The UN Department of Economic and Social affairs and the Secretariats of other agencies have provided us useful reports under the various sub-items of agenda item 95. The report on preparations for the ten-year review of progress achieved in the Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 offers practical proposals for the review process.
ourselves with the statement made, on behalf of the Group of 77 and
China, by the representative of Nigeria.
The Millennium Summit Declaration has defined "Respect for nature" as a fundamental value in the conduct of international relations in the twenty-first century. Prudent management of all living species and natural resources combined with the values of Equality and Solidarity contained in the Declaration form the very foundations of sustainable development. One cannot be ignored at the expense of the other.
Similarly, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio in 1992 recognized that sustained economic growth, social development and environmental protection were essential ingredients of sustainable development. One could not be achieved at the expense of the other. Agenda .21 adopted by the UNCED provided us with a comprehensive framework to pursue these objectives in a mutually reinforcing manner.
The Rio Principles and Agenda 21 have greatly contributed in raising awareness on the issue of sustainability .A significant number of countries have adopted policies for environmental protection. The Government of Pakistan also attaches priority to the protection of environment. A National Council on Environment has been established. Appropriate legislation has been promulgated to promote sustainable use of our natural wealth. Civil society and NGOs are playing an active role in promoting these goals.
At the global level, over a dozen environmental conventions have been concluded. A number of initiatives have been launched on protection of the environment and for mainstreaming the issues of sustainability. We would like to commend the role played by UNEP and GEF in promoting these aspects of the Rio.
Despite these notable achievements, no significant progress has been made in the realization of the goals of Agenda 21. During the five-year review of Agenda 21 held in 1997, it was a widely shared perception that we had not achieved what we agreed to accomplish at Rio. In fact, the situation had further deteriorated.
Economic growth has generally declined in developing countries, poverty has increased manifold since 1992 and environmental degradation continues unabated. Sustained economic growth and sustainable development still seem to be elusive goals.
According to some, we are confronted with an environmental crisis. For developing countries this is a crisis of development. However, in the case of developed countries it is a crisis of ever-increasing consumerism. Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production have led to over-exploitation of the natural wealth of this planet. The crises have to be averted. It is the only earth that we have. We must act together on the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities.
We must ask ourselves, why have we not been able to achieve the goals of Rio? Is there a fundamental flaw in our approach? Are we missing other pieces of the puzzle? How should we approach the ten-year review of progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21? Has the time come for a New Deal to promote the implementation 0( the commitments made at Rio?
It was recognized in Agenda 21 that the realization of the goals of sustainable development -would be inconceivable without the infusion of new and additional resources and transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.
There is hardly any chapter of Agenda 21 that does not contain estimates of the resources required to meet the agreed goals. But the developing countries are being asked to achieve results without having the Means of Implementation.
In fact, Official Development Assistance has considerably declined since 1992. Profit-driven private capital flows are working against the precepts of sustainable development. External debt burden has increased and the number of people living in poverty is on the rise. Intellectual Property regime has further curtailed access to knowledge and technology. Glabalization is posing new challenges.
In paragraph 58 of the report of the Secretary--General (A!55/78), it has been highlighted that the UN system's ability to promote the implementation of Agenda 21 has been negatively impacted by the lack of financial resources. The nominal zero growth approach to the budgeting processes of UN has made it increasingly difficult for the Organization to undertake new initiatives in dealing with the emerging challenges.
Any follow-up mechanism that is focused only on one side of the equation is inherently flawed. Selective implementation of the commitments has undermined the efficacy of the UN efforts to promote economic and social development.
Time bound targets on cross-sectoral issues are the missing pieces of the puzzle. Without sufficient ODA, durable solution of external debt burden, market access, pro-development finance, trade and technology transfer policies at the global level, appropriate management of globalisation and sufficient resources for the special needs of Africa, sustainable development would remain a mirage.
We would now like to address the various aspects of the review process. The Eighth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development has provided us with broad contours of the ten-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21. This session of the General Assembly should build on these elements.
We believe that the Conference should be held in a developing country .The Asian Group has already endorsed Indonesia's bid to host the Conference. We, however, hope that the question of venue will be resolved, before the end of this year, in the spirit of solidarity and mutual accommodation.
Preparations for the ten-year review should be grounded in addressing the real causes of the lack of progress in the implementation of Agenda 21. We should identify major constraints hindering the implementation of Agenda 21 and propose specific time-bound measures to remove those obstacles. Our destination was clearly defined by Agenda 21. But one cannot reach there with the help of a compass. A detailed road map is required.
The reports to be prepared for the ten-year review should endeavour to draw such a road map. The Secretariat and other relevant agencies may initiate analytical studies to quantify the essential elements required to implement each chapter of Agenda 21. The results could provide useful tools to draw a road map for the further implementation of Agenda 21.
The process of setting priorities for the review process should be based on the outcome of review and assessment of the progress held at local, national, regional and international levels. It would not be prudent to prejudge the outcome of those reviews. We believe that emerging challenges should also be addressed within the framework of Rio
stage, we would like to emphasize that the review should focus on
sustainable -development. Poverty eradication is only one part of this
whole and it cannot be achieved in isolation. Unless we address the root
causes of underdevelopment, our efforts for poverty eradication will not
yield optimal results.
suggestions regarding the global intergovernmental preparatory process
made in, paragraphs 30-37 of the Report of the Secretary General (Al55/l20)
constitute a good basis for initiating our work during this session
of the General Assembly. However, efforts should be made to ensure that
the final document to be adopted by the Review Conference is
action-oriented and helps in re-galvanising political will to Support
We lend our
full support to the Secretary General's proposal that the goal of this
review should be to achieve a "global commitment to a renewed
North/South partnership and a higher level of international solidarity
to further promote sustainable development. " It is our hope that
the high-level Conference on Financing for Development would
significantly contribute in laying the foundations of this new .
review of Rio provides us with a historic opportunity to resuscitate the
optimism of the early years of the last decade that led to UN Summits
and Conferences on economic and social development. We must not fail in
reviving the confidence of our people in these processes. Otherwise,
they will lose faith in the UN and in these widely publicized goals. The
gap between rhetoric and reality should be narrowed.
We have only one earth. And we should join hands in a new spirit of partnership to save this planet. The World Conference on Sustainable Development should offer a New Deal for the realization of the goals that we agreed to achieve at Rio