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Decisions: 15th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Commission on Sustainable Development

41. No agreement was reached on measures for Africa but countries supported the
need to implement the priority actions for African countries, including: provision of
affordable and environmentally sound energy services, infrastructure development,
improvement in air pollution and data collection and observation capabilities, and
adaptation to impacts of climate change, such as drought and desertification; and
strengthening financial and technical assistance and resources to support the
implementation of Africa?s agreed programmes of action, and regional
implementation and support in implementing plans on science and technology,
disaster risk reduction and hydropower development.


25. Air pollution was seen as having serious adverse impacts on the quality of life, in particular on human health, the environment and the economy. Therefore an integrated approach to tackle both indoor and outdoor air pollution that took into account the related environmental, economic and social consequences was needed. Mitigation efforts should be better integrated into national development planning processes. Indoor air pollution from traditional biomass cooking and heating was a poverty-related issue whose effects were most strongly felt by women and children at the household/local level, particularly in developing countries. Industry and various forms of transportation might contribute significantly to air pollution.

26. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on a number of issues on which delegations agreed ad referendum, such as the need to accelerate the transition from inefficient utilization of biomass to cleaner energy sources, technology, and appliances for cooking and heating; develop strategies for sustainable urban and land-use planning; promote the establishment of country and regional air quality standards; improve control of emissions through the establishment of emission limit values from different sources to mitigate air pollution; improve urban air quality through utilization of cleaner fuels and technologies; promote less polluting public and mass transport systems; encourage the switch to more fuel and energy-efficient vehicles; encourage improved inspection and maintenance requirements for vehicles; improve fuel and vehicle efficiency and the use of technologies that reduce emissions; improve information on sources and health impacts of indoor air pollution; improve collection, compilation and analysis of data; provide financial and other resources to support programmes that address adverse health impacts and increase successful approaches and best practices and partnerships to reduce indoor air pollution.

27. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text also includes actions on a number of issues which delegations agreed ad referendum were needed in order to strengthen regional, subregional and international cooperation for improved air quality and control of transboundary air pollution, as well as encourage the sharing, on a voluntary basis, of regional and subregional experiences that address transboundary air pollution; increase cooperation on collection, management, and dissemination of sound and updated scientific data; promote policies to reduce air pollution, the use of ozone-depleting substances and improve air quality; implement multilateral environmental agreements; ratify or accede to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its amendments; address illegal traffic in ozone-depleting substances under the framework of the Montreal Protocol; strengthen systematic observation of the Earth?s atmosphere by means of satellite, aerial and in situ monitoring systems; phase out the remaining use of leaded gasoline, work to reduce sulphur content in fuels; and support, as appropriate, international monitoring programmes.


28. Climate change was recognized as a global sustainable development challenge with strong social, economic and environmental dimensions. The recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change regarding the impacts of climate change on sustainable development were seen by many as a cause for concern. Climate change impacts all countries but was noted to be particularly severe for developing countries, especially African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States, which were particularly vulnerable, given their exposure and inadequate means and limited capacities to adapt to its effects. Noting the contribution of human activities to climate change, countries highlighted the need for urgent attention and further action by the international community, in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, recognizing that social and economic development and poverty eradication were the overriding priorities for developing countries. The Framework Convention was the key instrument for addressing climate change. Deliberations by the Commission on Sustainable Development were meant to complement and support, not duplicate, the work of the Framework Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.

29. A critical point of difference between countries concerned which issues were best left to discussion within the Framework Convention and which could be taken up by the Commission on Sustainable Development. Points where agreement could not be reached included calling particular attention to principle 7 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development concerning common but differentiated responsibilities, discussing possible commitments under the Framework Convention, making reference to arrangements after 2012, identifying new and additional financial resources for mitigating climate change, referencing the provision of technical and financial resources to developing countries in each policy bullet, developing insurance schemes by developed countries for minimizing impacts of climate change on developing countries, making reference to sustainable production and consumption patterns and enhancing dialogue between the Kyoto Protocol and Montreal Protocol on ozone-depleting substances that were also greenhouse gases.

30. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on a number of issues on which delegations agreed ad referendum, such as continuing support to developing countries, including through provision of financial and technical assistance, particularly to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, to address their climate change adaptation challenges and priorities; supporting early warning, risk management and disaster reduction and response measures for developing countries; integrating lessons learned and experiences derived from disaster risk reduction activities into adaptation measures; supporting the efforts of developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and promoting the sustainable management, conservation and enhancement of carbon sinks and reservoirs.

31. The importance of meeting all the commitments and obligations under the Framework Convention, in accordance with Convention principles, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and achieving the ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, was stressed by many countries, although as noted above, there was objection by some countries to making particular reference to common but differentiated responsibilities in that context.

32. There was broad agreement on the development and dissemination of advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil fuels, energy efficiency and renewable energies, such as hydro, geothermal, wind, bioenergy, such as biofuels, solar, hydrogen and other new and renewable energy sources, and technologies that contributed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, including through private sector involvement, market-oriented approaches and supportive public policies and international cooperation.

33. There was a widely shared acceptance of the continuing need to explore the technical and economic feasibility and environmental soundness of new and emerging technologies, such as carbon capture and storage and other emission reduction technologies for fossil fuel sources, although some countries expressed continuing concern about the maturity and feasibility of such technologies.

34. There was also broad agreement on moving towards a longer-term strategy and a comprehensive response to climate change by promoting sustainable economic growth, accelerating the transition to a lower greenhouse-gas-emitting economy, and enhancing adaptive capacities and response measures to cope with the impacts of climate change.

35. There was general agreement on the importance of increasing community resilience to climate-change-related disasters by protecting natural resources and the conservation of ecosystems and the services they provided, through activities such as conservation and restoration of mangroves and coral reefs, reforestation and rangeland rehabilitation, and protection of coastal areas and marine resources, including fish stocks, and integrated water resources management, and the need to enhance and support efforts in that regard, in particular in developing countries.

36. Discussions of regional, subregional and international cooperation on climate change included references to enhancing international support to establish and/or strengthen regional climate observation systems and networks; strengthening international support to enhance national institutional capacities in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition for their effective participation in the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation processes; strengthening existing funding mechanisms for adaptation activities; strengthening North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation in research, development and demonstration initiatives and enhancing dialogue on ozone-depleting substances that were also greenhouse gases.


9. It was recognized that energy was crucial for sustainable development, poverty eradication and achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, and that achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and implementation of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation must be urgently and substantially accelerated. It was generally acknowledged that access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services was crucial, particularly for developing countries. There was general acceptance of the need to further diversify energy supply by developing advanced, cleaner, more efficient, affordable and cost-effective energy technologies, including advanced and cleaner fossil fuel technologies and renewable energy technologies.

10. There was considerable discussion on the issue of fossil fuels and their role in the energy mix. While it was emphasized that fossil fuels would continue to play a dominant role in the energy supply for decades to come, some countries stressed that every effort should be made to diversify the energy mix, giving far greater attention to rapidly increasing the share of renewable energy in the mix.

11. While a number of countries stressed the need to substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources with the objective of increasing its contribution to total energy supply, they also wanted to go beyond simply recognizing the role of national and voluntary regional targets and initiatives, and to establish time-bound targets in that regard. The mention of time-bound targets proved to be one of the areas in which agreement could not be reached.

12. Mention was made of the development of carbon capture and storage and enhanced oil recovery technologies, with developed countries accelerating their development in contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

13. Many countries stressed the need for making greater use of effective policy tools to ensure that energy policies were supportive of developing country efforts to eradicate poverty and to integrate diversified energy policies into national sustainable development strategies, poverty reduction strategies and national development plans.

14. The use of improved market signals, removing market distortions, restructuring taxation and phasing out harmful subsidies, where they existed, taking into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries, was seen as promoting energy systems compatible with sustainable development while minimizing possible adverse impacts on countries? development.

15. The need to accelerate access to sustainable energy services to the poor, including sustainable rural electrification programmes, in particular in rural and remote areas in developing countries, including least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States and African countries was widely recognized, as well as the need to adopt incentives to encourage increased investment by the public and private sectors in order to provide sustainable, improved energy services and infrastructure, particularly for the poor, in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, with special attention to women.

16. It was recognized that greater energy efficiency would require efforts to accelerate the development, dissemination and deployment of more efficient energy technologies, with particular attention to increasing efficiency and productivity in the power and heat sectors, through better utilization of generation capacities, co generation, lowering energy transmission losses, demand management, fuel switching, heat recovery, interconnection or national electricity grids, the establishment of power pools and greater electricity trade. That would include promoting energy efficiency policies and programmes at the national level, including energy auditing schemes and certification, system optimization, appliance and equipment performance and labels for products used in residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

17. Promoting and strengthening energy efficiency building codes and encouraging financial and technical support for improving insulation, lighting and natural ventilation in public, residential and commercial buildings, including the integration of energy efficiency into public procurement policies and procedures, as well as increasing efficiency in the industrial sector, including oil and gas extraction, processing, storage, loading, dispensing and transport, and reducing gas flaring and venting was stressed.

18. Some countries proposed initiating a process that would lead to an international agreement on energy efficiency that could cover issues such as sharing information, research, regulatory cooperation, education, training and finance. Other countries wished only to promote international cooperation on those issues. No consensus could be reached on initiating a formal agreement process.

19. A number of countries favoured including a reference to nuclear energy as an energy source capable of meeting energy security needs while reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Others were reluctant to open the issue, noting that the reference in the decision of the Commission at its ninth session was still relevant, and that the text under discussion referred to cleaner and advanced energy technologies which, in the view of some, included nuclear energy. Many countries expressed concern about nuclear safety issues and management of radioactive wastes, although an improvement in those areas, in recent years, was noted.

20. While there was recognition of the desirability of a specific review of energy issues within the context of the Commission in the coming years, there was considerable divergence regarding who, how, when and in what detail such a review should be conducted. Some were of the view that one or two days in 2010 and 2014 should be devoted to the monitoring and follow-up of the implementation of decisions on energy for sustainable development and the means of implementation. Other countries proposed more formal and detailed review arrangements, but no decision could be reached on undertaking such a review or its modalities.

21. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on a number of issues which delegations agreed ad referendum were needed to enhance regional, subregional and international cooperation, such as increasing energy access in urban, rural and remote areas; facilitating resource mobilization, and enhancing energy availability and efficiency; supporting implementation of energy policies in the framework of national sustainable development strategies; developing and deploying renewable energy technologies and advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil fuel technologies; strengthening initiatives on bioenergy, including biofuels; implementing national and regional energy efficiency programmes, including investment in, and the transfer of, modern energy efficiency technologies; strengthening Partnerships for Sustainable Development of the Commission on Sustainable Development secretariat; strengthening cooperation between national and regional energy institutions; encouraging regional and international financial institutions to expand, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to continue its support for energy efficiency, energy saving, renewable energy and advanced energy technologies; cooperating in the field of generation, transmission and distribution of energy; supporting national efforts to adopt standards and labelling for energy-efficient appliances and consumer equipment; improving energy production and transport infrastructure, including pipeline, transmission and distribution facilities; improving the functioning, transparency and information related to energy markets, and enhancing regional and international dialogue and understanding between energy producing and consuming countries.


22. There was recognition that industrial development was crucial for economic growth, eradicating poverty and employment creation, as well as the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Managing the natural resource base in a sustainable and integrated manner was essential for sustainable development. Increasing resource-use efficiency and enhancing technological innovation offered opportunities to reduce costs and increase competitiveness and employment, as well as to delink economic growth and environmental degradation. In that regard, the role of business and industry was important. International financing and technology cooperation and transfer were important to developing countries and their businesses and industries to facilitate adoption of cleaner, more efficient technologies. Industrial development was closely linked to the further integration of developing countries and countries with economies in transition into the global economy.

23. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on issues on which delegations agreed ad referendum, such as creating an enabling environment for sustainable industrial development; enhancing domestic environmental governance; adopting improved environmental management practices and environmentally sound technologies; enhancing the mobilization of technical and financial resources for basic infrastructure; supporting technological upgrading for sustainable industrial development; enhancing efficient and sustainable use by industry of natural resources and energy; strengthening business capacity for small and medium-sized enterprises; promoting sustainable tourism, including ecotourism; improving social and environmental performance through voluntary innovative management and reporting practices; enhancing voluntary public-private corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability; promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production by all countries, and promoting effective voluntary business and consumer actions in order to enhance sustainable consumption and production.

24. Discussion on subregional, regional and international cooperation included consideration of actions, agreed ad referendum, on the need to encourage continued international efforts to support developing countries in building capacities for environmental impact assessments; pursue progress in the field of sustainable consumption and production patterns through full commitment to the Marrakech process; improve market access for products of importance to developing countries by reducing or, as appropriate, eliminating tariffs, including the reduction or elimination of tariff peaks and tariff escalation as well as non-tariff barriers; work towards the successful completion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations; support trade-related capacity-building in developing countries; support technology transfer on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed; strengthen North-South, South-South and triangular technology cooperation, and promote and disseminate activities relating to trade and investment opportunities in developing countries, including small island developing States.


37. Many countries stressed the importance of taking an integrated approach to the four thematic issues, addressing in a balanced way the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development to enhance effectiveness, influence lifestyle changes and assist in the realization of complementary and mutually reinforcing policy options and actions. Cross-cutting issues needed to be mainstreamed into policy approaches, programmes and development cooperation activities, including through public participation and in particular a strong role of women in decision-making. The means of implementation were critical to turning commitments into actions.

38. The Chairperson?s proposed decision text includes actions on a number of issues on which delegations agreed ad referendum, such as ensuring that energy, industry, air pollution/atmosphere and climate change plans and policies are integrated into national sustainable development strategies, and other policy frameworks; strengthening good governance at all levels, in both the public and private sectors; implementing the global partnership for development and enhancing the momentum generated by the 2005 World Summit; promoting North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation; building partnerships and voluntary initiatives with all relevant stakeholders and major groups; creating an enabling environment for investment; encouraging private international financial flows and public-private partnerships; facilitating greater flows of foreign direct investment; ensuring that investment and trade policies are non-discriminatory; working towards an early conclusion and development-oriented outcome of the Doha Round of trade negotiations; advancing and fully implementing the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building; reaffirming the importance of achieving the goal of universal primary education by 2015; enhancing gender mainstreaming in all areas of sustainable development; integrating health concerns including those of the most vulnerable populations into strategies, policies and programmes and recognizing and utilizing as appropriate the knowledge and experience of the nine major groups identified in Agenda 21.

39. While the meeting was unable to reach a full consensus on all the means of implementation, critical elements in all four thematic areas included the need to mobilize financial resources, from both the public and private sectors, increase official development assistance (ODA), microcredit and innovative funding for renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner fossil fuels and other energy; create a positive investment climate at all levels to attract private capital; encourage transfer and dissemination of cleaner energy technologies, including advanced, cleaner fossil fuel technologies; increase investments and strengthen public/private partnerships in research and development (R and D); promote foreign direct investment (FDI) for the development of the resource base; encourage international financial institutions to increase their funding in developing countries; encourage investment in new and more efficient production facilities and products; strengthen investment in capacity-building; enhance access to credit, including microfinancing, by small-scale entrepreneurs; build capacity for monitoring, construction and updating of emissions inventories; promote the development, demonstration and deployment of technologies for adaptation and mitigation, and build capacity for research on climate change impacts and training for technical capabilities, particularly in developing countries.

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