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NGO Documents for Earth Summit 2002

NGO Non-Paper on Earth Summit 2002

Women's Organisations Follow-Up


NGO Non Paper 2, Draft 17 May 1999

Earth Summit 2002


The Earth Summit in 1992 was a very significant event. Not only did it agree on Agenda 21, but also the Rio Declaration, two conventions (Climate and Biodiversity) and the Forest Principles. It set in motion a series of processes that are impacting on our lives in many different ways. The Summit provided enormous amounts of energy and commitment to people to try and find solutions to the problems that Agenda 21 identified. It helped to show people the link between themselves, their environment locally and globally and the links between social, environmental and economic decisions.

The UN General Assembly Special Session in 1997 (Earth Summit II) took many governments by surprise. They hadn't prepared for this session and the enormous work that had gone into creating the political climate for 1992 was not repeated in a satisfactory manner. Most governments started preparation less than a year before the Special Session and did so with the realization that the Rio accord had not been kept to by many countries notably the

developed world. In particular funding for the implementation of Agenda 21 had decreased from 1992 to 1997, and not increased as had been promised. The result of this was an event that did not give a clear message of where we might be going and how we might get there together. Instead it was filled with disappointment and frustration.

The world has changed enormously since the 1992 Summit. We have seen globalization come to the forefront; we have experienced the outcome of the changes in Eastern Europe, as well as the increased role for multi-national companies, to mention but a few changes. For us to address these, Earth Summit III needs to rekindle the fire of the Rio accord and to update it in light of what we have learnt in the last ten years.

Many of the environmental concerns that were highlighted at Rio have not improved and have been joined by others. The politicians of the first decade of the 21st century will have to deal with increased poverty with more people and less water, food, serious health problems through AIDS and TB in particular, a loss of biodiversity and increased problems of global warming.

This will require the world to come together in a way that allows it to address these issues in a more systematic way.

The next Summit needs to map out a clear agenda for the first part of the 21st century in a way that enables people, their communities, Major Groups, governments and the UN, to understand what role they have and they need to play.


United Nations

1. Earth Summit III in 2002 should be held outside New York. Early preferences are for it to be held in Asia. Should a country agree to host the Conference, then the General Assembly, preferably in 1999, should agree and a host agreement negotiated.

2. There should be an agreement at the General Assembly in 1999 to formally link the Istanbul + 5 process to the Earth Summit III process. This should be done by focusing on Istanbul + 5 i.e. on the local implementation of Agenda 21 as well as the Habitat II Agenda.

3. A Secretary General for the Summit should be agreed in 2000.

4.As soon as possible a secretaiat should be put together by the UN to work on preparations for the Summit.

5. The UNGASS for Copenhagen + 5 (2000) and Beijing + 5 (2000) should include recommendations for work up to Earth Summit III. The next 5-year reviews of both conferences should plan to have high level overlaps with the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

6. The UN Regional Commissions should be requested to hold regional preparatory meetings between 2000-2002.

7. The Secretary General should produce a general review of the implementation of Agenda 21 to come out for the CSD in 2001 or the General Assembly in 2000.

8. The Summit should agree what will be achieved for 2003,2004,2005,2006 and by Earth Summit IV.

9. The Summit in 2002 should be at Heads of State Level.

10. The Summit should encompass the Stakeholder Dialogue Process into all of the preparatory meetings and the Summit itself.

11. The future of the Commission on Sustainable Development will have to be addressed by the Summit. The CSD has been a success at keeping the sustainable development agenda together but not at moving the agenda forward in enough of a significant way. The CSD for the period from 2003-2007 could address............

12. The CSD and the Intersessional in 2002 should deal with reviewing implementation and looking at the roadblocks.

13.There should be a separate preparatory process for the Summit. The Prepcoms should look at the new agenda around globalization and sustainable development.

14. UN Agencies should be asked to report on their implementation of Agenda 21 and address the obstacles and how they are going to overcome them. They should also be asked to report on what their contribution to developing the new agenda is.

15. After Earth Summit III the UN Regional Commissions should be asked to review annually the regional implementation of the outcomes of Agenda 21.

16. If a World Environment Organization is to be set up then the Toepfer's Task Force should be asked to prepare a paper for the PrepComs to discuss.


1. Governments should complete their National Sustainable Development Strategies by late 2001, so that they can be analyzed for the CSD in 2002. This should focus on what the elements of a key Sustainable Development Strategy should be.

2. National Councils on Sustainable Development should be asked to produce a review of the national implementation of Agenda 21 in their countries.

3. Developed countries should produce plans on how they are going to reach the OECD development targets for 2015.

4. Governments should review the policy framework they are operating in the relationship they are having with different UN Agencies and the Bretton Woods Institutions putting sustainable development at the centre of that framework. This should ensure joined up government thinking.

Major Groups

1. NGOs and other Major Groups should prepare for Earth Summit III by organizing national and regional preparatory meetings of their own. This should lead to not only input to the formal process but also to agree their own set of targets and to negotiate with other stakeholders initiatives to be announced in 2002.

2. The Centre for Human Settlements should co-ordinate with local authority organizations (ICLEI and IULA), NGOs, Women, Industry and other Major Groups a review of LA21 processes for Istanbul + 5. It should also produce guidelines for ensuring that LA 21 process does cover the whole of sustainable development issues.

3. The Division for Sustainable Development should work closely with UNEP, UNDP, UNIDO and the relevant Major Groups (including NGOs, Business and Industry, and Trade Unions), to review the role of Voluntary Initiatives and Agreements in implementing Agenda 21, and produce a mechanism to support that work (such as a toolkit).

4. For 2002 the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development should be reviewed with recommendations for elements of a new Charter. There should be a major stakeholder meeting at Earth Summit III, including the participation of CEO's from companies prepared to endorse the new Charter. The Charter should include measurable targets and dates.

5. The media needs to be engaged earlier in the preparation for Earth Summit III. An advisory group including leading experts from the media (television, newspapers, radio and electronic media) should be convened to work with stakeholder groups.

6. Reviewing the list of Major Groups and developing a framework for recognizing new ones e.g. older people, religious community and the education community.

7. The Major Groups, Governments, UN to agree upon a methodological framework to collect good practice examples to analyse them and draw recommendations, as well as to agree a mechanism for wide dissemination.



The Earth Charter being developed by the Earth Council should become the initial text for the Charter negotiations for 2002. It will be the equivalent to the Rio Declaration. The Charter could have an annex including guidelines for the implementation of its principles.



Many of the developed countries have Governments that are now willing to consider increases in aid flows. This is the first time since Rio that this has happened, already Canada and the UK are increasing aid and the Nordic Governments and the Government of the Netherlands are still providing very high levels of aid. In preparation for 2002 developed countries should be honest about what is possible in aid giving. By itself aid will not be sufficient to ensure that we implement sustainable development policies in developing countries.

The UN has a series of finance related meetings which should help develop the background agenda for Earth Summit III. These are:

Financing Development - the financing development conference/General Assembly in 2001 which is having a series of preparatory meetings throughout 1999 and 2000 on issues such as:

(1) Mobilizing domestic resources for development;

(2) Mobilizing international private financial flows for development;

(3) International financial cooperation for development; and

(4) External debt (bilateral, multilateral and commercial) .

High Level ECOSOC - the high level meetings between Ecosoc and the Bretton Woods Institutions;

CSD - the CSD discussion on finance, trade and investment in 2000.

Millennium Round - under the WTO;

There are also a series of other debates that may impact on this process.

World Bank - the more progressive role that the Bank is taking the need to target the work of the Bank to delivering sustainable development;

GEF The Global Environment Facility should be expanded to cover the additional international costs of the implementation of Agenda 21;

Debt - the Jubilee 2000 debt relief campaign;

UNDP - the focusing of UNDP on poverty targets;

Public Goods - the work by UNDP on Public Goods could open up a significantly debate. Issues such as equity and justice, market efficiency, environment and cultural heritage, health, knowledge and information, peace and security. The public goods debate also looks at the key weaknesses in the current arrangements for providing global public goods the jurisdictional, participation and incentive gaps;

Investment - should there be a new multi-lateral agreement on investment negotiated under the United Nations, taking into consideration the environment, human rights and labour conventions? Promotion of the UNEP Banking and Insurance Initiatives;

New Financial Mechanisms - the development of new financial mechanisms such as:

1) Airfuel Tax - If Europe could agree an Airfuel Tax by 2002 the income could be focused on sustainable development in developing countries;

2) Tobin Tax - now needed even more than before to put a damper on current speculation.

UN Agency involvement: World Bank, IMF, WTO, UNCTAD and UNDP



This issue is probably the most important the world has to face in the near and medium term future. The richest 225 persons in the world now control more than $1 trillion in wealth equal to the annual income of the poorest 47% of the World's population. When one adds to this the amount of private capital under the direction of mutual funds and other investment mechanisms, we have a situation where a small group of individuals and institutions have the power to determine the economic development or collapse of economies world wide. This situation calls out for supra-national or multilateral regulatory mechanisms, without which development for most of the world will be outside the control of the countries who most need it. The Regional Preparatory UN Conferences should address this and bring recommendations forward.



1. There are a series of Conventions that were negotiated for Rio or came out of Rio/CSD. These are known as the Rio Conventions.

* Climate Change
* Bio-Diversity
* Desertification
* Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
* Persistent Organic Pollutants and Prior Informed Consent (to be completed by 2001)

UN Agency Involvement: UNEP and Convention Secretariats

2. 2002 should produce a review of the implementation of the present set, a quantification of their impacts and the obstacles that need to be addressed by 2002. This analysis should also include conventions such as Basel, CITES and the Montreal Protocol which predated Rio.

3. The relationship between these conventions and the WTO needs to be agreed formally and may need to be incorporated into the Millennium Round of the WTO.

4. There are some possible new conventions that might be negotiated by 2002:

* Forests - the Inter-governmental Forum on Forests will make its recommendations to the CSD in 2000 on whether there should be a new convention on forests or not.
* Access to Information - a global or a series of regional Aarhus Conventions - Access to Information, Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
* Chemicals - a chemical framework convention could be started after the POPs and PICs have been finalized.
* Bio-Safety - renewed impetus needs to be given to work on the bio-safety protocol to the biodiversity convention. convention.
* Bio-Prospecting and Benefit Sharing - a bio-prospecting protocol to the bio-diversity convention could be ready.
* Transport - a UNECE regional Convention on Transport.
* Air Pollution - an Asian regional Convention on Air Pollution.

UN Agency Involvement: DESA, UN Regional Commissions, Relevant UN Convention Secretariats



Earth Summit III will have to deal with a set of issues that are thought to need urgent international action. These are likely to include the issues addressed in the convention section and the following:

1. Education

One of the key issues underlying all of the issues in Agenda 21 is Education. The development of Chapter 36 into a more coherent work programme is crucial. Education must support the other work areas within Agenda 21. UNESCO should be asked to prioritize outreach to young people on sustainable development for Earth Summit III.

UN Agency Involvement: UNESCO

2. Poverty Eradication

The developed countries have now set the target for halving the world's poorest people by 2015. The summit should review progress towards this target and suggest strategies for achieving it. The commitment in WSSD for all countries to have a poverty strategy should be reviewed and recommendations for harmonization with sustainable development strategies

agreed. All issues that will be addressed by Earth Summit III should be looked at their impact on reducing poverty. This will include finance which is addressed above and:

UN Agency Involvement: UNDP, World Bank, UNCHS

3. Capacity Building;

UN Agency Involvement: UNDP, UNEP, UNCTAD, UNICEF, UNESCO, FAO, DESA, World Bank, ILO

4. Technology Co-operation.

UN Agency Involvement: UNCTAD, UNDP, FAO, WHO, ILO



Freshwater. We know that this is becoming an increasing problem. The World Water Commission should be asked to input formally to the preparations for Earth Summit III with their analysis and recommendations for solutions.

UN Agency Involvement: UNDP, UNEP, UNCHS, FAO

Food. With an increasing population - we are at present at or near the steepest part of the increase in population, even though it will stabilize. The access to adequate food in the early part of the millennium will be crucial. Issues such as GMOs may need to be addressed by the Summit.

UN Agency Involvement: FAO, UNDP, World Bank, UNICEF

Consumption and Production. The present and future impacts of our consumption patterns need to change to enable us to retail our resource base. The promotion and integration of factor 4 and factor 10 will have an important impact but we also need to look more closely at consumer behaviour, what the drivers to consumption are e.g. age and gender, to be able to influence it more effectively. The UK organized Down to Earth Conference, the Norwegian and Brazil process and the new Oxford Commission should work together to ensure that we might be able to address these issues with more clarity by 2002.

UN Agency Involvement: UNDP, World Bank, WTO, UNCTAD

Health. particularly HIV and TB. Development is not possible in a society, which does not have access to adequate health care. There are two diseases or plagues, which are decimating societies in the South: HIV and TB. Today, there are already more than 34 million people infected with HIV and 14 million have already died. At current rates of infection by the year 2016 we will have an infection rate numbering somewhere in the neighbourhood of 140 million, more than 96% in the developing countries. TB will have killed more than 30 million people this decade. These are development issues, which must be addressed in any review of Agenda 21.

UN Agency Involvement: WHO, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, Regional UN Commissions

Science and Technology. One of the new emerging issues here is the rights to compulsory licensing of patents, particularly as regards pharmaceutical products and patent extensions. In addition, one has to address not only the issue of biotechnology and bio prospecting but also the patenting of naturally occurring human proteins and enzymes.

UN Agency Involvement: UNESCO, UNEP

Energy. The use of fossil fuels and nuclear power are both security issues as they impact beyond the boundaries that countries have. The need to address energy as an issue outside of the climate debate is vital particularly to enable there to be development of sustainable patterns of production and use of energy.

UN Agency Involvement: Climate Secretariat, UNEP, UNESCO, UNDP

Tourism. The CSD in 1999 dealt with tourism for the first time. Tourism offers an important driver for sustainable development. A set of sustainable tourism guidelines for any tourist development should be agreed.

UN Agency Involvement: WTO, DESA, UNEP, UNDP, ILO

Transport. We are seeing a massive increase in the use of transport using fossil fuels. This increases not only CO2 emissions but also other gases', which contribute to pollution that results in numerous health hazards and environmental damage - both domestically and internationally. The negotiating of a UNECE Convention on Transport should offer a model for other UN Regions.

UN Agency Involvement: UN Regional Commissions, UNEP, UNDP

Oceans and Seas. The 1999 CSD set up a new process for reviewing the work and progress on Oceans and Seas. For 2002 we would want to know the progress in implementing:

* the impact of the implementation of the straddling and highly migratory fish stocks agreement;
* the Washington Global Plan of Action;
* the status of the implementation of UNEP's Regional Seas Conventions;
* the Law of the Sea Convention;
* the gaps in institutional responsibility for ocean related issues;
* if we need to start negotiating a protocol to MARPOL for oil platforms.

UN Agency Involvement: IMO, UNCHS, UNEP, UNDP, UN Regional Commissions



Agenda 21 has brought in an unprecedented development of partnerships between all stakeholder groups. This has been a positive outcome but at the same time with globalization we have seen the ability of companies to move quickly around the globe at times with very negative impacts. The CSD in 1998 agreed to look at the role of Voluntary Initiatives but a larger discussion is needed about a possible Global Charter for Multi-National Corporations (possibly the new ICC Charter) also taking into consideration the OECD Review of Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.. This would not be legally binding but would enable countries to ask companies coming in to abide by the outlined principles. Such a charter might form the basis of guidelines for national legislation.

UN Agency Involvement: UNEP, DESA, ILO, UNDP, UNCTAD



One of the key problems in the implementation of Agenda 21 has been the lack of systematic and shared understanding of what the obstacles are. Earth Summit III will need to agree to address these issues. They may be:

* financial;
* a lack of peace;
* capacity;
* education;
* transfer of knowledge and technology;
* lack of sufficiently differentiated data;
* lack of participation of relevant stakeholders.

One problem with this is that addressing obstacles is an analytical rather than a visionary process. Therefore, this requires a thorough preparatory process to enable Earth Summit III itself to agree upon strategies to overcome obstacles.



If what was started in Rio at Earth Summit I is going to lead to a more sustainable society and a healthier planet, then the 3rd Earth Summit needs to be as significant as the first. World opinion needs to be re-mobilized and countries and groups need to be held accountable for the commitments they have made to one another. An agenda can be forged that, with careful

work and strong partnership, will result in an enormous revitalization of sustainable development agendas as we begin our next century.

At the end of 2002 we should be able to see:

* a re-vitalized and integrated UN system for sustainable development;
* a new deal on finance - enabling a deal on sustainable development;
* a sharing of poverty strategies;
* a work program to meet the OECD targets on poverty;
* an integration of trade and sustainable development;
* a clearer understanding of how governments should move forward nationally in implementing Agenda 21;
* a new Charter; the Earth Charter which could lay the foundations for countries to frame their sustainable development policies;
* a review of the work of the present set of Rio Conventions - looking at overlaps, gaps and obstacles and strategies to overcome these;
* possibly a set of new regional or even global conventions;
* a set of policy recommendations for the environmental security issues that are facing us;
* a set of agreed indicators for sustainable development;
* a set of strategies to overcome obstacles towards implementation of Agenda 21;
* LA21: recognition of LA21 as the multi-stakeholder process for implementation at the local level;
* new compliance mechanisms to ensure countries are liable to censure for failure to act in a growing range of sustainable development issues;
* a clear set of commitments to implement by the UN, Governments and Major Groups.

The Challenge is now to create the mechanisms to enable this to happen.

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Women's Organisations Follow-up

Women's organisations should convene meetings to develop their input and create a momentum towards the necessary gender mainstreaming of the issues and questions of process leading to Earth Summit III 2002.

Remember the enormous impact women had on the first Earth Summit in 1992: Without the Miami 1991 conference and the numerous activities before and after it, and at the Earth Summit itself, Agenda 21 would look significantly different.

Let us aim at again creating such a momentum and impact, providing differentiated substantial input (and enthusiasm!) to Earth Summit III 2002. We will be able to benefit from our work for and our experiences from the Beijing+5 Review in 2000.

Contact the CSD NGO Steering Committee and/or the CSD NGO Women's Caucus.

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