-level coordination with the UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes, its link with the Bretton Woods Institutions and its oversight role vis-à-vis the functional commissions. Different options could be considered for strengthening the way it performs this function, including:
- Using the coordination segment of ECOSOC as an effective way of strengthening integration, monitoring implementation of decisions/resolutions on sustainable development, including those coming from its functional commissions, as well as fostering coherence and coordination across the UN system. The ECOSOC Spring meetings ?Special high-level meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development? provides an opportunity to build upon for strengthening the link with the Financial Institutions and the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB);
- Using the ECOSOC operational activities segment to promote mainstreaming of decisions/resolutions on sustainable development into programmes of UN agencies and funds which would translate into concrete actions on the ground;
- A possible revision of the roles and division of responsibilities of the ECOSOC and the CSD as regards sustainable development.
· 20 years after the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) was created, there is broad agreement that the role of the CSD needs to be reviewed.
As it stands, CSD no longer delivers a satisfactory dialogue with the governing bodies of implementing entities, is unable to support the incorporation of decisions into UN country-level assistance frameworks, and lacks the authority for an effective integration of the three pillars of sustainable development.
Different scenarios could be considered for improving the effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility of activities currently performed by the CSD, including:
- Enhancing and strengthening the CSD by endowing it with a sharper, more focused, balanced and responsive engagement with a more limited set of issues, resulting in a more strategic and manageable approach, as well as an enhanced implementation of its decisions.
- Reorienting its role by focusing on the part of its mandate in support of sustainable development partnerships and dialogue and removing its ?negotiation? function
- Enhancing the review dimension of the CSD by facilitating voluntary peer review mechanisms for progress monitoring using best practice and/or establishing linkages with regional level peer review mechanisms.
- Abolishing the CSD, and transferring those functions that should be continued to another organ within the UN system.
- The establishment of a Sustainable Development Council under the UNGA has been highlighted as a way to improve the UN?s work on Sustainable Development. The key function of such a body could be to improve visibility of Sustainable Development topics. However, considerations about the possible establishment of a Sustainable Development Council must avoid any concrete or potential overlap in the functions and mandates of existing organizations.
· A Special Envoy or Representative could be the high-level voice and advocate for sustainable development with various policy makers at the national level and could promote an integrated approach in the UN system and at country level.
International Environmental Governance (IEG)
Reinforcing the architecture for sustainable development governance at the global level will also make it necessary to reinforce the environmental pillar in a balanced manner.
The EU and its Member States actively support the incremental improvements of IEG that were identified in the Nairobi-Helsinki process and consider that they should be rigorously implemented. Our views are set out more fully in paragraph 19. Furthermore, the EU and its Member States are convinced that, at the same time, more ambitious and broader reform is necessary to respond to the fundamental problems of the current system. A key outcome of Rio+20 should therefore include the upgrading of UNEP into a Specialized Agency for the Environment as part of the reform of IFSD, and our detailed views on this are set out in paragraph 20 below.
With regard to synergies among compatible MEAs, the EU and its Member States believe that the work on streamlining and reinforcing the MEA system needs to be accelerated. While respecting the autonomy of different MEAs, there is much scope for making their administration more effective through inter alia, coordination, cooperation and avoidance of duplication ? thus creating a better platform for securing coherent and focused political oversight and leadership, thereby freeing up resources for better implementation and for promoting favourable conditions for green growth. Such synergies could include cooperation and coherence with regard to financial aspects. If the political will exists among Parties, the MEA system can be streamlined and reinforced. Rio+20 may provide the momentum for all of us to commit to and kick-start such reforms and strengthened synergies between MEA?s, for example:
The EU and its Member States welcome the work already undertaken to improve the co-operation and co-ordination between the chemicals and waste cluster and consider that more work in this area could be undertaken for, e.g., significant steps towards further advancing cooperation and coordination between new and existing instruments within the chemicals and waste cluster, where a future proof governance structure and an integrated approach to financing options need to be key components.
We also welcome further efforts for enhancing synergies between the biodiversity- related Conventions, international and regional agreements and other relevant bodies, which, without prejudice to their specific objectives or mandates, and with a view to, inter alia, considering joint activities and identifying areas for Party-driven collaboration regarding biodiversity, climate change, land degradation and ecosystem based approaches, would support the transition to a green economy.
We also note the need to strengthen coordination between the three ?Rio Conventions? (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification) and promote joint activities for Party-driven collaboration on ecosystem -based "win-win-win" solutions.
The EU has over the years developed its thinking on IEG. The 2005 Council Conclusions from EU Heads of State and Government support ?the establishment of a UN agency for the environment, based on UNEP, with a revised and strengthened mandate, supported by stable, adequate and predictable financial contributions and operating on an equal footing with other UN specialized agencies. This agency, based in Nairobi, would make it possible to develop the environmental dimension of sustainable development in an integrated and consistent manner, and would cooperate closely with multilateral agencies, each using its comparative advantages to best effect.?
Multilevel SD governance: the role of regional, national, subnational and local authorities
The strengthening of IFSD needs to be addressed across multiple levels of governance. Regional, national, sub-national and local- level institutions are at the forefront when it comes to dealing with the challenges and opportunities related to the implementation of sustainable development. Promoting effective institutions and appropriate framework conditions at these levels should be recognized as an indispensable complement to efforts aimed at strengthening IFSD at global level. Taking into account lessons learned, proposals should build further on the valuable work that is already taking place, notably with regard to the implementation of sustainable development policies and strategies (National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS)), Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS), Local Agenda 21), the work of local governments and the work of intersectoral coordination structures.
Regional cooperation and South-South cooperation is a powerful tool for bridging the gap between the global and national levels of sustainable development decision-making and implementation. UN regional commissions have a role to play in facilitating technical assistance, regional coordination, mobilizing financing and implementation.
The role of non-state actors
One of the fundamental prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development is broad public participation in decision-making. The IFSD package, therefore, should include measures that encourage and facilitate an active and meaningful involvement of all major groups and stakeholders as central actors in both policy development and implementation.