3 items that the uns agenda 21 deals with
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Dee on March 23, pm. Mark A. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. Popular Comments Tags. Since UNCED, a number of approaches have been developed to provide an operational focus for the general concept of sustainable consumption and production.
Putting into practice these approaches to changing consumption and production patterns, however, has been slow and the results limited. The ECE Ministerial Statement adopted at the Regional Ministerial Meeting for WSSD noted that although progress has been made in improving eco-efficiency in the countries of the ECE region and in de-coupling environmental and economic developments, these gains have been offset by overall increases in consumption.
More natural resources are being consumed and more pollution is being generated. Economic instruments have been increasingly used in many countries and sectors to make consumption and production patterns more sustainable. A growing range of environmental taxes and charges have been integrated into fiscal systems in a number of developed and developing countries. Deposit-refund schemes have been applied in some countries and play a growing role in solid waste management.
There is also a small but increasing tendency towards the use of enforcement incentives, such as non-compliance fees and performance bonds. Voluntary codes and conduct can be an important tool for encouraging improved consumption and production practises. While targeted subsidies can serve to promote sustainable practices, current subsidies often provide incentives for inefficient and unsustainable use of energy and natural resources. Consumer organizations and other non-governmental organizations have played an important role in increasing consumer awareness of the impacts of consumption choices.
Environmental and social product standards and certification for eco-labels have helped consumers make informed decisions, but at the same time they present challenges for smaller producers, especially those in developing countries. Some producers in developing countries have taken the growing market for environmentally sound products as an opportunity to enter new export markets, such as that for organic products.
Efforts are also needed to ensure that product standards do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade and to assist developing country exporters to meet international market requirements. Based on the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development, the General Assembly, in , expanded the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection to include principles of sustainable consumption. Energy and Transport. Energy is essential for economic growth and social equity, but is also associated with air pollution and other damage to health and the environment. The constraints on the energy system over the next 50 years will not be due to depletion of fossil fuel reserves, but rather to the environmental, social and geopolitical issues raised by energy production and consumption patterns.
Appropriate policies and measures can promote sustainable production and consumption of energy to support economic and social development. Efforts to promote sustainable energy include shifting from coal and oil to natural gas, developing renewable energy sources and advanced fossil fuel technologies, and adopting more efficient technologies. Many Governments have introduced national policies to promote renewable energy sources, including economic incentives, research and development, improvement of institutional capabilities and innovative financing and credit mechanisms.
Several countries have adopted regulatory measures, investment portfolio standards and non-fossil fuel obligations for electric utilities to promote renewable energy. However, renewable energy use remains low. Significant progress has been made in developing and applying advanced fossil fuel technologies toward the long-term goal of near-zero emissions of air pollution, including greenhouse gases. The efficiency with which energy is used in industrially production as well as in lighting, household appliances, transportation, and heating and cooling of buildings has also improved.
However, these efficiency gains have been offset by increases in the volume of production and consumption. Nuclear power, which accounts for some 16 per cent of world electricity generation, is associated with a number of concerns. Challenges remain regarding safety and cost-effectiveness, particularly relating to spent fuel, radioactive waste management, transboundary impacts, and decommissioning of plants at the end or their operating life.
Privatization of electricity generation and distribution in both developed and developing countries has to some extent contributed to increasing efficiency and reducing waste. However, as generating capacity shifts to the private sector, regulators must ensure that sustainable development priorities are not forgotten. There are concerns over price increases and the provision of services to the poor. Policies designed to extend credit for provision of services to the poor, innovative cross-subsidy schemes, and cooperative arrangements may address some of these problems and contribute to efforts to eradicate poverty.
Measures to improve efficient production and use of energy for sustainable development should be coupled with steps to enhance access to affordable commercial energy. There are still over 2 billion people in developing countries without access to modern energy, a number which has not been reduced despite national grid expansions in recent decades. This challenge needs to be addressed by means of a variety of innovative measures.
Transport, like energy, is an indispensable part of modernization and development. The transport sector is particularly important in the new global context since competition in international markets depends on the ability to transport goods quickly and efficiently from production facilities to consumers. But transport systems are often associated, especially in urban areas, with air pollution, land degradation, and noise. Traffic congestion and accidents represent additional human and economic costs.
Efforts are needed to improve the safe mobility of the world's growing population, while reducing environmental damage. Transport infrastructure has important impacts on the way human settlements develop and grow. Investments in transport systems can have a positive impact for sustainable development if they are undertaken together with land-use regulations that limit urban sprawl and housing policies that respond to the transport needs of the poor.
If properly designed, safe transport systems can assist in meeting social needs and contribute to enhanced economic activity with reduced environmental damage. Due to improvements in motor vehicle technology and transportation systems, industrialized countries and some developing countries have substantially reduced urban smog, airborne lead and other pollution from motor vehicles.
But these measures still fall short of what is needed. CO 2 emissions from transport constitute an increasing share of greenhouse gas emissions. In developing countries, increases in per capita income and growth in population have contributed to rapidly rising demand for transportation services and associated energy consumption.
Still, access to transportation in many developing countries remains in adequate. In Africa, 80 per cent of all trips are still made by non-motorized forms of transport. Many countries, therefore, now have opportunities to design transport systems that contribute to sustainable development, particularly public transportation systems that provide social, economic and environmental benefits.
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Efforts are underway in many countries to develop alternative fuels and engines. Vehicles with reduced emissions of both air pollutants and CO 2 emissions are now on the market, including vehicles with hybrid engines and vehicles fuelled with compressed natural gas. Promising advances have also been made in developing zero-emission fuel-cell vehicles, but commercial viability has not yet been achieved. Other efforts to reduce air pollution and CO 2 emissions from the transport sector could, particularly in the short term, focus on improving fuel efficiency and improving mass transportation.
Industry has a pivotal role to play in promoting a variety of economic and social objectives such as employment creation, technological innovation, poverty reduction, gender equality, labour standards, and greater access to education and health care. In order to facilitate the introduction of cleaner, more efficient and more productive technologies, a growing number of developing countries and economies in transition, often with assistance from international organizations or donor countries, have established national cleaner production centres to assist enterprises in becoming cleaner, more efficient and more profitable.
Industry, often through industry associations, has also developed voluntary codes of conduct, charters and codes of good practice concerning social and environmental performance. Efforts are also being made in a number of countries to promote environmental management accounting EMA in industry, in order to promote the identification and implementation of cost-effective measures to reduce resource consumption, pollution and waste without government regulation and enforcement.
Yet, much still needs to be done to promote sustainable production. Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. Tourism is often seen as a promising growth sector in countries with a natural environment appealing to tourists, as those countries may face constraints in developing alternative sources of foreign exchange through exports. In some areas, eco-tourism provides resources to protect areas of special ecological interest. However, uncontrolled growth in tourism aiming at short-term benefits often results in negative impacts, harming the environment and society, and destroying the very basis on which tourism thrives.
The tourism sector needs to be planned and managed in a sustainable manner with a long-term vision to bring economic benefits and income opportunities to host communities and contribute to poverty reduction, resource conservation and cultural preservation. Small island developing States face particular challenges. The fragility of ecosystems and the limited scope for alternative development strategies of small island States make concerns for the environmental and the ecological impact of tourism particularly acute. Integrated planning can help make tourism compatible with the conservation of ecosystems and with the preservation of historical-cultural heritage as well as with the goals of economic growth.
The introduction of sustainable development principles and practices into the planning and implementation of tourism operations has become increasingly common in many countries. In several countries, national or local governments have adopted or supported tourism certification systems and eco-labelling. In other countries, efforts have been made to introduce sustainability issues in tourism education and training programmes.
The hotel industry has generally accepted the need for introducing environmental management systems in their operations and, in some cases, has adopted such systems on a voluntary basis. Other sectors, such as tour operators and cruise lines, have also created voluntary initiatives, often with the help of the United Nations. A major challenge facing the tourism sector is to more widely and effectively apply existing knowledge concerning sustainability to the planning and development of tourist facilities and to the day-to-day operations of tourism companies.
Adaptation of planning, management and monitoring techniques to local requirements is necessary, guided by an understanding of the conditions, needs and development prospects of local communities. Human activities are having an increasing impact on the integrity of complex natural ecosystems that provide essential support for human health and economic activities. An ecosystem approach to the integrated management of land, water and living resources promotes the conservation and sustainable use of resources, based on an understanding of the interactions among the elements of ecosystems, including human activities.
In order to improve the understanding of ecosystems and the impacts of human activities on them, and to better apply the ecosystem approach for sustainable development, the United Nations, together with scientific groups, governments, foundations and other international agencies, launched the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment MEA in June The study will provide decision-makers with an improved understanding of the status of the world's ecosystems and the impact of ecosystem changes on human livelihoods and environmental conditions, so that steps can be taken to protect and restore the productivity of ecosystems.
Integrated Land Management. Expanding human requirements and economic activities are placing ever-increasing pressure on land resources, creating competition and conflicts, in some cases resulting in unproductive or destructive use of land resources. To optimise land productivity, land use should be planned and managed in an integrated manner, taking into account linkages between socio-economic development and environmental protection.
Since UNCED, many governments have adopted policies to promote integrated management, but the pace of progress has been slow. UNEP provides the Secretariat fot these Conventions, and through the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, it provides an authoritative knowledge base for the preparation of The Global Biodiversity Assessment , a major endeavour mobilizing the global scientific community to analyze the state of knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and the nature of our interactions with it. In many countries, existing systems of land tenure and land use planning do not generally promote sustainable land use.
Difficulties in overcoming those constraints are primarily due to institutional rather than technical factors. Promotion of rural livelihoods requires improving access to land and other natural resources and increasing tenure security in a manner that is gender-responsive and environmentally sustainable. There is a need to strengthen institutional arrangements for land tenure, with the participation of civil society and local governments in the delivery of decentralized land administration services.
Effective land tenure reform and land use planning require coordination and cooperation within and among several ministries and an equitable participatory process involving local communities and multiple stakeholders. In spite of the obstacles and the limited progress so far, land policy reform in a number of countries is an integral part of a sustainable agriculture and rural development SARD strategy and of national plans to combat desertification and drought. Changes in land policy offer multiple leverage possibilities for poverty reduction, including improving the status of women, preserving the rights of indigenous people, creating capital and facilitating credit, mobilizing and investing resources, controlling land speculation, and preventing misuse and degradation of land and water resources.
Land reforms have been more successful and easier to implement when beneficiaries and other stakeholders participate in their design and implementation, and when there is a strong political will to carry them out. They are more likely to have a positive impact on SARD when new landowners are provided with technical support services, credit facilities and grants during the reform process. The most critical, and increasing, threat to sustainable land use is desertification. It is estimated that desertification affects one-quarter of the total land area of the world, or about 70 percent of all drylands, and threatens the livelihoods of over 1 billion people in more than countries.
Desertification is closely linked with rural poverty and hunger. It exacerbates conditions leading to famine, migration, internal displacement, political instability and conflict. The widespread nature of desertification led to UNCED's call for the elaboration of a new, legally binding international convention to combat desertification. UNDP has helped developing countries participate in the negotiations and in the development of National Action Programmes.
The African preparatory meeting for WSSD, held in Nairobi, invited the Johannesburg Summit to acknowledge the UNCCD as a sustainable development convention and to proclaim it as a prime tool in the eradication of poverty in Africa and in other dry and arid lands. Sustainable mountain development requires a comprehensive perspective that takes into account various aspects of sustainable development, including sustainable livelihoods and economic development, biodiversity and ecosystem management, water and land resource management and conservation, cultural diversity and heritage, traditional and indigenous knowledge, infrastructure, emergency and disaster preparedness and relief, research and information, and governance and peace.
Very few countries have specifically addressed mountain issues in national laws and policies, however the designation of as the International Year of Mountains offers an opportunity to focus national, regional and international efforts on this area. Forests and woodlands support a variety of economic and social activities and are vital to environmental stability. They provide a wide range of wood and non-wood products as well as employment and income and essential environmental services such as soil and water conservation, mitigation of climate change through carbon sequestration and storage, and conservation of biological diversity.
Forests also support a major industrial sector, make important contributions to rural livelihoods, and provide subsistence for millions of people living in and around forests. The overarching principles of sustainable forest management, contained in the UNCED "Forest Principles" and Agenda 21, 43 have been further developed during the past ten years. However, very little progress has been made toward reducing the high rate of deforestation in developing countries in tropical regions, resulting in a net loss of 4 per cent of the world's forest area between and Approximately half of the wood harvested in the world is used as fuelwood, and 90 per cent is consumed in developing countries.
The total woody biomass of the world's forests is also declining, reducing the capacity for forests to mitigate climate change. Broader approaches to forest management are becoming more widely accepted and put into practice. Almost all countries in the world now have national forest programmes in various stages of development.
Some 89 percent of the forests in industrialized countries are managed according to formal or informal management plans, and the area of forest in developing countries under management plans is increasing. A common vision for the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests has been promoted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests IPF and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests IFF , both under the auspices of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
These processes have resulted in nearly agreed proposals for action covering a broad range of issues, including deforestation and forest degradation, national forest programmes and traditional forest-related knowledge. However, some issues remain unresolved, including finance, transfer of technology, trade and legal framework. Continued progress towards sustainable forest management globally will depend on the international community's ability to mobilize political, financial, scientific and technical support, particularly for developing countries.
The protection of the oceans, seas and coastal areas, including their living resources, requires a multi-sectoral but integrated approach that addresses all dimensions of ocean-related issues. The various elements include the management and sustainable development of coastal areas, the protection of the marine environment, the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources in both the high seas and areas under national jurisdiction, and research on critical uncertainties including climate change.
This approach, known as integrated coastal area management ICAM , has in recent years replaced sectoral approaches, which have had limited success in the past. In response to more and better information on the growing threats to the world's coral reefs, several international collaborative partnerships involving Governments, international organizations and major groups have been formed or strengthened in recent years to protect reefs. Local and community-level actions, backed up by legal and normative support at the national level, are especially critical to the success of these approaches and initiatives.
The GPA seeks to forge new forms of collaboration among Governments, organizations and institutions, major groups and the business community. A large number of legal and voluntary agreements have been elaborated in recent years regarding sea-based as well as land-based sources of marine pollution.
Problems remain, however, in the implementation of those agreements and in addressing emerging issues. The capacities of maritime administrations in many developing countries are still insufficient for effective implementation of international instruments. Marine aquaculture is contributing an increasing supply of fish and has helped lower prices. Global production of marine capture fisheries, on the other hand, has remained relatively unchanged over the past decade. The reasons for this are known: over-fishing, fleet overcapacity and environmental factors.
The prevalence of illegal, unregulated and unreported IUU fishing, both on the high seas and within exclusive economic zones EEZs , remains one of the most critical problems affecting world fisheries. New management regimes and the full implementation of existing schemes are required to prevent more fish stocks from over-exploitation or collapse.
Despite a great deal of attention and some progress in the area of responsible fisheries development and management as a result of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and a number of complementary international instruments and voluntary agreements 46 , there is considerable room for improvement in their coverage and enforcement at global, regional, subregional and national levels. There has also been an improvement in the understanding and appreciation of the diversity of marine species, which has led to improved management practices to reduce the risks to marine biodiversity.
But such results are limited by the fact that less than 1 per cent of the world's oceans are protected in reserves. There have also been efforts to protect marine and coastal biodiversity from the harmful effects of the expanding aquaculture industry and from invasive alien species introduced into marine ecosystems.
The Regional Preparatory Committees for both the Latin America and Caribbean and Asia-Pacific regions called for increased recognition to be given to the economic, social and environmental vulnerability of small island developing States. The Asia-Pacific meeting also called for renewed commitment to sustainable ocean and coastal development, including full and integrated implementation of relevant international agreements.
Freshwater Resources. Water is a fundamental resource for sustaining life and for conserving the natural environment. Increased access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities and increased water supply for food production, industry and health purposes are essential for sustainable development.
At the same time, water is required to sustain the ecological functions of wetlands and other ecosystems. The need to strike a balance among the increasing demands for water for many uses is a critical challenge facing many parts of the world. The potential water problems facing an increasing number of countries can, at least in part, be attributed to a lack of management in the evaluation, provision and use of water resources.
The supply-oriented approaches common in water management have aggravated inefficient allocation, distribution and use of water resources and resulted in deterioration of water quality in many areas. Despite an increasing awareness of current and future water shortages, water is often still treated as an infinite free good, with no incentives to encourage efficiency in its use. Government intervention is essential to efficient water management and distribution while meeting basic social needs.
But the role of government has been shifting from one of service provider to one of providing an enabling environment for integrated water resources management and coordination of the much-needed investments in the water sector. Irrigated agriculture, particularly large- and medium-scale schemes, as well as industrial production, continue to rely upon government regulations and subsidies for the provision of low-cost water services. The need to delegate water resource management to the lowest appropriate level to promote active participation from communities for more efficient and productive use of water resources is increasingly recognized.
NGOs are playing their role in building community awareness and local capacities. But there is a long way to go before these capacities are at the level required. Many watershed boundaries do not reflect socio-political boundaries. Nearly two thirds of the world's major rivers are shared by several states, and over rivers cross national boundaries. Water should be a factor of peaceful dialogue among countries and there is a growing tendency to view shared water resources as a catalyst for cooperation, rather than a cause of tension and conflicts.
International cooperation on shared water resources is critical, especially in water-scarce regions where the upstream and downstream impacts of consumption and pollution are magnified. Establishing mechanisms for cooperation, negotiation and conflict resolution is necessary for achieving integrated water resource management. Existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation schemes can provide a sound framework for decision-making on and implementation of programmes and projects for joint management of freshwater resources across national borders.
Atmosphere and Climate. Protection of the atmosphere continues to be a major concern with respect to sustainable development. Projected impacts of climate change indicate high degrees of vulnerability among poor populations and populations in coastal areas. Increases in temperature will expand the geographic areas affected by malaria and other tropical diseases and adversely influence agricultural patterns in already vulnerable parts of the world.
Rises in sea level will place low-lying coastal areas at risk from flooding, as well as cholera and other waterborne diseases. Extreme weather events are expected to increase in frequency and severity, with the burden falling disproportionately on the poor. A number of Regional Preparatory Committee meetings, including Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific stressed the need for particular emphasis on adaptive measures and have called for increased international attention to this threat.
The Kyoto Protocol, aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, establishes emission limitations and reduction objectives for industrialized countries, amounting to aggregate reduction of about five percent of emissions for the period — At the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP6 in July , agreement was reached on elements of an emissions trading system to allow flexibility in meeting the overall target.
The agreement includes core elements for the implementation of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, and technical and financial assistance to developing countries vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Recent success in reducing emissions of ozone depleting substances indicates the potential effectiveness of international cooperation on matters related to protection of the global atmosphere. The outcome of the Marrakech Conference strengthens support for the efforts of developing countries to address climate change and its adverse effects.
It also provides a basis for national action by industrialized countries to ratify and implement the Kyoto Protocol. The necessary ratifications could be completed before the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The realization of the promise of the Kyoto Protocol requires strong political commitment from industrialized countries to cut emissions at home and promote investment in emission avoidance in developing countries through the Clean Development Mechanism.
This outcome is expected to open the way to further ratifications of the Protocol and its entry into force. The Declaration emphasised the contribution that action on climate change can make to sustainable development and called for capacity building, technology innovation and cooperation with the conventions on biodiversity and desertification. Emissions of ozone depleting substances ODS , and their abundance in the lower atmosphere have peaked and are now slowly declining. Total consumption of chlorofluorocarbons CFCs worldwide has decreased from about 1. However, while chlorine concentrations are declining, bromine concentrations, more effective at destroying ozone than chlorine, are increasing.
Emissions from transport, energy and industrial sectors have caused increased air pollution in urban areas and serious health impacts, particularly in countries undergoing rapid industrialization, motorization and urbanization. In rural areas of many developing countries, the use of fuelwood, crop residues, charcoal and manure for domestic cooking and heating creates severe indoor air pollution, imposing particular health risks for women and children,.
Many cities in developed country as well as a number of cities in developing countries have established systems to monitor air quality. In some cities, authorities react to high pollution levels with control measures such as restricting traffic, ordering certain industries to reduce pollution levels and issuing health warning and recommendations that congested highways be avoided.
Progress in reducing air pollution has been achieved in North America and Europe, where a number of international agreements relating to the transboundary effects of air pollution have been adopted to limit emissions of sulphur, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants.
More recently, air pollution and its transboundary effects has become an important issue in many developing countries. Regional cooperation can play a positive role in reducing the impacts of air pollution. Efforts to address problems related to the atmosphere and climate change have been enhanced by scientific research and assessment based on reliable and accurate data and information.
Interdisciplinary cooperation in the development and provision of specialized meteorological and hydrological services for agriculture, water management, aviation and marine transport has contributed to those efforts. Impact of Natural Disasters. During the past four decades, the world has witnessed an exponential increase in human and material losses due to natural disasters. The destruction of economic and social infrastructure, as well as environmental damage, due to natural disasters has meant an increase in economic losses by almost a factor of ten during this period.
However, reasons can also be found in the global increase in human vulnerability due to population pressure, settlement in high-risk areas, deforestation of watersheds, degradation of vegetation and desertification. The impact of these disasters, especially in developing countries, could have been mitigated through early warning and response systems. Many small island developing States SIDS are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, including storms and volcanic eruptions, and a single disaster can have major national social and economic impacts. A number of initiatives have been pursued at the national and regional levels, some with the support of UN agencies, to reduce the vulnerability of SIDS to natural disasters.
Further policies and measures are needed to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters. Such policies include early warning systems, better preparedness and preventive measures. Development strategies should include policies to reduce vulnerability to disasters, based on vulnerability assessments and adaptation strategies. Institutional and legal arrangements at national, regional and international levels provide the overall structure for achieving sustainable development.
A goal of Agenda 21 is greater cooperation and policy integration among international and national institutions, in order to rationalize the legal regimes at various levels and to ensure better, more participatory and more informed decision-making. National Sustainable Development Strategies. Agenda 21 introduced the concept of national sustainable development strategies NSDS as a means for integrating economic, social and environmental objectives into a strategically focused blueprint for action.
The Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 established the target year of for all countries to have formulated national sustainable development strategies. According to national reports received from Governments, about 85 countries have developed some kind of national strategy, 49 although the nature and effectiveness of these strategies vary considerably from country to country. Countries have addressed the challenge of developing sustainable development strategies in different ways. Some countries have developed sectoral or thematic policies that reflect broader sustainable development concerns.
Others have used conventional sectoral master plans, often prepared as parts of five-year development plans to coordinate donor involvement in a particular sector. Examples of sectoral and thematic strategies include national plans of action to combat desertification, national forest programmes and coastal zone management policies. In many of these cases, sectoral policy is a tool for complying with the requirements of international commitments and helping decision-makers achieve and measure progress towards sustainable development goals and targets. The establishment in some countries of participatory institutional structures or forums, such as national councils of sustainable development or inter-ministerial commissions, has had a positive impact on consensus building in the formulation of national sustainable development strategies.
UNDP, through its Capacity 21 programme, has assisted more than 40 developing countries in building their institutional and human capacities to formulate and implement national sustainable development strategies. UNEP, in creating an international cooperative environment assessment framework for the production of the Global Environmental Outlook, has focused on the transfer of methodologies and approaches to build capacities in national and international collaborating centres and intergovernmental organizations. This form of targeted capacity building could be expanded and used to good effect at both the national and sub-regional level to support national councils of sustainable development.
As mandated by the General Assembly and Agenda 21, UNEP continues to provide developing countries and countries with economies in transition with policy, legal and technical advisory services in key areas of institution-building in the field of environment aiming at sustainable development.
More than countries have received such advisory services since the Rio Summit. A number of development assistance agencies have developed programmes for assisting countries in the formulation of broad development policy frameworks and strategies. Other international organizations have launched initiatives to assist developing countries in the formulation and implementation of national sustainable development strategies through partnership arrangements.
Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability and Right-Wing Conspiracy Theory
Implementing International Legal Instruments. International organizational and legal changes since have been substantial and represent an area of real progress in pursuing the goals of Agenda 21 and other UNCED outcomes. A number of new legal instruments, conventions and protocols have been negotiated, signed and ratified since These conventions, along with a variety of non-binding international instruments and mechanisms concluded after UNCED 50 have amplified the international legal framework supporting sustainable development.
While countries must comply with an increased number of treaty obligations, there is often a lack of coordination and integration in meeting the obligations. Moreover, in many cases the work is not linked directly with economic and trade policies and financing strategies. All of the regional inter-governmental Preparatory Committee meetings for WSSD have called for effective implementation of international agreements dealing with sustainable development.
Such discussions have recognized that a certain degree of coordination already exists through joint projects undertaken between several convention secretariats, but that continuing effort is required in this area. At the national level, law related to sustainable development has followed two general directions. One is to further develop legislation on sectoral environmental and environment-related issues by adding regulatory instruments with well-defined requirements.
The other is to re-focus policies to better integrate fragmented sectoral laws and regulations into a coherent framework of law, or to streamline and harmonize the regulatory requirements under separate laws and regulations. However, the absence of a framework of national laws and regulations, policy guidelines and institutional arrangements that effectively support sustainable development remains a serious gap in most countries.
Addressing these problems requires legislative reform in many cases. Such reform, however, requires a strong cadre of people trained in law and institutional issues and well versed in the cross-sectoral demands of sustainable development. Few developing countries possess the trained staff needed to meet these challenges. The global and regional conventions embody international commitments which shape national actions and the country-level activities of international agencies.
The complexity of international binding and non-binding instruments addressing inter-related environmental issues and their global consequences requires integrated approaches in policy formulation and implementation at both national and international levels. This cuts across the traditional institutional boundaries.
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The lack of effective coordination often translates into a gap between the adoption of international environmental instruments and their effective implementation. Through grants and low-interest loans to developing countries and economies in transition, GEF helps to fund national, regional and global projects that benefit at least one of four central aspects of the world's environment -- climate change, biological diversity, the ozone layer and international waters — as well as local economies and societies.
The GEF contribution, however, is limited to the incremental costs incurred when, for example, a country's efforts to promote energy or resource development also bring global environmental benefits. GEF has also supported measures related to land degradation, particularly for combatting desertification and deforestation. Information for Decision-Making. New information technologies are changing the ground rules for information flows, permitting more decentralized and locally adapted forms of information management and expanding the scope of public participation in decision-making.
New avenues have been opened for preparing and presenting information in formats more easily understood by decision makers and the general public. Multimedia technologies, software packages, and tools such as indicators are assisting decision makers in their sustainable development efforts. Major initiatives have been launched to improve environmental observations and data collection, ranging from ozone monitoring under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and implementation of the Global Observing Systems to monitoring of forests and coral reefs by non-governmental organizations.
Significant progress has been made both internationally and nationally in the development of indicators as tools to support national decision-making. Considering these and other efforts to develop indicators in various fields, the UN Statistical Commission has commissioned a technical review of all conference indicators and is working on proposals for a limited set of such indicators.
The follow-up process to the Millennium Declaration has also led to proposals for a set of key indicators. A number of regional WSSD meetings have emphasized the importance of national, regional and international development and implementation of indicators of sustainable development. Countries with similar forest conditions have come together in nine regional processes on criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management, involving some countries representing 85 per cent of the world's forests. These forest indicator processes have now been on going for over 8 years and are well advanced in developing and using indicators at the national as well as at the forest management unit level.
Earth observation from space is a valuable technological tool for understanding the Earth. Such observations have provided long-term consistent measurements of key variables for studying the state and variability of Earth's ecosystems. The observations provide a basis for rational action at the global, regional, national and local levels.
Satellite remote sensing has provided vital information on environmental impacts, quantity and quality of resources, and inputs for integrated development planning for both rural and urban areas.
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The launching of more than instruments on over 70 satellites over the next 10 to 15 years with calibrated sensors providing a wide variety of data provides an opportunity for scientists to understand the complex interactions between various components of the Earth system. The rapid and continuing progress in information and communication technologies has amplified the importance of closing the "digital divide" between the "haves" and "have nots" in the information revolution and the importance of educating users of the new technologies to enable them to translate data into information and information into knowledge.
Those parts of the world without the infrastructure to connect to the new global information and communication networks, and those people without access to education in the new technologies, are being left behind. The importance of closing the digital divide is particularly urgent considering the potential of the new technologies to reach out to even the remotest areas and to empower civil society groups and enhance their participation.
These technologies represent a powerful tool for the provision of public services, education and employment opportunities. Countries in both the developed and the developing world are giving increasing priority to investments in the necessary infrastructure, enabling them to benefit from the information revolution. The Task Force aims at mobilizing the joint efforts of Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community, foundations and the United Nations system for harnessing the power of information and communication technologies for development.
It aims to generate a new impetus, and to mobilize new efforts and policies and new partnerships for bridging the digital divide and using the potential of the information revolution for achieving internationally agreed goals. Its work will support other initiatives, including those of the G-8 Summit, in the area of information and communication technology.
Participation Of Major Groups. This is most evident in the numerous local and national Agenda 21 efforts and the national sustainable development strategies, programmes and action plans that have been developed in many countries. In the implementation of the strategies, programmes and action plans, civil society groups have played an important role.
The private sector has also been important in the implementation of sustainable development objectives through its investment and technology decisions. At the local level, the most successful umbrella for participation has been the Local Agenda 21 initiatives, which today exist in over communities of varying sizes from villages to major metropolitan areas around the world. In , the Commission on Sustainable Development introduced multi-stakeholder dialogues into its annual sessions. The two-day dialogue, as an integral part of the session, brings together representatives of the business community, trade unions, local authorities, the scientific community and NGOs for an exchange of views with governments.
A topic for each year's dialogue is selected from the Commission's agenda, and each stakeholder group prepares a "dialogue starter" paper as a basis for the discussions. Multi-stakeholder dialogues are also planned as part of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the preparatory meetings. At the national level, National Councils of Sustainable Development have been established in many countries. These Councils are often multi-stakeholder consultative or advisory bodies that promote participatory problem solving, consensus building and implementation.
Their impact is not easily measured since their role is largely advisory rather than directly decision-making. However, in countries where such Councils or similar bodies exist, more action on sustainable development has been seen. At the international level, the Commission on Sustainable Development has pioneered innovative participatory practices and its efforts have raised the overall standards and expectations for participation within the UN system as a whole.
The Commission is considered a model for an open, participatory and transparent inter-governmental process. Among other things, it initiated the multi-stakeholder dialogues as part of its annual meetings. The dialogues have shown that consultations between governments and a broad range of stakeholder groups on sustainable development issues are not only feasible but also highly useful and productive.
The Commission's participatory practices are already being used by other inter-governmental organizations. While these successes are important, there are several shortcomings. The participation of women at all levels is still relatively low, and participation at the international level is not adequately geographically balanced and not adequately financed.
As a result, the majority of the voices that are heard are those who can afford to participate and have ready access to the process. At the national level, few countries provide incentives to non-governmental actors to participate, limiting their contributions to the national process. An often-observed shortcoming, particularly at the national and international levels, is that stakeholder participation is rarely allowed in actual decision-making. Moreover, participation at these levels is often based on temporary and ad hoc rather than permanent and reliable mechanisms and procedures.
A strengthened sense of ownership of the decisions taken among participating stakeholders would help in implementing many decisions relating to sustainable development. Such partnerships now involve dozens of multinational companies and NGOs, focusing on both social and environmental objectives. These partnerships are changing strategies and practices in both the business and NGO sectors, with important implications for future sustainable development efforts and broader coalition and partnership building. The partnerships seem to work best when they are based on a common and specific goal, shared risks and benefits, sound information, mutual accountability, transparency in the eyes of the public, and respect between partners for each other's differences.
However, despite the examples of successful partnerships, the number of companies and communities engaged in such activities remains small, and there are few examples of partnerships between civil society organizations and businesses in developing countries. With increasing opportunities for networking and information sharing among major groups, the demands of major groups to influence or participate actively in decision making has also increased. The development of rapid and inexpensive communication within and among communities, activist groups, interest groups, think tanks and others around the world has greatly increased the ability of groups with commitment and energy but limited resources to make their views felt.
This trend implies significant change in the way political and economic institutions take public action. Sustainable development has increasingly provided the over-arching framework for the United Nations system activities at the global, regional and country level. In the past decade, virtually every United Nations organization has adopted new policies and strategies to promote sustainable development.
Efforts are being made to incorporate sustainability principles, objectives and tools into programme planning and project implementation. The United Nations system has grappled with the problem of system-wide coordination since its founding without reaching any ideal solutions. Successful coordination and cooperation among United Nations organizations, agencies and programme in important sectoral areas such as energy, water, forests and oceans have contributed to the strengthening of programmes in these areas and provided deeper insights into the inter-linkages between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of human activities.
It also resulted in improved analysis for policy-making and the identification of technical cooperation needs. Still, an important challenge remains to ensure better linkages between inter-agency work at the global level and regional and national implementation. The Collaborative Partnership on Forests, established as a result of the CSD Inter-governmental Forum on Forest, provides a promising example of inter-agency cooperation.
The influences of sustainable development strategies on policies and programmes within each organization have been both internal and external. Shifts in national priorities have changed the demands on international organizations for policy and programme services. As a result, UN organizations have adopted new policies to support sustainable development and established evaluation programmes to review their effectiveness.
National commitments made in international conventions provide a focus for international programmes and for services at the country level. The adoption of national sustainable development strategies has facilitated the coordination of programmes among international agencies. In addition, with the participatory approach to sustainable development, international institutions interact with a broader range of partners, becoming more accessible to major groups and more responsive to their concerns.
At the intergovernmental level, in accordance with the mandate provided by Agenda 21, the Commission on Sustainable Development has served as the key forum for high-level policy dialogue on sustainable development. Its mandate is to monitor the follow-up to UNCED, including implementation of Agenda 21 and review linkages within and beyond the United Nations system, including with conventions and non-U.
Supported by the secretariats of almost all organizations of the UN system acting as Task Managers for specific thematic areas of Agenda 21, the Commission has been increasingly successful in promoting high-level policy dialogue among ministers and other senior policy-makers responsible for a range of sectors, including finance and development cooperation, as well as natural resource and environment sectors. It has firmly established itself as an intergovernmental forum in which the multi-sectoral dimensions of sustainable development can be discussed.
It permits an overview of coordination among international agencies and their overall impact in relation to UNCED objectives. Further efforts are still needed to realize the full potential of the CSD to improve intergovernmental decision-makingand to fully integrate the multi-sectoral dimension of sustainable development. There is also a need is to strengthen and, where necessary, reform the governing structures and decision-making processes of international institutions dealing with economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development.
An important challenge for the Summit is to provide direction for a stronger and more coherent system of global governance for sustainable development. Agenda 21 recognized that implementation of the sustainable development programmes it called for would require a substantially increased effort, both by countries themselves and by the international community, including substantial new and additional resources.
Only five countries Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden are meeting or exceeding the 0. There have also been changes in the allocations of ODA among recipient countries. During the s, some assessments of aid effectiveness concluded that aid was effective in some national policy environments, but not in others. As a result, there have been sharp cuts in ODA to some countries, but only modest cuts to countries whose policies were considered by donors to be more conducive to aid effectiveness. Most of the least developed countries suffered a decline in ODA of at least 25 per cent, and seven countries of this group, all in Africa, saw ODA reduced by more than 50 per cent.
There has also been a shift in the allocation of ODA among sectors. In the s, aid shifted from commercial sectors, such as manufacturing and telecommunications, to health, education and other social services.