I will confine myself to speak on sub-item a and a few short comments on water supply, desertification and energy. We will be making a short separate statement on 31 October under sub-item 95(a) on "Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind".

Rio Plus Ten

The ten-year review of Agenda 21 at CSD10 Rio+10 in 2002 is a timely opportunity for the international community to step back and assess the progress that has been made since the Rio Conference (UNCED) in 1992 and what remains to be done. In addition to undertaking a comprehensive and critical assessment of areas where greater effort and attention are required, we have an opportunity to examine the achievements realised through cooperative action and the lessons learnt.

The Secretary General's report on ensuring effective preparations for the ten-year review provides a good basis for our discussions. In our view there are two critical ingredients for achieving a successful outcome from the process: Rio plus ten must have high political visibility and international preparations should commence as soon as possible. Political will is critical to ensuring that progress is made on moving the sustainable development agenda forward. Australia's preference is for a Ministerial Conference, including a Summit with participation of Heads of State and Government. A credible outcome should give guidance to future efforts and we would therefore support development of an action program for progressing those issues over the next ten-year period.

Before we engage in a difficult discussion on substance we need to ensure that the right foundations are laid for those discussions. The focus at this stage should be on identifying fresh approaches to achieving sustainable development on the themes already identified under Agenda 21, or any particularly important new and emerging themes. We are keen to see a concrete preparatory process in place, out of which a manageable number of agreed high priorities can be identified for attention in the Rio plus Ten agenda. It is important that we agree to focus on those issues which are of critical importance to both developing and developed countries, and the private sector must be fully involved in the preparations for Rio+10. Our aim is to re-invigorate the enthusiasm and optimism seen at Rio, and rekindle a shared awareness that expedient and concerted efforts are required to ensure a healthy world for the future.

Water supply and sanitation

Management of water supply and sanitation has environmental, health, economic and security implications. Globally, the availability of fresh water has declined 37 per cent in per capita terms since 1970 as population growth and degradation of water supplies has outstripped global capacity to develop new sources. Almost half of the world's land surface lies within watersheds shared between two or more countries, and there are 260 rivers which cross international boundaries. Shared water resources by their very nature have often encouraged cooperation between states, even in times of great tension. For example, the Mekong River Commission continued to operate right through the enormous upheavals of two major wars affecting Vietnam.

Unfortunately, as the Secretary-General's report states, little if any progress is being made in reducing the number of people lacking access to safe water supply and suitable sanitation facilities. Between 10 and 25 million people die each year because of lack of clean water and adequate sanitation. Greater national and international efforts are required. For these reasons, Australia supports the proposed International Year of Freshwater in 2003. Australia recognises that this is an area where our long experience of dealing with water scarcity and the expertise we have developed as a result can assist in making progress. Through the Australian Development Assistance programs, we devoted over AUD40 million last year in improving water supply and sanitation infrastructure in developing countries.


Earlier this year Australia was able to add its name to the list of members to have ratified the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. However, even before ratification Australia's domestic legislation and programs met, and frequently exceeded, the requirements of the Convention. The Australian' 'Landcare', model of community-based-action provides a model for tackling land degradation which could be used elsewhere. Australia is currently spending more than $43 million dollars through our aid agency and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research for programs and projects directly related to desertification and drought mitigation overseas.

As in the field of water supply, Australia's geography has lead to the development of a level of Australian expertise in dryland management. Australia has developed Commonwealth and State partnerships designed to address land degradation problems. Australia looks forward to participating as a full party in a productive fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to be held in Bonn, Germany in December.

CSD Energy and Sustainable Development

As you are aware, a Ministerial Policy Dialogue on Energy and Sustainable Development, co-sponsored by Indonesia and ESCAP, is to be held in Bali from 21-24 November 2000. The outcomes of this meeting, which will be presented for discussion at CSD9, will form the regional input from Asia-Pacific to CSD9. This High Level Regional meeting will identify ideas for providing energy services to those who do not have access (for example in remote locations) , in a sound environmental manner. It will also aim to achieve a commitment at ministerial level to pursue an energy agenda that would advance sustainable development at the regional level.

The High Level Regional meeting is an important part of Australia's overall approach to CSD9 and offers an excellent opportunity to progress Australia's position on issues of importance in the Asia-Pacific region on energy and sustainable development. Australia is was pleased to be able to co-sponsor, along with Indonesia, a Regional Business Forum to be held in conjunction with the High Level Regional meeting on 23 November 2000. The Business Forum would provide an opportunity for dialogue between business executives to promote, develop and invest in energy infrastructure, technologies and services. The outcomes of the Forum will be presented for consideration by Ministers during the Policy Dialogue.