Decisions: 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Commission on Sustainable Development
Reference
E/CN.17/1995/36
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1995/36 - Combating poverty

6. Combating poverty

73. The Commission welcomes the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development 7/ and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social
Development. 8/ With reference to combating poverty, it takes note, in
particular, of commitment 2 of the Declaration 9/ in which Governments commit
themselves to the goal of eradicating poverty in the world, through decisive
national actions and international cooperation. The Commission recalls that the
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 6/ embodies the principle that
eradicating poverty is an indispensable requirement of sustainable development,
and that all States and all people shall cooperate in this essential task. The
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 10/ in its section on
commitments, 11/ and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification,
particularly in Africa, 12/ in its preambular section also recognize that
economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and
overriding priorities of the developing countries and are essential to meeting
sustainability objectives. This was reiterated in the recent decisions of the
first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change held in Berlin. The Commission further notes that
in all the major United Nations conferences held since 1990, including the World
Summit for Children, the International Conference on Nutrition, the World
Conference on Human Rights, the International Conference on Population and
Development and the World Summit for Social Development, there has been a
recognition of the need to launch a global attack on poverty and commitments
made in recognition of that need. The forthcoming 1995 World Conference on
Women should similarly emphasize the importance of women in strategies to
eradicate poverty.

74. The Commission stresses that the link between poverty eradication and
sustainable development is complex and must be clearly understood. People
living in poverty, with their meagre consumption, are also often reduced, by
their lack of income and command over productive resources and their social
exclusion, to eking out a precarious existence on marginal and ecologically
fragile ecosystems where they often live under life- and health-threatening
circumstances as well. The Commission is deeply convinced that economic
development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent
and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development, which is the
framework for efforts to achieve a higher quality of life for all people.
Equitable social development that recognizes empowering of the poor to utilize
environmental resources sustainably is a necessary foundation for sustainable
development. Broad-based and sustained economic growth within the context of
sustainable development is necessary to sustain social development and social

75. The Commission affirms that economic growth will continue to be important
to combat poverty in the long run particularly in developing countries, but
reliance cannot be placed on economic growth alone to combat poverty. There is
an urgent need to formulate or strengthen policies and strategies geared to
substantially reducing overall poverty in the shortest possible time, and
reducing inequalities, and to eradicate absolute poverty by a target date to be
specified by each country within its national context. Such strategies should
also incorporate measures to ensure environmental sustainability. The essential
task of eradicating poverty is an indispensable requirement for sustainable
development. Strategies aimed at poverty eradication are also necessary to
prevent the overexploiting of natural resources out of sheer survival
strategies, which leads to the degradation of resources required to sustain
populations over the long term.

76. The Commission stresses the need for a multidimensional and integrated
approach towards the goal of poverty eradication in partnership with all actors
of civil society. To this end, national strategies should be geared towards the
implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme
of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, in particular commitment 2
of the Declaration and chapter II of the Programme of Action. National budgets
and policies should be oriented, as necessary, to meeting basic needs, reducing
inequalities and targeting poverty as a strategic objective. The Commission
further stresses that the promotion of full employment and the sustainable use
of resources is an essential requirement for combating poverty and promoting
social integration. The Commission notes that this is the primary
responsibility of States themselves. Governments must create an enabling
economic environment aimed at promoting more equitable access for all to income,
resources and social services. The Commission recognizes that women, as
constituting the majority of the people living in abject poverty, and who bear a
disproportionate share of the burden of poverty, must be a central focus of
poverty eradication efforts. It also urges the introduction of programmes that
would focus on the specific needs of children and youth, consistent with the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. 13/ The Commission also recognizes
that full participation of people living in poverty in the design, planning and
implementation of projects aimed at the eradication of poverty would help ensure
effective implementation of such strategies.

77. The Commission urges Governments to reaffirm, promote and strive to ensure
the realization of rights contained in relevant international instruments and
declarations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 14/ the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 15/ and the
Declaration on the Right to Development, 16/ including those relating to
education, food, shelter, employment, health and information, particularly in
order to assist people living in poverty. The Commission also recognizes the
need to promote, as regards people living in poverty, access to - and
opportunity for - food, water, employment, shelter, education, health,
information, transportation and other essential public services. People living
in poverty must be enabled so as to have access to productive resources and
sustainable livelihoods, including credit, land, education and training, and
technology. They should also be empowered to participate in the formulation and
implementation of the policies and decisions affecting them.

78. The Commission reaffirms that a favourable international economic
environment, and the critical provision of financial and technical assistance
flows, are essential catalysts towards poverty eradication. Better terms of
trade, better access to markets, particularly for labour-intensive products, for
agricultural and agro-based products, and for those of medium- and small-scale
enterprises, access to and transfer of environmentally sound technology on
favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually
agreed, taking into account the need to protect intellectual property rights as
well as the special needs of developing countries are therefore also important
conditions for sustainability. An effective, equitable, development-oriented
and durable solution to the external debt problems of heavily indebted least
developed and other low-income countries, particularly sub-Saharan countries,
would be helpful to free up resources for programmes aimed at the eradication of
poverty. Transfer of environmentally sound technologies is also indispensable
for the adoption of sustainable production patterns both in industry and in
agriculture. The Commission also stresses that activities geared towards
eradication of poverty should be accompanied by meaningful programmes that aim
to substantially reduce environmentally and socially unsustainable patterns of
production and consumption.

79. The Commission stresses the need for the public accountability of private
businesses.

80. The Commission reiterates the need for full implementation of the
commitments, agreements and targets agreed upon by the international community
aimed at the eradication of poverty. The Commission calls upon Governments, the
international community, including the United Nations system, and IFIs as well
as non-governmental organizations to pursue implementation in this context of
commitment 2 of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and chapters II
and V of the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, and
chapter 3 of Agenda 21.

81. The Commission recommends that the Economic and Social Council, when
considering a common framework for the implementation of the outcome of United
Nations conferences in the economic and social fields, examine how to ensure
synergy and cooperation between the Commission on Sustainable Development and
other functional Commissions with responsibilities in the area of poverty
eradication, including consideration about the proper division of labour among
them.

82. The Commission suggests to the Economic and Social Council that in its
future work the Commission on Sustainable Development focus its attention on the
linkages between programmes aimed at poverty eradication and sustainable
development deriving from Agenda 21 and the Copenhagen Declaration on Social
Development and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development.


Reference
E/CN.17/1995/36
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1995/36 - Demographic dynamics and sustainability

7. Demographic dynamics and sustainability

83. The Commission on Sustainable Development takes note of the report of the
Secretary-General on demographic dynamics and sustainability (E/CN.17/1995/15),
including the proposals for action contained therein. Within this context, the
Commission urges Governments to implement fully the Programme of Action of the
International Conference on Population and Development 17/ and emphasizes as
well the importance of the follow-up mechanism defined in General Assembly
resolution 49/128 to monitor implementation at the national, regional and
international levels.

84. The Commission fully acknowledges that population, poverty, health,
education, technology, patterns of production and consumption and the
environment are closely interconnected. There is therefore a need to achieve a
sustainable relationship among population, resources and development. The
Commission stresses the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of
sustainable development planning and programmes. The Commission furthermore
recognizes that chapter 5 of Agenda 21 and chapter III of the Programme of
Action of the International Conference on Population and Development reinforce
one another, and together form a comprehensive and compelling up-to-date account
as to what needs to be done about the interface among population, environment
and sustainable development.

85. The Commission thus welcomes chapter III of the Programme of Action of the
International Conference on Population and Development which calls on
Governments, with the support of the international community and regional and
subregional organizations, to formulate and implement population-related
policies and programmes to support the objectives and actions agreed in
Agenda 21 and other conferences and other international agreements, taking into
account the common but differentiated responsibilities reflected in those
agreements.

86. The Commission acknowledges that many of the linkages among population,
environment and development need further study. The national reports of the
developing countries contain useful information on these linkages.

87. The Commission recommends that Governments, international organizations and
other relevant bodies undertake research on the linkages among population,
poverty, consumption and production, environment and natural resources,
education and human health as a guide to effective sustainable development
policies.

88. Although the Commission notes that the integration of population concerns
into national planning poses some challenges, it commends the accomplishments of
the last two decades in the formation of central government institutions charged
with the implementation of comprehensive population-related policies and
programmes. The Commission on Sustainable Development welcomes the fact that
more recently steps have been taken to integrate population issues into other
levels of development planning.

89. The Commission recommends to Governments that they reinforce their efforts
at institution-building in the field of population, environment and developmentrelated
policies with a view to achieving prompt integration of population
concerns into sustainable development planning and policies.

90. The Commission urges regional intergovernmental organizations, United
Nations system organizations, funds and programmes, and non-governmental
organizations to make further progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and
the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and
Development.

91. The Commission notes with concern that, due to cumulative effects of global
and local environmental degradation, populations are at risk in some areas. The
Commission therefore invites the Commission on Population and Development, with
the assistance of UNDP, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNEP and
other relevant institutions, to prepare at reasonable intervals a report on
populations at risk because of environmental degradation and their needs for
additional assistance, including from the international community.

92. The Commission notes the growing awareness of the linkages among
development, environmental protection and the empowerment of women. In
accordance with decisions taken at relevant United Nations conferences, it calls
upon Governments, organizations of the United Nations system and major groups to
give particular attention to the need to involve women in decision-making at all
levels of population- and sustainable development-related strategies, policies,
projects and programmes. The Commission also calls for the further promotion of
measures directed at empowerment of women, ensuring their full access to
literacy, education and training, and health, and at the removal of all
obstacles to their access to credit and other productive resources and to their
ability to buy, hold and sell property and land equally with men. Such
empowerment is an important factor in influencing demographic trends and
sustainability.

93. The Commission recognizes the important role that non-governmental
organizations have played in Rio de Janeiro and in Cairo and play locally, and
encourages them to increase their communications, cooperation and coordination
at the local, regional and international levels with a view to enhancing their
contribution to the mutual understanding of issues related to population and
development and facilitating their active participation in the implementation of
chapter 5 of Agenda 21 and chapter III of the Programme of Action of the
International Conference on Population and Development.

94. The Commission calls upon all countries to consider making contributions to
the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on
Population and Development, taking into account the provisions of chapters XIII
and XIV of the Programme of Action, and the economic constraints faced by
developing countries, and urges the international community to promote a
supportive international economic environment.

95. The Commission also recognizes that the effective implementation of the
Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and
Development will require an increased commitment of financial resources, both
domestically and externally, and within this context calls upon the developed
countries to complement the national financial efforts of developing countries
on population and development and to intensify their efforts to transfer new and
additional resources to the developing countries, in accordance with the
relevant provisions of the Programme of Action of the International Conference
on Population and Development, in order to ensure that population and
development objectives and goals are met.

96. The Commission recommends that the Economic and Social Council, when
considering a common framework for the implementation of the outcome of United
Nations conferences in the economic and social field, examine how to ensure
synergy and cooperation between the Commission on Sustainable Development and
the Commission on Population and Development.


Reference
E/CN.17/1995/36
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1995/36 - Information for Decision-Making

1. Information for decision-making

1. The Commission, having examined the report of the Secretary-General on
information for decision-making and Earthwatch (E/CN.17/1995/18), noted and
welcomed the important measures taken by Governments to make information more
accessible to decision makers at the national level, and calls upon national
Governments to utilize this information for sustainable development at the
country level. The aim of such measures includes the development of a
comprehensive and coherent information programme, drawing upon public
participation in data collection and assessment. In this context, developed
countries are urged to utilize both bilateral and multilateral channels to
facilitate access by developing countries, and countries whose economies are in
transition, to sources of information relative to sustainable development. The
Sustainable Development Networking Programme of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) is one model for such initiatives.

2. The Commission calls attention to the feasibility study undertaken by UNDP
to provide access to information on sustainable development to 35 small island
developing States, 2/ which was welcomed by the General Assembly in its
resolution 49/122 on the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States.

3. The Commission expresses its appreciation to the organizers of the six
workshops that furthered understanding of the issues addressed in chapter 40 of
Agenda 21, particularly the efforts related to developing a work programme on
indicators of sustainable development, and it supports and encourages further
work in this area as elaborated in paragraphs 7 and 8 below.

4. The Commission welcomes the contribution of non-governmental organizations
to the process of generating information for decision-making, including the
articulation of views from local and grass-roots levels and from major groups,
and expresses its desire that these activities continue and be integrated, to
the extent possible, with those of national Governments, organizations of the
United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations.

5. The Commission expresses appreciation for the extensive international
collaboration in the United Nations system-wide Earthwatch and its
responsiveness to the priorities of Agenda 21 and to user needs. It urges
Governments and major groups, as well as relevant international organizations
and the scientific community, to participate actively in strengthening
Earthwatch as an international partnership to ensure an adequate flow of
information on the global and regional environment, to support decision-making
and to give early warning on the state of the environment. Special attention is
drawn to the need for improved delivery of information to decision makers and to
increased participation in environmental observations at the local and national
levels within regional and international frameworks. In this regard, the
Commission welcomes all appropriate participation in the Global Learning and
Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Programme, as described in
General Assembly resolution 49/112.

6. The Commission recalls that, in addition to Earthwatch, which is a global
system for environmental information, Agenda 21, in paragraph 40.13, calls for
the more effective coordination also of development data, "perhaps through an
equivalent and complementary ?Development Watch?". In this context, the
Commission noted the cooperative effort of the organizations of the United
Nations system to prepare proposals for the creation of such a Development
Watch. It requests UNDP, with the Department for Policy Coordination and
Sustainable Development of the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the World Health
Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO), and in cooperation with the regional commissions and other
interested organizations, to further define Development Watch and, in this
regard, to submit a progress report on the implementation of the programme of
work for Development Watch to the Commission at its session in 1997, taking into
account the need for a close linkage between Development Watch and Earthwatch.

7. The Commission noted the importance of developing, among the organizations
of the United Nations system, a common or compatible system of access to their
respective databases, in order to share data fully, to streamline the collection
and interpretation of data and to identify data gaps, for the purpose of
providing more comprehensive and integrated data to decision makers at the
national, regional and international levels. The Commission invites the
Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development to refine measures for
establishing such a common or compatible system and to report thereon to the
Commission at its fourth session. The Commission notes also the rapidly growing
number of information systems for sustainable development at the national and
regional levels, and invites the Secretary-General to consider ways of enhancing
compatibility among and access to these systems and to report his findings to
the Commission at its session in 1997.

8. Governments are encouraged to develop or conduct studies on the development
of indicators of sustainable development in accordance with specific national
conditions. In this context, there is a need for coordination, especially
through the Commission, of the many intergovernmental and scientific
institutions working in this area, as well as a need for intensive international
dialogue.

9. The Commission urges bodies such as the Statistical Division of the United
Nations Secretariat, the statistical services of Member States and other
appropriate institutions, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development, the Statistical Office of the European Communities and major groups
to cooperate in the development of indicators of sustainable development.
Furthermore, the Commission encourages the scientific community, including the
project on indicators of sustainable development undertaken by the Scientific
Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), to focus its efforts on the
development and improvement of such indicators.

10. The Commission reiterates the importance of developing indicators of
sustainable development for use by decision makers at the local, regional and
national levels and expresses its appreciation to the organizations, both
intergovernmental and non-governmental, and the Governments that have
contributed to the process of defining a programme of work for the further
development of indicators of sustainable development.

11. The Commission approves the programme of work on indicators for sustainable
development contained in annex I to the report of the Secretary-General
(E/CN.17/1995/18) and calls upon the organizations of the United Nations system,
with the support of other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations,
and through the coordination of the Department for Programme Coordination and
Sustainable Development of the United Nations Secretariat, to implement, within
existing resources, the following, as outlined in the programme of work:
(a) enhancement of information exchange among all interested actors;
(b) development of methodology sheets to be made available to Governments;
(c) training and capacity-building at the regional and national levels;
(d) testing of an appropriate combination of indicators and monitoring of
experiences in a few countries; (e) evaluation of the indicators, including
those mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1995/18), and
adjustment, as necessary; (f) identification and assessment of linkages among
the economic, social, institutional and environmental elements of sustainable
development; (g) development of highly aggregated indicators; and (h) further
development of the conceptual framework for sustainable development indicators,
involving experts from the areas of economics, the social sciences and the
physical sciences and policy makers, as well as incorporating non-governmental
organization and indigenous views. The Commission requests the Secretariat to
provide it with a progress report on the implementation of the programme of work
at its fourth session, in 1996.

12. The Commission took note of the report of the Statistical Commission on its
twenty-eighth session, 3/ and expresses its appreciation to the Statistical
Commission for its offer to collaborate with and support the Commission in its
work on indicators for sustainable development. In this context, the Commission
also welcomes the action taken by the Statistical Commission with respect to the
international compilation of environmental indicators from national statistical
services and looks forward to the contribution of this work to the overall
programme of work on indicators of sustainable development. The Department for
Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations
Secretariat should promote and assist these efforts.


Reference
E/CN.17/1995/36
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1995/36 - Integrated Decion-Making

2. Integrating environment and development in decision-making

13. The Commission, having examined the report of the Secretary-General on
integrating environment and development in decision-making (E/CN.17/1995/19),
noted the need for a framework at the national level for integrating economic,
social and environmental issues and for bringing together sectoral plans in a
more comprehensive manner. The Commission calls on Governments to continue
their efforts to establish, where appropriate, national mechanisms and to
develop integrated, participatory strategies for sustainable development.

14. The Commission welcomes paragraph 11 of the report and emphasizes the
importance of the steps taken by the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable
Development to assist Governments in the elaboration of national environmental
and sustainable development strategies and plans and to develop frameworks in
which sectoral plans can be accommodated. It urges all organizations of the
United Nations system, in cooperation with Governments, to participate, as
relevant, in the ongoing programme, and calls upon non-governmental
organizations to contribute to this process to the fullest extent possible.

15. The Commission welcomes offers for hosting international conferences on
promoting sustainable development in order to promote regional and multilateral
cooperation on sustainable development. In this context, the Commission
welcomes the convening of the Third Ministerial Conference, "Environment for
Europe", to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1995. The Commission also welcomes
the initiative of the Government of Belarus for the possible convening of an
international conference of the countries with economies in transition on
promoting sustainable development. The Commission encourages interested
Governments and relevant subregional, regional and other interested
organizations to place, inter alia, the Pan-European Environment Action
Programme for Central and Eastern Europe within the broader framework of
sustainable development, taking due account of the need for the full integration
of countries in transition from centrally planned to market economies, as well
as all other countries, into the world economy, which is essential to
sustainable development.

16. The Commission requests the organizations of the United Nations system and
other relevant organizations to organize, within existing resources, regional
workshops to explore, discuss and further develop methodological approaches to
integration based upon, for example, work being done in environmental economics,
valuation, natural resource accounting and integrated economic and environmental
accounting.

17. The Commission underlines the importance of integrated environmental and
economic accounting for sustainable development and encourages Governments to
undertake further national activities in this area.

18. The Commission takes note of the work in integrated economic and
environmental accounting being undertaken by the Statistical Division of the
United Nations Secretariat, organizations of the United Nations system and other
intergovernmental organizations and calls upon them, inter alia, to further this
work, particularly with regard to promoting the implementation of national
programmes and strengthening technical cooperation in this area.


Reference
E/CN.17/1995/36
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1995/36 - Production and consumption patterns

4. Changing production and consumption patterns

31. The Commission affirms that while poverty results in certain kinds of
environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the
global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production,
particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern,
aggravating poverty and imbalances. The Commission thus reaffirms the need to
change the patterns of consumption and production that are detrimental to
sustainable development. In the context of common but differentiated
responsibilities in this field, the developed countries bear a special
responsibility and have agreed to take the lead by taking effective measures for
change in their own countries. In that context, the Commission reiterates that
national authorities should endeavour to promote the internalization of
environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, as appropriate, taking
into account the polluter-pays principle.

32. The Commission, taking into account Agenda 21, in particular chapter 4,
entitled "Changing consumption patterns", welcomes the recent increase in
activities and efforts at the local, national, and international levels aimed at
changing the prevailing unsustainable production and consumption patterns. The
Commission recognizes that Governments should continue to improve their
decision-making so as to integrate environmental, economic and social
considerations, which will involve the use of a range of different policy
approaches and instruments. The Commission notes the initiative taken by the
Government of Norway in hosting the Oslo Ministerial Roundtable Conference on
Sustainable Production and Consumption (6-10 February 1995) and its contribution
to underlining the importance of focusing on demand-side issues as a complement
to the traditional supply-side approach. The Commission also notes the inputs
provided to the Oslo Conference by various sources, including the Zeist Workshop
on Facilities for a Sustainable Household (23-25 January 1995), organized by the
Government of the Netherlands, and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology/Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Experts
Seminar on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (Cambridge,
Massachusetts, 18-20 December 1994).

33. In welcoming the inter-sessional work undertaken by Governments, the
Commission reaffirms the need for additional substantial efforts and real
progress by States, in particular the developed countries, in changing their
unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and in assisting in
redressing the present imbalances obtaining between industrialized and
developing nations. It welcomes further contributions from the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UNEP and other international
organizations, such as OECD, in this area.

34. The Commission notes with concern the significant gaps in per capita income
between developing and developed countries and the continuing current imbalances
in the global patterns of consumption and production. The Commission notes also
with concern that the growing recognition of the need to address patterns of
production and consumption has not yet been matched by a full understanding of
the implications of such patterns on economic, social and environmental
conditions at the local, national and global levels. In order to most
effectively design and implement public policies consistent with the earth?s
carrying capacity, more needs to be known about the role of current and
projected consumption and production patterns in relation to environmental
quality, economic growth and population dynamics. Thus, sustainability,
including equity concerns, should continue to be addressed by Governments, the
Commission, and other forums in their deliberations on how changing production
and consumption patterns will affect environmental, social and economic
conditions in and among countries at all levels of development.

35. The Commission urges Governments at all levels, business and industry, and
consumers to intensify efforts at reducing the energy and material intensities
of production and consumption, through improving energy efficiency, taking
energy-saving measures, technological innovations and transfer, increased waste
recovery, and reusing and recycling of materials. The Commission stresses that
all countries have, and should exploit, opportunities for further improving
efficiency in resource consumption and for reducing environmentally harmful
by-products of current consumption and production patterns in accordance with
national priorities and international agreements, for example, by promoting the
use of renewable energy sources. In this context, taking into account the
particular needs and conditions of developing countries, and based on the
principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the Commission urges
developed countries to intensify effort to encourage the transfer of appropriate
technologies to developing countries to assist them in such efforts.

36. The Commission notes that the above-mentioned Oslo Conference, which
focused on consumption and production patterns in the developed countries,
highlighted the demand-side and supply-side issues as deserving of equal
emphasis and referred to the life-cycle approach to assessing the environmental,
social and economic impacts associated with unsustainable production and
consumption patterns. To this end, the Commission emphasizes the responsibility
shared by all stakeholders in society. Governments should provide an overall
framework, including the regulations, economic incentives and infrastructure
required to create the necessary conditions and facilities for business,
industry and households to move towards sustainable production and consumption
patterns. Business and industry in developed countries should fulfil their
responsibility for managing the life-cycle impact of the goods and services that
they supply, and are encouraged to provide information on the environmental and
health effects arising from the production and consumption of their products.
Households, particularly in developed countries, should adopt sustainable
consumption habits and lifestyles. In this regard, public awareness campaigns,
education and community-based voluntary action could contribute to fostering
changes in lifestyles.

37. The Commission reaffirms that Governments themselves also play a role in
consumption, particularly in countries where the public sector plays a large
role in the economy and can have a considerable influence on both corporate
decisions and public perceptions. Governments should therefore review the
purchasing policies of their agencies and departments so that they may improve,
where possible, the environmental content of government procurement policies,
without prejudice to international trade principles. Governments and
intergovernmental organizations, through appropriate mechanisms, may exchange
information and experiences consistent with national laws and regulations in the
area of their procurement policies.

38. The Commission takes note of the lack of information identified in the
report of the Secretary-General on changing consumption and production patterns
(E/CN.17/1995/13) and other documents, and calls on Governments, international
organizations, legislative bodies, research and scientific institutions,
business and industry, and consumer organizations and other non-governmental
organizations to join in concerted efforts to provide comprehensive information
on the status of, and changes and projected trends in, the environment,
ecosystems and the natural resources base at the national, regional and global
levels. At the product level, while the Commission recognizes the need to
reaffirm the importance of informing consumers about any environmental and
health effects arising from the production and consumption of a given product,
it notes that such information should not be used as a disguise for
protectionist trade measures.

39. Given the long time-frame in which the interactions of economic activities
and the environment take place, the Commission reiterates the need for launching
medium- and long-term studies to monitor and track the evolution of production
and consumption patterns as well as associated environmental, social and
economic impacts, both within and among nations. Such studies should cover
technological innovation and transfer, economic growth and development, and
demographic factors. They should produce quantifiable and measurable indicators
so as to facilitate policy analysis and debate on relevant issues and trends.
In undertaking these studies, attention should be paid to the various effects,
including the potential trade effects and in particular the effects on
developing countries and countries with economies in transition, of new measures
and policy stances to be adopted in promoting sustainable production and
consumption.

40. The Commission calls for the promotion of internalization of environmental
costs, taking into account the polluter-pays principle, with due regard to the
public interest and without distorting international trade and investment. In
this regard, it welcomes progress made so far, including in countries with
economies in transition and developing countries, in further analysing, adapting
and applying various measures and policy instruments designed to internalize
environmental externalities. The Commission recognizes that command-and-control
measures and social and economic instruments all have their role to play in
changing production and consumption patterns. Governments should take into
account local and national conditions in designing and implementing such
instruments. In the long run, economic and other market-based instruments are
likely to be more cost-effective in bringing about sustained changes in producer
and consumer behaviour. In this regard, the Commission invites Governments to
consider introducing economic measures, including tax and subsidies reform
designed to reduce negative environmental impacts and support employment.

41. The Commission regards natural resource accounting as a valuable tool for
the comprehensive full-cost pricing of resource use, and calls upon Governments
and international organizations to promote efforts aimed at integrating natural
resource accounting into standard systems of national accounts. The Commission
welcomes pilot projects launched by United Nations agencies in this area and
urges Governments, as appropriate, to give full support to these activities.

42. The Commission recognizes the international dimensions of national efforts
to change consumption and production patterns within the context of common but
differentiated responsibilities. The Commission emphasizes that strengthened
international cooperation in harmonizing criteria for the setting of voluntary
product standards, with due regard to the specific environmental, social and
economic conditions in developing producer/exporting countries, should take into
account concerns about market access and the competitiveness of products and
services. In this regard, the Commission calls upon Governments to intensify
efforts to encourage the transfer of appropriate technology.

43. The Commission also recognizes the wide scope and multiplicity of the
issues related to consumption and production patterns. The Commission stresses
the importance of and encourages the exchange of information at all levels on
experience in changing production and consumption patterns.

44. The Commission welcomes in this regard the initiative of the Republic of
Korea to organize a workshop on policy measures for changing consumption
patterns. Further reviews of country experiences might be initiated by the
Commission on Sustainable Development in collaboration with relevant United
Nations bodies, including the regional commissions, and other international
organizations.

45. Taking into account the preceding paragraphs, the Commission adopts for its
future work on changing production and consumption patterns the following work
programme:

A. Identifying the policy implications of projected trends in consumption
and production patterns
The Commission will review periodic reports containing long-term
projections of the world economy with a time-horizon of up to 40 years. Such
projections should cover, inter alia, resource consumption and associated
environmental, social and economic impacts, with particular reference to
developing countries? efforts at meeting basic needs, eradicating poverty and
achieving economic growth. Such studies should, inter alia, build upon the
existing work of the United Nations system and other international
organizations, and should make use of global models designed to project a number
of indicators on environmental stress and its impact on the environment and
human health.

B. Assessing the impact on developing countries, especially the least
developed countries and small island developing States, of changes
in consumption and production in developed countries
The Commission will review periodic reports on the economic, social and
environmental impacts, particularly on developing countries, of world-wide
changes in consumption and production patterns. Such reports should assess,
inter alia, the additional trade opportunities open to developing countries
arising from the increasing demand for environmentally sound products in
developed countries, as well as possible adverse impacts on exports from
developing countries. The reports should also examine the prospects of
increasing technology transfer through enhanced foreign direct investment.

C. Evaluating the effectiveness of policy measures intended to change
consumption and production patterns, such as command-and-control,
economic and social instruments, government procurement policies
and guidelines
The Commission will review reports on the effectiveness of policy measures
in changing consumption and production patterns, for example, through the
internalization of environmental costs. The reports should evaluate the
performance of command-and-control, social and economic instruments in countryspecific
situations with a view to facilitating a better understanding of the
policy options that are available to policy makers in all countries.

D. Eliciting timebound voluntary commitment from countries to make
measurable progress on those sustainable development goals that
have an especially high priority at the national level
The Commission will review a synthesis of national information to assess
progress in fulfilling timebound commitments by Governments concerned on a
voluntary basis. In this context, the Commission urges Governments and other
stakeholders to use the report of the Oslo Ministerial Roundtable Conference on
Sustainable Production and Consumption, entitled "Elements for an international
work programme on sustainable production and consumption", as a basis for
actions and for discussion in suitable forums, and thereafter to report to the
Commission on the implementation of those recommendations considered most
appropriate, in time for consideration by the Commission at its fifth session,
in 1997.

E. Revision of the guidelines for consumer protection
The Commission recommends that the guidelines for consumer protection
adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 39/248 of 9 April 1985 be
expanded to include guidelines for sustainable consumption patterns.

46. The Commission urges Governments, the various organizations and bodies of
the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, the
secretariats of the various international conventions, and major groups,
particularly local authorities, business and industry, to undertake specific
elements of the Commission?s work programme on changing production and
consumption patterns. The Commission stresses the importance of exchanging
country experiences. The Commission also notes with appreciation ongoing OECD
work on sustainable production and consumption, and encourages OECD to submit
the results of its work in this area to the Commission as soon as possible. The
Commission recommends the convening of an expert meeting on sustainable
production and consumption patterns, with the widest possible participation and
hosted by interested Governments, to be held before its next substantive session
with a view to collecting information, ideas and suggestions for the follow-up
of this work.


Reference
E/CN.17/1995/36
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish] 3rd session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
E/CN.17/1995/36 - Trade

5. Trade, environment and sustainable development

47. The Commission reiterates the initial perspectives for consideration in
subsequent work on trade and environment issues contained in its 1994 decision
and stresses that trade and environment policies should be mutually supportive
in promoting sustainable development. This requires that account be taken of
the special conditions and development needs of the developing countries. There
is also a need for support to build institutional capacity in the area of trade
and development and environmental assessment in developing countries and
countries with economies in transition. There is also a need for
complementarity, coordination, transparency and accountability among
international organizations involved in the development of policies on trade and
environment.

48. The Commission considered a number of key issues related to the linkages
among trade, environment and sustainable development. These include product
measures and market access, process standards and competitiveness,
internalization of environmental externalities and trade, multilateral
environmental agreements and trade policy, environmental factors as trading
opportunities, and trade policies and the environment. Each of these issues
involves conceptual and empirical as well as policy questions. Ongoing work in
different international organizations aims at clarifying these issues, through
policy analysis and debate, and at deriving policy conclusions therefrom. Major
groups, such as non-governmental organizations and the private sector, are also
addressing trade and environment linkages and are making important contributions
to a better understanding of them, as well as to awareness-building and public
education.

49. The Commission stresses that States should cooperate to promote a
supportive and open international economic system that would lead to economic
growth and sustainable development in all countries, so as to better address the
problems of environmental degradation.

50. The Commission notes that the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade
negotiations agreements represent a substantial liberalization of international
trade, the strengthening of multilateral rules and disciplines to ensure
stability and predictability in trade relations, the establishing of rules and
disciplines in new areas and the founding of a new institutional framework in
the form of the World Trade Organization, with an integrated dispute-settlement
mechanism that should avert unilateral actions that are against international
trade rules. The agreements thus represent an essential element for the
achievement of global sustained economic growth for the benefit of all
countries, in particular developing countries, which is a fundamental element
for achieving sustainable development. In this context, the Commission calls
for the urgent and full implementation of the agreements contained in the Final
Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade
Negotiations, 5/ stresses the urgent need for trade liberalization, including
through substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and the
elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade relations, and
improved access to markets of all countries, in particular those of developed
countries.

51. The Commission on Sustainable Development stresses the importance of the
work of the Committee on Trade and Environment of the World Trade Organization,
in accordance with its mandate, which calls upon the Committee to make
appropriate recommendations on whether any modifications of the provisions of
the multilateral trading system are required, compatible with the open,
equitable and non-discriminatory nature of the system, as regards, in particular
(a) the need for rules to enhance positive interaction between trade and
environmental measures, for the promotion of sustainable development, with
special consideration given to the needs of developing countries, in particular
those of the least developed among them; and (b) the avoidance of protectionist
trade measures, and the adherence to effective multilateral disciplines to
ensure responsiveness of the multilateral trading system to environmental
objectives set forth in Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and
Development, 6/ in particular principle 12; and (c) surveillance of trade
measures used for environmental purposes, of trade-related aspects of
environmental measures that have significant trade effects, and of effective
implementation of the multilateral disciplines governing those measures.

52. The Commission notes that positive measures, such as improved market
access, improved access to finance, access to and transfer of technology,
capacity-building and special provisions for small firms, are effective
instruments to support developing countries and countries in transition in their
efforts to internalize environmental costs.

53. The Commission reiterates paragraph 32 of its 1994 decision. It further
notes that trade provisions in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)
should be transparent and should not constitute a means of arbitrary or
unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade.
In accordance with principle 12 of the Rio Declaration, unilateral actions to
deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing
country should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or
global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on
international consensus.

54. The Commission recognizes that progress has been made by virtue of the new
World Trade Organization provisions, and underscores the importance of building
on these accomplishments, in particular with regard to transparency and the use
of outside review groups where specialized knowledge is relevant.

55. The Commission reaffirms that efforts should be geared to promoting the
convergence of environmental standards and regulations at a high level of
environmental protection, while bearing in mind that regulations and standards
that are valid in the most advanced countries may be inappropriate and have
unwarranted economic and social costs for the developing countries. It further
notes the importance of transparency of environmental regulations and standards
and of supporting developing countries in the development of effective domestic
regulations and standards.

56. The Commission considers that there is a need to analyse the potential
effects of product-specific policies, in particular those based on life-cycle
approaches, which have emerged recently, such as eco-labelling and certain
packaging and recycling requirements, especially as regards their potential
impacts on the exports of developing countries and countries with economies in
transition. It is also important to analyse how improved transparency and
international cooperation could be strengthened so as to facilitate the export
prospects of developing countries and as a means of strengthening environmental
protection.

57. The Commission notes that consumer preferences for "environment-friendly"
products may create trading opportunities including for developing countries.
More work is needed to specify ways and means by which the credibility of
environmental claims relating to products and technologies can be substantiated.
58. The Commission considers that further trade liberalization is a necessary
but not sufficient condition for sustainable development. Trade liberalization
along with sustained economic growth can be expected to pave the way for the
gradual raising of environmental standards at the national and the global level.
At the same time, trade liberalization needs to be complemented by the adoption
of sound environmental policies. National Governments have an interest in
analysing environmental and social effects of significant changes in the volume
and composition in production and consumption patterns, including those
resulting from trade policy reforms, and making, if required, the necessary
policy adjustments with a view to correcting market and policy failures and
internalizing environmental costs.

59. Within the context of the overall aims of sustainable development, the
Commission welcomes the substantial progress achieved in the World Trade
Organization, UNCTAD and UNEP, in particular through the work of the World Trade
Organization Committee on Trade and the Environment, the UNCTAD Ad Hoc Working
Group on Trade, Environment and Development and the joint UNEP/UNCTAD programme,
as well as the important role of UNEP, in particular in relation to multilateral
environmental agreements, and invites the institutions concerned, as well as
OECD, to continue their work on trade and the environment. It further
emphasizes efforts to make trade and environment mutually supportive through,
inter alia, strengthening technical assistance for capacity-building undertaken
by UNCTAD, UNDP and UNEP, including in integrating the consideration of all
factors relevant to the formulation of trade and sustainable development
policies. The Commission considers that the present division of labour in the
international discussions on trade and the environment is generally satisfactory
and stresses the need for continued close cooperation and complementarity in the
work of the World Trade Organization, UNEP and UNCTAD. In this context, the
Commission invites UNEP and UNCTAD to continue their joint initiative,
preferably at a technical level with a focused agenda.

60. The Commission invites UNCTAD, the task manager for trade and environment,
in cooperation with UNEP, the World Trade Organization, FAO, WHO, the Department
for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations
Secretariat and other appropriate institutions, to prepare a background paper
for the Commission that would review the growing volume of research on 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, including within the
framework of projects supported by international and bilateral aid agencies with
a view to identifying possible gaps, including through the use of independent
trade and environment expert groups.

61. As called for in Agenda 21, the Commission recommends that Governments of
developed countries and multilateral aid agencies strengthen efforts to improve
access to markets, finance and access to and transfer of technology and to build
capacity in order to support developing countries and countries with economies
in transition in their efforts to internalize environmental costs. UNCTAD in
cooperation with UNDP, FAO and UNEP and other international bodies, programmes
and organizations is invited to undertake further work in this area with a view
to identifying innovative approaches. The joint UNEP/UNCTAD programme is also
invited to carry out further work in this area, giving particular attention to
principle 16 of the Rio Declaration and capacity-building in developing
countries and countries with economies in transition, in cooperation with other
relevant organizations, such as FAO.

62. In order to gain better understanding on the impact of the internalization
of environmental costs on competitiveness and trade earnings, particularly in
developing countries, UNCTAD is invited to carry out an analytical study on the
relationship of environmental protection to international competitiveness, job
creation and development, with the input of Governments, regional economic
integration organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations
as well as other relevant regional and international organizations.

63. The Commission invites UNCTAD and UNEP in cooperation with the World Trade
Organization, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and
other relevant international organizations to analyse how transparency and
international cooperation could be strengthened with respect to product-specific
policies, in particular to eco-labelling and certain packaging and recycling
requirements, so as to avoid or mitigate adverse trade effects, including
through the provision of technical assistance to developing countries and
countries with economies in transition and other measures aimed at facilitating
their exports.

64. The Commission recognizes that eco-labelling and recycling requirements
must be transparent and should take into account the special situation and needs
of the developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The
Commission encourages UNCTAD and UNEP, in cooperation with other relevant
international organizations, to continue to explore the scope for mutual
recognition among eco-labelling schemes on the basis of environmental
equivalencies or appropriately high levels of environmental protection.

65. The Commission invites UNCTAD and UNEP, in cooperation with UNDP,
international financial institutions (IFIs) and other international 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 how positive
measures can assist those countries in meeting their obligations under the
agreements.

66. With respect to eco-labelling and environment-friendly products, the
Commission invites multilateral and bilateral development institutions to
provide technical assistance, as appropriate, to developing countries and
countries with economies in transition in order to facilitate their
participation in international work on eco-labelling and environment-friendly
products carried out by ISO and other relevant international organizations.

67. The Commission invites the joint UNEP/UNCTAD programme to carry out further
work, in cooperation with UNDP and other relevant international organizations,
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. Such work
should take into account the different elements mentioned in paragraph 33 of the
1994 Commission on Sustainable Development decision.

68. The Commission notes the ongoing work of OECD on trade and environment and
encourages it to submit the results of its work to the Commission on Sustainable
Development.

69. The Commission encourages Governments to develop or strengthen processes to
assess the environmental effects of trade policies, enhance coordination between
environmental and trade policies, including cooperation between environmental
and trade officials in the policy development process, and promote transparency
and openness to the public in these processes.

70. The Commission encourages cooperation and exchange of experiences among
countries to develop and strengthen environmental protection laws and programmes
in the pursuit of the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment.

71. The Commission encourages international organizations, Governments and the
business community, and non-governmental organizations, to promote the
implementation of trade and sustainable development principles consistent with
Agenda 21.

72. The Commission reiterates the importance of achieving transparency,
openness and the active involvement of the public and experts in relation to
work on trade and environment.


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