Decisions: 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Commission on Sustainable Development
Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - Combating poverty

Decision 4/2. Combating poverty

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development takes note of the report of the
Secretary-General on combating poverty (E/CN.17/1996/9).
2. The Commission reiterates all the decisions made at its third session on
the issue of combating poverty.
3. In accordance with commitment 2 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development 6/ adopted by the World Summit for Social Development, the
Commission urges Governments to formulate or strengthen, as a matter of urgency
and preferably by the end of the International Year for the Eradication of
Poverty (1996), national strategies to eradicate absolute poverty and reduce
overall poverty. Such strategies should be comprehensive in order to address
all aspects of poverty and integrate gender perspectives, and should also be
geared towards substantially and sustainably reducing overall poverty in the
* Chapter 3 of Agenda 21. For the discussion, see chapter III below.
6/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen,
6-12 March 1995 (A/CONF.166/9), chap. I, resolution 1, annex I.
-9-
shortest possible time, reducing inequalities, and eradicating absolute poverty
by a target date to be specified by each country in its national context. In
addition, the Commission recommends that Governments integrate environmental
issues in such strategies and ensure that they are related to national
sustainable development strategies, while recognizing that economic growth is a
fundamental element of sustainable development. Such strategies should be
supported by the international community, which should assist developing
countries, including through international organizations, in their efforts to
achieve the overall goal of eradicating poverty and ensuring basic social
protection.
4. The Commission recognizes that meeting the basic human needs of all and
eradicating absolute poverty is an objective of the highest priority that has
been regarded as such in all the recent United Nations conferences convened
since the World Summit for Children in 1990. In addition to the relevant
conferences and conventions mentioned in the report on its third session, 5/ the
Commission welcomes the Beijing Platform for Action of the Fourth World
Conference on Women. 7/ The Commission notes, in particular, the important
role played by women in poverty eradication strategies and the particularly
difficult situations that they face, as described in chapter IV.A of the
Platform, as well as the importance of integrating gender perspectives in
policies and programmes. The Commission welcomes the preparatory work for the
forthcoming United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), which
emphasizes the importance of achieving the eradication of absolute poverty, the
reduction of overall poverty and the creation of sustainable human settlements
for ensuring sustainable development.
5. Since the general problem of poverty in developing countries, particularly
in the least developed countries, is related to political, economic and social
marginalization, all efforts to eradicate absolute poverty and reduce overall
poverty within the context of sustainable development must be accompanied by
mechanisms that would effectively address those issues.
6. The Commission suggests to the Economic and Social Council that in its
future work the Commission focus its attention on the interlinkages between
poverty and the environment, taking into account the fact that poverty is a
complex multidimensional problem with origins in both the national and
international domains, and recognizing that economic development, social
development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually
reinforcing components of sustainable development.


Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - Demographics

Decision 4/3. Demographic dynamics and sustainability

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development takes note of the report of the
Secretary-General on demographic dynamics and sustainability (E/CN.17/1996/10
and Corr.1 and Add.1), which includes information on a broad range of factors
that have been shown to have a significant impact on demographic variables and
on population and sustainable development policies in general, taking into
account the outcome of the International Conference on Population and
Development (ICPD). 8/ The Commission acknowledges the importance of actions
taken by Governments in support of the formulation and implementation of
national population policies and programmes. The Commission notes with
satisfaction that greater importance is being attached to population questions
and to the need to integrate population factors into environment and development
planning, according to information obtained from field offices by the Task Force
on ICPD Implementation of the United Nations Population Fund. The Commission
also welcomes the activities and measures undertaken by non-governmental
organizations and organizations of the United Nations system as a follow-up to
chapter 5 of Agenda 21 and chapter III of the Programme of Action of the
International Conference on Population and Development. 9/

2. In view of the continuing relevance of the proposals made at its third
session, the Commission reaffirmed the decisions made at that session on the
further implementation of chapter 5 of Agenda 21 and chapter III of the
Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and
Development.

3. The Commission encourages Governments, regional and international
organizations and non-governmental organizations to continue to develop, conduct
or support research studies on gender-sensitive analysis and the linkages
between population, poverty, consumption and production, environment and natural
resources, education and health as a guide to effective sustainable development.

4. In order to give greater visibility to the critical linkages between
population issues and developmental and environmental issues, and to increase
people?s understanding of such linkages, the Commission encourages Governments
and non-governmental organizations, and the relevant organizations of the United
Nations system, to formulate and implement effective information, education and
communication strategies that take into account such linkages, thereby creating
the necessary conditions for the rapid achievement of the goals of Agenda 21 and
the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and
Development.

5. The Commission stresses the importance of the full and equal participation
of women in all aspects of sustainable development planning and programmes, as
called for in the Beijing Platform for Action, 7/ and emphasizes the need for
Governments to integrate women, on an equal basis with men, in decision-making
regarding sustainable resource management and the development of policies and
programmes for population and sustainable development. The Commission urges
Governments, United Nations system organizations and non-governmental
organizations to mainstream a gender perspective, including gender-sensitive
analysis, inter alia, as an essential step in the development and monitoring of
sustainable development policies.

6. The Commission suggests to the Economic and Social Council that it examine
the division of labour between the Commission on Population and Development and
the Commission on Sustainable Development in the future consideration of the
issue of population and sustainable development, taking into account the link
between chapter 5 of Agenda 21 and chapter III of the Programme of Action of the
International Conference on Population and Development.


Reference

[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - Financial resources and mechanisms

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development welcomes the report of the Ad Hoc
Inter-sessional Working Group on Finance and Changing Consumption and Production
Patterns (E/CN.17/1996/7) and the report of the Secretary-General entitled
"Financial resources and mechanisms for sustainable developments: overview of
current issues and developments (E/CN.17/1996/4 and Add.1), and reiterates all
decisions made at its second and third sessions on issues related to financial
resources and mechanisms.

2. Having reviewed the financing of sustainable development, the Commission
reaffirms that the commitments made at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development on new and additional resources remain a key element
of financial resources and mechanisms. The Commission also reaffirms that
chapter 33 of Agenda 21 provides the framework and guidance for the discussion
of various current and emerging issues, and that that framework is clear enough
to take into consideration new developments, including the decline in official
development assistance (ODA) relative to gross national product (GNP) and the
increase of private flows to some developing countries. The Commission further
reaffirms that, in general, financing for the implementation of Agenda 21 will
come from countries’ own public and private sectors.

3. As to mobilizing external financial resources for sustainable development,
the Commission recognizes that ODA has a special role to play in promoting
sustainable development in developing countries, particularly in the least
developed countries. The Commission underlines the urgent need to fulfil all
financial commitments of Agenda 21, especially those contained in chapter 33,
and attaches importance to its decision at its third session to promote,
inter alia, new approaches to enhancing the effectiveness of ODA and increasing
it within relevant bilateral and multilateral mechanisms with the objective of
achieving the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of GNP, as reaffirmed in
paragraph 33.13 of Agenda 21, as soon as possible. The Commission stresses that
it is important that donor countries promote greater public awareness of
commitments concerning ODA as set forth in chapter 33 of Agenda 21.

4. The Commission emphasizes the need to improve the effectiveness of ODA by
various means, including the leveraging of private-sector investments from
national and external sources. Furthermore, where it is not already the case,
the effectiveness of ODA could also be enhanced by tailoring it to the specific
needs and circumstances of developing countries. ODA flows should be further
examined on a continuing basis, particularly with respect to their overall
levels and allocation among the interlinked components of sustainable
development.

5. The Commission acknowledges the positive aspects of the expansion of
external private capital flows to some developing countries, and emphasizes the
importance of their contribution to economic growth and sustainable development
of those countries. However, it stresses its concern at the volatility of such
flows, which has a negative bearing on the efforts of developing countries to
achieve sustainable development. Therefore, both developed and developing
countries should examine initiatives conducive to a stable and more favourable
environment for enhancing the stability of external private capital flows.

6. The Commission also acknowledges that the expansion of external private
capital flows has been limited to some developing countries, and that therefore
the great majority of developing countries are not benefiting from the expansion
of such flows. The Commission recognizes that the further increase and more
widespread distribution of external private capital flows should be encouraged
through appropriate national economic, environmental and social policies and
laws or regulations, as well as through a conducive international environment,
including non-discriminatory trade and open investment.

7. The Commission, having examined the issue of external capital flows and
their impacts, notes that foreign investors, in particular transnational
corporations, should be encouraged to consider the goals of sustainable
development and environmental responsibility in their investment projects, and
also recognizes the importance of host countries adopting appropriate
sustainable development policies.

8. The Commission welcomes the progress made in discussions on the debt
problem of heavily indebted poor countries held at the meeting of the
Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) in Washington, D.C., on 23 April 1996. Consideration should be given to
comprehensive approaches to assisting low-income countries with substantial
multilateral debt problems through the flexible implementation of existing
instruments and new mechanisms, where necessary. The Commission also recognizes
that effective, equitable, development-oriented and durable solutions to the
external debt and debt-service problems of developing countries, in particular
the poorest and heavily indebted countries, can contribute substantially to the
strengthening of the global economy and to the efforts of developing countries
to achieve economic development, social development and environmental protection
as interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable
development.

9. As to mobilizing national financial resources for sustainable development,
the Commission emphasizes the importance of the participation of the private
sector in sustainable development, in particular through increased investments.

Sound and predictable macroeconomic and sustainable development policies at the
national and international levels are important for promoting private-sector
investment consistent with sustainable development objectives. Trade
liberalization, an appropriate legal framework that protects private and
intellectual property rights, and the development of appropriate domestic
financial markets are also required.

10. To further promote private-sector participation, the Commission calls for
greater use of innovative mechanisms, such as build-operate-transfer and similar
mechanisms for financing infrastructure projects for sustainable development.
The privatization of public enterprises and contracting-out of services should
be encouraged, as appropriate, taking into consideration the different
conditions and circumstances of countries.

11. The Commission encourages Governments to consider further studies and, on a
voluntary basis, the gradual implementation of economic instruments, further
examining the costs and benefits associated with the use of such instruments.
The Commission also notes that in practice the application of economic
instruments in a number of countries generally yields satisfactory results.

12. The Commission recommends that pollution abatement funds should improve
their performance by greater use of project evaluation techniques. Governments
are encouraged to consider measures for enhancing the effectiveness and reach of
such funds.

13. As to financing the transfer of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs),
the Commission emphasizes that financing for ESTs should come from national and
external resources and innovative mechanisms in accordance with chapters 33
and 34 of Agenda 21. In pursuance of chapter 34 of Agenda 21, technology
transfer efforts should be enhanced within a stable, predictable national and
international economic and regulatory environment that will ensure the
identification and development of markets for ESTs.

14. As to the development of innovative mechanisms for the financing of
sustainable development, the Commission welcomes the decision of the Economic
and Social Council to include an item entitled "New and innovative ideas for
generating funds" in the provisional agenda for its substantive session of 1996
(Council decision 1996/210), and recommends that the report of the Third Expert
Group Meeting on Financial Issues of Agenda 21 be made available to the Council
under that item. The Commission also emphasizes that the scope of the
examination of such mechanisms should encompass all aspects - economic, social
and environmental - of sustainable development.

15. As to policy options and financial instruments in the matrix approach, the
Commission recognizes that economic instruments need to be tailored to reflect
individual countries’ circumstances, and reiterates the decision contained in
chapter I, section B, paragraphs 137-139 of the report on its third session. 13/
Furthermore, the Commission stresses that that approach should not divert
attention from the commitments contained in chapter 33 of Agenda 21. The
Commission also recommends that the coverage of the matrix be broadened by
including such issues as benefits to the traditional holders of indigenous
knowledge. The Commission encourages wider dissemination of information on the
use of such instruments and the costs and benefits associated with their use so
as to enable further work on the matrix approach.

16. The Commission recognizes the relevant role to be played by major groups,
including in financing the activities set out in Agenda 21, in particular the
transfer of technology, and emphasizes that that contribution should be carried
out in compliance with the policies and strategies of recipient countries.

17. In its discussion of practical steps towards resolving the above-mentioned
issues, the Commission calls attention to the need for further studies, the
desirability of strengthening cooperation and the necessity of improving the
exchange of information. As to further studies, which should complement the
work being carried out in other forums, the Commission emphasized that:
(a) ODA flows should be further examined on a continuing basis,
particularly with respect to their overall levels and allocation among the
interlinked components of sustainable development;
(b) There is a need to conduct an in-depth analysis of external capital
flows to developing countries in order to better understand their social,
distributional, economic and environmental impacts on sustainable development.
In addition, a detailed analysis of the options for a regulatory framework for
improving the impact of such flows on sustainable development is required;
(c) A study of trends in capital flows, especially towards developing
countries, including the connection between private foreign investments and the
objectives of sustainable development, should be carried out in order to
facilitate a comprehensive debate on that issue;
(d) Further studies of the effects, costs and benefits of economic
instruments should be undertaken. In addition, further studies on the impact of
subsidies on sustainable development should be promoted to provide a better
basis for policy makers to identify and gradually abolish subsidies that have
clear negative impacts on sustainable development. Such studies should assess
the economic, social and distributional impacts of subsidy reduction, as well as
the transfer of resources to more sustainable and efficient activities, taking
into account the specific circumstances and economic, social and ecological
conditions of countries. Such studies should also examine the viability of
ecological tax reform, its impact on international competitiveness and the
modalities that could facilitate such reforms;
(e) A detailed cross-country performance review should be undertaken to
identify how conservation trust funds can be made more cost-effective mechanisms
for environmental conservation. Such a review should also aim to simplify the
administrative framework of such funds and to improve strategies for leveraging
their financial resources with other sources of financing;
(f) As to innovative mechanisms for financing sustainable development, it
is important to study the feasibility of various innovative mechanisms, while
continuing to pursue efforts to increase ODA, secure the adequate replenishment
of the Global Environment Facility and encourage private-sector investment. The
Commission stresses the importance of exploring other innovative mechanisms, as
well as of continuing studies on the possible roles for insurance companies and
alternative banking in facilitating the financing of sustainable development;
(g) As stated in chapter I, section B, paragraph 131 of the report on its
third session, 13/ the need for and effectiveness of environmentally sound
technology rights banks and the practical feasibility of establishing such banks
should be further studied, and action in that area is called for;
(h) The use of economic instruments in different countries and sectoral
strategies and programmes should be studied and the results reported to the
Commission.

18. As to the desirability of strengthening cooperation, the Commission
emphasizes that:
(a) Bilateral aid agencies, United Nations organizations, funds and
programmes, the Bretton Woods institutions and other multilateral financial
institutions should become more responsive to national priorities and
sustainable development strategies, and should enhance their cooperation and
coordination efforts for greater effectiveness in meeting the objectives of
Agenda 21, particularly the mobilization of financial resources. In structural
adjustment programmes, more consideration should be given to economic, social
and environmental impacts, taking into account commitment 8 of the Copenhagen
Declaration on Social Development; 15/
(b) Cooperation on developing innovative financial mechanisms is
important, and the Commission would welcome an involvement of the World Bank,
IMF, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development
Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the International Civil
Aviation Organization and other institutions in making further progress towards
understanding the prospects and requirements for the practical implementation of
such mechanisms;
(c) In the context of promoting the transfer of ESTs, bilateral aid
agencies, international organizations and financial institutions should
cooperate with Governments to formulate and implement an enabling policy
environment. In addition, the importance of the provisions of the Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of the World Trade
Organization is recalled.

19. As to the necessity of improving the exchange of information, the
Commission emphasizes that:
(a) The United Nations Environment Programme should further disseminate
its two recent statements on the banking and insurance services industries,
noting that the financial services industry is taking a strong interest in
improving the environmental management practices of its business clients;
(b) The sharing of national experiences in the use of economic instruments
should be promoted, and countries are invited to report to the Commission on
their experiences concerning the implementation of various financial mechanisms
and the use of economic instruments. The Commission should explore ways and
means of enhancing the sharing of experiences in consultation with all
interested parties;
(c) In the context of promoting the transfer of ESTs, international
organizations, in particular financial institutions, should assist Governments
in developing and implementing appropriate technical assistance programmes that
help buyers and sellers of technology to identify each other, reducing
pre-investment costs by providing technical, financial and legal expertise, and
15/ Report of the World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen,
6-12 March 1995 (A/CONF.166/9), chap. I, resolution 1, annex I.


Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - Institutional Arrangements

Decision 4/7. International institutional arrangements

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development:

(a) Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on institutional
arrangements to follow up the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (E/CN.17/1996/16) as well as the more detailed background paper on
the subject. The Commission notes that the institutional arrangements put in
place in follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development at various levels have served the international community well over
the past four years;
(b) Notes the new and innovative elements introduced into the work of the
Commission on Sustainable Development and considers that these functional
considerations, including the working methods and multi-year programme of work
of the Commission, will be an important element of the 1997 review process;
(c) Welcomes General Assembly resolution 50/113 of 20 December 1995, in
particular paragraph 13, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General
to prepare, for the consideration of the Commission at its fifth session, a
comprehensive report containing an overall assessment of the progress achieved
since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in the
implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels, and in the implementation of related
outcomes, as well as recommendations for future actions and priorities;
(d) Also welcomes the system-wide cooperation and coordination efforts
undertaken by the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development, through its
system of task managers, in implementing Agenda 21;
(e) Reaffirms the importance placed by the Economic and Social Council at
its substantive session of 1995 on the coordinated follow-up of international
conferences and the need to coordinate the multi-year programmes of all relevant
functional commissions and the division of labour among them;
(f) Welcomes the proposed review by the Economic and Social Council of the
regional commissions, with a view, inter alia, to strengthening, as appropriate,
their participation relating to the implementation of the results of major
United Nations international conferences;
(g) Recognizes the major steps made by the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP), in accordance with its mandate and in implementation of
Agenda 21, to provide effective support to the work of the Commission,
inter alia, through the provision of scientific, technical and legal information
and policy advice on the environment. In this context, the Commission welcomes
decisions adopted by the Governing Council of UNEP at its eighteenth
session, 10/ in which the Governing Council of UNEP specified ways in which UNEP
could support the Commission and encouraged closer cooperation and collaboration
between UNEP and other organizations;
(h) Welcomes initiatives taken by bilateral, regional, intergovernmental
and United Nations system organizations, as well as financial institutions, that
integrate sustainable development as a central focus into their policies and
programmes to facilitate Agenda 21 implementation.

2. The Commission therefore:

(a) Encourages national Governments to ensure that their countries?
institutional arrangements further promote the implementation of Agenda 21,
while ensuring the broad participation of all stakeholders;
(b) Emphasizes the need for the Commission to continue providing guidance
on key sustainable development issues and playing a leading role in providing
the forum for reviewing national, regional and international efforts, including,
as appropriate, the role of major groups, in the pursuit of sustainable
development;
(c) Stresses the need for all relevant bodies of the United Nations system
to make further efforts to make sustainable development a central focus of their
programmes and policies;
(d) Recommends that ever-closer links be established, particularly through
the bureaux of the organizations concerned, between the work of the Commission
and other relevant subsidiary bodies of the Economic and Social Council so as to
ensure that the Commission can contribute to and/or draw on the relevant output
of other bodies in a timely manner and to avoid duplication of work. The
multi-year programmes of work of the commissions, to be coordinated by the
Council, should be seen as an important instrument for facilitating the linkage
among those commissions;
(e) Encourages the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development to
continue to enhance inter-agency coordination, inter alia, by promoting a more
focused approach to coordination and close collaboration aimed at elaborating
action-oriented recommendations on main policy and cooperation issues. The
Commission has requested the Committee to continue its work aimed at ensuring
complementarity of efforts and avoidance of duplication and overlap in United
Nations system activities to implement Agenda 21 and to keep the Commission
informed of its activities through the Administrative Committee on Coordination;
(f) Recommends that the 1997 review give special attention also to
post-United Nations Conference on Environment and Development institutional
arrangements in order to ensure their continued relevance and increased
effectiveness in the years to come. In this regard, possible results of the
ongoing negotiations on the further measures for the restructuring and
revitalization of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields,
on an agenda for development and on other related reform processes, such as the
High-level Working Group on the Strengthening of the United Nations System, will
be taken into account to promote better coordination among various United
Nations bodies;
(g) Recommends that the preparatory work for the special session of the
General Assembly should examine the institutional implications for forging new
alliances for sustainable development between the United Nations and other major
organizations relevant for sustainable development, in particular the Global
Environment Facility, the Bretton Woods institutions, the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Trade Organization, as well
as between Governments and civil society.


Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - Integrating environment and development in decision-making

Decision 4/4. Integrating environment and development in decision-making

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development, having examined the report of
the Secretary-General on integrating environment and development in decisionmaking
(E/CN.17/1996/11 and Add.1), notes the progress made at the national
level in providing a framework that integrates economic, social and
environmental policies.

2. The Commission recognizes that responsibility for bringing about changes
aiming at integrating environment and development in decision-making lies with
national Governments, and encourages Governments to establish national
mechanisms, where appropriate, and to develop an integrated approach and
participatory strategies for sustainable development, including economic, social
and environmental aspects of growth.

3. The Commission requests organizations of the United Nations system and
other relevant organizations to support the efforts of Governments to integrate
environment and development in decision-making by, inter alia, strengthening
coordination and exchange of information on "best practices" relating to
sustainable development strategies.

4. The Commission calls on organizations and bodies of the United Nations
system, in cooperation with Governments and, as appropriate, major group
organizations, to place a high priority on actions aimed at supporting national
coordination and planning activities related to the implementation of Agenda 21;
consistent guidelines for national execution of projects and programmes should
be provided to support this process.

5. The Commission calls on Governments to review, as appropriate, their
national legislation in the light of the integrated nature of sustainable
development and the need to implement international legal agreements and
conventions. It requests the international community to continue and strengthen
support for developing the capacities of developing countries for this purpose.

6. The Commission, having noted the work on integrated environmental and
economic accounting being undertaken by the Statistics Division of the United
Nations Secretariat, organizations of the United Nations system and other
intergovernmental organizations, and calls upon them, inter alia, to continue
the work in this area, particularly with regard to methodological development
and technical cooperation.

7. The Commission recalls the importance of integrated environmental and
economic accounting for sustainable development, and encourages Governments to
undertaken further national activities in this area.


Decision 4/5. Information for decision-making

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development, having taken note of the report
of the Secretary-General on information for decision-making (E/CN.17/1996/18 and
Add.1), welcomes the measures taken by Governments to make information more
accessible to decision makers at the national level.

2. The Commission expresses its appreciation of the meetings held during the
inter-sessional period to further the work and understanding of issues addressed
in chapter 40 of Agenda 21, particularly as they relate to indicators of
sustainable development, Earthwatch, Development Watch, the establishment of
common and compatible systems of access to data, and common core data sets.

3. The Commission takes note of the progress made in the implementation of the
work programme on indicators of sustainable development, approved at its third
session, and welcomes that progress, particularly with regard to the preparation
of methodology sheets for the various indicators.

4. The Commission invites Governments to test, develop and use the indicators
of sustainable development based, inter alia, on the work done to date, as
appropriate, on identifying the indicators and preparing the corresponding
methodology sheets. In this regard, Governments are encouraged, as appropriate,
to adopt indicators at the national level and to consider the advantages of
working in partnership with other countries in the testing, further development
and use of the indicators. For example, twinning between countries with more
and less experience in using indicators could prove beneficial to both.

5. The Commission expresses its appreciation of the conclusions of the meeting
on common and compatible systems of access to data, and requests the Department
for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the Secretariat, in
cooperation with other organizations of the United Nations system, and within
available resources, to establish a sustainable development home page on the
World Wide Web, with "hot links" to relevant databases throughout the United
Nations system, as a means to facilitate access by countries to sources of
information relevant to sustainable development.

6. The Commission requests the Economic and Social Council?s Ad Hoc Open-Ended
Working Group on the Need to Harmonize and Improve United Nations Information
Systems (for Optimal Utilization and Accessibility by States) to give particular
attention to devising a means of facilitating the access of States Members of
the United Nations to environmental databases throughout the United Nations
system, within available resources.


Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - International legal instruments and mechanisms

Decision 4/6. International legal instruments and mechanisms

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development, having examined the report of
the Secretary-General on international legal instruments and mechanisms
(E/CN.17/1996/17 and Add.1), welcomes the progress made in reflecting the
integrated nature of sustainable development in international legal instruments
and in the further development of international law related to the
implementation of Agenda 21.

2. The Commission takes note of the report of the Expert Group on the
Identification of Principles of International Law for Sustainable Development,
which was made available to the Commission as a background document, and
expresses its appreciation of the work of the Expert Group, which was convened
by the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the
Secretariat.

3. The Commission recalls that at its second session it requested the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to study further the concept, requirements
and implications of sustainable development and international law; welcomed the
adoption by the Governing Council of UNEP of decision 18/9 on the further
development of international environmental law aiming at sustainable
development; 10/ and noted with appreciation the steps undertaken by UNEP
towards the review of the Montevideo Programme for the Development and Periodic
Review of Environmental Law scheduled for 1997 as an important contribution to
achieving the tasks set out in Agenda 21.

4. The Commission recognizes the potential value of identifying generally
recognized principles of international law as they pertain to sustainable
development and decides to keep this issue under review at its session in 1997
with a view to its further consideration by the General Assembly at its special
session, and to take into account the results of the review of the Montevideo
Programme, as appropriate.

5. The Commission calls upon Governments to consider, as appropriate, the work
of the Expert Group in the development of both national legislation and national
policies for sustainable development, and requests Governments to provide
information on their experiences in this regard.

6. The Commission considers flexible approaches as important in international
law-making, as they allow international consensus to develop, especially under
new scientific and technical information, and recognizes the positive role of
framework conventions and of non-legally binding instruments as steps in the
evolution of international rule-making related to sustainable development.

7. The Commission emphasizes the necessity, as recognized in UNEP Governing
Council decision 18/9, of further exploring, in the interest of sustainable
development, mechanisms for dispute settlement or avoidance and, with the aim of
preventing international disputes, for facilitating the implementation of
international environmental instruments by assisting and encouraging parties to
fulfil their obligations and commitments, and notes that, in the case of several
international environmental instruments, such mechanisms have either become
operative, have been established, or are at present under discussion. In this
context, the Commission notes the importance of compliance and monitoring
mechanisms of international agreements, including reporting requirements, and
stresses the importance of national and local capacity-building aimed at
improving compliance, monitoring, inspection and enforcement of international
obligations.

8. The Commission urges the international community to continue to develop
procedures and mechanisms that promote informed decisions, mutual understanding
and confidence-building with a view to avoiding or resolving disputes.

9. The Commission recommends the exploration of more effective participation
of major groups in the elaboration of international legal instruments and
mechanisms in the field of sustainable development.

10. The Commission recognizes the administrative burden imposed, particularly
on the developing countries, by the implementation of international agreements,
and recognizes the need for consolidation and integration of procedures, and for
cooperation among the secretariats of different conventions to this end.


Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - SIDS

Decision 4/16. Review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States

A. Overall considerations

1.The Commission recalls that the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in 1994, adopted the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States to promote concrete action at the national, regional and international levels in 15 priority areas, with provisions for an initial review in 1996. The Commission notes that its recommendations are complementary to those contained in the Programme of Action. In the context of the special session of the General Assembly, to be convened in 1997 to review the overall implementation of Agenda 21, specific modalities will be recommended by the Commission for the full review of the Programme of Action in 1999.

2.The Commission, having examined the report of the Secretary-General on the sustainable development of coastal areas, tourism, energy resources, air transport, maritime transport, telecommunications, and management of environmental and natural disasters in small island developing States (E/CN.17/1996/20 and Add.1-7), the report of the Secretary-General on current donor activities in support of sustainable development in small island developing States (E/CN.17/1996/21) and the report of the High-level Panel Meeting on Island Developing Countries (E/CN.17/1996/IDC/3-UNCTAD/LLDC/IDC/3), and having the benefit of the views expressed, notes the action taken by small island developing States at the national and regional levels to implement the Programme of Action.

3.The Commission notes the support of the international community, and the plans and programmes of organs, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to assist in the implementation of the Programme of Action and in the coordination and monitoring of its implementation. The Commission welcomes the support given by other relevant intergovernmental organizations.

4.The Commission recognizes the importance of SIDSTAP and SIDSNET in the overall implementation of the Programme of Action, and encourages the United Nations Development Programme to continue, in cooperation with Governments, its action to operationalize the two mechanisms.

5.The Commission stresses the importance of coordination in the area of strategy and policy formulation and recognizes the importance of consultation and interaction at the national, regional and international levels. In this context, the Commission emphasizes the role played by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Caribbean Community.

6.The Commission expresses concern at the overall trend of declining levels of flows of official development assistance to small island developing States (SIDS), but notes the need for better information on flows. The Commission emphasizes that it is imperative that the domestic efforts of SIDS to mobilize financial resources for the effective implementation of the Programme of Action are adequately supported by the international community, as envisaged in the provisions of the Programme of Action, in particular those contained in paragraph 66. Recognizing that small island developing States are among the most environmentally vulnerable, the Commission urges the international community to give special priority to their situations and needs, including through access to grants and other concessional resources.

7.The Commission notes that a vulnerability index that takes into account the constraints arising from small size and environmental fragility, as well as the incidence of natural disasters on a national scale, and the consequent relationship of these constraints to economic vulnerability, should bring greater clarity to the development challenges and needs of SIDS. The Commission notes the slow progress on the index to date and encourages the relevant bodies of the United Nations system to accord priority to the development of the index, in keeping with the provisions of the Programme of Action and General Assembly resolution 50/116. The Commission notes with appreciation the offer by the Government of Malta to host the centre for the computation of the index on an ongoing basis.

8.The Commission notes that current trends of trade liberalization and globalization are bringing new challenges as well as possible opportunities to SIDS. It recommends that to meet the new challenges and take advantage of the new opportunities SIDS need to undertake necessary institutional reforms; develop responsive economic policy frameworks and human resources in order to enhance their competitiveness and their ability to diversify quickly into new activities; explore cooperative approaches for sharing information and experience and building human and institutional capacity. The Commission urges the international community to recognize the inherent weaknesses of SIDS and recommends that it provide adequate support to SIDS to meet their adjustment costs and their information, human development and technology needs to enable them to sustain the development of their exports, while maintaining the integrity of their natural resource base.

9.Recognizing the coordinating role of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development in implementing the Programme of Action, the Commission recommends that the Secretary-General:

a.Take into account the need to continue to provide substantive secretariat support to intergovernmental and inter-agency processes related to the monitoring, review and coordination of the implementation of the Programme of Action;

b.Ensure that the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development continues to act as a liaison and focal point for agencies of the United Nations system, as well as other relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, on matters related to the follow-up and implementation of the Programme of Action;

c.Request the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations Secretariat, in its coordinating role, to look into the appropriate modalities for mobilizing resources for effective implementation of the Programme of Action.

10.The Commission stresses the important role the private sector can play in investment for sustainable development in SIDS, particularly in the infrastructure and tourism sectors. This should be based on a sustainable development strategy that integrates economic, social and environmental policies and regulatory frameworks to promote appropriate private investment.

B. Climate change and sealevel rise

11.The Commission recalls that SIDS are particularly vulnerable to global climate change and sealevel rise. Potential effects of global climate change and sealevel rise are increased strength and frequency of tropical storms and inundation of some islands with loss of exclusive economic zones, economic infrastructure, human settlements and culture.

12.The Commission welcomes the growing number of ratifications of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the decision that commitments contained in article 4, paragraph 2 (a) and (b), were inadequate to meet the ultimate objective of the Convention.

13.The Commission also calls upon the international community to support SIDS in their efforts to adapt to the sealevel rise that will be experienced as a result of the impact of greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into the atmosphere.

C. Natural and environmental disasters

14.The Commission noted that this issue was being considered following a two-year period in which SIDS experienced several major natural disasters that brought catastrophes of national proportions to these countries because of their small size and fragile ecosystems.

15.The Commission recognizes that the most effective strategy for responding to natural disasters is formulated through regional cooperation as an integral part of sustainable development frameworks, with international support. In support of this objective the Commission:

a.Encourages the Governments of the small island developing States to further increase their efforts towards subregional, regional and interregional cooperation;

b.Supports the implementation of the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action 27/ with particular regard to improved education and training in disaster reduction, including the creation of interdisciplinary scientific and technical networking at all levels, for the purpose of capacity-building and human resource development in SIDS;

c.Calls upon all Governments to support the facilitation of an effective synergy between the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and the Yokohama Strategy and Plan of Action;

d.Invites Governments to consider establishing an informal open-ended working group within the existing International Framework of Action for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, with the membership of concerned States, as well as of all relevant sectors in disaster reduction, with a view to ensuring full integration and participation of SIDS in the mapping of a concerted strategy for disaster reduction into the twenty-first century.

16.The Commission also calls on the international community to support the efforts of SIDS directed towards:

a.Mobilizing additional resources to address urgent disaster reduction requirements in SIDS;

b.Improving access to disaster and warning information in order to enhance the capability of SIDS with respect to disaster management;

c.Providing technical, financial and expert support for the establishment of a mechanism for interregional cooperation and the exchange of information among small island States on disaster reduction, in particular with respect to training, institutional development and disaster mitigation programming;

d.Targeting research and further development of knowledge in the following thematic areas for building risk-reduction capacities in small island States:

i.Insurance as a preventive and mitigating tool for disaster reduction;
ii.Telecommunications and information systems as a tool for disaster reduction;
iii.Limits and opportunities for the establishment of national disaster emergency funds and emergency administrative procedures;
iv.Evaluation of constraints in the access of small island States to reliable data, disaster-specific knowledge, and technology means;
v.A review of the linkages between disasters, development and environment, including the development of methods for the systematic appraisal of developments in relation to disaster risks;
vi.An analysis of the linkage between global climate change and the characteristics and occurrence of natural hazards in small island States.

D. Coastal and marine resources

17.The Commission stresses the fact that for SIDS, effective coastal zone management is a prerequisite for sustainable development. In addition, the marine areas play an important role in meeting some essential needs. The importance of these areas in the sustainable development of SIDS were recognized in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea itself and in the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (A/50/550, annex I), as well as in the International Coral Reef Initiative (convened in the Philippines in June 1995) and the 1995 Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.

18.The Commission also recognizes the importance of decision II/10 of the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in the context of the protection and conservation of coastal and marine resources of SIDS.

19.The Commission recommends that in developing integrated national coastal area management strategies and plans, Governments should ensure that all steps are undertaken with the active participation of the private sector and local communities. Mechanisms for institutional coordination should also be established.

20.Within the context of integrated coastal area management (ICAM) for SIDS, the activities, planned or under way, by international organizations should be implemented in a coordinated and cost-effective manner. These activities should include, as one of the priorities, the protection and management of marine and coastal areas through ICAM, including a number of demonstration or pilot projects in integrated "island" management, in which marine and coastal resource issues are incorporated into the development planning process of selected SIDS.

21.To assist national authorities in their tasks of designing and implementing ICAM plans, guidelines for specific subsectors such as tourism, fisheries, agriculture and forestry, which are among the main users of resources in the coastal areas of SIDS, should be further developed. The experience gained by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in these areas should be used in the process. Such guidelines can be of assistance to planners and users in these subsectors.

E. Energy resources

22.The Commission notes that SIDS continue to be heavily dependent on conventional sources of energy, although as a group the total consumed was a small percentage of world consumption. The Commission also notes that due to the small quantities involved the cost per capita was relatively high and use was generally inefficient.

23.The Commission calls upon the international community, including the Global Environment Facility, within the framework of its operational strategy, to support commercial energy development in SIDS based on those environmentally sound renewable sources with demonstrated viability, to support improvement of the efficiency of existing technologies and end-use equipment based on conventional energy sources, and to assist with the financing of investments necessary to expand energy supplies beyond urban areas.

24.The Commission notes that many SIDS continue to depend on biomass fuels. It encourages the implementation of projects that will ensure a sustainable fuelwood industry.

F. Tourism resources

25.The Commission recognizes the continued importance of tourism as one of only a few development options for many SIDS, both as a dynamic sector and as one that can stimulate growth in others.

26.The Commission encourages SIDS to pursue policies of sustainable tourism development by:

a.Diversifying the tourism product, enhancing its quality and increasingly targeting the upper segment of the tourist market;

b.Strengthening linkages of other economic sectors with tourism so that domestic production can viably provide for the consumer needs of tourists to the maximum extent possible;

c.Investing adequately in the collection of data on all relevant indicators of benefits and costs necessary for cost-benefit analysis in order to be able to carry out systematic evaluations of the contribution of the tourism sector to the domestic economy in relation to other sectors and in relation to social and environmental costs;

d.Developing a multidisciplinary approach for the rigorous vetting of tourism development proposals, taking into account prospective cumulative impacts of tourism development, and establishing environmental standards for the approval of projects.

27.The Commission calls upon the international community to provide appropriate assistance for the improvement and development of basic physical infrastructures in SIDS, such as airports and harbours, roads, telecommunications systems and freshwater systems.

28.The Commission notes the importance of regional cooperation in tourism and proposes that consideration be given to the development of common policy guidelines and standards at the regional level for the mutual benefit of SIDS. The Commission calls upon the international community to support the efforts of regional tourism organizations to improve their effectiveness.

G. Transport and communications

29.Bearing in mind the resource constraint for expansion and modernization of the telecommunications network in SIDS, the high per capita cost of infrastructure due to small market size and the lack of economies of scale, the Commission encourages SIDS to continue their telecommunications development and to improve facilities and availability. The Commission also encourages SIDS to maintain and strengthen communications and business links, on a regional and subregional basis, with larger neighbours in the continental shelf, as well as with development partners.

30.The Commission calls upon the international community to assist SIDS in identifying the most feasible ways and means of securing financial assistance from different sources, and invites the World Bank and the regional development banks, where appropriate, to systematically finance telecommunications development, particularly where most urgently needed.

31.The Commission takes note of developments in air transport since the 1994 Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States and proposes a study of the impact on SIDS of changes taking place in the regulation of air transport. The Commission also proposes that more regional cooperation with regard to the regulatory aspects of air transport, such as joint negotiation of air transport agreements, should be pursued.

32.The Commission calls upon the international community, where appropriate, to facilitate and support new and existing initiatives taken at the regional level to improve air transport for the benefit of SIDS.

33.The Commission notes that with respect to the economies of SIDS which are open, maritime transport continues to represent an important lifeline to other markets. The Commission is convinced that improved maritime transport, which responds to the peculiar circumstances of SIDS and includes reduced overall costs, would be supportive of sustainable development goals.

34.The Commission encourages the modernization of fleets through appropriate investment incentives and innovative measures. It invites SIDS to consider becoming parties to relevant international legal instruments to promote maritime safety and environmental protection, and standardization in shipping. Regional initiatives are also encouraged to support these goals, expand maritime capabilities of regions, and provide an improved intra-regional sea transportation service with the support of the international community.

35.In view of the large investments involved in the development of infrastructure and acquisition of the means of maritime transport, the Commission calls upon the international community, where appropriate, to support the efforts of SIDS at the national and regional levels.


Reference
E/CN.17/1996/38
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 4th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1996/38 - Trade

Decision 4/1. Trade, environment and sustainable development

1. The Commission on Sustainable Development takes note of the report of the
Secretary-General on trade, environment and sustainable development
(E/CN.17/1996/8 and Add.1) and welcomes with appreciation the analysis contained
therein.

2. The Commission reiterates all the decisions made at its second and third
sessions on issues related to trade, environment and sustainable development.

3. As to trade measures in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), the
Commission:
(a) Calls on Governments to ensure appropriate coordination between trade
and environment officials at the national level and to take appropriate steps at
the national and international levels in order to ensure the mutual
supportiveness of trade and environment policies in support of sustainable
development, and looks to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to address the
relationship between WTO provisions and trade measures for environmental
purposes, including those pursuant to multilateral environment agreements;
(b) Recognizes that positive measures, such as improved market access,
capacity-building, improved access to finance, and access to and transfer of
technology, taking into account the relationship between trade-related
agreements and technology, are effective instruments for assisting developing
countries in meeting multilaterally agreed targets in keeping with the principle
of common but differentiated responsibilities;
(c) Notes that trade measures can, in certain cases, play a role in
achieving the objectives of MEAs, while safeguarding a non-discriminatory and
equitable multilateral trading system, and that positive measures should be
employed, as appropriate, to reduce or obviate the necessity for trade measures
to secure compliance with MEAs, and also stresses that the use of trade measures
Recommendations with respect to the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) should bear in mind the outcome of the ninth session of
UNCTAD, which is being held concurrently with the present session of the
Commission.
(d) Recognizes that the different trade provisions in MEAs may have
different objectives and that they may involve broader economic and
developmental issues, and invites the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
jointly and in cooperation with WTO, in accordance with their respective
mandates and competencies, to undertake further analysis on the issue of trade
and environment, including policy instruments in MEAs, in particular positive
measures, taking into account the specific context of each MEA, with a view to
promoting sustainable development;
(e) Recalls its invitation at its third session to UNCTAD and UNEP, in
cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), international
financial institutions, and other relevant bodies, programmes and organizations,
to examine the effects of trade measures in MEAs on the achievement of
environmental goals and on trade and competitiveness of developing countries and
countries with economies in transition, and to consider how positive measures
could assist those countries in meeting their obligations under the MEAs.

4. As to environmental policies and competitiveness, the Commission:
(a) Recognizes that the link between environmental policies and
competitiveness is a complex one, and notes that there is no available evidence
to suggest that environmental policy generally has a significant detrimental
impact on competitiveness. Efforts could be made to identify "win-win"
opportunities in the design and implementation of environmental policies, which
could improve resource efficiency, competitiveness, employment and market
access;
(b) Firmly rejects the use of "green countervailing duties" or other
protectionist or trade measures inconsistent with WTO to compensate for the
negative competitiveness effects, whether real or perceived, of environmental
policies;
(c) Stresses that it would be inappropriate to relax environmental laws,
regulations and standards or their enforcement in order to encourage foreign
direct investment or to promote exports;
(d) Considering that complying with the environmental requirements of
importing countries may raise particular competitiveness concerns for developing
countries and countries with economies in transition, recommends that
Governments of developed countries facilitate continued market access for
developing countries by ensuring greater transparency and providing them with
technical and financial assistance in the area of environmental capacitybuilding
in accordance with the provisions of relevant chapters of Agenda 21;
(e) Encourages UNCTAD to propose positive measures at the national and
international levels for supporting developing countries in their efforts to
achieve the objectives of sustainable development, focusing on capacity-building
and support for national efforts to internalize environmental costs;
(f) Takes note of the progress report submitted by UNCTAD on the
analytical study of the relationship of environmental protection to
international competitiveness, job creation and development, and invites UNCTAD
to further elaborate the study, with input from Governments and regional
economic integration organizations, as well as the private sector,
non-governmental organizations, and other relevant regional and international
organizations, and to submit the results of the study to future sessions of the
Commission, as appropriate.

5. The Commission recognizes that eco-labelling can have an impact on trade.
The Commission invites Governments to ensure adequate transparency of
eco-labelling, inter alia, by considering inputs from interested parties,
including consumer and environmental groups, domestic and foreign producers, at
an appropriately early stage in the design of the measures, and to encourage
private bodies involved in eco-labelling to do the same. The Commission also
calls upon national Governments and private bodies involved in eco-labelling to
explore the scope for mutual recognition of procedures and approaches on the
basis of equivalency at appropriately high levels of environmental protection,
taking into account differing environmental and developmental conditions in
different countries. The Commission also invites UNCTAD, UNEP, WTO and, as
appropriate, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to give
the fullest consideration to such concepts in future work on environmental
labelling in the best interests of transparency.

6. The Commission supports the promotion of balanced public awareness and
educational programmes on issues related to eco-friendly classification to
assist both producers and consumers in making environmentally sound decisions.

7. As to trade liberalization and the environment, the Commission:
(a) Recalls the recommendation made in paragraph 67 of the report on its
third session, 5/ in which it invited the UNEP/UNCTAD programme to carry out
further work and report on the development of a framework to facilitate the
assessment of the environmental impact of trade policies, taking into account
the special needs of developing countries and countries with economies in
transition;
(b) Recognizes the usefulness of UNEP and the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations continuing to examine the environmental
effects on importing countries of the export of goods prohibited for sale on
environmental grounds in the exporting countries;
(c) Invites UNCTAD, in cooperation with UNEP and other relevant
organizations, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), taking into account work already under way at WTO, to examine how
further trade liberalization, such as through the reduction or elimination of
tariff escalation, export taxes or restriction, trade-distortive subsidies and
the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, can result in
environmental benefits and contribute to sustainable development, including by
examining recent analyses on such topics;
(d) Reaffirms the importance of efforts aimed at internalizing
environmental costs in order to promote the positive and avoid the negative
environmental effects of trade liberalization.

8. As to sustainable development of the commodity sector, the Commission:
(a) Invites UNCTAD, in cooperation with UNEP, the United Nations
Industrial Development Organization and other relevant organizations, to assist
developing countries in implementing pilot projects in export-oriented
production and processing activities aimed at internalizing environmental costs;
(b) Encourages international organizations, Governments and the business
community to intensify the search for pragmatic methods for increasing
cooperation between exporters and importers with a view to facilitating
developing countries? efforts to internalize environmental costs in their
development process and to assess the scope for the establishment of sectoral
round tables and other formal or informal arrangements for identifying efficient
and cost-effective approaches.

9. As to biological diversity and trade issues, the Commission welcomes the
BIOTRADE initiative of UNCTAD as a collaborative effort, with the secretariat of
the Convention on Biological Diversity, interested United Nations agencies and
other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector,
local communities and academic institutions, aimed at strengthening capacitybuilding,
and encourages further consultations in that area.

10. The Commission invites UNCTAD, UNDP, the International Trade Centre, UNEP
and other relevant United Nations bodies to strengthen cooperation in the
implementation of a programme of technical assistance for capacity-building in
accordance with the mandates and expertise of each agency, inter alia, with a
view to assisting developing countries and countries with economies in
transition in participating effectively in international deliberations on trade
and environment, international trade negotiations and international
environmental negotiations.

11. The Commission takes note of the preliminary background paper prepared by
UNCTAD on research into trade, environment and sustainable development linkages
carried out by international organizations, as well as academic institutions and
non-governmental organizations in developed and developing countries; encourages
additional research in particular areas where gaps exist; and recommends that
international and bilateral aid agencies support research activities in
developing countries and countries with economies in transition, in particular
in these areas.

12. The Commission:
(a) Takes note of the work of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment,
looks forward to a substantive report on the results of its deliberations,
including further progress in making trade and environmental policies mutually
supportive in order to promote sustainable development, and invites ministers to
consider all items listed in the Marrakesh Decision on Trade and Environment of
15 April 1994, taking into account the objectives of Agenda 21 and the Rio
Declaration on Environment and Development, and to give due consideration to the
results of the deliberations of the Commission at the present session;
(b) Looks to the WTO ministerial meeting in Singapore to continue the
important work of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment;
(c) Invites UNCTAD and UNEP to transmit the results of their activities in
the area of trade, environment and sustainable development to the WTO Committee
on Trade and Environment for consideration at the WTO ministerial meeting in
Singapore;

(d) Requests UNCTAD, in accordance with operative paragraph 27 of General
Assembly resolution 50/95 of 20 December 1995, to continue its special role in
the field of trade and environment, and invites UNCTAD at its ninth session to
consider appropriate arrangements for carrying out intergovernmental activities,
taking into account its mandate and competence, as well as the need for
continued cooperation and complementarity in the work of UNCTAD, UNEP and WTO;
(e) Invites UNEP to continue its work on trade and environment in
accordance with its mandate;
(f) Invites the regional commissions, within their mandates and taking
into account the specific context of each region, and OECD, in close cooperation
with the competent international organizations, such as UNCTAD, UNEP and WTO, to
organize meetings, as necessary, for the purpose of enhancing coordination on
trade and environment;
(g) Recalls General Assembly resolution 50/95 of 20 December 1995, in
which the Assembly requested UNCTAD and invited WTO, in accordance with their
respective mandates and competence and in close cooperation with other competent
United Nations bodies and the regional commissions, to address trade and
environment matters comprehensively, and to report, through the Commission, to
the Economic and Social Council and to the Assembly at its special session in
1997 on the concrete progress achieved on the issue of trade and environment;
(h) Invites UNCTAD and UNEP to continue their joint programme of work on
trade, environment and sustainable development, in accordance with chapter I,
paragraph 59 of the report on its third session 5/ and paragraph 14 of Assembly
resolution 50/95 of 20 December 1995;
(i) Takes note of the ongoing analytical work being conducted by OECD on
trade and environment, especially that of the Joint Session of Trade and
Environment Experts, including its report to the OECD Council at the ministerial
level in May 1995, and encourages OECD to make available to the Commission the
results of that work.


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