Decisions by Topic: Institutional Arrangements
Commission on Sustainable Development
[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
(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.

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