Decisions by Topic: International Cooperation for an Enabling Environment
Commission on Sustainable Development
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 9th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/2001/19 - International cooperation for an enabling environment

International cooperation for an enabling environment

General considerations

1. A dynamic and enabling international economic environment supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the fields of finance, technology transfer, debt, trade and environmental and social issues, is needed in the pursuit of sustainable development. An enabling domestic environment is also important for sustainable development. Success in meeting these objectives depends, inter alia, on good governance within each country. It also depends on good governance at the international level and on transparency in the financial, monetary and trading systems. This requires a commitment to an open, equitable, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading and financial system. The Commission reiterates the continuing relevance and importance of all the principles agreed in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including the principle that, in view of the different contributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities, as set out in principle 7.
2. There is a need to ensure a balance among economic development, social development and environmental protection since these are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development.
3. The process of globalization is one of the elements of the international economic environment and presents opportunities as well as challenges and risks for sustainable development. Globalization has, in principle, the potential to benefit all of the world?s people. However, the recent period of rapid globalization has seen an increase in inequality among countries and to some extent within countries. This is due primarily to the fact that the benefits of globalization have not been shared in an equitable manner. Answers must be found to the question of how to advance economic growth and sustainable development in all countries, particularly in developing countries, and to spread the benefits of globalization equitably. Expanding international trade and productive investment, and the accompanying technology transfer, while protecting the environment, as well as strengthened partnerships between developed and developing countries and between the State and major groups, in particular the private sector, can contribute to sustainable development. The international community and Governments have a key role in taking steps to help ensure that globalization supports sustainable development.
4. The integrated and coordinated follow-up of all major United Nations conferences and summits, together with the United Nations Millennium Declaration and the international development targets relevant to sustainable development, are of importance.

International cooperation

5. Financial resources and mechanisms play a key role in the implementation of Agenda 21. In general, the financing for the implementation of Agenda 21 will come from a country?s own public and private sectors. For developing countries, ODA is a main source of external funding, and substantial new and additional funding for sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21 will be required. Hence all financial commitments of Agenda 21, particularly those contained in chapter 33, and the provisions with regard to new and additional resources that are both adequate and predictable need to be urgently fulfilled. Renewed efforts are essential to ensure that all sources of funding contribute to economic growth, social development and environmental protection in the context of sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21.
6. There is a need for favourable access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, in particular to developing countries, through supportive measures that promote technology cooperation and enable transfer of the necessary technological know-how, as well as building up economic, technical and managerial capabilities for the efficient use and further development of transferred technology. Technology cooperation involves joint efforts by enterprises and governments, including both suppliers and recipients of technology. Such cooperation therefore entails an iterative process involving government, the private sector, and research and development facilities in order to ensure the best possible results from transfer of technology. Successful long-term partnerships in technology cooperation necessarily require continuing systematic training and capacity-building at all levels over an extended period of time.
7. The Commission emphasizes the importance of international cooperation within the framework of Agenda 21 for promoting an enabling environment for sustainable development. Recognizing that achieving sustainable development will require international cooperation and specific actions based on national and regional circumstances, including assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, the Commission encourages the international community to:
(a) Reaffirm that the United Nations has a central role in promoting international cooperation for sustainable development and in promoting policy coherence on global development issues, including in the context of globalization and interdependence;
(b) Support developing countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable development in accordance with their priorities and national programmes and/or strategies for sustainable development;
(c) Take necessary action to reverse the downward trend in ODA and strive to fulfil the commitments undertaken to reach the accepted United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GNP as soon as possible;
(d) Improve the coordination of ODA, based on recipient country needs, priorities and strategies;
(e) Improve the catalytic role of ODA;
(f) Support efforts to further reform and improve the multilateral financial institutions, including through improved mechanisms for enhanced and effective participation by developing countries and greater transparency in decision-making;
(g) Support the efforts of developing countries to put in place effective financial regulatory systems so that capital and investment flows help maintain financial stability and reduce the risks of excessive international financial volatility in order to achieve sustainable development objectives;
(h) Improve and streamline the functioning of the Global Environment Facility, as a mechanism for financing global environmental aspects of sustainable development, to make it more responsive to the needs and concerns of developing countries, and looks forward to a substantial third replenishment of its financial resources;
(i) Support the full implementation of the enhanced heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative, and in this regard underline the need for the heavily indebted poor countries to take the policy measures necessary to become eligible for the initiative;
(j) Find lasting solutions to the debt problems of heavily indebted low and middle-income developing countries and other heavily indebted middle-income countries which have difficulties in meeting their debt service obligations, including by using, as appropriate, available mechanisms for debt relief such as the Paris Club and other relevant forums;
(k) Assist developing countries seeking integration into the world trading system, notably through the World Trade Organization (WTO), including through assistance in developing the institutional capacity and human resources to participate meaningfully and effectively in multilateral trade negotiations and to implement the agreements reached;
(l) Improve market access for products from developing countries and ensure the effective application of all provisions of the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and address implementation issues seriously, in particular by making operational and ensuring full implementation of the previously agreed special and differential provisions of the Final Act of the Uruguay Round;
(m) Pursue continued trade liberalization, including through the elimination of trade distorting policies, protectionist practices and non-tariff barriers to trade as a means to, inter alia, improve market access in sectors of export interest to developing countries;
(n) Ensure that trade, environment and development policies are mutually supportive so as to achieve sustainable development. In so doing, policies and measures with a potential trade impact should not be used for protectionist purposes, taking into full account the development needs of developing countries;
(o) Encourage investment in developing countries, including through insurance mechanisms and financial instruments to reduce risk premiums with the aim of contributing to sustainable development;
(p) Develop mechanisms for mobilizing new and additional financial resources, including innovative financial instruments, public-private partnerships and public-public partnerships;
(q) Assist developing countries to have access to environmentally sound technologies and ensure that international assistance for technology transfer is based on national and local needs, pursuant to sustainable development objectives;
(r) Assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in capacity-building to support technology development and transfer, institutional strengthening and human resource development, including for development planning, investments, financial regulation and infrastructure development, and in capacity-building for the mobilization and allocation of domestic and external financial resources in order to contribute to sustainable development;
(s) Support regional and subregional cooperation, including South-South cooperation, in promoting sustainable development;
(t) Support developing countries in the development and implementation of national sustainable development programmes and/or strategies in order to fulfil the goals of Agenda 21, including through the transfer of environmentally sound technologies on favourable terms, including concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed.

Recommendations at the national level

8. At the national level, Governments, taking into account their national circumstances and priorities and with the support of the international community, as appropriate, are encouraged to:
(a) Create an enabling domestic environment for sustainable development through, inter alia, an equitable and predictable legal framework, capacity-building, including institutional capacity-building, and the implementation of appropriate macroeconomic, social and environmental policies and transparent, effective, participatory and accountable governance, conducive to sustainable development and responsive to the needs of the people, so that domestic and international resources may be effectively mobilized and used for sustainable development;
(b) Formulate and implement national sustainable development programmes and/or strategies, through a national consultative process, as a useful tool in promoting an enabling environment, building on sectoral plans and policies;
(c) Improve opportunities for the private sector, NGOs and other major groups to contribute to sustainable development, economic planning and poverty eradication, including through the formulation and implementation of national sustainable development programmes and/or strategies;
(d) Develop and implement policies, programmes and incentives that integrate economic development, social development and environmental protection.

Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development | Contact | Terms of use | Site map