Summary: 14 May 2010, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by Timo Makela, Delegation of the European Union, at the CSD18 - 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Way Forward: Ministerial Interactive Discussion
Mister Chairman, Your Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
CSD18 was an excellent opportunity to re-visit the core messages on sustainable development.
There has been a repetition of references to the need of additional resources from the international community. We note that many countries emphasised the lack of resources and competencies that stood in the way of effectively implementing a number of positive strategies and measures discussed during the sessions. However others, in particular presenters and panellists, pointed out that many of the measures and policies are low tech, require little additional financial resources and represent "win-win scenarios ", which could bring benefits in the short term and avoid the negative costs of inaction in the long term. I strongly believe that in order to move to a more sustainable path for all, we will need to focus in the upcoming year on these scenarios.
The implementation of related MDGs can be also assisted by integrating the themes into countries overarching sustainable development synergies, poverty reduction strategies and donor countries assistance strategies.
Mr Chairman, Colleagues,
In light of the above, please allow me to highlight some points, which the EU sees as most important messages of the last two weeks and key issues that we need to follow-up during the upcoming IPM and CSD19:
On sustainable consumption and production (SCP), the EU would like to highlight again its full commitment to move the SCP agenda forward, in order to gain benefit for all.
SCP measures have proved to be useful both to make the economy greener and to help poverty eradication at the same time. By doing more and better with less, and making significant changes in our lifestyles, we can improve quality of life throughout our countries, our regions and our communities.
Let me recall here the speeches of the panel members during the SCP Roundtable, rightly stating that the question is not about development or environment, but about choosing "cheap" solutions that only have a short-term span, versus changing our consumption and production patterns for the larger benefit of the whole on the long-term.
Our experience both inside the EU and globally, for example through the SWITCH programme or the Marrakech process, has shown that SCP can do much more than "only" protecting our health and the environment. There are real benefits in changing emphasis and practices, which have been recognised by various developing and emerging economies and more importantly by many small and medium size enterprises, throughout Asia, who greatly benefitted in their everyday life.
Let me also welcome here the work of the International Resource Panel, which has proved to give useful advices to governments on how to move to more efficient resource use. In this sense, we would also like refer to its Report on Metals, launched yesterday, which includes very useful advises on global metal flows and recycling rates.
The need to move to more sustainable paths is also reflected in strategic thinking and published aims of the EU, in particular in SDS Strategies at all levels. In addition, as part of the EU's response to the current economic crisis and a need to plan for an improved future, we recently adopted a 10-year economic strategy called Europe 2020. Resource efficiency has been included as one of the seven flagship initiatives of this Strategy, to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe.
The EU shares the views expressed by the G77 and many others that we need a well structured, transparent intersessional process with a clear and accepted mandate to develop a proposal for a 10-Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP). This should also take into account, inter alia, the experience and results of the Marrakech process on SCP. In this regard we are open to discuss the proposal of the G77 and others on how to take our work forward right after this session in a concrete way.
We need to seize the opportunity to decide at CSD19 on a global framework for SCP, which can contribute to fight poverty in the long-term, while benefiting from all existing policies of SCP, that have been proven to be effective .
On transport, we will need to address, taking into account the sustainable mobility challenges, how to use the long-term potential of transport for improving the standards of living worldwide, and, at the same time, to solve the associated environmental and health problems, especially air pollution and sector specific GHG emissions, in particular by decoupling transport growth and energy demand;
On waste, in light of the so-called waste hierarchy, we will need to identify the best ways for the prevention of waste, followed by recycling, recovery of energy embedded in waste, and disposal as the last resort; as well as ensuring the safe and environmentally sound management of waste in line with high technical standards. We also must continue to combat illegal shipment of waste and focus on the life-cycle approach of products and sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
On mining, we will have to take into account both social and environmental concerns related to the sector, while finding new solutions to do more with less, to increase the health and welfare of people and to reduce pressure on eco-systems. Improving governance and transparency of the income stemming from mining will contribute to a sustainable development of this sector.
On chemicals, the main message on which I believe we should follow up during the IPM and CSD19 is how to ensure sound chemicals management over the whole life-cycle. In order to achieve this, countries should use the SAICM process actively to ensure that the 2020 goal will be met. In this sense, the EU welcomes the successful outcome of the ex-COPS meeting in Bali earlier this year, the results of which contribute to more efficient and effective implementation of the global chemical and waste conventions at national level. However, we also need to stimulate further synergies of international instruments for chemicals.
The EU will continue to actively support addressing the specific difficulties of Small Island Developing States in the context of the upcoming IPM and CSD19, as well as in the context of the 5 year review of the Mauritius Strategy. While Small Island Developing States have largely made progress in formulating and implementing strategies and policies to advance sustainable development, there are still important challenges ahead. Regional efforts must be encouraged and complemented by the international community's response particularly regarding capacity building, technology transfer and the financial resources mobilization. The UE and its Member States supports SIDS in addressing these challenges
And finally, let us not forget: all these discussions will only have been useful if they do result in concrete policy recommendations adopted at CSD 19 next year, notably on further international actions on SCP and in particular the setting up of a 10-year framework of programs on SCP. These policy recommendations can then be the basis of a renewed commitment to action 'on the ground' and will also help us to accomplish the important task set for UNCSD 2012 of greening our economies in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Thank you for your attention.