Resolution 1292 (2002)1
World Summit on Sustainable Development:
ten years after Rio
1. Since the
First United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm
in 1972, the environment and its position in relation to economic
development have given much cause for concern and a growing awareness of the
problem has developed. This was reflected in the united and committed stance
adopted by the countries participating in the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which favoured a more
determined approach to increased international co-operation.
2. The Rio
conference had the merit of providing the international community with a
newly-defined framework for study, according to which real sustainable
development should take the form of an integrated approach of action
combining economic and social development and the protection of resources,
in a spirit of equality and solidarity of purpose. Nearly ten years later,
however, on the eve of the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(Johannesburg, 26 August-4 September 2002), the state of our planet is
no less alarming, and the results of the undertakings given in Rio de
Janeiro have been, to say the least, disappointing.
Climate change is one of the gravest challenges to sustainable
development, the health and well-being of humanity and the global economy,
and necessitates the implementation of a co-ordinated world strategy by the
international community. It was in response to this particular challenge
that the United Nations drew up the Framework Convention on Climate Change
and the Kyoto Protocol. The conventions primary aim is the stabilisation
of greenhouse gases at safe levels, whilst setting specific objectives for
reducing gas emissions in the countries with the highest levels.
4. On 17 June
2002, 186 states are parties to the framework convention, 84 have signed the
Kyoto Protocol and 74 have ratified it (including only 24 Council of
Europe member states), which only accounts for 35.8% of emissions. However,
before the protocol can enter into force it must be ratified by 55
countries, which would account for 55% of industrialised countries carbon
dioxide emissions at 1990 levels.
disappointing is the fact that President George Bush announced that the
United States of America now no longer intends to comply with the Kyoto
Protocol, despite the fact that America, the worlds largest economic
power, is responsible for over 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, even
though its inhabitants number only 5% of the worlds population.
6. Such an
about-face by the USA and its withdrawal from the Kyoto mechanisms continue
to cause legitimate concern amongst the international community, which
believes the protocol to be the first worldwide practical measure to combat
7. In spite of
this regrettable unilateral decision, efforts made at the recent conferences
of the parties and elsewhere have resulted in an agreement establishing an
international regulatory framework to make the Kyoto mechanisms operational,
allowing all the signatory states to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and to define
and implement their national action plans.
Consequently, it is important that the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by
as many states as possible, enough at the very least to ensure its entry
into force, should be a powerful political signal sent to the Johannesburg
must nevertheless continue with the United States, the World Trade
Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the
developing countries (particularly China, India and Indonesia) with a view
to consultation on emission reduction policies and, in particular,
multilateral programmes for the transfer of clean technologies and fuel
efficiency know-how towards the developing countries.
Parliamentary Assembly, the European Parliament and others are aware in this
context of the role that can be played by multilateral parliamentary bodies
and national parliaments. This has already been reflected in the spirit of
co-operation and support for the Kyoto Protocol in many parliaments and in
particular at the last conference of the parties, held in Marrakech in
November 2001, at which a round table, organised jointly by the
Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament, was very successful.
Assembly welcomes the decision, taken in co-operation with the European
Parliament, to organise a further round table for parliamentarians at the
Johannesburg Summit to discuss its main issues, in particular those relating
to sustainable development. This initiative will provide the opportunity to
significantly step up parliamentary co-operation on this important issue and
should allow the coherency of actual policies and current trends in the
signatory states with the protocols aims to be monitored.
12. In the same
spirit, the Assembly called upon the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to
ensure that the topic reaches a broader geographic audience, so as to secure
a united and committed approach amongst parliamentarians.
Assembly asks its own and the IPUs national delegations as well as
national parliaments to closely follow up the process of ratification of the
Kyoto Protocol in their own countries and to ensure that it is completed
before September 2002. It calls on the national delegations to help
guarantee coherency between their countries political, economic and
budgetary choices and industrial, energy and transport policies and the
commitments entered into on signing the protocol. It also asks the countries
which have not signed the protocol to work on reducing emissions.
Assembly further asks all parliamentarians present at the Johannesburg
Summit to take part in the parliamentary round table to be organised by the
Assembly and the European Parliament.
Assembly debate on 26 June 2002 (21st Sitting) (see Doc. 9481,
report of the Committee on the Environment and Agriculture, rapporteur: Mr
by the Assembly on 26 June 2002 (21st Sitting).