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/17

 Summit on Sustainable Development                                                                                              6 June 2002

Fourth Session

8th Meeting (AM)

 

 

PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVES SHOULD NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR GOVERNMENT COMMITMENTS

 

TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SPEAKERS STRESS

 

 

                Partnerships should not substitute for the commitments of governments to promote sustainable development, speakers stressed this morning as the ministerial segment of the fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development continued its interactive dialogue in Bali.

 

                During the dialogue, which focused on the theme “implementation partnerships initiatives”, many speakers spoke of the need to commit governments to specific initiatives, but also of the need to encourage a flexible range of partnerships, the so-called Type 2 partnerships, that advanced the goals of Agenda 21, the guiding principles of sustainable development set down at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992.

 

Type 2 outcomes are voluntary partnership initiatives between governments, citizen groups and the private sector, intended to help promote implementation of the government-negotiated outcome documents in Johannesburg, known as the “Type 1” outcomes. 

 

The representative of Barbados strongly supported “Type 2” initiatives, which provided a range of possibilities, but only as a supplement to Type 1 activities.  Governments, she said, should not be allowed to abrogate their responsibilities through a shift of emphasis to the Type 2 initiatives, which had less specificity in terms of deadlines and funding, the lack of which had helped lead to failure in meeting the goals of Agenda 21. 

 

She said there should be stronger promotion of partnerships at the South-South level and between Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  As such a State, her country urged ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which identified many kinds of partnership activity for the climate protection areas of sustainable development.  Effective partnerships were not possible without funding, genuine capacity-building, and follow-up.

 

Spain’s representative, on behalf of the European Union, said that it was essential to link up type 2 and type 1 partnerships and to clearly identify funding mechanisms.  In addition, partnerships must take into account all the development objectives of all countries involved.  All partners must mobilize necessary financial resources and explore options for additional financing.  The scope of partnerships should always be international and innovative, providing considerable added value. 

 

The World Summit was not a deadline for partnerships activity, which would continue through follow-up mechanisms, he said.  Such follow-up would also include monitoring the results of partnerships, for which all partners should actively gather information.  That information should then be summed up and reorganized for comparative analysis and exchange of information.  It was fundamental that various stakeholders participate in the debate that would ensue.

 

The representative of Australia stressed that not all partnerships had to be multilaterally agreed upon.  Some could be created for specific needs in specific areas.  Type 2 outcomes should be flexible mechanisms for concrete action.  Those outcomes needed to include many voluntary elements and should not be overly predetermined, in order to allow maximum innovation. 


Developed and developing countries should enter into solid partnerships for which political will was necessary on both sides, Qatar’s representative said.  The objectives of sustainable development could only be achieved if the necessary financial resources were found and if the requisite technologies were shared.   

 

                Statements were also made by the representatives of the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Sudan, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, Japan, Syria, Ghana, Nauru (for the Pacific Islands Forum Group), Canada, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Lebanon, India, Norway, United States, Philippines, Togo, Tajikistan, Zambia, Thailand, Australia, El Salvador, Bolivia, Maldives, Romania and Marshall Islands.

 

                Representatives of the Business Action for Sustainable Development, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Common Fund for Commodities also spoke.

 

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

 

                Background

 

                The fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development this morning continued 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.  The focus of this morning’s discussion was the implementation of partnerships initiatives.

 

                Statements

 

                The representative of the Republic of Korea said resolving poverty and related issues should be given priority in ensuring sustainable development.  Enhancing the status of women and promoting their access to health services and education was key.  She also emphasized the importance of recycling and “eco-labeling”.  Partnerships would reinvigorate the international pursuit of sustainable development.  Participation of diverse stakeholders from the initial stages of partnerships must be assured.  Caution must be taken to make sure that partnership projects were not used as tools to avoid the outcome of the Summit.

 

                The representative of Kuwait said the world was looking to this meeting and awaiting its achievements for the benefit of future generations.  A great number of issues related to sustainable development had not been resolved.  He stressed the need for transparency in the implementation of Agenda 21.  Measures agreed upon by all with set time frames should be instituted.  It was appropriate to reaffirm the results and decisions adopted in Monterrey at the International Conference on Financing for Development, and in Doha at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting.  Dealing with desertification and natural disasters required lucid thinking and a comprehensive vision.  Constructive cooperation was crucial.  He reaffirmed the importance of including major groups and civil society in the process.

 

                The representative of Azerbaijan said cooperation among all the stakeholders was required to ensure the implementation of Agenda 21.  His country was a young, developing, landlocked State going through economic transition.  Sustaining social, economic and environmental development was key.  His Government fully supported the establishment of a public-private venture capital fund.  A number of action plans to strengthen management capacity in the area of environment had been elaborated.  Large financial resources were needed to institute such programmes, and support by the international community was therefore needed.  His country fully supported partnerships as part of the outcome of Summit.

 

                The representative of Sudan said the slow implementation of Agenda 21 was partly due to lack of deadlines and funding mechanisms, as well as slow transfer of technology.  As a result, diseases had spread, poverty had increased, and the situation in many areas had worsened.  Peoples were looking forward to initiatives that could reverse those problems.  Equitable partnerships, based on an international framework, should include the private sector and civil society to combat desertification, create health services and foster improvement in many areas.  None of that would happen without strong political will and documents void of brackets.

 

                The representative of New Zealand said there was a partnership in his country between the Ministries of Development and Environment.  Type 2 partnerships had received a great deal of funding.  Achieving partnerships should take as long a time as was needed by the partner with the least capacity.  Genuine partnerships were based on trust and took into account historical facts such as the effects of colonialism.  His country was pursuing many partnerships within its region, between countries as well as those including civil society and other stakeholders. 

 

                The representative of Spain, on behalf of the European Union, said it was essential to link up type 2 and type 1 partnerships and identify funding mechanisms.  In addition, partnerships must take into account all the sustainable development objectives of all the countries involved.  All sectors should participate in partnerships from the beginning so that all became stakeholders.  All partners should also mobilize necessary financial resources and explore options for additional financing. 

 

The scope of partnerships should always be international and innovative, providing considerable added value, he continued.  The World Summit was not a deadline for partnerships activity, which would continue through follow-up mechanisms.  Such follow-up would also include monitoring the results of partnerships, for which all partners should actively gather information.  That information should then be summed up and reorganized for comparative analysis and exchange of information.  It was fundamental that various stakeholders participate in the debate that would ensue.

 

The representative of Qatar said the objectives of sustainable development could only be achieved if the necessary financial resources could be found.  Developed and developing countries should enter into solid partnerships and the necessary political will should be found on both sides.  The international community should have a system of international trade without any discrimination, as set out in the Doha Declaration.  The problem of lack of technology in the developing countries should be redressed. 

 

Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption should also be tackled, he said.  Qatar attached special importance to having a successful Summit -- it should make positive commitments to implement agreements already made to promote sustainable development.  An approach based on responsible participation was necessary.

 

                A representative of the Business Action for Sustainable Development said that whatever targets were agreed at the Summit, sound governance of society, including the business sector, was needed to deliver them.  Global governance would be ineffectual unless it was underpinned by strong local governance.  Governments would set priorities for sustainable development and “we will cluster our partnerships” under the various headings of energy, water and biodiversity, among others. 

 

Poverty eradication needed official development assistance (ODA), but also the development of business, he said.  A number of international businesses, in collaboration with other members of civil society, were gathering under the auspices of the Global Compact to see how best they could contribute to sustainable development in developing countries.  Businesses looked forward to participating in the Summit.

 

                The representative of Greece said her country supported the need to promote partnerships that were results-oriented and that fairly shared the burden between developed and developing countries.  They should be based on specific guiding principles clearly set out in the plan of implementation at the Summit.  They should also adhere to a multi-stakeholder approach and promote the three pillars of sustainable development.  Mechanisms and means of implementation should be established. 

 

She said Greece strongly believed that regional partnership initiatives were of great importance to the promotion of sustainable worldwide.  It was therefore exploring ways of launching new initiatives to address regional needs, such as desertification and the promotion of renewable energy.

 

                The representative of Barbados strongly supported “Type 2” initiatives, which provided a range of possibilities, but only as a supplement to Type 1 activities.  Governments should not be allowed to abrogate their responsibilities through a shift of emphasis to the Type 2 initiatives, which had less specificity in terms of deadlines and funding.  That lack of specificity had helped lead to the failure of meeting the goals of Agenda 21.  She said there should be stronger promotion of cooperation at the South-South level and between Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  As such a State, her country urged ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which identified many kinds of partnership activity.  Effective partnerships were not possible without funding, genuine capacity-building, and follow-up.  Also important to SIDS were partnerships to combat HIV/AIDS.

 

                The representative of Italy said his country had increased the funding available for development partnership initiatives and supported many international agreements in that regard, helping to launch international initiatives for good governance and technology transfer.  Italy also participated in such partnership projects as the development of a satellite land mapping systems for fighting desertification in Africa.  His country was ready to play its part in creating the right balance between sharply defined initiatives and efforts toward general goals and principles.

 

                The representative of Japan said there were diverse views on partnerships that had served to prolong the deliberation on the implementation plan of action.  It was crucial that the document was finished during the Bali meeting, with a focused discussion for that purpose.  He also stressed the importance of the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and described the kind of international partnership that Japan favoured, such as its partnerships with African countries in the areas of water, forests, health, education and other areas.  Concrete partnership projects should be created in those areas before the World Summit took place.

 

                The representative of Syria said his Government was attempting to fulfill its obligations in accordance with international agreements in the areas of anti-desertification, among others.  A number of problems had been faced by his country, including the lack of scientific and technological resources.  The continued occupation of the Golan also had a negative impact on sustainable development, and peace and security constituted prerequisites for sustainable development.  Israel should withdraw from the occupied Arab territories and comply with the relevant United Nations resolutions, he stressed.  He was referring, in that regard, to partnerships for peace. 

 

He said the United Nations should allow for a just sharing of water resources among all peoples to ensure a partnership in which all interests were taken into account.  Means and mechanisms to implement Agenda 21 with clear time frames should be set up.  He stressed the importance of developed countries fulfilling their obligations under the principle of shared but differentiated responsibility. 

 

The representative of Ghana said while he welcomed the idea of partnerships, in some areas they could not replace the plan of implementation.  Partnership initiatives should have a regional aspect.  It was important to ensure that partnerships did not become a substitute for existing resource commitments.  The comments of participants must be clear and tied to tangible resources and rewards.  The establishment of partnerships in the areas of water, energy, agriculture, sanitation, education and health were supported by his Government.

 

The representative of Nauru, for the Pacific Islands Forum Group, said the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) had placed a focus on oceans, which the Group supported.  The small island developing States chapter in the implementation plan articulated many pressing concerns for the Group, which took seriously the effective and timely attainment of sustainable goals in the Pacific.  He urged the adoption of concrete timetables and targets.  The Group had been actively engaged in further developing Type 2 initiatives, which were largely built on regional policies and concerns. 

 

The representative of Botswana said no country could go it alone.  Africa had therefore come up with the New Programme for African Development (NEPAD) -- a partnership of African governments to work for sustainable development.  Governments could not achieve the implementation of Agenda 21 by themselves.  That was why she supported the idea of partnerships.  Consultation was one of Botswana’s national principles -- it permeated all levels of government.  Botswana belonged to the Southern African Development Community, a subregional arrangement that promoted development within its member countries.  Partnerships should not only be between and among governments, but also between governments and civil society stakeholders.  Partnerships should not be one-sided.  They should complement government commitments -- not replace them.

 

                The representative of Canada said that “type 2” partnerships should complement “type 1” initiatives and should not substitute for them.  He emphasized transparency and respect for all partners and described Canada’s efforts to form partnership on a range of issues.  Good governance, he said, was particularly important for the success of partnerships.  The political declaration for the World Summit should include strong support for partnerships.

 

                The representative of Saudi Arabia supported the statement by Venezuela on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and described many areas in which partnerships were needed, stressing particularly in the fight against desertification and water pollution.

 

                The representative of Namibia also supported the statement made by Venezuela on behalf of the Group of 77.  He stressed that type 2 partnerships should complement type 1 partnerships and not be a substitute for them.  All partnerships needed to reinforce existing commitments.  They all needed to relate clearly to poverty eradication, livelihood security and the protection of the environment.  Formulation of partnerships should include all partners to ensure ownership.

 

                A representative of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) underlined the role of regional commissions in promoting partnerships.  It was important in promoting Type 2 outcomes that the developing countries be active players.  The regional commissions had developed type 2 outcomes with strong subregional and regional dimensions aimed at alleviating poverty and promoting sound management of resources and the environment.  The initiatives promoted participation by the major stakeholders. 

 

                The representative of Lebanon said sustainable development must be achieved by all nations, developing and developed.  Partnerships were an important principle to be adopted with a view to realizing common development programmes.  Lebanon had made progress through partnership with local governments and the private sector.  Despite difficulties over the past decade, progress has been made in environmental protection and health and education through Type 2 outcomes. 

 

Despite obstacles, he said, Lebanon remained committed to partnership initiatives for development.  The continued foreign occupation of part of his country’s land, with its negative impact on civil society and the private sector, impeded the full realization of social, economic and environmental progress. 

 

                The representative of India said his country had taken sustainable development very seriously and had a lot to feel satisfied about at home.  It had shown progress in all spheres and had maintained its strong adherence to the principle of sustainable development.  Partnerships were nothing new to the developing world, but they must evolve from the implementation plan and must answer the priorities of national governments.  They should not repackage existing agreements and should not be a substitute for government initiatives.  What was needed was time-bound action for already negotiated documents.

 

                The representative of Norway called for forward movement on commitments already made and stressed that they should not be renegotiated.  Responding to the question, “Why are we here”? she said, “we should be here” for one reason -- to bring action in sustainable development forward for the benefit of the poor and the environment.  That required an implementation plan that provided for exactly that.  It was not too late -- it could still happen, but she was very concerned. 

 

The Summit should concentrate on ensuring substantial deliveries in the key areas set out by the Secretary-General, she said.  A structuring process must be established to ensure such delivery, and it must be established in Bali.  A difference could be made if such a framework was put in place.  Grave injustice to the world’s poor and to future generations was being faced.  Decisions made today would determine whether the injustice would continue or be averted.

 

                The representative of the United States said that partnerships, that is, cooperative efforts, should harness the best capabilities of all sectors.  A new dialogue between key sectors could therefore prove fruitful for potential partners.  Important principles for partnerships were transparency, accountability and a direct relation to the goals of sustainable development.  In follow-up, the Commission on Sustainable Development could serve as a focal point for lessons-learned through partnerships. 

 

                The representative of the Philippines said that partnerships must have the correct emphasis.  Capacity-building and transparency could give a boost to sustainable development efforts in developing countries.  He stressed that details of partnership initiatives should be clear to the lowest levels of government so that community participation could be included.

 

                The representative of Togo said that partnerships could be effective if they took into account the needs of all partners and were created on a sound legal basis.  He hoped that many of such effective partnerships would be forged through the Johannesburg process.

 

                A representative of the Common Fund for Commodities said 2.5 billion people in developing countries were engaged in agriculture, and many earned income from the export of commodities.  Many were also engaged in the extractive-mineral industries.  Partnerships were therefore needed in those areas.  The Fund was preparing partnerships in the areas of productivity improvement, diversification and value added in a sustainable way, market development and market access. 

 

                The representative of Tajikistan, on behalf of the countries of the Central Asian region, said those countries were afflicted by the Aral Sea crisis and high rates of disease, among others.  A long-term approach to the problems afflicting the area, with the support of the international community, was key.  Projects had been undertaken with ESCAP to achieve the objectives of Agenda 21.  Regional and subregional programmes were being planned to deal with the problems being faced.  The World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) were among the partners in those initiatives.

 

                The representative of Zambia said his Government recognized the important role to be played by partnerships.  Such initiatives had already been started, including NEPAD.  In Zambia, partnerships had been launched in the areas of water, health and management of wildlife, among others.  The terms of reference for partnerships should be mutually agreed, and type 2 outcomes should complement Type 1 outcomes. 

 

                The representative of Thailand said that with the proper guidelines, effective partnership initiatives for sustainable development could move forward.  He emphasized partnerships for forest issues and other areas.

 

                The representative of Australia strongly supported the partnership approach that had been developed thus far in the preparatory process.  Not all partnerships, he said, had to be multilaterally agreed upon.  Some could be created for specific needs in specific areas.  Type 2 outcomes should contain flexible mechanisms for concrete action.  Those outcomes needed to include many voluntary elements, and much should not be overly predetermined, in order to allow maximum innovation.  His country was most interested in Type 2 proposals related to oceans, working with Pacific Island partners and other coastal countries, as well as a range of other issues.

 

                The representative of El Salvador said that Type 1 partnerships, to advance Agenda 21, should come out of Johannesburg.  A participatory approach involving all stakeholders was fundamental.  She hoped that new alliances, national alliances linked with international alliances, would be forged at the Summit to further the sustainable development of developing countries, with such priorities as trade access and disaster relief.

 

                The representative of Bolivia said his country had made great advances in sustainable development in recent years.  He noted the role played by the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt initiative in alleviating poverty in his country.  Such partnerships could be extended to other areas of international cooperation focused on sustainable development. 

 

He said partnerships should make it possible to discuss market access.  Noting the challenges of moving from illegal to legal trade, he stressed that countries such as his needed access to the markets of developed countries for their agricultural products.  The Framework of Amazon Cooperation had put forward a declaration in support of sustainable development, which would be conveyed to the Committee.

 

                The representative of Maldives said because of the weaknesses of SIDS, voluntary international arrangements tended at times to bypass them.  The benefit to SIDS of Type 2 outcomes could therefore be problematic.  To benefit from partnership arrangements, capacity-building in the SIDS had to occur.  He urged all


countries that had not done so to replenish the GEF.  He also urged countries that had not done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

 

                The representative of Romania said setting up partnerships was an appropriate way to realize the Millennium Development Goals.  The private sector, especially transnational corporations, had proved to be an important actor in globalization.  Encouraging public-private partnerships was important.  To set up such partnerships, innovative ideas were needed.  Besides global partnerships, regional and subregional partnerships should be encouraged.  The recent summit on environmental development in the Carpathian region had been an important contribution to the discussion on partnerships, he noted.

 

                The representative of the Marshall Islands said that sustainable development was a long time concern of his people; all sectors had recently participated in a summit on the topic.  It had resulted in a programme called “Vision 2018”.  He strongly supported type 2 outcomes, which could support that programme’s goals in sustainable development, and all international initiatives that supported such community-generated initiatives.  As a small-island developing State, his country also urged ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

 

 

 

 

 

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