issue 6, November - December 2000
|EARTH SUMMIT 2002|
to get going for Earth Summit 2002
The recent United
Nations announcement on the selection of Johannesburg, South Africa as the host city
for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, or Earth Summit 2002, will be
news to many who have no idea what all the fuss is about. For many others it is the first
concrete decision in a process we have been busy on for some time.
The Earth Summit in 2002 will review the progress achieved, and next steps to be taken, in the international sustainable development process ongoing since the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. As the first major UN conference of the 1990s this sustainable development process not only links all the issues of the subsequent conferences, but also serves as a trailblazer for these other conference processes. If Earth Summit 2002 fails to create meaningful action after 10 years of talk then what hope for the others following in its wake?
It is hoped by many that 2002 will be a summit to reinvigorate the sustainable development process, not just for governments, but for all the stakeholders. That is, the nine groups identified as having a major role to play in creating a sustainable Earth: women, youth, trade unions, farmers, scientists, business and industry, indigenous peoples, NGOs and local authorities. With full and effective preparation by and between these groups, as well as civil servants and parliamentarians worldwide, we can ensure that Earth Summit 2002 produces concrete targets and implementation plans to be undertaken not just by governments but also by the business community.
As parliamentarians in the region where the summit will be hosted it is imperative to get involved in the process. Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the South African Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, said "Bringing the Earth Summit to South Africa is a major boost for Africa. Hosting this crucial conference on sustainable development issues on our soil will firmly place these issues and debates on the agenda of our continent".
However, it will also ensure that African issues are again high on an international summit's agenda. With 40.000 people predicted to attend, among them the Heads of State of most of the 188 UN member states, as well as the initiation of many best practise projects in the region to showcase at the Summit, there are many potential benefits for the Southern African region. Moreover, with key issues likely to be poverty, development and environment, the Summit will be talking about issues that will see future action helping Southern Africa the continent and the whole world.
Many stakeholder groups are already beginning to formulate plans for involvement in the 2002 Summit, and UNED Forum is attempting to provide a facilitating role in linking all the work being undertaken, as well as lining in new initiatives as they emerge. With a dedicated monthly newsletter Network 2002, a website designed to be an information hub for the Earth Summit process, and background briefing papers on key sustainable development issues, the Towards Earth Summit 2002 project really is the place to jump in to the process. By visitingyou can access these resources and sign up to receive Network 2002 directly each month. Alternatively, information can be requested directly from UNED at the address below.
|Where did it
development lies at the heart of the Earth Summit process. The journey toward sustainable
development has not been straightforward and is far from being fully achieved. In the last
thirty years a whole series of events have brought us to the wide-ranging interpretation
of sustainable development that we see today.
The concept of
sustainable development dates back a long way but it was at the UN Conference on Human
Environment (Stockholm, 1972) that the international community met for the first time to
consider global environment and development needs (Figure 1). The Conference led to the
formation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The Stockholm Declaration and Action
Plan, which were also produced, defined principles for the preservation and enhancement of
the natural environment, and highlighted the need to support people in this process. The
Conference indicated that "industrialised" environmental problems, such as
habitat degradation, toxicity and acid rain, were not necessarily relevant issues for all
countries. Development strategies were not meeting the needs of the poorest countries and
communities. However, it was the pending environmental problems that dominated the meeting
and wider public awareness. Books such as "The Silent Spring" by Rachel
Carson gave a foretaste of the view that, if international development continues along its
present path, the world is rapidly heading for a major breakdown.
In the 1980's the
UN set up the World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the
Brundtland Commission. They produced "Our Common Future", otherwise known
as the Brundtland Report, which framed much of what would become the 40 chapters of Agenda
21 and the 27 principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. It defined
sustainable development as a development process which,
needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs"
anniversary of Stockholm took place in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The UN Conference on
Environment and Development, the "Earth Summit", adopted Agenda 21 and the Rio
Declaration. These documents outlined key policies for achieving sustainable development
that meets the needs of the poor and recognises the limits of development to meet global
needs. "Needs" were therefore interpreted not solely in terms of economic
interests but also to be those of a fully functional and harmonious global system that
incorporates people and ecosystems.
The Summit brought
environment and development issues firmly into the public arena. Along with the Rio
Declaration and Agenda 21 it led to agreement on two legally binding conventions: the
Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. It also
produced a Statement of Forest Principles. The Earth Summit gave rise to a number of
positive responses including the emergence of thousands of Local Agenda 21 initiatives and
the enhanced political profile of environmental issues. It led to the formation of the
Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) and many countries set up sustainable
development commissions and national strategies.
description of sustainable development in Agenda 21 called for a total shift in the status
quo of prevalent value systems and institutional processes. Such global change could never
have occurred over night. When progress was assessed at Rio + 5 (New York, 1997) a number
of gaps were identified, particularly with regard to social equity and poverty. This was
largely reflected by falling official development assistance (ODA) and growing
international debts, along with failures to improve; technology transfer, capacity
building for participation and development, institutional coordination, and reduction of
excessive levels of production and consumption. This review meeting called for the
ratification, reinforcement and stronger implementation of the growing number of
international agreements and conventions that refer to environment and development.
the Summit are likely to take a three-tier structure (Figure 1) and, unlike the 1997
review, Earth Summit 2002 will carry out the review in advance of the Summit meeting
itself. This is with the hope that people will arrive at the Summit ready to identify
steps to take critical and more problematic areas forward. Immediately proceeding the
ninth session of the CSD in April 2001 the first global preparatory committee for 2002
Preparations for Earth Summit 2002
||National preparations will be coordinated by national multi-stakeholder committees for sustainable development - to begin to define national agendas and undertake a review of progress. Public consultations and meetings, previous National Reports to the CSD and National Strategies for Sustainable Development will all help to inform this process. The UN CSD has suggested four national activities, in particular countries are asked to define 4- 5 national targets (by April 2001) to take domestic sustainable development forward.|
||Regional meetings of governments and other major groups will seek to build consensus over critical issues in order to achieve progress towards regional sustainable development - identifying areas of priority action and highlighting local examples of good practices. The processes will be informed by roundtables of regional experts, which will seek to highlight problems, solutions and priorities, as well as to set targets. Sub-regional processes may also contribute to this process.|
||Immediately after the ninth CSD (15th 27th April 2001) the first Global Preparatory Committee (PrepCom I) meeting will take place. The UN Secretary General will produce a global report on progress for the second PrepCom, as well as reports on the outcomes of the regional and national review processes. By 2002 UNEP is planning to produce its Third Global Environment Outlook - a thirty year review on global environmental issues. Other intergovernmental and international institutions will also contribute to the process, along with major groups.|
Summit offers an opportunity to strengthen the global commitment to sustainable
development. Ratification of agreements, such as the Kyoto and Biosafety Protocols, along
with other outstanding agreements, such as Persistent Organic Pollutants and on Migratory
and Straddling Fish Stocks, could be a part of this commitment.
The Summit will
also have to secure innovative and increased funds for sustainable development. This will
include additional aid, debt relief and enhanced access to Foreign Direct Investment. The
international architecture will also be reviewed to consider areas for improvement, to
enhance coordination, build capacity and accountability, and to develop concrete and
lasting programmes. The Summit will not only address problems mentioned in Agenda 21 but
will also tackle new critical issues that are facing the world in the 21st
Clearly, the more
people and organizations who are willing to contribute to the Earth Summit process and
willing to encourage others to do so, the more likely that the process will begin to build
momentum. We each have a right, a role and a responsibility to contribute to
sustainable development. Before Rio it was said that;
Earth Summit will constitute a test of nations' willingness to institute fundamental
changes in economic behavior, the challenges ahead will be far more daunting. Change is
development is a dynamic process, and it is one that will continue to evolve and grow as
lessons are learnt and ideas re-examined. By reinvigorating the spirit of Rio we can begin
to move to a deeper and broader level of sustainability.
|DAMS AND DEVELOPMENT|
|Masked enemies, human allies - Dams, Hard Choices and Human
To the angry protester descending upon the G-20 summit in Montreal recently, and Prague, Washington DC or Seattle before that, the enemy is clear: globalisation, masked by the international financial institutions, expressed in projects such as large dams which can disrupt poor communities and nature in the name of improving them.
To the embattled development or government official inside such meetings, the enemy is also clear: anti-progress Luddism, masked by self-serving, unaccountable civil society organisations, expressed in simplistic slogans which equate water development paralysis with success.
Everyone knows what enemies say and do about each other from behind public masks. Masks marching in picket lines. Masks storming barricades. Masks arguing on talk shows. Masks testifying in courtrooms.
The trouble is that while masks work as rigid symbols, they never evolve.
But imagine if the masks came off. Imagine if, in nine meetings over two years, these same "enemies" had to share the same room, table, microphone. Imagine if they shared the same food and water. Imagine if they had to talk to rather than at each other; and not just hear, but listen. If they had to compose and agree on a common report about development. On a strict budget. Under a tight deadline.
Such a vision was once only a possibility. It is now a fact, to be published and broadcast world-wide.
It is: Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making, the Final Report of the World Commission on Dams (WCD). The WCD is a serious, high-stakes endeavour established at a meeting convened by the World Bank and the World Conservation Union to conduct the first-ever comprehensive, global and independent review of the costs and benefits of large dams. Joining these two "midwives" were 51 other financial supporters, and a larger Forum, to help WCD bring calm, clarity and consensus to the escalating debate on dams and development.
The twelve Commissioners who carried out the review were not picked at random. Selected from civil society, academia, government, and the private sector, each is an expert in his or her respective field. They represent every age, nationality, interest and political stance when it comes to dams and development. None debate in an effort to defeat each other, rather to reach common understanding in the face of scarce resources, increasing pressures, controversies, demands.
For two years we were quick to listen, slow to speak.
There's no need for additional drama when already 1 billion people world-wide lack access to clean water, 2 billion lack electricity, 4 million die of water-borne disease, rivers and aquifers run dry, and fisheries and riparian species go extinct.
And no need for hype when large dams have displaced more than 40 million people and severed more than half the world's rivers. Our challenge was to lower economic, ecological, political and social risks posed by new or existing dams through a new framework for decision-making.
It would have been easy to point fingers as enemies. Instead we joined hands as potential allies, and reached an unprecedented outcome: despite initial deep differences, twelve Commissioners unanimously signed a single Report on the performance of, alternatives to, decisions about, and need for large dams.
That Report, in turn, shuns imposing tough new regulations from above; it favours globalisation from below. If voluntarily adopted, adapted and implemented by stakeholders in development, it may transform billion-dollar decisions that, on average, over the past century, drove construction of one large dam per day, every day.
Once we deliver our report, the Commission will immediately dissolve. But our work will live on when the World Bank, with 67 other WCD Forum members, help turn our pragmatic evidence, criteria and guidelines into action.
Why should civil society organisations, farmers, aid agencies, engineers, fisheries experts, CEOs, lawyers, development economists, and government decision-makers embrace our report? Because these very same groups all helped shape it.
On our Commission, a CEO of a multinational corporation worked together with an indigenous peoples leader from the Philippines. A woman leading India's anti-dams movement worked together with an engineer who spent his career designing dams in countries like hers. A leading environmental scientist from North America shared perspectives with a leading energy policy expert from South America.
What did we learn in our deliberations? The Report itself answers that in detail. But more importantly, as the headlines about protesters in Montreal, Prague, Washington and Seattle fade away, we have learned from our discussions around a common table that behind the public masks, globalisation and the future development of water and energy resources does, in fact, have a familiar, human face.
It is the face of the social activist, the environmental scientist, the civil engineer, the corporate executive, the urban researcher, and the government official. It is the face of each of us, helping each other remove those inflexible, constrictive masks we have been forced to publicly wear in the past.
As that face anticipates and reads our Final Report, it may smile in recognition of itself, knowing that it played a leading role in the search for a new form of dialogue that moved beyond the carnival of conflict.
Professor Kader Asmal, South Africas minister of water affairs and forestry under Nelson Mandela, and current education minister, chairs the World Commission on Dams. He is this years winner of the prestigious 10th Stockholm Water Prize.
Dams and Development A New Framework for Decision-Making
On November 16, 2000 in London, the World Commission on Dams (WCD) launched its final report - Dams And Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making a report which will have a profound impact not only on the future role of the $42 billion dam industry, but on how to develop and manage water and energy resources in the new millennium.
Dams have been built for thousands of years - to manage flood waters, to harness water as hydropower, to supply water to drink or for industry, or to irrigate fields. Today, there are over 45,000 large dams in the world, one-third of all countries rely on hydropower for more than half their electricity supply, and large dams generate 19 per cent of electricity overall. In addition, some 30 to 40 per cent of the 271 million hectares irrigated worldwide rely on dams.
But the last 50 years have also highlighted the performance and the social and environmental impacts of large dams. They have fragmented and transformed the worlds rivers, while global estimates suggest that 40 to 80 million people have been displaced by reservoirs. Dams have become one of the most hotly contested issues in sustainable development today.
Supported at the launch by former South African President, Nelson Mandela, World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, World Conservation Union (IUCN) Director General, Maritta Koch-Weser, and the patron of the Second World Water Forum, HRH the Prince of Orange, the report is the culmination of an unprecedented, global public policy process over a two-year period to provide consensus to what had become an increasingly bitter and divisive debate.
In developing the report, the World Commission on Dams, made up of 12 very diverse commissioners from all sides of the debate from engineering company executives to anti-dam activists, received 947 submissions and conducted detailed reviews of eight large dams and country reviews in India and China. A survey of 125 large dams was also undertaken, along with 17 thematic reviews on social, environmental and economic issues; on alternatives to dams; and on governance and institutional processes.
Key Findings of the Report
Based on this extensive knowledge base and compelling evidence, the Commission found that:
Guidelines for Decision-Making in the Future
The Report argues that it is not necessary to trade off one person's gain against another's loss. Rather, by negotiating outcomes through multi-criteria analysis - technical, environmental, economic, social and financial - the development effectiveness of water and energy projects will be improved with unfavourable projects being eliminated at an early stage. The Commission recommended:
Although just launched, initial reactions to the report have been positive, showing a real will and determination from all sides of the debate to ensure that the guidelines become an active component of water and energy policy making in the future. Some reactions:
On the day of the launch, Skanska Group issued a statement saying that it intends to apply the WCD guidelines for all future hydropower projects. Axel Wenblad, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at the Skanska Group said that the report "represents a major stride for sustainable development" and "can serve as a model for dealing with other types of controversial infrastructure projects."
"The World Commission on Dams report vindicates much of what dam critics have long argued. If the builders and funders of dams follow the recommendations of the WCD, the era of destructive dams should come to an end", said Mr Patrick McCully, campaigns director of the California-based International Rivers Network and part of the International Committee on Dams, Rivers and People (ICDRP), a non-governmental organisation comprised of human rights, environment groups and peoples' movements from 13 countries.
In addition, James Wolfensohn and Maritta Koch-Weser both praised the report and its relevance to dam-building in the future. Wolfensohn said that "No country constructing a dam will want to ignore a report of this weight, the most complete that has ever been done", and Koch-Weser described the report as "paving the way for a new approach, one that builds on looking at all energy development options."
Other organisations, which have already said that they will respect the Commissions guidelines, include the US Export-Import Bank, which has funded many large dams built by American firms in developing countries, and the African Development Bank.
No one is under the illusion that implementing the World Commission on Dams report will be easy, and many agencies and institutions will take a huge amount of persuading to review their water and energy development policies. The report is an important start, however, in ushering in an era where constructive dialogue and consensus overrides division, polarisation and inertia.
The result is a milestone in the evolution of dams as a development option and offers a clear charter for the future -- a charter by which every dam in the world can and should measure itself.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, comparing the Commissions work to his own experiences, "It is one thing to find fault with an existing system. It is another thing altogether, a more difficult task, to replace it with an approach that is better." The World Commission on Dams, in the most rigorous, independent and inclusive review of dams, water resources and energy needs ever undertaken, has succeeded in doing just that.
James Workman, Senior Advisor, WCD Secretariat
The Earth Charter, A Framework for Sustainable Minds
| The Earth
The Earth Charter
owes its origins to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Diverse groups expressed the need for a
document that encompassed ethical principles towards the achievement of a sustainable
future through shared values. Yet the momentum and timing was not right for the creation
of such a document. It was not until 1994 that the Earth Charter Initiative was again
launched by Maurice Strong, Chairperson for the Earth Council and Secretary General of the
Rio Earth Summit, and Mikhail Gorbachev, President of Green Cross International, with the
help of the Dutch government.
In 1997, the Earth
Charter Commission was formed and a Secretariat was created in Costa Rica. In March of
that year, the first Benchmark Draft was presented at the Rio+5 Forum. Over the
course of 2 years, the Earth Charter Commission consulted with individuals and
organisations all over the world for the drafting of the document. The goal was to include
as many points of view as possible, from differing cultures, spiritual beliefs, diverse
sectors of society, governmental and non-governmental representatives. Care was also taken
to include ethnic origins, nationalities and a variety of languages so as to offer a more
in-depth and diverse representation of our human family.
The final result
of these worldwide consultations and discussions was the approval and release of the Earth
Charter final document in March 2000 at the Earth Charter Commission meeting in the
offices of UNESCO, Paris. The official launch of the Earth Charter took place on June 29th,
2000 at the Peace Palace in The Hague. It was only fitting that this document be presented
in a place of such importance and significance. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was
present to receive the Earth Charter at a significant moment towards the beginning of a
new phase in the Initiative, moving from theory to action and the dissemination of the
Charter- A Document of Guiding Principles
Wherever there is
development, the need exists for a guiding framework of principles to ensure that these
plans will not exceed sustainability. This guide is the Earth Charter. It can be defined
as a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, peaceful, and sustainable
global society in the 21st century. It seeks to include the notion of universal
values and principles, with the quest of inspiring in all people a new sense of
interdependence and shared responsibility for the larger living world. The Earth Charter,
based on the need to protect the environment and its interdependent implication to human
rights, equitable human development, and peace, is a call to humanity to form a global
partnership at this critical juncture in history.
The objectives of
this initiative are the following:
|For more information or to inquire as to how you can play a role in this international process, please do not hesitate to contact : firstname.lastname@example.org. We also invite you to visit the website: www.earthcharter.org and demonstrate your support of this initiative by endorsing the Charter online: www.ecouncil.ac.cr/template/endorse.|
|Agreement reached on a POPs TreatyOn 10 December 2000, delegates from a 122 countries, gathered in Johannesburg, finalised the text of a legally binding treaty that seeks to minimise and eliminate a group of 12 toxic chemicals termed Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Coming in the wake of the failure of the Climate Change negotiations at COP6 in The Hague, the pressure was certainly felt by delegates to finalise a treaty on this important issue. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) had a banner in the gallery of the conference centre stating "Dont repeat the Hague", and when agreement was finally reached this was changed to read " Didnt repeat the Hague" and proudly presented to the chairperson of the negotiating session, John Buccini. POPs, which include certain pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex and toxaphlene), industrial chemicals (PCBs and hexachlorobenzene) and by-products of combustion and industrial processes (dioxins and furans) are extremely persistent in the environment due to their high stability. They are also able to circulate freely throughout the planet, being carried through air and water systems to regions thousands of kilometres away from where they are produced. Through a process known as bio-accumulation they are then able to concentrate in living organisms. This process sees POPs being absorbed in fatty tissue, where concentrations can become magnified by up to 70,000 times the background level. This can lead to the disruption of the endocrine system, reproductive failures, learning and behavioural problems, weakening of immune systems, and a host of neurological disorders. The treaty therefore sets out control measures covering the production, import, export, disposal, and use of POPs. Governments are to promote the best available technologies and practices for replacing existing POPs while preventing the development of new POPs. They will draw up national legislation and develop action plans for carrying out their commitments. Although the control measures will initially only apply to a list of 12 chemicals dubbed "the dirty dozen", a POPs review committee will consider additional candidates for the POPs list on a regular basis. A financial "mechanism" has also been put in place by the treaty, which will help developing countries and countries with economies in transition meet their obligations to minimise and eliminate POPs. Most of the 12 chemicals are subject to an immediate ban. A health-related exemption has, however, been granted for DDT as it is still required by many countries to control malarial mosquitoes. This exemption will permit countries to continue to use DDT until such time as chemical and non-chemical alternatives that are cost-effective and environmentally friendly are found. Other national measures required under the treaty relate to reporting, research, development, monitoring, public information and education. The meeting in Johannesburg was the fifth and final POPs negotiating session and was attended by approximately 600 participants. The treaty will be now be formally adopted and signed by ministers at a Diplomatic Conference in Stockholm on 22-23 May 2001. It will then be passed on to the different parliaments to ratify, and will enter into force once 50 parties have done so.|
|GLOBE Declaration, COP6, 21 November 2000, The Hague, The Netherlands|
GLOBE Members present at the 6th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC:
Call on all participant governments at The Hague to: