NGO Documents for the UN
Commission on Sustainable Development 8th Session, 2000
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Documents for CSD ]
CSD-8 / Peace Caucus, Women's Caucus, Human Rights
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.