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Earth Summit II

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Chapter 3. A. Integration of economic, social and environmental objectives

23. Economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development. Sustained economic growth is essential to the economic and social development of all countries, in particular developing countries. Through such growth, which should be broadly based so as to benefit all people, countries will be able to improve the standards of living of their people through the eradication of poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy and the provision of adequate shelter and secure employment for all, and the preservation of the integrity of the environment. Growth can foster development only if its benefits are fully shared. It must therefore also be guided by equity, justice and social and environmental considerations. Development, in turn, must involve measures that improve the human condition and the quality of life itself. Democracy, respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, transparent and accountable governance in all sectors of society, as well as effective participation by civil society, are also an essential part of the necessary foundations for the realization of social and people-centred sustainable development.

24. Sustainable development strategies are important mechanisms for enhancing and linking national capacity so as to bring together priorities in social, economic and environmental policies. Hence, special attention must be given to the fulfilment of commitments in the areas set out below, in the framework of an integrated approach towards development, consisting of mutually reinforcing measures to sustain economic growth, as well as to promote social development and environmental protection. Achieving sustainable development cannot be carried out without greater integration at all policy-making levels and at operational levels, including the lowest administrative levels possible. Economic sectors, such as industry, agriculture, energy, transport and tourism, must take responsibility for the impact of their activities on human well-being and the physical environment. In the context of good governance, properly constructed strategies can enhance prospects for economic growth and employment and at the same time protect the environment. All sectors of society should be involved in their development and implementation, as follows:

(a) By the year 2002, the formulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development that reflect the contributions and responsibilities of all interested parties should be completed in all countries, with assistance provided, as appropriate, through international cooperation, taking into account the special needs of the least developed countries. The efforts of developing countries in effectively implementing national strategies should be supported. Countries that already have national strategies should continue their efforts to enhance and effectively implement them. Assessment of progress achieved and exchange of experience among Governments should be promoted. Local Agenda 21s and other local sustainable development programmes, including youth activities, should also be actively encouraged;

(b) In integrating economic, social and environmental objectives, it is important that a broad package of policy instruments, including regulation, economic instruments, internalization of environmental costs in market prices, environmental and social impact analysis, and information dissemination, be worked out in the light of country-specific conditions to ensure that integrated approaches are effective and cost-efficient. To this end, a transparent and participatory process should be promoted. This will require the involvement of national legislative assemblies, as well as all actors of civil society, including youth and indigenous people and their communities, to complement the efforts of Governments for sustainable development. In particular, the empowerment and the full and equal participation of women in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process, are central to all efforts to achieve such development;

(c) The implementation of policies aiming at sustainable development, including those contained in chapter 3 (Combating poverty) and in chapter 29 (Strengthening the role of workers and their trade unions) of Agenda 21, may enhance the opportunities for job creation, thus helping to achieve the fundamental goal of eradicating poverty.

An enabling international economic climate

25. A mutually supportive balance between the international and the national environment is needed in the pursuit of sustainable development. As a result of globalization, external factors have become critical in determining the success or failure of developing countries in their national efforts. The gap between developed and developing countries points to the continued need for a dynamic and enabling international economic environment supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the fields of finance, technology transfer, debt and trade, if the momentum for global progress towards sustainable development is to be maintained and increased.

26. To foster a dynamic and enabling international economic environment favourable to all countries is in the interest of all countries. Moreover, issues, including environmental issues, that bear on the international economic environment can be approached effectively only through a constructive dialogue and genuine partnership on the basis of mutuality of interests and benefits, taking into account that, in view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities.

Eradicating poverty

27. Given the severity of poverty, particularly in developing countries, the eradication of poverty is one of the fundamental goals of the international community and the entire United Nations system, as reflected in Commitment 2 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, 14/ and is essential for sustainable development. Poverty eradication is thus an overriding theme of sustainable development for the coming years. The enormity and complexity of the poverty issue could very well endanger the social fabric, undermine economic development and the environment, and threaten political stability in many countries. To achieve poverty eradication, efforts of individual Governments and international cooperation and assistance should be brought together in a complementary way. Eradication of poverty depends on the full integration of people living in poverty into economic, social and political life. The empowerment of women is a critical factor for the eradication of poverty. Policies that promote such integration to combat poverty, in particular policies for providing basic social services and broader socio-economic development, are effective as well since enhancing the productive capacity of poor people increases both their well-being and that of their communities and societies, and facilitates their participation in resource conservation and environmental protection. The provision of basic social services and food security in an equitable way is a necessary condition for such integration and empowerment. The 20/20 initiative as referred to in the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development 15/ is, among other things, a useful means for such integration. However, the five years since the Rio Conference have witnessed an increase in the number of people living in absolute poverty, particularly in developing countries. In this context, there is an urgent need for the timely and full implementation of all the relevant commitments, agreements and targets already agreed upon since the Rio Conference by the international community, including the United Nations system and international financial institutions. Full implementation of the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development is essential. Priority actions include:

(a) Improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources, including land, water, credit, technical and administrative training, and appropriate technology, with particular efforts to broaden the human and social capital basis of societies so as to reach the rural poor and the urban informal sector;

(b) Providing universal access to basic social services, including basic education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation;

(c) Progressively developing, in accordance with the financial and administrative capacities of each society, social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves, either temporarily or permanently; the aim of social integration is to create a "society for all";

(d) Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations by involving them fully in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of strategies and programmes for poverty eradication and community development and by ensuring that these programmes reflect their priorities;

(e) Addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women, in particular by removing legislative, policy, administrative and customary barriers to women's equal access to productive resources and services, including access to and control over land and other forms of property, credit, including micro-credit, inheritance, education, information, health care and technology. In this regard, full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 16/is essential;

(f) Working together of interested donors and recipients to allocate increased shares of official development assistance to poverty eradication. The 20/20 initiative is an important principle in this respect, as it is based on a mutual commitment among donors and recipients to increasing resources allocated to basic social services;

(g) Intensifying international cooperation to support measures being taken in developing countries to eradicate poverty, to provide basic social protection and services, and to approach poverty eradication efforts in an integral and multidimensional manner.

Changing consumption and production patterns

28. Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, particularly in the industrialized countries, are identified in Agenda 21 as the major cause of continued deterioration of the global environment. While unsustainable patterns in the industrialized countries continue to aggravate the threats to the environment, there remain huge difficulties for developing countries in meeting basic needs such as food, health care, shelter and education for people. All countries should strive to promote sustainable consumption patterns; developed countries should take the lead in achieving sustainable consumption patterns; developing countries should seek to achieve sustainable consumption patterns in their development process, guaranteeing the provision of basic needs for the poor, while avoiding those unsustainable patterns, particularly in industrialized countries, generally recognized as unduly hazardous to the environment, inefficient and wasteful, in their development processes. This requires enhanced technological and other assistance from industrialized countries. In the follow-up of the implementation of Agenda 21, the review of progress made in achieving sustainable consumption patterns should be given high priority. 17/ Consistent with Agenda 21, the development and further elaboration of national policies and strategies, particularly in industrialized countries, are needed to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption and production patterns, while strengthening, as appropriate, international approaches and policies that promote sustainable consumption patterns on the basis of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, applying the polluter pays principle, and encouraging producer responsibility and greater consumer awareness. Eco-efficiency, cost internalization and product policies are also important tools for making consumption and production patterns more sustainable. Actions in this area should focus on:

(a) Promoting measures to internalize environmental costs and benefits in the price of goods and services, while seeking to avoid potential negative effects for market access by developing countries, particularly with a view to encouraging the use of environmentally preferable products and commodities. Governments should consider shifting the burden of taxation onto unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; it is of vital importance to achieve such an internalization of environmental costs. Such tax reforms should include a socially responsible process of reduction and elimination of subsidies to environmentally harmful activities;

(b) Promoting the role of business in shaping more sustainable patterns of consumption by encouraging, as appropriate, the voluntary publication of environmental and social assessments of its own activities, taking into account specific country conditions, and actions as an agent of change in the market, and actions in its role as a major consumer of goods and services;

(c) Developing core indicators to monitor critical trends in consumption and production patterns, with industrialized countries taking the lead;

(d) Identifying best practices through evaluations of policy measures with respect to their environmental effectiveness, efficiency and implications for social equity, and disseminating such evaluations;

(e) Taking into account the linkages between urbanization and the environmental and developmental effects of consumption and production patterns in cities, thus promoting more sustainable patterns of urbanization;

(f) Promoting international and national programmes for energy and material efficiency with timetables for their implementation, as appropriate. In this regard, attention should be given to studies that propose to improve the efficiency of resource use, including consideration of a 10-fold improvement in resource productivity in industrialized countries in the long term and a possible factor-four increase in industrialized countries in the next two or three decades. Further research is required to study the feasibility of these goals and the practical measures needed for their implementation. Industrialized countries will have a special responsibility and must take the lead in this respect. The Commission on Sustainable Development should consider this initiative in the coming years in exploring policies and measures necessary to implement eco-efficiency and, for this purpose, encourage the relevant bodies to adopt measures aimed at assisting developing countries in improving energy and material efficiency through the promotion of their endogenous capacity-building and economic development with enhanced and effective international support;

(g) Encouraging Governments to take the lead in changing consumption patterns by improving their own environmental performance with action-oriented policies and goals on procurement, the management of public facilities and the further integration of environmental concerns into national policy-making. Governments in developed countries, in particular, should take the lead in this regard;

(h) Encouraging the media, advertising and marketing sectors to help shape sustainable consumption patterns;

(i) Improving the quality of information regarding the environmental impact of products and services and, to that end, encouraging the voluntary and transparent use of eco-labelling;

(j) Promoting measures favouring eco-efficiency; however, developed countries should pay special attention to the needs of developing countries, in particular by encouraging positive impacts, and to the need to avoid negative impacts on export opportunities and on market access for developing countries and, as appropriate, for countries with economies in transition;

(k) Encouraging the development and strengthening of educational programmes to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns;

(l) Encouraging business and industry to develop and apply environmentally sound technology that should aim not only at increasing competitiveness but also at reducing negative environmental impacts;

(m) Giving balanced consideration to both the demand side and the supply side of the economy in matching environmental concerns and economic factors, which could encourage changes in the behaviour of consumers and producers. A number of policy options should be examined; they include regulatory instruments, economic and social incentives and disincentives, facilities and infrastructure, information, education, and technology development and dissemination.

Making trade and environment mutually supportive

29. In order to accelerate economic growth, poverty eradication and environmental protection, particularly in developing countries, there is a need to establish macroeconomic conditions in both developed and developing countries that favour the development of instruments and structures enabling all countries, in particular developing countries, to benefit from globalization. International cooperation and support for capacity-building in trade, environment and development should be strengthened through renewed system-wide efforts, and with greater responsiveness to sustainable development objectives, by the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as by national Governments. There should be a balanced and integrated approach to trade and sustainable development, based on a combination of trade liberalization, economic development and environmental protection. Trade obstacles should be removed with a view to contributing to the achieving of more efficient use of the earth's natural resources in both economic and environmental terms. Trade liberalization should be accompanied by environmental and resource management policies in order to realize its full potential contribution to improved environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development through the more efficient allocation and use of resources. The multilateral trading system should have the capacity to further integrate environmental considerations and enhance its contribution to sustainable development, without undermining its open, equitable and non-discriminatory character. The special and differential treatment for developing countries, especially the least developed countries, and the other commitments of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations 18/ should be fully implemented in order to enable those countries to benefit from the international trading system, while conserving the environment. There is a need for continuing the elimination of discriminatory and protectionist practices in international trade relations, which will have the effect of improving access for the exports of developing countries. This will also facilitate the full integration of economies in transition into the world economy. In order to make trade, environment and development mutually supportive, measures need to be taken to ensure transparency in the use of trade measures related to the environment, and should address the root causes of environmental degradation so as not to result in disguised barriers to trade. Account should be taken of the fact that environmental standards valid for developed countries may have unwarranted social and economic costs in other countries, in particular developing countries. International cooperation is needed and unilateralism should be avoided. The following actions are required:

(a) There should be timely and full implementation of the results of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and full use of the Comprehensive and Integrated World Trade Organization Plan of Action for the Least Developed Countries; 19/

(b) An open, non-discriminatory, rule-based, equitable, secure, transparent and predictable multilateral trading system should be promoted. In this context, effective measures are called for to achieve the complete integration of developing countries and countries with economies in transition into the world economy and the new international trading system. In this connection, there is a need to promote the universality of the World Trade Organization and to facilitate the admission to membership in that organization, in a mutually beneficial way, of developing countries and countries with economies in transition applying for membership. Actions should be taken to maximize the opportunities and to minimize the difficulties of developing countries, including the net food-importing ones, especially the least developed countries, and of countries with economies in transition, in adjusting to the changes introduced by the Uruguay Round. Decisions on further liberalization of trade should take into account effects on sustainable development and should be consistent with an open, rule-based, non-discriminatory, equitable, secure and transparent multilateral trading system. The relationship between multilateral environmental agreements and the World Trade Organization rules should be clarified;

(c) Implementation of environmental measures should not result in disguised barriers to trade;

(d) Within the framework of Agenda 21, trade rules and environmental principles should interact harmoniously;

(e) Further analysis of the environmental effects of the international transport of goods is warranted;

(f) Cooperation and coordination between the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and other relevant institutions should be strengthened on various issues, including (i) the role of positive measures in multilateral environmental agreements as part of a package of measures including, in certain cases, trade measures; (ii) the special conditions and needs of small and medium-sized enterprises in the trade and environment interface; (iii) trade and environment issues at the regional and subregional levels, including within the context of regional economic and trade as well as environmental agreements;

(g) Cooperation and coordination between the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and other relevant bodies within their existing respective mandates should be enhanced, inter alia, on environment and sustainable development issues. Without prejudice to the clear understanding in the World Trade Organization that future negotiations, if any, regarding a multilateral agreement on investment will take place only after an explicit consensus decision, future agreements on investments should take into account the objectives of sustainable development and, when developing countries are parties to these agreements, special attention should be given to their needs for investment;

(h) National Governments should make every effort to ensure policy coordination on trade, environment and development at the national level in support of sustainable development;

(i) There is a need for the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to consider ways to make trade and environment mutually supportive, including through due respect for the objectives and principles of the multilateral trading system and for the provisions of multilateral environmental agreements. Such considerations should be consistent with an open, rule-based, non-discriminatory, equitable, secure and transparent multilateral trading system.


30. The impact of the relationship among economic growth, poverty, employment, environment and sustainable development has become a major concern. There is a need to recognize the critical linkages between demographic trends and factors and sustainable development. The current decline in population growth rates must be further promoted through national and international policies that promote economic development, social development, environmental protection, and poverty eradication, particularly the further expansion of basic education, with full and equal access for girls and women, and health care, including reproductive health care, including both family planning and sexual health, consistent with the report of the International Conference on Population and Development. 20/


31. The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when a high proportion of the population is afflicted with debilitating illnesses. An overriding goal for the future is to implement the Health for All strategy 21/ and to enable all people, particularly the world's poor, to achieve a higher level of health and well-being, and to improve their economic productivity and social potential. Protecting children from environmental health threats and infectious disease is particularly urgent since children are more susceptible than adults to those threats. Top priority should be attached to supporting the efforts of countries, particularly developing countries, and international organizations to eradicate the major infectious diseases, especially malaria, which is on the increase, to improve and expand basic health and sanitation services, and to provide safe drinking water. It is also important to reduce indigenous cases of vaccine-preventable diseases through the promotion of widespread immunization programmes, promote accelerated research and vaccine development and reduce the transmission of other major infectious diseases, such as dengue fever, tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). Given the severe and irreversible health effects of lead poisoning, particularly on children, it is important to accelerate the process of eliminating unsafe uses of lead, including the use of lead in gasoline worldwide, in light of country-specific conditions and with enhanced international support and assistance to developing countries, particularly through the timely provision of technical and financial assistance and the promotion of endogenous capacity-building. Strategies at the regional, national and local levels for reducing the potential risk due to ambient and indoor air pollution should be developed, bearing in mind their serious impacts on human health, including strategies to make parents, families and communities aware of the adverse environmental health impacts of tobacco. The clear linkage between health and the environment needs to be emphasized and the lack of information on the impact of environmental pollution on health should be addressed. Health issues should be fully integrated into national and subnational sustainable development plans and should be incorporated into project and programme development as a component of environmental impact assessments. Important to efforts at national levels is international cooperation in disease prevention, early warning, surveillance, reporting, training and research, and treatment.

Sustainable human settlements

32. Sustainable human settlements development is essential to sustainable development. The need to intensify efforts and cooperation to improve living conditions in the cities, towns, villages and rural areas throughout the world is recognized. Approximately half the world's population already lives in urban settlements, and by early in the next century the majority - more than 5 billion people - will be urban residents. Urban problems are concerns common to both developed and developing countries, although urbanization is occurring most rapidly in developing countries. Urbanization creates both challenges and opportunities. Global urbanization is a cross-sectoral phenomenon that has an impact on all aspects of sustainable development. Urgent action is needed to implement fully the commitments made at the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) consistent with its report, 22/ and in Agenda 21. New and additional financial resources from various sources are necessary to achieve the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world. Transfer of expertise and technology, capacity-building, decentralization of authority through, inter alia, strengthening of local capacity and private-public partnerships to improve the provision and environmentally sound management of infrastructure and social services should be accelerated to achieve more sustainable human settlements development. Local Agenda 21 programmes should also be actively encouraged. Global targets could be established by the Commission on Sustainable Development to promote local Agenda 21 campaigns and to deal with obstacles to local Agenda 21 initiatives.

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