United States of America
Much has been accomplished in the eight years since the Earth Summit was convened in , Rio de Janeiro in 1992. And much work yet remains. We must renew our commitment to achieving the goals of Agenda 21 and at the same time address new and emerging issues. During this session of the UN General Assembly, we will once again take up several issues under the rubric of environment and sustainable development. It is clear that success in this area will require a strong and concerted international effort.
Access to adequate and safe supplies of water is a growing concern in virtually every country. To deal with this burgeoning water challenge, on Earth Day this year, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced help for a global water initiative. In this initiative, we have partnered with other countries and international financing institutions to address issues associated with transnational river basins in key regions.
Another important matter for the international community is the need to pursue secure and sustainable sources of energy. The U.S. sees this as a significant growth area, in terms of increased usage of renewable energy sources and in entrepreneurial opportunities. In addition, clean energy technology can do much to reduce global climate change and the air pollution that rings many cities and increasingly finds its way to rural areas.
And as we approach the tenth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit in 2002, it is time to begin taking stock of successes under Agenda 21, as well as to look at areas that require redoubled effort. The United States believes that the carefully crafted and balanced language of Agenda 21 should remain intact. However, we seek a flexible approach to its ten-year review. This approach should allow for discussion of new sustainable development tools that have emerged since 19 92. These new tools include innovative financing designs such as the Clean Development Mechanism; the use of micro-credit at the local level; and a wider application of advances in information technology .All of these new developments will help deploy needed technologies and best practices in developing countries.
The United States hopes to see the agenda for Rio Plus Ten take into consideration the current regional dialogues that are to be conducted in coordination with the Division of Social and Economic Affairs, the UN Environment Program, and regional partnerships. We suggest that any resolutions or guidance provided by this body leave sufficient flexibility for the outcomes of regional dialogues and other consultative mechanisms to be incorporated into the agenda and focus of Rio Plus Ten. For that reason, we encourage the Secretariat of the Commission on Sustainable Development to begin to formalize an agenda and develop a title for the conference after the regional dialogues have reported their results. We hope that those results will be available well in advance of the first preparatory meeting following the conclusion of CSD 9 in May 2001
The United States fully understands the viewpoint that Rio plus Ten should be held as a global conference and that it should be held outside New York. However, in light of more general U.S. policy related to ON matters, the United States disassociated from consensus on this matter when it was raised at the Commission on Sustainable Development and at ECOSOC. We note that the United States would be unable to pay its share of ON funding for such a conference if current U.S. legislation were renewed and as a result U.S. policy is not to support the convening of new global conferences in the United Nations system.
The United States strongly supports a greater role for major groups in civil society, including non-governmental organizations, indigenous and women's groups, academia, and the private sector. The United States would like to see a larger role for business and industry. This is a necessity if the economic elements of Agenda 21 are to make progress in the current environment of declining Official Development Assistance and rapidly rising Foreign Direct Investment
Rio plus Ten also offers an excellent forum for discussion of the current system of international environmental cooperation, and whether it is up to the tasks that will confront it in this new century .The United States would like to see a focus on efforts to improve the effectiveness of existing international environmental institutions and structures.
There are many other sustainable-development issues that have been addressed since the 1992 Rio Conference. These include poverty alleviation, human settlements, food security, biodiversity , climate change, desertification, and coral reef protection. Successfully addressing these critical areas of sustainable development is key to ensuring that we maintain the natural resources, as well as the human resources, upon which economic development and human advancement are founded. The United States looks forward to the review of the 1992 Rio Conference outcomes in 2002 and expects that a renewed commitment to sustainable development will be one of the most enduring results.