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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.