Statement by Canada to the Organisational Session of the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to take this opportunity to make some brief remarks outlining Canada's views on the agenda we have before us over the next three days, and on the broader agenda leading to the World Summit in Johannesburg next year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank in particular South Africa and Indonesia, hosts of the World Summit and the final Preparatory Committee meeting respectively.

Perhaps the most important element of our work here this week will be to define a constructive role for major groups in the process leading to the World Summit. One of the greatest factors in the success of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro was the engagement of civil society organizations and major groups in design of the global sustainable development agenda. Canada feels very strongly that we should build upon this experience. We need to find ways to further enhance the engagement ofmajor groups as we prepare for 2002, not just in policy discussions, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as active participants in the implementation of what we agree upon in Johannesburg. Donor countries must be ready to support the participation of groups from the South, and ensure a strong southern civil society voice in Johannesburg.

As we discuss the logistics and timing of the various events leading to Johannesburg, Canada would urge that we make every effort to keep our approach simple. We commend the Secretariat on the work it has done so far in tenns of developing a plan to bring countries together with clear objectives. We need to use the preparatory process, and the specific events that the Secretariat proposes, to come to agreement as early as possible on the parameters of an agenda for the World Summit, so that we may focus our attention on issues of common concern. Each of the scheduled meetings should build momentum to the next, bringing greater focus on a core agenda which will give Leaders a foundation for successful and forward-looking Summit. We must also keep in mind the need for flexibility, recognizing that there are a number of international organizations and processes that could have valuable input into the evolution of the World Summit agenda.

Since 1992, the world has been struggling with a complex and expansive sustainable developmept agenda. We need now to focus on practical steps to implement existing agreements and get things done. Canada's approach to this challenge domestically has been to work within a thematic framework, agreeing upon a very broad agenda and then working with other orders of government and major groups to define priority issues within that framework. We have identified five themes:

.Health and Environment -capturing the concern we all share about the impact of environmental factors on our health and that of our children-

.Conservation and Stewardship -focusing on the sustainable use of natural resources to meet human needs, and the conservation of our natural heritage for future generations .International Environmental Governance -recognizing that we need to find new ways to work together more effectively to meet global challenges.

.Sustainable Communities -looking at sustainable development as an issue which touches upon the lives and livelihoods of all people.

.Innovation and Partnership -pursuing shared responsibility for sustainable development, drawing upon the capacities of government, major groups, individuals, and most notably the private sector in realizing sustainable development.

A fundamental consideration that is influencing our approach to the Summit is that if it is to be successful, we need focus our efforts on bringing sustainable development within reach of the world's poor. An effective partnership between North and South will be fundamental to the success of the World Summit, and the future of global sustainable development.

Canada hopes that our approach might be helpful in designing the way forward for the international community as we head to Johannesburg. At the same time we look forward to learning how other countries are approaching their own preparations, in order to learn from their experience.

We welcome the opportunity to participate in this first preparatory committee meeting for the World Summit, and hope to playa constructive role as the preparatory process unfolds.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.