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Stakeholder Forums Position Paper

Comments on the Proposed Framework of Outcome Documents for Earth Summit 2002

24 March 2002

 

I. The Proposed Framework

Based on suggestions by the Secretariat, the earth Summit 2002 process is aiming to produce two types of outcome documents, which shall be included in the overall 'package' of the Summit:

Type 1: negotiated outcomes in two documents, for adoption by all Member States at the Summit:

1. Johannesburg Programme of Action

2. Johannesburg Declaration

Type 2: non-negotiated outcomes of two kinds, for announcement / launch at the Summit:

Partnerships and initiatives to implement Agenda 21. These "are expected to become one of the major outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development" (Chair's explanatory note). They would consist of a series of commitments and action-oriented coalitions focused on deliverables and would contribute in translating political commitments into action" (Chair's explanatory note).

 

II. Hopes and Concerns Relating to the Proposed Framework

The overall concept of type 1 and type 2 outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit seems to stem from two sources:

The acknowledgement that governments cannot achieve sustainable development on their own and that the multi-lateral system cannot cope with an increased number of programmes and processes. This is part of the vision from Rio and has been outlined in more detail in subsequent decisions of the CSD and other fora.

The concern that governments have not done enough to implement the Rio agreements, and that they might not be able to do so in the future, due to the lack of political will and the lack of resources.

It is the former we need to emphasize, and the latter we need to reverse. While it has been widely acknowledged that implementation since Rio has been weaker than expected, it has not been altogether absent. Similarly, it is not correct to say that the resources necessary do not exist – they are being put elsewhere, and the political will to shift investments, for example from military and defense into sustainable development, is lacking. Emphasizing the fact that governments and all stakeholders need to work together to achieve sustainable development effectively means a broadening of responsibility. It should, however, not result in a diffusion of responsibility.

Rio provided us with a vision. But vision is not leadership. Leadership is not action. And action can have some unintended outcomes. What we need now is leadership and action. Leadership needs to come from governments and international institutions. Within the UN process, we need to build considerable global consensus for effective leadership and action. Such leadership extends towards citizens and stakeholders. Only an international arena with a strong global consensus can inspire and empower the "coalitions of the willing" - as a permission to act, a forum to share their experiences, as a challenge towards their creativity, their contributions, their excellence.

Strengthening governments, international institutions and the multi-lateral system must be a primary goal of a UN process. Within the framework of type 1 & 2 documents, this can only be achieved if governments are in the driving seat, providing leadership and challenging stakeholders on the basis of (inter)governmental authority.

As a worst-case scenario, one could imagine the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit as follows:

a weak and patchy type 1 document, without effective commitments, targets, and benchmarks, and leaving out many of the more difficult issues;

no new or real partnerships being put forward under type 2.

What would be the consequences? Certainly a diminishing of the importance of sustainable development in the world as an overarching goal of policy making at all levels.

Another scenario could be that Johannesburg ends with a weak type 1 document and a large number of initiatives, mostly led by developed country governments and their corporations, employing processes that offer opportunities to developing countries rather than being based on the needs that they put forward, and with a lack of consideration of where revenues will indeed end up.

In the short term, this could lead a decrease of citizens' trust in governmental authority and the value of intergovernmental processes. In the long-term, it could reaffirm and perpetuate the late 20th century shifts in power away from governments, particularly those of developing nations, and international institutions.

Other concerns include: 

One recent suggestion was for a number of corporations to come together and develop and implement a business model for LDCs. While business expertise is indeed highly relevant for government economic policy development, no interest group should be in the driving seat of developing policies, economic and legal structures that will affect all citizens, be they relevant to that interest group or not.

One can also imagine that partnerships between countries will inevitably leave out a number of developing countries; maybe those who are considered strategically unimportant or lack natural resources that are of interest to investors (apart from other possible reasons for non-engagement). For those that attract partnership arrangements and investment, it will be important to clarify the beneficiaries of activities. For example, one needs to look at the financial flows into and from a developing country where companies from developed countries invest. "Financial leakages" can reach very high levels in some sectors.

Another challenge to consider is the possible change of dynamics in the negotiations of type 1 outcomes. We might see that governments are less inclined to work out integrative agreements or compromises if they feel they can put forward their priorities and plans in type 2. In this context, we need to consider the possible long-term impacts of the type 1 & 2 outcome concepts on subsequent international processes. Johannesburg will set a precedent – and needs to set it wisely.

Governments are essentially empowered by their citizens. That is why education is such an important component of the future path towards sustainable development. Citizens need to understand that only they can empower their governments to build peace and security without massive investments at the expense of sustainable development. Only citizens can empower their governments to lever contributions to redistribution mechanisms which can create necessary equity within countries and globally.  The challenge of the outcomes 'package' is to find the balance of authority and leadership vs. widespread responsibility and stakeholder participation. We don't want to see an exquisite self-disempowerment exercise of (inter)governmental institutions, but we do want to achieve a strong push for implementation of Agenda 21 that is carried out by all stakeholders.

 

III. Suggestions

A “package” of type 1 & 2 outcome documents needs to be introduced by a preamble outlining the roles and responsibilities of governments, intergovernmental bodies and stakeholders. It is important to provide a frame of reference that marries participatory, bottom-up, multi-stakeholder approaches with leadership and authority provided by legitimate bodies. The international community needs to provide a clear and strong vision to stakeholders and citizens that puts the type 1 and 2 outcome documents into an overall perspective. This will help stakeholders to relate to the whole package of outcome documents as they develop. It will clarify the challenge that the international community puts towards them as regards developing their initiatives and partnerships to be included in the type 2 outcome documents. It will also serve to underline that the main responsibility for sustainable development indeed lies with governments, and that the international community calls upon stakeholders to contribute to the efforts that governments make at all levels.

Such a preamble could include:

The reaffirmation of governments’ main responsibility and leadership in sustainable development

The Rio Declaration

References to the descriptions of rights and responsibilities of stakeholders

An outline of how the activities of governments, intergovernmental bodies and stakeholders should interact to create the most effective outcomes: broadening but not diffusion of responsibilities

A call for a spirit of mutual respect and partnership between governments, intergovernmental bodies and stakeholders.

 

Type 1 Outcome Documents

The Programme of Action might be best built up on a similar structure to that of Agenda 21. The PoA could include the following:

Introduction to the issue

Programme areas

Basis for action

Objectives

Activities (at all levels)

Means of implementation – including capacity building, technology sharing, education and training)

Roles of stakeholders

Financial resources (= appropriate resource mix, e.g. ODA, FDI, etc)

Timetable and targets

Indicators

The documents needs to reaffirm governments’ leadership and provide all stakeholders and citizens with clear information on actions to be taken by governments and desired actions by stakeholders, and enhance everybody’s ability to contribute to the PoA as well as to monitor implementation.

The future work programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development should provide space for dealing with new and emerging issues that will have not been sufficiently addressed during the Johannesburg process.

 

Type 2 Outcome Documents

The suggested framework calls for contributions by governments, governments and stakeholders, and stakeholders.

Aiming to include partnership initiatives in the overall Summit outcome challenges governments and all stakeholders to develop concrete implementation initiatives for the future. The concept also provides important opportunities to acknowledge the specific conditions and needs at regional and national which require specific measures, the need for multi-stakeholder partnerships, and stakeholders' roles and responsibilities in sustainable development. 

 

Governments’ Contributions and Public-Private-Partnerships

A focused and detailed draft Programme of Action would allow for individual governments or groups of governments as well as government-led public-private-partnerships to develop their commitments and initiatives to be announced at the Summit. This component of type 2 outcome documents would therefore help to create a package of Summit outcomes that are partly or fully funded through contributions announced at the occasion.

 

Stakeholders’ Contributions

The proposed framework reflects statements made in the Secretary General's for PrepComm II, saying that the CSD stakeholder dialogues were an important mechanism but suffered two main shortcomings: lack of participation of women and representatives from developing countries (para 169), and that "stakeholder participation is rarely allowed in actual decision-making" (para 170). The proposed framework aims to establish linkages between the 2 types of outcome documents and considers both types as integral parts of the Summit outcomes. Both aspects could significantly strengthen the integration and involvement of stakeholders in the Johannesburg process.

The proposed framework can create very valuable components of the Summit process, its outcomes and follow-up. However, there are concerns by governments and stakeholders as to which initiatives and partnerships will be included in the type 2 outcome documents, and which criteria should be applied. 

 

Criteria For Type 2 Outcomes

"Specific modalities of such partnerships (including targets, timetables, monitoring arrangements, coordination and implementation mechanisms, arrangements for predictable funding and technology transfer, etc.) need to be elaborated in the lead up to the Summit by potential partners from governments, international organizations and major groups" (Chair's explanatory note).

The Chair has published a list of possible initiatives / partnerships, which have arisen from discussions at previous preparatory meetings. "The purpose of the list is to encourage interested parties to initiate action." (Proposal for Partnerships). 

Criteria for inclusion in type 2 outcomes as outlined in the current Proposal for Partnerships (Feb 2002) are as follows. Partnerships are 

expected to identify partners 

specify clear targets and timetables, 

specify monitoring arrangements as well as coordination and implementation mechanisms, 

specify arrangements for systematic and predictable funding, and 

specify arrangements for technology transfer that may be required to launch the initiatives.  

 

The following criteria and mechanisms might be considered in addition to the ones developed so far:

I. Content criteria: focus areas of initiatives and partnerships 

Priorities / Content

Existing Sustainable Development Agreements (Rio outcomes) and/or those likely to be agreed at the Summit

Millennium Goals

Beneficiaries

Who are the beneficiaries of an initiative? Who benefits in what way (financially, non-financially)? How are benefits distributed between partners? The guidelines for identifying and prioritising benefits for those most in need are embedded in existing Sustainable Development Agreements and the Millennium Goals.

Approach

Is the initiative aiming to balance economic, social and environmental aspects of possible action; how is it integrating the three pillars of sustainable development? An approach aiming to mainstream cross-sectoral issues into sectoral issues should be considered.

Size

Partnership initiatives should not be limited to large, global proposals that the Summit process is likely to attract. Experience has shown the effectiveness of small-scale projects, interventions and investments - for example: community-to-community exchanges arranged by networks of local stakeholder groups; micro-finance investments and revolving funds.

II. Process criteria: development & follow-up of initiatives involving multiple stakeholders

Principles for developing partnership initiatives

Accountability: using transparent, democratic mechanisms of engagement, position finding and decision-making.

Equity: leveling the playing field between stakeholders by creating dialogue and integrating diverse views; providing support for meaningful participation; applying principles of gender, regional, ethnic etc. balance where appropriate; providing equitable access to information.

Flexibility: agree an agenda but keep the process flexible over time.

Good governance: developing the roles of stakeholders as complementary to the responsibilities of governments.

Ownership: using dialogue and consultation without imposition of pre-designed ideas and goals.

Cooperation: developing shared responsibilities for process and implementation.

Format

Initiatives should be presented in a common framework of an agreed action plan: Who will do what, when, with which resources?

Resources

Is the initiative sufficiently resourced or likely to be resourced in the very near future?
Who provides which resources and capital (financial, human, natural)?

Implementation & Monitoring

When is it going to be implemented?

 

Actors: Who is actively involved in implementation of the initiative (as opposed to its development), who is monitoring implementation?

What are the proposed indicators of successful implementation of the initiatives?

How will they be monitored and by whom? (in addition to monitoring in the Summit follow-up process)

III. Follow-Up after the Summit

Reporting

Reporting on the implementation of the initiatives should become an integral part of future institutional mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Summit outcomes. An obvious space for such reporting is the Commission on Sustainable Development where there already is significant stakeholder involvement.

Learning and replication

Institutional mechanisms should provide or initiate space for learning from partnership initiatives and encouraging replication of successful partnerships.

Lessons learnt from the Johannesburg process should be informing the work of other intergovernmental bodies.

 

Application of Suggested Criteria 

The current Proposals for Partnerships text states: "Progress reports may be provided to the Fourth Session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in Jakarta, 27May-7June 2002.To become part of the second type of outcomes, such partnerships should be launched at the Summit. " The Chair has also issue a table format form for submission of partnerships, which includes specification of planned activities and the criteria mentioned above.

However, there are a number of open questions that need to be addressed to enable partnerships to be developed in a way that can be sufficiently monitored and supports their final inclusion in the Summit outcome documents:

The goal of applying criteria should be to ensure that partnership initiatives are consistent with and supportive of the implementation of Sustainable Development Agreements and elements of the type 1 outcome documents. Criteria should be seen and used as an enabling mechanism, supporting the development of partnerships.

A body needs to be identified to review possible elements of type 2 outcomes. Forming a multi-stakeholder group has been suggested; such a group could include Bureau Members as well as the coordinators of Major Groups inputs in the Summit process. It has also been suggested that the Secretariat provides the monitoring mechanism. Another suggestion was to ask the GEF Council to review suggested partnership initiatives. 

There needs to be one point or several points in time when reviewing of submissions to type 2 outcomes would take place. This will be important to ensure maximum linkages and cross-fertilization between type 1 and 2 outcome documents. The suggested submission to PrepComm 4 needs to be specified: Will there be sessions where partnerships can be presented and discussed? For example: Brief presentations of initiatives under development by those involved; addressing the agreed set of criteria and following a common framework (see above); questions and comments from delegations and Major Groups. Delegations review scope and range of initiatives so far; possibly to encourage further developments where there are perceived gaps.

 

We would like to thank stakeholders, governments, and representatives of intergovernmental organisations who have contributed to this paper over the past three months. We will continue to develop the paper and welcome further comments. We are pleased to see the extensive use of our material by others working in the same area.

 

While Stakeholder Forum very much welcomes the use of our material by governments, stakeholders and intergovernmental organisations, we request appropriate referencing of copyrighted publications.

 

Copyright Stakeholder Forum, 2002

 

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