WORLD OF FORESTRY
Commission for Sustainable Development agrees to hold new Earth Summit in 2002
The eighth session of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD), held from 24 April to 5 May 2000 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, agreed that a follow-up meeting to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) should be held in 2002. The "Rio plus ten" event, for which a definitive name has not yet been chosen, would focus on the implementation of Agenda 21 and of the various environmental conventions and agreements, including an analysis of barriers to full implementation.
The event would aim to attract participation at the highest possible political level. It would also involve the private sector, non-governmental organizations, youth groups, the scientific community and other major groups identified in Agenda 21, inviting their participation not only in the event itself but also throughout the preparatory process.
Ministers at CSD's high-level segment recognized that the ten-year review would be an opportunity to mobilize the political support of the international community for the further implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of UNCED. They emphasized that the 2002 review process would have the potential to increase the level of commitment to sustainable development by governments and civil society partners.
The venue for the event has not yet been selected, but there was support for holding the conference in a developing country. It was suggested that the 2002 event and preparatory process could be organized by the CSD secretariat, in close cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other agencies of the United Nations system, assisted by a group of eminent persons and experts and a full-time coordinator.
The final decision to stage the summit must be taken by the United Nations General Assembly.
Participants recognized the need to establish clear goals for the 2002 event in order to ensure a meaningful outcome. Such goals could include:
The 2002 event would also provide an excellent opportunity to promote, at the highest political level, the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
There was consensus among the CSD participants that Agenda 21 continues to provide a solid and vital foundation on which to build and that it should not be renegotiated. The 2002 review should not, however, be limited to Agenda 21 but should also take into consideration new and emerging issues such as globalization and its impact on sustainable development, as well as the challenges and opportunities that have resulted from technological advances, in particular in the area of communication technology.
Ministers highlighted the need for a focused and action-oriented agenda, which would greatly facilitate the preparatory process as well as allowing for substantive and forward-looking results. Many emphasized that sustainable development should remain the main framework for the discussion.
Priorities discussed for focusing the agenda included:
Other suggested areas of focus include climate change; biodiversity, including biosafety; the protection and sustainable management of water resources; energy; sustainable forest management; access to financial resources and technology; education; distribution equity; and environmental security.
High-quality and early preparations at all levels will be essential to the success and the outcomes of the 2002 event. Many CSD participants agreed that the comprehensive review and assessment of Agenda 21 and UNCED outcomes should be carried out in the context of the preparatory process, not at the event itself. Country- and region-based review processes are extremely important and should commence as soon as possible. The National Councils for Sustainable Development or their equivalents could have an important role in facilitating national preparations. Regional institutions, including the United Nations Regional Commissions, could greatly facilitate regional preparations.
Other outcomes of CSD-8
CSD also endorsed the conclusions and proposals of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF), held from 31 January to 11 February 2000, including the proposal to create a United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). The Commission invited the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly, as appropriate, to take action on the proposed terms of reference for this international arrangement on forests.