United Nations
Press Release

Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Ministerial Level, Fourth Session, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May - 7 June 2002


Department of Public Information - News and Media Division

 

 

 

Preparatory Committee for the World                                                                                               ENV/DEV/B/15

Summit on Sustainable Development                                                                                               5 June 2002

Fourth Session

6th Meeting (AM)

 

 

BALI PREPARATORY MEETING HEARS CALL FOR CONCRETE OBJECTIVES, PRECISE


TIMELINES TO GENERATE MOMENTUM FOR ACTION

 

President of Indonesia, UN Deputy Secretary-General Open
Ministerial Segment of Preparatory Committee for Sustainable Development Summit

 


                Success at the fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development would be possible because everyone believed in a life of dignity for all, with respect for the diversity of cultures and harmony with surrounding nature, Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of Indonesia, said this morning in opening the Committee’s ministerial segment

 

To achieve those goals, each nation managed its development differently, the President continued.  Some nations were able to enjoy a high quality of life by developing their human resources and their capabilities in science and technology.  Among those were nations who could effectively manage their natural resources for development and in harmony with nature.  They were models that could inspire other nations.

 

She called for international cooperation to help developing countries utilize resources in a sustainable manner.  The tendency to blame one another had become part of any discussion of sustainable development; conflicts and instability had often resulted.  But, she said, closely cooperative endeavours were the only answer.  Interdependence, in the global village, was real.

 

                Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said, “We are here today because we face great challenges on both sides of the development-environment equation”.  Johannesburg was meant to find another way -- a path that improved standards of living while protecting the environment, “a path that works for all peoples today and tomorrow”.  The relationship between human society and the natural environment was the “core concern of Johannesburg, and is what sets Johannesburg apart from other United Nations conferences and summits”.

 

                The Secretary-General had proposed five key areas for particular focus -- water and sanitation, energy, agriculture, biodiversity, and ecosystem management and health, she said.  It was important to have firm goals and timelines in those areas, as well as concrete commitments to generate real momentum for action.

 

                She stressed the need for a credible political declaration that committed leaders to act and inspired all actors to recognize their own responsibilities.  Progress towards implementation would depend on actions by all actors, separately and jointly, by way of partnerships, she added.  Progress would also depend on the availability of resources.  The Summit was truly a chance to set a more hopeful course of development for all humanity, she stressed.  “We know what needs to be done.  Now, let us move ahead.”

 

                Also this morning, participants were briefed by the co-Chairs of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the Ministerial Round Table on Financing for Environment and Sustainable Development:  Kjell Larsson, Minister for the Environment of Sweden, and Mohammed Valli Moosa, Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism of South Africa.

 

A statement was also made by the Minister of State of Water Resources of Nigeria, Chief Precious Ngelale, on behalf of the African Ministers Conference on Water.

 

                Following the opening statements and reports, Ministers engaged in a dialogue on the various issues at hand. 

 

In his opening statement for that part of the meeting, Emil Salim (Indonesia), Chairman of the Preparatory Committee, said that in the next 10 years, poverty eradication would be an essential element of sustainable development.  In addition, unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must change, and natural resources must be managed in a way that supported social and economic development.  Those three facets must be merged into one -- sustainable development. 

 

                The speaker for Japan stressed that that a respect for nature must be passed down to the next generation; conservation was essential for the survival of mankind.  Japan would continue its efforts in that regard. 

 

The representative of Venezuela, for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries for the implementation of Agenda 21 was fundamental.  Johannesburg must be approached with a spirit of solidarity. 

 

The representative of Spain, for the European Union, said the Union sought a coherent policy for implementing Agenda 21 as a global pact.  All actors must work closely together towards agreed-upon, concrete goals.  Transfer of information and technology was important, as was the realistic financing of programmes involved. 

 

                Statements were also made during that segment by representatives of Norway, Colombia, Egypt, Libya, China, Slovakia, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Germany.

 

                The observer for Switzerland also spoke, as did the President of the Economic and Social Council.

 

                The ministerial segment is scheduled to continue this afternoon at 3 p.m.

 

                Background

 

                The fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development this morning began its ministerial segment, during which Ministers are expected to discuss follow-up to the Bali implementation plan, partnership initiatives and elements for the political declaration to be adopted at the Johannesburg Summit.

 

                Statements

 

                United Nations Deputy Secretary-General LOUISE FRÉCHETTE recalled the “set of specific, time-bound objectives”, known as the Millennium Development Goals, which had been adopted at the 2000 Millennium Summit of the General Assembly with the aim of fighting poverty, securing people from violence and armed conflict and protecting the environment.  She said, “We are here today because we face great challenges on both sides of the development-environment equation”.  Three billion people suffered the dehumanizing conditions of poverty and the latest report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) depicted a world at risk.

 

                She said Johannesburg was meant to find another way -- a path that improved standards of living while protecting the environment, “a path that works for all peoples today and tomorrow”.  The relationship between human society and the natural environment was the “core concern of Johannesburg, and is what sets Johannesburg apart from other United Nations conferences and summits”.

 

                The Secretary-General had proposed five key areas for particular focus -- water and sanitation, energy, agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem management and health.  It was important to have firm goals and targets in those areas and specify concrete commitments so that real progress could be made in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration.

 

                The five areas were widely considered to be central to sustainability, she said.  They were intricately connected -- “call it a multiplier effect or a virtuous circle” -- that progress in one would generate progress in another.

 

                Important progress had been made thus far by the Committee, but some critical work remained to be done over the next three days.  Full agreement must be reached on a solid, specific implementation plan with targets “before we leave Bali”, she said.  Only then would a firm foundation have been established for the vital work that remained to be done between Bali and Johannesburg. 

 

                She then stressed the need for a credible political declaration that committed leaders to act and inspired all actors to recognize their own responsibilities.  The declaration was the place for commitments to action in key areas, global and local, and for providing a sense of values that underpinned the concept of sustainable development and instigated action.

 

                Noting the important role to be played by governments in ensuring sustainable development, she appealed to them to ratify the treaties that underlay efforts to achieve such development.  She then noted that sustainable development would not be achieved without non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  She also underlined the role to be played by the private sector and international organizations. 

 

                Progress towards implementation would depend on actions by all actors, separately and jointly by way of partnerships, she said.  Progress would also depend on the availability of resources.  Governments must sustain the momentum generated by the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, particularly in the area of official development assistance (ODA).  Governments must also make good on their commitment at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Doha to make the new negotiations on trade a true “development round” that opened markets to developing-country goods and allowed them to compete fairly.

 

                The Summit was truly a chance to set a more hopeful course of development for all humanity, she said, adding “We know what needs to be done.  Now, let us move ahead”.

 

MEGAWATI SOEKARNOPUTRI, President of Indonesia, welcomed participants and thanked the United Nations for showing confidence in her country by holding the preparatory meeting there.  Indonesia, she said, was determined to do its utmost for the success of the meeting. 

 

Such success, she continued, was possible because all believed in a life of dignity for everyone, with respect for the diversity of cultures and harmony with surrounding nature.  Towards those goals, each nation managed its development differently.  Some nations were able to enjoy a high quality of life through developing their human resources and their capabilities in science and technology.  Among those were nations who could effectively manage their natural resources for development and in harmony with nature.  They were models that could inspire other nations.

 

However, she said, the majority of nations were endowed neither with well-developed human resources nor the capabilities to master and implement technologies.  Human resources development was a priority for those nations.  No judgments were being made on this occasion, however some nations were able to extract the maximum benefit from their resources while others sold off the raw materials themselves.  The political reality of developing nations presented a dilemma that often led to the exploitation of natural resources in an unsustainable way.

 

She called for international cooperation to help such countries utilize resources in a sustainable manner.  The tendency to blame one another had become part of any discussion of sustainable development; conflicts and instability had often resulted.  But, she said, closely cooperative endeavours were the only answer.  Interdependence, in the global village, was real.

 

For more than three decades, she said, Indonesia itself had relied on the exploitation of its natural resources for economic development, but the results had led to reconsideration.  It was realized that development must be a sustainable process, which required long-term efforts to upgrade the capacity of human resources to direct development in the best way. 

 

Many years ago, her father, President Soekarno, had called for building the world anew.  She now called on the international community to build the world anew through sustainable development, to make human life better through development and through maintaining natural resources, which were the common heritage of mankind.  Saying it was time to implement Agenda 21 with concrete action, she declared open the ministerial segment of the Preparatory Committee.

 

Mohammed Valli Moosa, Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism of South Africa, and co-chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the Ministerial Round Table on Financing for Environment and Sustainable Development, said that in the 10 years since the 1992 United Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil it had become ever more clear that successful sustainable development required progress on the social, economic and environmental fronts.  He noted the lack of resources devoted to the environment, which undermined the situation of the poor.  The Summit would provide a unique opportunity to ensure that environmental security was integrated into programmes for sustainable development. 

 

The Facility had sponsored a series of round tables to produce recommendations on the subject, he said.  A Ministerial Round Table had been convened to address means to generate financing to promote environmental concerns.  Among the issues stressed at that meeting’s first session was the need for developed countries to provide additional resources for sustainable development through increased official development assistance (ODA) and market access for developing countries.  At the second session, constraints and barriers to achieving progress in the areas identified by the Secretary-General had been examined. 

 

Lack of capacity, knowledge and skills in a country were among the constraints identified, he said.  It was also pointed out that the cost of clean technologies could act as a barrier to the promotion of such technologies, as could lack of financing.  Addressing such constraints would assist in providing the tools and mechanisms for developing countries to address sustainable development needs.  Participants had called for action in the areas of finance policies, and partnerships had been called for.

 

Kjell Larsson, Minister for the Environment of Sweden, and co-chair of the GEF of the Ministerial Round Table on Financing for Environment and Sustainable Development, also gave a readout of the ministerial meeting.  He said sustainability could not be achieved by marginal financing or funding.  All actors had a critical role to play in providing financing. 

 

He said governments had a lead responsibility to promote sustainable development.  Substantial resources could be freed, and economic efficiency could be improved.  The creation by governments of enabling environments for private investments was also key.  Increasingly scarce external resources could be used to leverage private financing for sustainable development.  Better mechanisms should be developed to tap into the interest of individuals to invest in an environmentally sustainable future.  Environmental impact assessments should be included in all sustainable development packages.

 

There was much to be gained from the formation of partnerships among all the relevant actors, he said.  They would be most effective if they were developed within a comprehensive framework.  Synergies between development aid and private financing should be strengthened.  Dissemination of information, lessons learned and best practices was key.  The Bali implementation plan provided an important framework for pursuing sustainable development, but more specific means of implementation must be identified and provided, possibly as annexes to the document.  The GEF had been called on to continue to provide leadership in the follow-up of the World Summit.

 

                Chief PreCious Ngelale, Minister of State of Water Resources of Nigeria, on behalf of the African Ministers Conference on Water, said the Summit must be about the need for social progress, sustainable economic development and sound environmental management.  The Secretary-General had placed emphasis on five areas, all of which had shown the centrality of water.  The Summit must be remembered as a conference that had squarely confronted the water and sanitation crisis.  There was an intimate link between the health of humans and the health of the planet -- water and sanitation were key in that area as well.  He went on to demonstrate the central role of water in the other areas of focus identified by the Secretary-General. 

 

He said poverty reduction began with water issues, which in turn should be linked to gender issues.  Pro-gender action programmes to promote women’s access to water and sanitation services must be included in the Summit.  The Summit was a unique opportunity to demonstrate that water was at the crossroads of environment and development.  The ministers at the Conference on Water had agreed that programmatic and institutional arrangements were needed to confront issues related to water in Africa.  It was hoped that the implementation plan of the Summit would provide the necessary support. 

 

The political declaration should also prominently address the lingering water and sanitation crisis in the region and globally, he said.  He invited others to join in partnership initiatives with the Conference on Water.  He drew participants’ attention to the Abuja Ministerial Statement on Water, which was being circulated.

 

                Interactive Dialogue Segment

 

                The Chairman of the Preparatory Committee, Emil Salim (Indonesia) initiated the dialogue by recounting the history of efforts for sustainable development and asking what a Bali commitment could mean.  Bali was the final harbour before sailing into Johannesburg.  It meant all necessary documents had to be finalized here:  most importantly, the implementation programme, with partnership initiatives as a supplement.  All elements of the political declaration must also be developed.

 

                In the next 10 years, he said, poverty eradication would be an essential element of sustainable development.  In addition, unsustainable patterns of consumption and production must change, and natural resources must be managed in a way that supported social and economic development.  Those three facets must be merged into one -- that was, sustainable development.  Health, globalization, regional contexts, and coordinated action at all levels were elements that must be considered in the implementation document as well.

 

                The representative of Japan said that a respect for nature must be passed down to the next generation, as conservation was essential for the survival of mankind.  Japan would continue its efforts in that regard.  Water issues, in particular, were a great challenge; a coordination information system must encompass those problems and those of deforestation.  Japan had many projects in that area.

 

                The representative of Norway said that environment and development had been discussed in Rio -- in Johannesburg, environment for development would be discussed.  The upcoming Summit would be very important for implementing treaties and agreements signed since Rio within clear time frames.  He hoped the meeting would not be about renegotiating the agreements already made.  He thought the text should “look forward” to how its provisions could be achieved, rather than looking back.  Democracy and good governance were pre-conditions for making sure that globalization was a positive force for all. 

 

                The representative of Venezuela, for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Group had been carrying on negotiations with great expectations for a transparent discussion to achieve full implementation of the Rio commitment.  The Group couldn’t believe that agreement could not be reached.  There must be a real commitment to act.  The principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities for the implementation of Agenda 21 was fundamental.  New and additional resources and transparency were key.  An international humanitarian fund must be set up.  More sustainable consumption and production patterns must be observed.  She also underlined respect for the special knowledge of indigenous peoples.  Johannesburg must be approached with a spirit of solidarity.

 

                The representative of Spain, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union sought a coherent policy for implementing Agenda 21 as a global pact.  A gender-based approach must be taken into account, along with the three pillars of social and economic development and environmental conservations, with additional activities to ensure implementation.  All actors must work closely together towards agreed-upon, concrete goals.  Transfer of information and technology was important, as was realistic financing of programmes involved.  The Union had submitted proposals to the Chairman for that latter purpose.  There should be equitable distribution of the benefits of sustainable development, with trade and other policies encouraging that.  In addition, regional approaches to issues were important, particularly in Africa.

 

The representative of Colombia supported the statement of Venezuela for the Group of 77, saying that the international community was embarking on a new endeavour, and there would be many challenges ahead.  A new culture had to be built to foster sustainable development, both for equitable development and environmental stewardship.  Those were ethical ideas.  Agenda 21 had referred to ethics, but that theme had not yet been well developed.  If ethics for sustainable development were nurtured, a culture of sustainable development would follow.

 

The representative of Egypt said it was important to concentrate on implementation of ideas developed at Rio and not to come up with new concepts.  For implementation to occur, financial mechanisms must be clear.  Poverty must be fought, and sustainable technologies shared.  Previous conferences had laid foundations for a structure on which to base future efforts.  The agricultural sector should be a priority -- coherent international action should be taken to improve use of the land.  Desertification must be give absolute priority; Johannesburg must recognize the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the primary tool for that effort.  In all efforts, civil society must be integrally involved.

 

                A representative of Japan then took the floor again.  He supported the report made by the Minister of Nigeria on the Conference on Water.  The multiple facets of agriculture must be emphasized.  The principles of market competition had brought about mass consumption and mass waste disposal -- that “status quo” must not be forgotten and should be addressed.  Japan upheld the basic ideal that forests and oceans were “home to our lives”. 

 

                The representative of Libya said sustainable development was a preoccupation for all.  Solidarity against poverty and famine was highly important.  There must be real commitments undertaken to combat those phenomena.  There were more than 1 billion people without water, and half the world was without sanitation, he pointed out.  Financial resources had not been granted for the realization of Agenda 21.  Many were now caught in the trap of external debt, which hampered efforts to achieve sustainable development.

 

There must a plan that had clear commitments with time limits for implementation to realize the Millennium Goal of halving the number in poverty by 2015, as well as other targets that had been set, he said.  Measures must be taken to, among other things, stop deforestation and to protect fisheries, and adequate financial resources to promote sustainable development must be forthcoming.  A favourable international climate addressing the negative heritage of colonialism must be instituted.  All States should put an end to their conflicts and take measures to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

 

                The representative of China said the rapid development of globalization had brought with it great challenges and opportunities.  Realizing sustainable development on the global level was a large challenge.  Innovative methods to correctly handle the three pillars of sustainable development had been put forward; however, there was still a gap between ideals and reality.  He cited the decline in ODA at the global and the widened gap between the North and South and the East and West since UNCED, among other constraints.

 

Action must be taken to narrow the gaps, he said.  The whole world’s attention would be focused on the Summit.  The political declaration must stress the basic principles of the Rio conference, especially the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities to implement Agenda 21.  The implementation plan must contain clear and feasible measures and follow-up mechanisms. 

               

                The representative of Switzerland said that better multilateral relationships and partnerships were basic for attaining goals in sustainable development.  The plan of action coming out of Bali must be based on a strong consensus, with every delegation involved in negotiations.  His country was ready to make commitments and live up to them -- there should be no backing away from commitments made in Rio and the Millennium Summit.  Switzerland was ready to increase its efforts to meet such commitments, along with raising its ODA to 0.4 per cent.  International instruments must be ratified and implemented, and forests and water must be protected through international rules.  Switzerland had enacted laws and constructed infrastructure in that effort and was forming a partnership for sustainable development in mountainous regions.

 

                The representative of Slovakia said his country supported all those who had called for concrete action.  Natural resources had to be treated as one integrated unit, and that was taken into account in Agenda 21.  Sectoral policies still prevailed, however, and he urged the strengthening of cross-sectoral integrative tools, and a comprehensive plan that ruled over all sectoral plans.  He also supported activities that aimed to lower overhead for activities that directly benefited sustainable development, with the primary goal of improving the state of the environment.

 

The representative of the Dominican Republic called for countries that had not done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and other relevant agreements before the Johannesburg Summit.  A clear commitment must come out of that Summit to implement all elements of Agenda 21.

 

                The representative of the United Arab Emirates said common solutions must be found to solve the problems facing humanity, such as poverty, debt, pollution and lack of access to water, among others.  Those problems must be addressed at all levels.  Sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21 required a secure environment on the regional and international levels.  In that context, he cited the situation in Palestine as a result of the Israeli occupation.   He called for solutions to such problems, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and respect for international law.  The stability of development required certain confidence-building measures to be undertaken.  Cooperation was also key.  He called on developed countries to reconsider their protectionist and unilateral measures, which had an adverse affect on international trade.

 

                The representative of Indonesia said the implementation document was now 78 pages long -- double the size of last Monday.  Core to the process of sustainable development was implementation.  Financial resources had not been forthcoming, he noted, particularly to implement Agenda 21.  The Monterrey Consensus and the Doha outcome must be built upon.

 

                IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) President of the Economic and Social Council, said his prepared statement would be distributed and he would restrict himself to making a brief statement.  Doha and Monterrey were the basis for forward movement.  At the recently established international forum for indigenous peoples, it had been stressed that a reference to indigenous peoples should be included in the outcome to Johannesburg.

 

Between Bali and the Summit there would be a substantive session of the Council, he said.  Its high-level segment would be devoted to the development of human resources, which was key to sustainable development.  The core of sustainable development was the issue of coordination of various values and activities.  Without the strengthened role of the Council, it would be virtually impossible to coordinate the various United Nations departments and commissions dealing with sustainable development.

 

                The representative of Germany said Agenda 21 and other international consensus documents should not be renegotiated; the problem was the implementation of activities and principles.  Concrete targets were therefore essential in all areas including renewable energy, an area in which his Government had already set targets and was therefore motivated to meet them.  Other matters had to be dealt with directly; foreign direct investment could be more effective than ODA, for example.

 

 

 

 

 

* *** *