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NGO Documents for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development 8th Session, 2000

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CSD-8 / Peace Caucus, Women's Caucus, Human Rights Caucus

Who's benefiting from leaving military off CSD review?

The Women's, Peace, and Human Rights Caucuses are mandated to advocate on issues that affect lives, livelihood, community,. resources and environment of all life. We can upon the CSD to address the global crisis of militarism as a threat to the future of humanity. The military is the most destructive and costly of all social sectors and the worst polluter world-wide.

It is essential that the CSD identify the military as a sector and armed conflict as a critical issue. It is time that the military receive the same scrutiny applied to other sectors that are reviewed during the meeting of the CSD. The working paper of CSD 8 (Report of the Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Working Group on Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources; and on Agriculture once again fails to address the problems associated with military production and the environmental and human impacts of war. Military must be identified as a critical sector and armed conflict recognized as a critical issue under Section 5 of this report. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in Principles 24 (on the impact of war on the environment) and 25 (on the interdependence and indivisibility of peace, development and environmental protection) cans for such scrutiny.

It is imperative that governments investigate, study, analyse, report, and publicise all of the environmental, economic, social and opportunity costs of the military sector. The social and environmental costs of the military must be examined and reported on. This data must then be compared to the data on the worldwide increase in human rights violations and hunger, disease, pollution, lack of potable water, illiteracy, oppression, violence, commercial exploitation, unemployment, and infant mortality to demonstrate the fallacy of the poorly chosen priorities established in recent CSD sessions. Cui bono ? -the executive officers of corporations and the stockholders; but not the majority of humanity , the earth that sustains us, or the next generations.

CSD 8 working ~r (Report of the Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group on Financial Resources and Mechanisms and on Economic Growth, Trade and Investment -F/CN.17/2000/1 0) reports on the decline in official development assistance (ODA) during the 1990s and the marginalization of some developing countries but fails to address the need to reduce the $800 billion spent annually worldwide on military. A reduction of spending in this sector would free money that could then be used for sustainable development.

Governments and other actors have an urgent responsibility to allocate resources and undertake the cleanup of landmines, unexploded ordnance, depleted uranium, and radioactive materials from nuclear production. Some governments have been making these demands in the NPT review session. For instance, in Document DC/2702 (1 May 2000), Iraq charges the United States and the United Kingdom with the use of depleted Uranium in 1991 Gulf War and also in "aggression" against Yugoslavia The 300 tons of depleted uranium have polluted Iraq's environment and increased the registered cases of cancer, especially among children. The representative of Kenya said the dumping of radioactive waste in the developing world, particularly in Africa, was a cause of concern. These issues need to be addressed by the CSD review session under Section l.A. 3 of F/CN.17 /2000/11.

Preparations for CSD-9 and CSD-l 0 must take into account the results of all UN conferences that took place in the 1990s and their subsequent review sessions. Governments and NGOs must link the issues and deal with them in a holistic manner within the UN system so that each session builds on the good work of previous sessions rather than backsliding on issues.

It is time to bring down the invisible walls that exist between review sessions of the various conferences. For instance, CSD review sessions has failed to review the military, armed conflict and nuclear proliferation issues. The NPT meanwhile has met at the same in different rooms with discussions of maintaining expenditures on nuclear ~s. CSD has focused on the lack of investment on sustainable development The preparatory committee meeting for Copenhagen +5 (Commission on Social Development) which met last month had proposals for cuts in military spending to fund needed social programmes. The CSD must do the same.

 

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