AS SECOND COMMITTEE BEGINS CONSIDERATION OF ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, SPEAKERS
NEW YORK, 29 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) began its consideration of environment and sustainable development this morning with general discussions on preparations for the World Summit for Sustainable Development, to be held from 2-11 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In an introductory statement, the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Nitin Desai, said that the main challenge before Member States now was to crystallize the broad objectives of sustainable development into a concrete agenda for Johannesburg. The Summit would lack credibility if it did not produce real and practical steps for development. In that regard, there was a need to implement the "three P’s" leading up to the Summit -- political will, practical steps and partnership.
Adnan Amin, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), introducing the report of the UNEP Governing Council on the work of its 21st session, said the Council had concentrated on providing concrete guidance, from an environmental policy perspective, on developing a road map to Johannesburg. The Summit provided an opportunity for the international community to critically examine the new systemic environmental challenges which, if not addressed adequately, could endanger the future stability of the world’s development path.
[The Summit will review the implementation of Agenda 21 -– the programme of action adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro.]
Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, Iran’s representative firmly believed that the Summit should aim at removing the obstacles impeding the implementation of the Rio commitments, and provide the developing world with adequate financial and technological support. It should arrive at concrete measures with a specific timetable for their implementation. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which was as relevant now as when it was enunciated at Rio, should continue to be the guiding principle for the Summit’s deliberations.
The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, highlighted the need to mobilize local authorities in preparing for Johannesburg. Not only had local authorities launched over 1800 Local Agenda 21 initiatives throughout the world but they had as much power, and sometimes more, to promote sustainable development as did national authorities. They had the necessary expertise for ensuring that the essential urban and local dimension of sustainable development was adequately taken into account.
The United States would like to see the Summit encourage the strengthening of domestic institutions and promote the enhancement of capacity building, both of which were essential to the achievement of the international community's shared goals, its representative said. Institution building and capacity building required partnerships among governments, civil society and the private sector. The Summit should focus attention on the need to build such partnerships.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Indonesia, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, Egypt, Cuba, Japan, Morocco, Bangladesh, Norway, New Zealand and Nigeria.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its consideration of environment and sustainable development. Following general discussions, it also plans to hold a panel discussion of regional perspectives on the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to begin its consideration of environment and sustainable development.
Before the Committee is the report of the Secretary-General on products harmful to health and the environment (document A/56/115/Corr.1-E/2001/92/Corr.1), which states that the question of the exchange of information on banned hazardous chemicals and unsafe pharmaceutical products was first considered by the General Assembly at its thirty-fourth session in 1979. In 1982, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption and/or Sale Have Been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or Not Approved by Governments, on the basis of work already being undertaken within the United Nations system.
In 1984, the Assembly decided that an updated Consolidated List should be issued annually, and that the data should be made available to Governments and other users through direct computer access to it. The format of this List has been kept under continued review. The present report, covering the sixth triennial review of the List, provides an overview of major developments since 1998 regarding harmful products and their effects on human health and the environment. It also makes proposals on the possible impact of these developments on the format, content and coverage of the List and indicates changes that may affect its production and distribution.
Among other things, the report recommends that the Economic and Social Council consider publishing each of the two issuances of the List –- pharmaceuticals and chemicals –- in all official languages. Also, the Council may wish to recommend that multilateral and bilateral agencies continue to strengthen and coordinate their activities for improving capacity-building of developing and least developed countries, including innovative methodologies for earmarking, assessing and monitoring technical assistance in the area of sound management of toxic chemicals and dangerous pharmaceuticals.
Also before the Committee is the report of the Secretary-General on the status of preparations for the International Year of Freshwater, 2003 (document A/56/189), prepared by the Subcommittee on Water Resources, which is serving as the coordinating entity for the Year. The report provides proposals on the institutional framework of the preparations for the Year and describes some of the international and national activities that could be carried out in connection with it. It also indicates activities that lie ahead in the period leading up to 2003, and makes some suggestions as to how to link them with ongoing and future events.
One of the next important steps, according to the report, is to develop further the strong water resource links between entities of the United Nations system, Governments, the private sector and civil society. A key meeting for further discussions on possible theme, funding, expected outcomes and division of labour was the twenty-second session of the Subcommittee in September.
Also before the Committee is the Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (A/56/25). The report discusses the Council’s activities at its twenty-first session, which was held from 5 to 9 February 2001 at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi. Addressing that session, the Secretary-General stated that current responses to the challenges of environmental sustainability were inadequate and there was an urgent need to give such issues higher priority. He singled out poverty as one of the causes of ecological crises, and stressed the need for a strong, financially secure institutional architecture through which the world could develop a coherent international environmental policy.
According to the report, the Council adopted a number of decisions on such topics as: land degradation, mercury assessment, lead in gasoline, biosafety, atmosphere, coral reefs, global
The Committee also had before it the report of the Commission on Sustainable Development acting as the preparatory committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (A/56/19). The report covers the organizational session held from 30 April to 2 May 2001. Among its actions, the preparatory committee adopted a resolution regarding progress in the preparatory activities. The preparatory committee also decided to hold its second session from 28 January to 8 February 2002 in New York, its third session from 25 March to 5 April 2002 also in New York and its fourth and final preparatory session from 27 May to 7 June 2002 in Indonesia.
Also before the Committee is a report of the Secretary-General on Progress in preparatory activities for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (A/56/379). It states that a number of organizations of the United Nations system have actively engaged in preparatory activities at all levels for the Summit, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2 to 11 September.
Among other actions, UNEP, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the regional commissions have been active partners in preparing for the regional and subregional meetings. In addition, the Secretariat is exploring possibilities for holding global thematic round tables that will focus on issues of a global nature. The round tables will be held prior to the Summit and their results will be transmitted to the Preparatory Committee. Currently efforts are under way to finalize the themes, dates and venues of the round tables.
The report adds that, to facilitate the work of the Preparatory Committee, the Secretariat is in the process of preparing and updating country profiles based on national reports submitted to the Commission on Sustainable Development since 1993. The profiles provide an overview of the implementation of Agenda 21 at the country level on an issue-by-issue basis. Also, as of 31 August, over 40 Member States had notified the Secretariat of the establishment of national preparatory committees or similar mechanisms to coordinate national preparations for the Summit. Those committees were expected to undertake national assessments, raise awareness and mobilize support at the local and national levels.
Under-Secretary-General NITIN DESAI, Director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the first Preparatory Committee meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development was essentially an organizational meeting. Preparations so far had been in the form of regional meetings; the next would occur at the end of November in Cambodia. Those regional meetings were meant to contribute to the main Preparatory Committee whose first substantive meeting would be in January. The challenge before Member States now was to crystallize the broad objectives of sustainable development into a concrete agenda for Johannesburg. The Committee’s discussions on the topic would be the global launch of the Summit process. He was looking for the views of the Committee, freely expressed.
He added that the record of the past decade would be a source of some disappointment. While there had been some progress, especially in the area of poverty alleviation, there was not as much progress as the international community would have liked. The key factor was that the human race was placing demands on the world’s ecosystem that were 25 per cent higher than the planet could support. There was no indication that there had been any improvement on that issue. That could not be treated as just an environmental problem. There were many dimensions to the problem, one of which was the creation of sustainable livelihoods and the eradication of poverty. However, poverty would not be addressed unless the world addressed the degradation of land and resources in areas where the poor live. Anti-poverty programmes must include a land rehabilitation component.
An important element involved addressing the impact of humans on nature, he said. The scale and depth of that impact meant that it was no longer possible to take piecemeal decisions. There was a need for an ecosystem-wide approach to address the entire environment in an integrated manner. In doing that, there was also a need to devise technological answers and how technologies could be used in the sustainable development process. Much of what would be said on programmatic issues would lack credibility without effective measures for technological transformation.
The Summit would also lack credibility if it did not produce real and practical steps for development, he said. In that regard, there was also need for political will and partnership. Those that had a direct impact on natural resources, such as the private sector, needed to be actively involved in the process. There was therefore a need to implement the "three P’s": political will, practical steps and partnership.
ADNAN AMIN, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) New York Office, introduced the report of the UNEP Governing Council on the work of its 21st session. He said the Council concentrated on providing concrete guidance, from an environmental policy perspective, on developing the road map to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. In doing that, the Governing Council was aware that the Summit provided an opportunity for the international community to critically examine the new systemic environmental challenges, which, if not addressed adequately, could endanger the future stability of the world’s development path.
He said the Governing Council had defined a challenging work programme for UNEP. He was strongly encouraged by the widespread participation of governments, civil society, the academic community and the private sector in the preparatory process. The overall conclusion was that, while some work had been done on the implementation of Agenda 21, so much more needed to be undertaken. In that regard there was a strong desire for concrete outcomes covering several fundamental areas that cut across all regions.
Living up to the expectations that the international community had placed on the Summit depended on its ability to address a number of important questions, he said. Among those questions, the Summit must address how to alleviate the poverty of the majority while bringing consumption patterns to a sustainable level for the minority living in industrialized parts of the world. Also, how could compliance with multilateral environmental agreements be ensured? How could the environment and trade and development agenda be made mutually supportive? How could political will be raised to create a strengthened institutional structure for international environmental governance? Lastly, the Summit must address how nations could develop and achieve new goals in support of the values of the Millennium Declaration.
NASROLLAH KAZEMI KAMYAB (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, believed the Summit should aim at the removal of obstacles impeding the implementation of the Rio commitments and provide, in particular, the developing world with adequate financial and technological support. The Summit should arrive at concrete measures with a specific timetable for their implementation. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, which was as relevant now as when it was enunciated at Rio, should continue to be the guiding principle for the deliberations of the Summit.
At the international level, there was an urgent need to launch a comprehensive and productive public information campaign aimed at raising global awareness so as to ensure broad international support at all levels and the active participation of officials at the highest level possible in the Summit and its preparatory processes. In that regard, steps should be initiated at the United Nations to ensure a successful outcome of the Summit.
Meanwhile, he requested clarification on the proposal of the Secretariat, contained in the report, concerning the global thematic round table, its objectives, participants, and its relation with the Summit’s preparatory committee. He also sought more explanation on the role, mandate and the relation of the panel of eminent persons and the special envoy, appointed by the Secretary-General, with the Summit and its preparatory process.
Turning to the report of the UNEP Governing Council, he drew attention to the ongoing discussions on International Environmental Governance (IEG), where the Group had been deeply engaged. The proper and overall context for the IEG was sustainable development. It was only within that broad conceptual framework that the delicate balance among the three pillars of sustainable development could be ensured. While he agreed with the necessity to strengthen UNEP, he also believed that the Commission on Sustainable Development, as a unique forum for high-level policy dialogue on sustainable development, should also be strengthened.
STEPHANE DE LOECKER (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta, said that the question of financing sustainable development was crucial. The mobilization of resources at the national and international level had proved to be very uneven, and globally inadequate to enable the ambitious undertakings in the vast Agenda 21 programme to be implemented. An enabling environment at the national level was based on a sound macro-economic framework and on good governance. Countries should try to achieve pro-poor economic growth, which entailed the implementation of policies and programmes designed to create opportunities for the poorest sectors.
Private capital flows had provided new and additional resources for the benefit of sustainable development, but had focused on just a few sectors and a few countries, he continued. They must be used to serve a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable globalization. It was also necessary to highlight the private sector’s responsibilities in promoting sustainable development. In that regard, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s Global Compact initiative, which aimed at involving major multinational companies in the promotion of human rights, improvement of workers’ conditions and the environment.
Regarding the Johannesburg Summit, he said it was crucial to mobilize local authorities well in advance. Not only had local authorities launched over 1800 Local Agenda 21 initiatives throughout the world, but it was a fact that large towns, regional and federal bodies often had as much or more power to promote sustainable development as national authorities did. An important chapter of Agenda 21 was devoted to sustainable human settlements and the recognition of local authorities as "major groups" which should be involved in promoting sustainable development. It was the local authorities which had the necessary expertise for ensuring that the essential urban and local dimension of sustainable development was taken into account adequately.
T.M. HAMZAH THAYEB (Indonesia) said that, to facilitate better preparations for the Summit and to ensure successful deliberations, the provisional rules and procedures for the Summit as recommended by the preparatory committee should be endorsed without delay by the General Assembly. The Assembly should also give a mandate to the preparatory committee to finalize the remaining procedural issues of crucial importance. Furthermore, the preparatory committee and its bureau should be the sole intergovernmental mechanism for the Summit. Also, in addition to the awareness campaign undertaken so far, the role of the Secretary-General in developing a proactive media campaign strategy to mobilize broad support for the process was of critical importance.
He said that the right path to a more sustainable future was through the full implementation of Agenda 21. In that regard, much hard work needed to be done. It was therefore the duty of each and every Member State to work harder and do their best for that endeavour. The active involvement of relevant national ministers responsible for development and financial issues was of critical importance in ensuring concrete implementation of all the Agenda 21 commitments. Developing concrete initiatives at the subregional and regional levels, supported by existing mechanisms, should also be promoted as one of the means to effectively implement sustainable development.
MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) said the absence of an enabling environment at the international level negatively affected national efforts, as the means available to national governments could not cope with the worsening situation in all three aspects of sustainable development -– economic growth, social development and environmental protection. Consequently, in the past decade, economic and social disparities had further widened and ecosystems had remained victims of over-exploitation. Agenda 21, the blueprint for achieving sustainability, was still largely unimplemented even though several meetings had been held to address sectoral issues of sustainable development.
As part of the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the subregional meeting for South Asia, held in Colombo in September, had flagged some areas of concern for the region, which if not addressed urgently were likely to have a universal impact. Those areas included chronic and widespread poverty in the region, uncontrollable population pressure, and dwindling and degrading natural endowments. He added that any attempt to breach the integrity of the three pillars of sustainable development would amount to undoing the efforts of the past decade to implement Agenda 21.
OVIDIU IERULESCU (Romania) said that, for a successful outcome next year, the ongoing preparatory process of the Summit should assess the lessons learned in the implementation of commitments made at the Rio Conference. That process should also identify the remaining obstacles to overcome, focusing on linkages among environment, poverty eradication, sustainable production and consumption patterns. Moreover, new developments on the global level, such as evolutions in the field of telecommunications and information technology, had opened up new challenges for implementation of Agenda 21. That was only one of the many reasons representatives of the private sector should be involved in the Summit process.
Romania had expressed its interest in environmental matters by ratifying the Rio conventions, including the Kyoto Protocol, he said. In that regard, his country recently hosted some significant events for Central and East Europe. Of particular importance was the Regional Conference for Evaluation of the Rio+10 Process, held in Bucharest in June 2001, and the Summit on Environment and Sustainable Development in the Danube-Carpathian Region, held in Bucharest in April 2001. The Summit was an opportunity to be seized by all stakeholders to renew their commitment to implementation of Agenda 21 in light of the new global economic and environmental circumstances.
E.A. STANISLAVOV (Russian Federation) said that the most important theme of the current session would be the preparations for the World Summit. In that context, his Government had established a national preparatory committee, chaired by the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, to coordinate all the preparatory activities for the Summit at the national level. Effective regional and subregional preparatory processes were of key importance for the high quality preparations for the World Summit. Those events, with the participation of civil society, could make concrete contributions to the elaboration of decisions to be taken in Johannesburg.
He attached great importance to enhancing the effectiveness of UNEP and strengthening it as the key body in the United Nations system in the field of environment. It was in that capacity that UNEP bore a special responsibility for the preparations for Johannesburg. The Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or their Representatives on International Environmental Governance, established by the Governing Council, could become a useful instrument in the search for innovative approaches to improve the quality and effectiveness of UNEP’s work. The Group could also focus efforts on strengthening the complementarities among international instruments related to environment and sustainable development.
IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt) said the report of the Preparatory Committee had provided the terms of reference for the Summit process. Nations should ensure that they abide by those terms of reference in their preparations. The Summit process was now on the radar screen of national governments. He was very proud that the Summit would be held in Africa, particularly because Africa was a continent that had benefited the least from the outcome of the Rio Conference. The Summit process was not an academic exercise –- there should be concrete developments regarding good governance and reform of the international economic and financial systems. It should not be an environmental conference only –- the Summit should address social and political issues as well.
In preparation, he said, all countries should engage in negotiations that were fully transparent, so they could meet next year with a unified voice and an agenda for development. Among the issues that should be addressed at the Summit were trade liberalization and agricultural subsidies. There should also be discussions on creating new and sufficient resources dedicated to the issue of desertification. The Summit should not lead to developing countries’ shouldering the burden of environmental problems. In the Summit process, there should be a real partnership between the North and the South.
MARIA CARIDAD BALAGUER (Cuba) said that the major problems affecting the world’s environment remained unsolved, and developing countries continued to face difficulties in achieving sustainable development. The protection of the environment and sustained economic growth on an environmentally sustainable basis required effective actions elaborated on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries must display a genuine commitment to changing the destructive patterns of production and consumption which had damaged the environment. Also important were sufficient official development assistance (ODA) and access to environmentally sound technologies.
The preparatory process should take into account the need to enhance complementarities among the various international environmental instruments in order to reduce the duplication of work, she said. UNEP and its structures should be strengthened and should continue to be the principal organ of the United Nations system dealing with environmental issues. The Commission on Sustainable Development should also be strengthened and continue to be the political forum in which environmental issues were debated. She hoped it would be possible at the Summit to renew commitments and to set real targets to ensure that developing countries could achieve sustainable development.
JOHN DAVISON (United States) highlighted two important ingredients for successful sustainable development. First, the private sector had a crucial role to play. Globalization had brought increased trade and foreign investment, both of which served as the primary engine of economic growth. Therefore, it made sense that governments worked in partnership with the private sector, which could offer financial, human and technological resources for development.
Secondly, he emphasized the importance of sound institutions, at the international but especially at the domestic level, which created an enabling environment that attracted and retained financial resources. Without a stable domestic foundation, countries could not attract investment, address poverty reduction, protect the environment, ensure social development and secure their citizens’ trust.
He would like to see the Summit encourage the strengthening of domestic institutions and promote the enhancement of capacity building, both of which were essential to the achievement of the international community's shared goals. Institution building and capacity building required partnerships among governments, civil society and the private sector. The Summit should focus attention on the need to build such partnerships.
MASASHI MIZUKAMI (Japan) said that his Government attached great importance to the preparatory process, and had made a financial contribution of $550,000 with the possibility of an additional contribution now under consideration. He highlighted five priority issues at the current stage of preparations for the Summit. First, there was a need to strengthen the political commitment necessary to address global environmental issues.
Secondly, he said, the introduction of market-oriented approaches would contribute to the implementation of Agenda 21 and lead to expanding business opportunities. Thirdly, to attain sustainable development, sufficient thought must be given to socio-economic questions. It was necessary to establish more sustainable modes of production and consumption through the adoption of appropriate policies and measures by governments.
Fourthly, he continued, international environmental governance was one of the key issues to be explored at the Summit. That would entail harnessing the synergies between multilateral environmental agreements and international organizations, whose capacities must be enhanced. Lastly, the Summit was to identify additional problems that the international community now faced but had not yet addressed. Believing that water supply was one of those problems, Japan had decided to host the Third World Water Forum in 2003.
ABDALLAH BEN MELLOUK (Morocco) said that the objectives for the Summit must be clearly established. It should analyze progress made while identifying the obstacles hindering implementation. It should not renegotiate Agenda 21. It was obvious that since Rio the environment had continuously degraded. Globalization and economic growth meant that the international community had to double its efforts to ensure environmental protection. The Summit should address the specific problems faced by developing countries, including the low levels of ODA, the debt burden, lack of access to markets in developed countries and access to environmentally sound technologies. Sustainable development was far broader than simply environmental concerns.
The solution, he said, required honouring the financial commitments made at Rio as well as seeking new resources. The international community should rectify the shortfalls that had prevented economic growth in developing countries, and give thought to the social and environmental impacts of globalization. The private sector also had to play a central role in mobilizing resources to implement Agenda 21. He expressed support for UNEP and the Commission on Sustainable Development.
SHAMEEM AHSAN (Bangladesh) said that achieving sustainable development was a major challenge for developing countries, which could not be attained without maintaining the environment. Growth without environmental conservation and management was a precursor to endangering the delicate balance of the fragile ecosystem, which sustained all forms of life. As a least developed country, Bangladesh was fully aware of the destruction and damage caused by the over-exploitation of natural resources and its negative impact on the ecosystem.
His country was actively involved in the preparatory process leading to the Summit, he said. An institutional structure and base had already been put in place for review and assessment of the status of national implementation of Agenda 21. In that regard, his country had set up the National Environment Management Action Programme, as well as a strategy for the management of natural resources and for disaster management. The Summit was an opportunity to redress the problems and difficulties encountered in implementation of Agenda 21. It should also address the specific concerns of developing countries, including: provision of adequate resources, transfer of technology, and institutional and human capacity building.
GUNNAR H. LINDEMAN (Norway) said that in order for the Summit to succeed, it had to address the main challenges faced in efforts to promote sustainable development. It was necessary to mobilize political will and commitment to making a positive change in the policies and practice of all stakeholders. The sustainable development agenda should be broadened to explicitly address poverty-reduction issues. Poverty eradication was essential for achieving sustainable development and should, therefore, be the main premise when finalizing the agenda for the Summit.
Practical and implementable strategies for sustainable development should be developed before the Summit, he said. If the international community was to succeed in realizing its goals, it must adopt concrete measures. One such goal was to strengthen the international environmental governance setup. The International Environmental Governance process would hopefully lead to a better coordinated and more rational way of determining the global environmental agenda. UNEP’s role should be strengthened to facilitate the establishment of linkages and synergies between such key issues as climate change, biodiversity and desertification, and cross-cutting issues such as compliance and liability regimes, capacity building, technology transfer and information sharing.
HINE-WAI LOOSE (New Zealand) said her country had a number of priorities and concerns that should be addressed by the Summit, and those concerns were shared by the Pacific Island States and Australia. They included such issues as: oceans; natural resources –- including new initiatives on freshwater and the protection of indigenous practices and knowledge; climate change impacts and vulnerability; energy reforms; health initiatives; and capacity building.
She added that Johannesburg must be a turning point at which leaders acknowledge that much more remained to be done. Short-term political and commercial gains should be set aside for the longer-term objective of achieving truly sustainable development. Sustainable development often meant shifting away from current patterns of behaviour that were comfortable and profitable to the present generation. There must be a switch away from damaging unsustainable practices to protect the environment for generations to come.
To achieve long-term sustainability, there were many actions to be taken, she said. Those included improved access to medicines and technologies; reforming markets to achieve sustainable trade, production, energy consumption, fisheries and agriculture; finishing work on improved indicators of progress; and improving multilateral and national governance.
M. K. IBRAHIM (Nigeria) said that the Summit process should be thorough and transparent, highlighting the gains, weaknesses and failures over the last 10 years in implementation of the global agreements reached in Rio. It should also point the way forward. The process should address new and emerging issues within the framework of the implementation of Agenda 21, including the fundamental challenges of financing for development, globalization, market access to developing countries, as well as external debt problems. The Summit should have the courage to tackle the question of negative use of biotechnology, especially in food production, and the threats emanating from uncontrolled use of hazardous chemicals.
He said that the objective evaluation of the implementation of Agenda 21 would, regrettably, come with the verdict that not much had been achieved in the last 10 years. For as long as there was no sufficient flow of financial resources to address fundamental issues of Agenda 21 -- including financial mechanisms, technology transfer and capacity building -– the goals that had been set would be a fleeting illusion. In addition, the review process must align itself with global efforts to find a concrete solution to poverty, if Agenda 21 was going to have any meaning in most developing countries.
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