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Norwegian views on the positions related to the 10-year review of progress in the implementation of Agenda 21

I.                                EARTH SUMMIT- RIO+ 10


The Earth Summit, which is a ten-year review of the results of the Rio process on environment and sustainable development, will focus on the challenges and limitations involved in the implementation of the countries' commitments under Agenda 21. The Resolution to this effect, which was adopted by the General Assembly last autumn, emphasises the need for financial resources, the transfer of technology and technical assistance in the developing countries.

One of the most important issues that are going to be discussed in the months ahead in different UN bodies, first and foremost in the Commission on Sustainable Development this spring, are the format, content and focus of the process. Norway has also been asked for input here and the deadline is February 2000.

Format for the Earth Summit

In deciding the format for the review, consideration must be given to other processes, such as Beijing+5, Copenhagen+5, the Millennium Assembly and the high-level meeting in the UN on funding and development. There is also the question of whether the established, permanent forums in the UN should not be used for such processes and reviews. It is also possible that the age of major, global conferences on environment is over. The numerous meetings of the nineties have produced an agreed agenda specifying what the global goals are and how they can be attained. The challenges facing us now must be practical implementation, follow-up and adjustment -tasks of an ongoing nature.

On the other hand, in a reality influenced by the media, where ideas are formed and discarded at an increasingly rapid pace, we will need to be constantly reminded of the global challenges and the joint responsibility the countries have been charged with. In the field of environmental protection and sustainable development, there is also a generation problem: the activists of the seventies and eighties now make up the established political and specialist community and they need new challenges from civil society. The co-determination aspect will therefore have a central place in the process, in the preparations and the organisation of the Earth Summit. This may not best be safeguarded by the UN's existing bodies.

The ten-year review of the results of the Rio process, the Earth Summit, will take place in a number of bodies as part of the regular work of the United Nations, for example in CSD 10. The level of ambition as regards global focus on environmental challenges indicates nevertheless that a separate, global meeting, possibly in a developing country, with a forward-looking, mobilising agenda, is to be advocated. The participation of civil society must be ensured at all stages, and both nationally and internationally. Norway should become actively involved in a regional European preparatory process, as we did prior to Rio.

Content and focus for the Earth Summit

Few countries have offered any suggestions so far. It would appear, however, that several central actors agree that the content of the meeting must be forward-looking and must address the unresolved problems in the field of sustainable development. It may also be relevant to look at the status for some of the environmental fields where new, global reviews and processes are underway, such as forest issues, oceans and energy which will be the focus of attention in the Commission on Sustainable Development in 200 I, the year before the Earth Summit.

There are two particularly important fields that spring to mind. One is poverty, as both cause and consequence of the lack of sustainability in the development of a country, and the other is the financial aspect: how do we finance efforts to promote environmental protection and sustainable development in the developing countries themselves. The Earth Summit will also provide the opportunity for an institutional review with a view to improving the international community's ability to follow up global environmental goals

If the fight against poverty is chosen as the main theme, this will put the focus on important development cooperation goals set by Norway and other donor countries and on the policies of the poor countries themselves. This is a forward-looking and inspirational theme, particularly for the poor developing countries, but also for civil society and the NGOs.

On the institutional side, Rio+ 10 does not have to mean a new UN reform. Nevertheless, UN reform might be examined in the course of this process: the opportunity might arise to focus on whether environmental protection and sustainable development have the proper financial and structural level in the UN system. A review should be made of the financial institutions, including the World Bank, and of the GEF's own ability as a financing instrument compared with other, separate financing mechanisms for the environmental sectors. This includes private schemes.

The ten-year review of the Rio process can be successful if the themes are forward-looking and cross-sectoral in nature. The fight against poverty is chosen as the main theme, but that financing of sustainable development is also given a central place on the agenda. This should include mobilisation of the private sector in the developing countries themselves. We should discuss whether large sector areas such as forests, oceans, and climate and energy, should be made the subject of milestone discussions in 2002 leading up to the global conference.



Rio+1O is a top priority area for the environmental authorities in 2000. A number of studies will be carried out and two or three major conferences will be held in connection with these.

The various conferences in connection with the Rio+ 10 project will be key opportunities for the Government to highlight the importance of environmental protection at the start of the new millennium. Rio+ 10 will be a national collective effort to promote sustainable development, intended to help lift environmental protection higher up on the political agenda and make politics in general more sustainable.

We are also aiming for the active participation of the business sector and local actors. Rio+ 10 will be a showcase of achievements in environmental protection and sustainable development of the popular effort to improve the local environment. The project puts considerable emphasis on information and communication.

The Rio+ 10 project will primarily contribute to national preparations. The main tasks will be to follow up proposals and initiatives from the international Rio+ 10 process. In addition, the project will concentrate on implementing the national projects described below.

Arena 21 -Local Agenda workshop

Many countries have focused on Local Agenda 21 in the follow-up to Rio. This is where we have seen the most concrete implementation of the Rio resolutions. In Norway, this work has picked up speed particularly in the past couple of years. The global Rio+ 10 conference will probably be an arena for the exchange of experience. We might say that "Local implementation of global goals" is the guiding principle and sustainable consumption a key concept. Here the municipal sector is one of the main players, but it is just as important to focus on the role and contribution of the business sector and interest groups -and not only of the traditional environmentalist organisations but of the whole network of local organisations.

Guidelines showing how the ministries are to cooperate in order to stimulate LA21 activities were drawn up by the Government in February 1999. A new "Fredrikstad conference" will be a milestone in Norway's national preparations. This will be a national arena, a meeting place, for the exchange of experience and a workshop to generate ideas for further efforts to promote sustainable development at local level. This conference will also be important in how other countries report on Norway's efforts in this area. It will take place in autumn 2001 -and during the run-up to the conference there will be 'a number of smaller conferences on various sub-themes.

The business sector and environmental protection -what have we achieved in the nineties and where are we going in the new millennium?

In the course of the nineties, many initiatives were taken to integrate environmental protection into various branches of business sector was at the leading edge of developments and a prime instigator of environmental protection. In others, there still remains a great deal to be done.

A report will be prepared, which will sum up the results of measures to strengthen environmental efforts in the business sector and identify continuing challenges and potential with regard to increasing eco-efficiency in different parts of the business sector. It will also discuss the motivation factors that lie behind the environmental improvements: whether improvements are motivated by requirements or restrictions introduced by the public authorities or by practical business economics. The report will also offer good examples of the win-win type, where improvements in eco- efficiency and resource efficiency in the companies have led both to an increase in profitability and to a reduction in environmental impact.

It is anticipated that this report will be presented in autumn 2000. It is possible that a conference for business and industry will then be held to review the report and the sectoral environmental action pla~ for the Ministry of Trade and Industry , which is now being drawn up. Follow-up in the individual industry will be of central importance here. Close cooperation between the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Trade and Industry is important here.

The report and the business sector conference will be important milestones in Norway's national Rio+1O process. Discussions on the programme have been initiated with, among others, the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry. The other elements of the Rio+ 10 initiatives in this area will be established as time goes on. Sustainable production and consumption will be given a prominent place in the programme.

Environmental protection and research -what new trends and tendencies should policy makers be aware of!

National and international research on environmental protection has played a key role in policy development for many years. This is particularly true in the case of global problems: ozone depletion, climate change and biological diversity.

What are the current trends in research as we enter a new century? Which signals, trends and projections should policy makers be aware on These questions will form the basis of a study that is being planned in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway. Here, too, it will be relevant to present the study at a conference -possibly as soon as autumn 2000 -which will bring together relevant participants from research, politics, administration, trade and industry, and the media.

Other ways in which the relevant research communities may be able to participate in the Rio+ 10 process are also being discussed. It would be natural, for example, for these communities to be actively involved in national reporting to the international Rio+ 10 conference, which is expected to take place in 2002.

Strengthening the work on ocean issues

A stronger and more integrated management of oceans and coasts will have a central place from now until Rio+10, among other things to follow up the CSD's handling of these questions in spring 1999. Closer cooperation on this matter has been established between the ministries involved, primarily the Ministry of Fisheries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment. The North Sea Conference in 2002 will be an important milestone and it may take on the character of a preparatory conference prior to the global Rio+ 10 conference. Here, too, it may relevant to gather together the most important national players at a national working conference at an early stage.

It will also be relevant to give chemicals and biological diversity a prominent place on the agenda for Rio+1O, both nationally and internationally. The international negotiation processes which are underway in these areas will decide whether it will be natural to use the Earth Summit as an arena to resolve difficult matters.

Environmental protection in sector policies -from repair to prevention

This is an area where a great deal has happened in Norway during the past ten years. The report on the Government's environmental policy and the state of the environment in Norway and the sectoral environmental action plans reflect where we stand in this field. However, there is still a long way to go before environmental protection is sufficiently well integrated in the relevant sectors and in Norway's economic policy. Perhaps the time has come to prepare a National Agenda 21, where the purpose is to sum up and plot a new course with regard to cross-sectoral instruments and policies in order to achieve results in the field of environmental protection.

In this context, too, it is possible that an analysis will be made of the instruments and measures that have been implemented with a view to sector integration of environmental considerations and the results that have been achieved in the different areas. This project will focus on the role of the authorities and it will be discussed in more detail with representatives of the ministries involved.

Sustainable production and consumption

For the time being, sustainable production and consumption are not being treated as a separate sub-project of Rio+ 10, but they are already included in other sub-projects, such as LA21 and Environmental Protection and the Business Sector.

Norway has kept a high profile internationally in this field in recent years. It may therefore be expected that -and natural that -Norway takes the initiative to ensure that both eco-efficient production and a factor 4-10 increase in resource efficiency and more eco-efficient purchasing and consumption are put on the international agendas in preparation for Rio+ 10. This will be kept under continuous consideration. This question will be discussed in Bergen in September this year at the informal meeting of environmental ministers, which will be hosted by Norway.


The Rio+ 10 project is still in its initial stages and consideration will be given to ne:w initiatives on a continuous basis. As the process progresses, it is important that it takes place in close cooperation with the other ministries involved, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It will then be natural to use, for example, the Committee of State Secretaries on Environment and Development in any political and inter-ministerial decision-making that may take place.