A/CONF.216/PC/7 - Secretary-General's Report on Objectives and Themes
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A/CONF.216/PC/8 - Synthesis Report on Best Practises and Lessons Learned on the Objective and Themes of the Conference
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Co-Chairs? Summary Second Preparatory Committee Meeting United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
Opening SessionThe session was chaired by H.E. Dr. John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda. He advised that the Bureau is reaching out to all stakeholders to mobilize political and financial support for the preparatory process. In that regard he made an appeal to donors to make further contributions to the CSD Trust Fund for the Conference. He stated the process for the preparation of the outcome document will be open, transparent, led by delegations, and will take on board all stakeholder inputs. It is the intention of the Bureau to share a zero draft of the outcome document with delegations in January 2012. He announced that the outcome of the 2nd PrepCom will be a Co-chairs? summary. Dr. Ashe invited delegations to consider the following questions in the opening session:
- What will the conference deliver?
- What will the outcome be?
- How will UNCSD be different from other sustainable development conferences?
- What are the major issues and challenges?
Session 1:Securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and addressing new and emerging challenges A number of delegations stressed the importance of renewed political commitment both at international and national levels. This can be achieved by strengthening the convergence of the 3 pillars of sustainable development aiming at poverty eradication. This will result in social equity and economic growth and will be based on sustainable management of natural resources and protection of environment. To guide policy and decision making, some delegations stressed that it is necessary to track, monitor, report and improve data regarding sustainable development at the national level. At the international level, it is necessary to formulate specific and forward-looking programmes of action and promote global sustainable development processes. At the same time, these processes need to be inclusive and respect different models of sustainable development and leave countries enough space to make their own policies. It was stated that economic growth is a part of any sustainable development strategy, but should be balanced in such a way as to take into consideration the environment, natural resources and social equity, addressing poverty and improving the status of women. Many delegations stated that, despite achievements, still a number of implementation gaps as well as challenges persist since the UNCED in 1992 and WSSD in 2002, and a number of international commitments have not been met. The current multiple crises, particularly food crises, climate change and economic and financial crises, pose serious threats to the achievement of sustainable development and internationally agreed development goals. Regarding the fulfillment of international commitments, there is a lack of coherent approaches in the areas of finance, trade, investment, capacity building and technology transfer. There is a need to realize commitments on ODA; to mobilize international financial resources to support a green economy transition; and to achieve an effective, equitable, durable and development-oriented solution to the debt problem. Transfer of technology should be expanded according to the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building, as well as goals contained in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 and the JPOI. Additionally, developing countries should be enabled to develop their own technology including building local capacity. In this context, a review of intellectual property rights has been proposed in order to ensure they do not create a barrier for the sustainable development of developing countries. A universal, rule-based, open non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system which promotes development and a development-oriented outcome of the Doha round are also prerequisites for achieving sustainable development. Several delegations stressed that good governance at all levels is important for achieving sustainable development goals. A number of delegations underlined the importance of public-private and multi-stakeholder partnerships as well as the inclusion of civil society, women, vulnerable groups and indigenous communities as well as the private sector, local and regional governments and academia in the implementation of sustainable development. Education for sustainable development and science and technology have also been underlined as an important tool to enhance human capacity development and enable development of skill sets vital to emerging sectors of a green economy and development in general. There was also broad agreement that all countries and stakeholders need to enhance efforts on concrete actions and measures to achieve sustainable development. Success stories and policies that have worked need to be identified and analyzed, including how best those policies fit and can be implemented in different contexts and how they can be scaled up. Regarding new and emerging issues, a number of delegations stressed the importance of sustainable management of aquatic and marine resources, especially fisheries; water scarcity and especially its impact on food security; loss of biodiversity due to pressure from human activities and climate change; increasing urbanization and in this context problems of transport and waste management; energy use and in this context energy security and access to energy; drought, desertification, land degradation, mountain fragility, extreme weather events and floods. Delegations also expressed that their expectation that these emerging challenges will be addressed in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and in such a manner as to provide adequate resources and transfer of technology in order to build capacity of developing countries to be able to deal with them adequately without jeopardizing development gains, especially achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Session 2: Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication The following context elements for a green economy were emphasized: 1) Several delegations reiterated that the concept of green economy should not replace that of sustainable development, but that the green economy should be envisioned within the overarching concept and goals of sustainable development. Some delegations indicated that a green economy should be seen as a vehicle for growth and sustainable development. 2) Several delegations mentioned that poverty eradication remains the top priority for developing countries, and the creation of decent jobs is a key element of such priorities. 3) Several delegations mentioned that the focus on a green economy should not distract from achieving the full implementation of previous commitments made by the international community. 4) Several delegations mentioned that greening economies can be a driving force for growth and sustainable development and should be geared to eradicating poverty and low-carbon development. A number mentioned that ?a blue economy approach? needs also to be considered, in line with Agenda 21. 5) Multiple global crises have undermined progress towards sustainable development in many countries. In particular, the continued volatility of food and oil prices is catastrophic for the poor. Several delegations underscored the need to reduce fossil fuel subsidies and agricultural subsidies in developed countries. 6) It was mentioned by some delegations that a green economy is relevant for countries at all stages of development, as shown by the many examples of green economy policies, strategies, programmes and projects as well as good practices successfully developed across the globe, adding that a strong political leadership is needed to guide green economy strategies. v 7) Efficient management of natural resources was mentioned as a central element of a green economy, including with a view to poverty eradication. 8) Delegations expressed that youth employment and decent jobs should be considered explicitly as objectives of green economy strategies and policies. The following guiding principles were suggested: 1) Several delegations reaffirmed the need for the discussions to be consistent with the outcomes of previous global conferences, including Agenda 21 and the JPOI, the Rio Principles as well as the MDGs, the Barbados Plan of Action and the Mauritius Strategy, as well as the need to achieve adequate balance among the 3 pillars of sustainable development. 2) Several delegations mentioned that there is no ?one-size-fits-all? approach to a green economy. The green economy has to capture differences of scale and scope between countries. Green economy policies have to be decided nationally and regionally, according to the specific circumstances, needs and capabilities of the countries. Flexibility and sufficient policy space are required. Any green economy transition should be fully consistent with the sovereign rights of countries over their natural resources, as reflected in Principle 2 of the Rio Declaration. 3) The links between a green economy and the need to address unsustainable consumption and production patterns, with developed countries taking the lead, was emphasized by several delegations. 4) Poverty eradication and social well-being should guide efforts toward a green economy and sustainable development. A green economy needs to build resilience and economic security. 5) Participatory approaches and inclusiveness are essential, including the private sector, governments at local and regional levels, civil society including local communities, women and youth. Looking for solutions and answers developed at the local level is also important. Gender equality is an important dimension of the discussions on the green economy. 6) Several delegations emphasized the need for effective means of implementation, including transfer of clean technology and related know-how, as well as capacity building, and emphasized that financial resources need to be mobilized in innovative ways, including from the private sector. 7) It was mentioned that synergies with other international processes or fora should be pursued, in particular with climate change discussions ongoing under the UNFCCC, and with issues from the thematic cluster of CSD19. 8) It was suggested that new development models are needed that are country-specific. The transition to a green economy requires policies and institutional reform at the international and national levels. 9) The transition to a green economy should not be used to distort trade and must not lead to green protectionism or additional conditionalities. Trade should be pro-development and enable job creation. 10) Several delegations emphasized that further dialogue was needed to achieve a better understanding of the scope, costs, benefits and risks of the transition toward a green economy. A number of actions were emphasized by various delegations: 1) Greening of economies encompasses green industrialization, green education, green economic governance including CESR, green public procurement and green jobs, integrated planning and sustainable consumption. 2) Several economic instruments were emphasized, including green taxation and fiscal incentives, fees and levies on hazardous waste and air pollution, the elimination of export subsidies and subsidies to polluting inputs and, more generally, instruments based on the polluter-pays principle. 3) Several delegations proposed the valuing of eco-system services and internalizing of environmental externalities as key elements of a green economy, as well as green accounting; while some delegations cautioned against further marketisation of nature?s services. 4) Priority sectors mentioned for a green economy included energy access, renewable energy, energy efficiency including in buildings and construction, resource efficiency, water conservation, forests, land and soil conservation, agriculture and food security, ocean ecosystems and ocean acidification, fisheries, sustainable waste management, natural resource extraction and restoration of natural assets. 5) The transition costs of a green economy have to be identified and actively addressed, , including through providing the private sector with disincentives to use ?brown? technologies and incentives to use green technologies and to transfer them to developing countries, as well as through investment in human capital. 6) The importance of support from member States for developing countries in terms of capacity building was emphasized citing the example of the Global Green Growth Institute, which was recently established for disseminating knowledge and experience of Green Growth models and strategies 7) Some delegations stated that monitoring including through the use of indicators is important to assessing progress. The following were mentioned by some delegations for consideration as possible elements of an outcome for the UNCSD in 2012: 1) A green economy roadmap was suggested by some delegations which would include a menu of national and international actions, timelines, actors, tools, and set of targets. Some said that the roadmap should show a practical way forward and be voluntary. 2) It was mentioned by some that a toolbox of best practices needed to be made available for public authorities, non-governmental organizations and businesses. 3) Several delegations mentioned that an outcome from the Conference must be resources for promotion of research, development, transfer and deployment of clean technologies, especially in developing countries. 4) Some delegations stressed that UNCSD should promote mechanisms available to the international community to enhance capacity building and share knowledge, experience and practices. 5) New, additional and innovative financial resources need to be made available, including through public-private partnerships and ODA commitments met. 6) It was suggested that the conference could provide a platform for the ratification of international conventions relevant to sustainable development and green economy. 7) An international agreement was proposed against speculation on oil and food. 8) The creation of a green economy fund, dedicated to the transfer of clean technologies, was proposed. 9) The possibility of an implementation mechanism has also been mentioned by some delegations.
Session 3: Institutional Framework for Sustainable DevelopmentThe achievement of an effective and efficient institutional framework for sustainable development at all levels is key to the full implementation of Agenda 21, the follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and meeting emerging sustainable development challenges. Efforts to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development should focus on strengthening an architecture that supports effective implementation and policy integration of sustainable development at all levels. Deliberations on the institutional framework should be guided by chapter 11 of the JPOI, building on Agenda 21. Many delegations expressed the view that reforms to institutional arrangements could be based on the existing structure, while enhancing coordination, coherence, and synergies. Institutional arrangements should ensure the balance among the 3 pillars of sustainable development, promoting mutually supportive mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels. Steps taken to strengthen the institutional framework should take into account national conditions and priorities, and the global framework should support national actions. The view was expressed that the normative and operational aspects of the sustainable development agenda should be clearly distinguished. Many delegations highlighted the means of implementation in relation to the institutional framework, including technology transfer and capacity building. The provision of adequate and predictable financing was emphasized in order to ensure the effective implementation of the United Nations sustainable development agenda. In this regard, many delegations underlined the need for new and additional resources. A group of countries reaffirmed the key role of the UN General Assembly in the institutional framework for sustainable development. In considering the social, economic and environmental pillars, ECOSOC should promote greater coordination, complementarity, effectiveness and efficiency of its functional commissions, programmes and other subsidiary bodies that are relevant to the implementation of Agenda 21 and the JPOI. It is necessary to renew the effort to strengthen ECOSOC as an effective forum for the multilateral discussion of economic and social themes through a sustainable development approach, which necessarily includes an environmental perspective. One country stated that an in-depth discussion of sustainable development in the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) could serve to reinforce the role of the Council. Many delegations highlighted that the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), as the high-level intergovernmental body responsible for sustainable development within the UN system, was the only forum in which sustainable development is addressed in an integrated fashion. An enhanced role for the Commission should include reviewing and monitoring progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and ensuring coherence of implementation, initiatives and partnerships. Delegations called for the CSD to be strengthened and made more efficient; a number of delegations made concrete proposals in this regard. One country and a Major Group proposed that the Commission should be elevated to the status of a council under the General Assembly. The need to improve the implementation of the Commission?s decisions was emphasized, with a number of delegations proposing consideration of a member State-driven peer review mechanism. One country outlined a proposal for an ?Umbrella? organization based on existing structures and focused on the promotion of sustainable development and the implementation of existing multilateral commitments. The need for coherence and efficiency, as well as effectiveness, would necessitate the redefinition of the role and the mandates of the present institutions, with an emphasis on ECOSOC, UNEP and CSD, with the umbrella, or roof, built on the existing structure. The overarching structure would have the objective of coordinating those institutions as well as the MEAs, with an emphasis on integrating the economic, social and environmental pillars. Several delegations expressed interest in learning more about this proposal. A group of countries identified strengthening international environmental governance (IEG) as a key element and condition for improving the institutional framework for sustainable development. A country, on behalf of the President of the UNEP Governing Council (GC), and in accordance with the decision of the GC, invited the PrepCom to consider the options for broader institutional reform identified in the Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome. Further in accordance with decision of the GC, the PrepCom was also invited to initiate a full analysis of the financial, structural and legal implications and comparative advantages of the options identified in the Helsinki-Nairobi Outcome, utilizing the expertise of the relevant United Nations system entities, including UNEP, and relevant stakeholders and the Major Groups eligible to participate in the PrepCom. Many delegations expressed support for the preparation of such an analysis. A group of countries called for UNEP to be upgraded into a specialized agency of the United Nations, explaining that the proposal did not entail adding a new institution, but rather transforming UNEP into an organization more capable of contributing to sustainable development. Other delegations , recognizing the need to strengthen the environmental pillar, preferred steps to enhance UNEP by reinforcing its functions, increasing financial support to it, and raising its efficiency. A number of delegations questioned the focus on a single institution, suggesting a preference for mainstreaming and overall strengthening of the environmental pillar. Many delegations pointed to the urgent need for enhanced coordination and cooperation among all international organizations, agencies and conventions, so as to ensure implementation of commitments, promote synergies and allow the participation of Major Groups. They also underlined the need for the United Nations system to enhance its efficiency in the area of sustainable development, so as to ensure effective delivery. The need to make the most of the limited resources available within the United Nations system, through enhanced coordination and rationalization of the various institutions, including the secretariats of MEAs, was noted by one country. A number of delegations drew attention to the need for the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), WTO, and multilateral development banks to give priority to sustainable development, within their mandates, and to enhance coordination with the UN system. Several delegations noted that developing countries should have greater participation in the decision making process of IFIs. Institutional strengthening should not be limited only to the international level, but should include mechanisms at the regional level, so that existing regional mechanisms could be strengthened to integrate sustainable development fully into regional development paradigms. A number of delegations addressed an enhanced role for UN regional commissions, including coordination and supporting bottom-up action. Reference was made to the importance of national sustainable development strategies (NSDS) for multilevel governance, as well as lessons learnt from the One UN initiative. Many speakers stated that the institutional framework should be inclusive and encourage the participation of all stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society, NGOs, and the scientific community. A group of countries noted the potential of sustainable development councils in strengthening major groups? engagement in sustainable development. There is also a need for the institutional framework to support scientific research and development in the area of sustainable development.
Closing SessionThe closing session was chaired by H.E. Park In-kook of the Republic of Korea. He invited delegations to consider next steps for the process in the coming months and the expected outcome of the Conference, including the structure and content of the outcome document. In this regard, it was underscored that the document should be action-oriented. Delegations were invited to consider three options in respect of its format: a comprehensive option which would include a Declaration and Programme of Action; a practical option which would be a shorter text; and a political option, which would be shaped to ensure the broadest political buy-in. In this preliminary exchange, some delegations expressed the view that the outcome document should reflect the specific mandate given the Conference and its review process. Support was therefore conveyed by them for a focused political document, addressing the themes and objectives of the Conference in cross-cutting perspective. The importance of the Conference?s securing renewed political commitment was underscored. There were divergent views on the emphasis that should be given the principal themes in the outcome of the Conference. One perspective was that the outcome should focus on the shaping of a specific roadmap to achieve green economy on an international scale, incorporating common goals, strategies, actions and timelines, while observing national priorities. Another was that the Conference should not essentially be about green economy; that there was need for a strategic action plan to address gaps in implementation as identified through the assessment of progress made on the past mandates of Rio and Johannesburg. In this regard, a number of key issues were reiterated: the need for enhanced financial and technical support to accelerate implementation; the importance of ensuring synergy with the MDG targets and maintaining focus on poverty alleviation; the need for a stronger science-policy interface; the value of north-south and south-south cooperation for building capacity and promoting best practice; the need to pay attention to concerns of least developed countries and to the special needs of SIDS; the need to strengthen partnerships as a mechanism to advance implementation of the sustainable development agenda, through renewed engagement with the private sector and civil society organizations. There was also a strong call for support to be provided for national, regional and sub-regional consultations. Attention was also given the mandate to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development. Delegations reiterated that the outcome document should address improved sustainable development governance within each of the three pillars as well as in an integrated and balanced manner. Emphasis was placed by some on the outcome of the Nairobi-Helsinki process, and the need for further consideration to be given the five options presented in the proposed reform package for international environmental governance. The Regional Commissions reiterated their readiness to support the preparatory process, highlighting plans to organize regional meetings between September and December 2011 to address the Conference objectives and the two themes. The capacity of the regional commissions to provide coordinated sectoral and cross-sectoral support to member States was underscored, as was their ongoing contribution to analytical and normative work at the regional level, and their monitoring and reporting on regional developments. ECLAC, speaking on behalf of the Commissions, therefore expressed the hope that the outcome document would reflect the importance of strengthening the institutional framework for sustainable development at the regional level. After this preliminary exchange of views, the Chair invited delegations? consideration of a draft decision prepared by the Bureau of the UNCSD Preparatory Committee, addressing the ongoing process for preparation of the outcome document. The decision ?requests the Bureau to initiate an open, transparent and inclusive process led by Member States, to prepare in a timely manner a draft text, based upon all preparatory inputs, to serve as the basis for an outcome document for the Conference? (see Annex for complete text). By this decision, the Bureau would initiate informal consultations on the preparation of a draft text and, based on contributions received from member States and all relevant stakeholders by 1 November 2011, would prepare a compilation text to serve as basis for the preparation of a zero-draft of the outcome document. The compilation text would be made available for member States? and other stakeholders? comments and further guidance at the UNCSD Intersessional Meeting to be held in mid-December 2011. The Co-chairs are then requested on behalf of the Bureau to present the zero-draft of the outcome document for consideration by Member States and other stakeholders no later than early January 2012. The draft decision also recommends that three days in January be set aside for consultations on the draft and that one week in each of February, March and April 2012 be devoted to informal informal consultations on the draft; these meetings to be convened within existing resources. The draft decision was adopted by the Preparatory Committee. The Chair of the G77 placed on record the dismay of the Group that these informal informal consultations would be subject to the limitations of existing resources. Other members of the Group echoed these concerns, and also underscored the importance attached to the participation of expert representatives from capitals, reiterating the need for additional financial support to facilitate widest participation in the consultative process. In concluding remarks, Under-Secretary-General Sha urged delegations to keep the core objectives of the Conference in mind as the preparatory process unfolds in the coming months. He also encouraged those member States which have not yet done so to submit their national reports in response to the review questionnaire, for inclusion in an updated synthesis report. Mr. Sha also reiterated the need for an increased infusion of financial resources to ensure the fullest participation of developing countries and stakeholders of major groups in the Rio+20 process. Annex Decision adopted by the second Preparatory Committee Process for the preparation of the draft outcome document for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development The second Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development: (a) Requests the Bureau to initiate an open, transparent and inclusive process led by Member States, to prepare in a timely manner a draft text, based upon all preparatory inputs, to serve as the basis for an outcome document for the Conference; (b) Invites all Member States, the relevant United Nations system organizations, and relevant stakeholders to provide their inputs and contributions in writing by 1 November 2011 for inclusion in a compilation document to serve as basis for the preparation of zerodraft of the outcome document; (c) Requests the Bureau to compile these inputs and contributions and present their compilation text to Member States and other stakeholders at the second intersessional meeting to be held in mid- December 2011 to seek their comments and further guidance; (d) Calls upon the co-Chairs on behalf of the Bureau to present the zero-draft of the outcome document for consideration by Member States and other stakeholders no later than early January 2012; (e) Recommends the Bureau to convene a three-day meeting in January 2012 for the purposes of having initial discussions on the zero-draft of the outcome document, and set aside one full week for negotiations in each of the months of February, March and April 2012, ensuring that all these meetings are informal informals and, as such, are to be accommodated within existing resources.