Doc. 9481

4 June 2002

World Summit on Sustainable Development:
ten years after Rio

Report

Committee on the Environment and Agriculture

Rapporteur Mr Alan Meale, United Kingdom, Socialist Group

Summary

Since the First Earth Summit, held in Stockholm in 1972, the environment and its relationship to economic development has given much cause for concern. Ten years on from the Rio de Janeiro Summit of 1992 and on the eve of the third Summit, to be held in Johannesburg in August-September 2002, little real progress has been made, for example as regards the Kyoto Protocol, even though the Protocol represents the first ever regulated framework to combat both greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

The Johannesburg Summit is almost certainly going to be one of a new inclusive and fresh approach towards gaining commitments from developed nations; it will allow states to take advantage of “globalisation opportunities” with responsibilities.

The Committee on the Environment and Agriculture has been working to establish a parliamentary role in the process and has decided to hold a round table of parliamentarians at the Johannesburg Summit. This round table will not deal solely with the question of climate change, but tackle other issues vital to the sustainable development of the planet that are closely monitored by the committee.

I.       Draft resolution

1.       Since the First Earth Summit, 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 at the Second Earth Summit 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 which reflected on the issue at stake and that real “sustainable development” should take the form of an integrated approach of action combining economic and social development, together with the protection of resources, equality and solidarity of purpose. Nearly ten years later, however, on the eve of the Third Summit (Johannesburg, 26 August – 4 September 2002), the state of our planet is no less alarming, with the results of the undertakings given in Rio de Janeiro, to say the least, disappointing.

3.       Climate change is one of the gravest challenges to sustainable development, the health and well-being of humanity and the global economy, which 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 (CCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The Convention’s 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 31 May 2002, 186 states are Parties to the Framework Convention, 84 have signed the Kyoto Protocol and 55 have ratified it (only 7 Council of Europe member states) accounting for 2.4% of emissions. However, before the Protocol can enter into force, it must be ratified by 55 countries accounting for 55% of industrialised countries’ carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels.

5.       Particularly disappointing is the fact that President George Bush announced that the USA now no longer intends to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, despite the fact that America, the world’s largest economic power, is responsible for over 25% of all greenhouse emissions, even though its people number only 5% of the world’s population.

6.       Such an about-face by the USA and its withdrawal from the Kyoto mechanism continues to cause legitimate concern amongst the international community which believes the Protocol to be the first worldwide practical measure to combat global warming.

7.       In spite of this regrettable unilateral decision, efforts made at the recent Conferences of the Parties (COP) and elsewhere have resulted in an agreement being reached that established 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

8.       It is therefore important that the Johannesburg Summit sends out a powerful political signal to ensure that the Protocol is ratified by as many states as possible, enough at the very least to ensure its entry into force.

9.       Dialogue must nevertheless continue with the United States, World Trade Organisation, 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.

10.       The Assembly, the European Parliament and others are aware in this context of the role which 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 Protocol in many parliaments and in particular at the last Conference of the Parties, held in Marrakesh in November 2001, at which a Round Table, organised jointly by the Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament, was very successful.

11.       The 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 gear up parliamentary co-operation on this important issue and should help monitor the coherency of actual policies and current trends in the signatory states with the Protocol’s aims.

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.

13.       The Assembly asks its own and the IPU’s national delegations as well as national parliaments to closely monitor the process of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in their own countries and to ensure that the process 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.

14.       The 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.

II.       Explanatory memorandum by Mr Meale

Contents

1.       Introduction

1.       Since the First Earth Summit, held in Stockholm in 1972, the environment and its relationship to economic development has given much cause for concern, in particular the need to stabilise levels of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

2.       Indeed, climate change is one of the biggest challenges to be faced in maintaining and ensuring the health and well-being of humanity within a global economy.

3.       Subsequently, the international community, under the guidance of the United Nations, prepared a framework Convention on Climate Change. This was built towards at the Second Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and then introduced as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

4.       The primary aims of the Protocol are the stabilisation of greenhouse gas levels, whilst also setting objectives for reducing gas emissions in those countries with the highest levels.

5.       Today, ten years on from Rio and on the eve of the third World Summit, to be held in Johannesburg in August-September 2002, it has to be said that little real progress has been made in relation to the problems highlighted and undertakings made 10 years ago in Rio.

6.       As regards the Kyoto Protocol for example, while, as of 31 May 2002, 186 countries have agreed to be Party to the Convention, only 84 of them have signed it. Of these, only 55 have ratified it, including a mere 7 Council of Europe member States1, representing just 2.4% of all emissions (Appendix 1). An important factor for the Protocol to come into force is that it be ratified by 55 countries whose emissions account for at least 55% of developed countries’ carbon dioxide emissions, set at 1990 levels.

7.       This may turn out to be a daunting task following USA President George Bush’s decision to refuse to comply with the Protocol, despite the fact that the United States, the world’s largest economic power, is responsible for over 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions, whilst representing only 5% of the world’s population.

8.       In spite of the USA President’s decision, efforts are being made to establish the Kyoto mechanism by reaching the required percentage of international agreements. Although imperfect, it represents the first ever regulated framework to combat both greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

9.       It is therefore extremely important that at the Johannesburg Summit enough nations agree to legitimise its introduction.

10.       To this end, and in the light of the new stance of the American administration, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 1243 (2001) on the Kyoto Protocol on climate change: the need for committed international solidarity and, via its Committee on the Environment and Agriculture, in partnership with members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament, has worked to establish a parliamentary role in the process. An element up until now sadly lacking in the full ambit of “Conferences of the Parties” (COP) meetings and negotiations. In this respect, the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on the Environment and Agriculture has so far taken part in both the Bonn (July 2001) and Marrakech (November 2001) COP meetings, and agreement was reached to hold a round table of parliamentarians at the Johannesburg Summit.

11.       To help this process, the Committee drew up and approved a draft resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly addressed to the 107th IPU Conference (March 2002, Marrakech) (Appendix 2). The IPU subsequently adopted the Resolution "Ten years after Rio: global degradation of the environment and parliamentary support for the Kyoto Protocol" (Appendix 3).

12.       In addition, with a view to preparing the parliamentary Round Table in Johannesburg, it is also foreseen that the action of the Committee on the Environment and Agriculture be co-ordinated with that of its European Parliament counterpart Committee and, in that connection, a joint meeting is scheduled for 10 June 2002.

13.       It has been decided that the Round Table will not deal solely with the question of climate change, but tackle other issues vital to the sustainable development of the planet that are closely monitored by the Committee. The questions to be examined at the Round Table will be decided on in concert with the European Parliament, but it is certain that the two assemblies will wish to consider problems such as water, waste, choices of energy, food etc.

2.       The Johannesburg Summit

14.       The Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development is undoubtedly a key staging post in promoting a better world, following on as it does from the intergovernmental conferences of Doha (world trade) and Monterrey (financing for development). In the months following the September 11th terrorist attacks on the USA, these conferences have offered the almost unprecedented opportunity for international agreements being reached to deliver real changes, particularly ones which could benefit less well-off nations. Indeed, taken together, the three conferences provide a realistic opportunity to build a world coalition to tackle global problems. In particular those concerned with the environment, poverty and economic prosperity.

15.       One should, however, in this context, remind oneself that the culmination of political endeavours toward these ends is to occur in a Third World nation, i.e. South Africa, whose politicised citizens will argue fiercely their own agenda against a range of other nations’ lists of priorities.

16.       Indeed, South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki is renowned throughout continental Africa for his lateral approach towards problem solving, e.g. in his presidential address he called for an “African Renaissance” of spirit and collective endeavour to solve the continent’s problems. It was therefore unsurprising that he should insist upon the theme of “People, Planet and Prosperity” for the Summit in Johannesburg.

17.       The mood of the Johannesburg Conference is thus almost certainly going to be one of a new inclusive and fresh approach towards gaining commitments from developed nations.

18.       In this respect, areas such as domestic social exclusion problems will inevitably be promoted as “common matters of concern”, which can only be cured by broad solutions such as “greater prosperity and security for all”, which inevitably means that the “global coalition against terrorism” will be used as a common negotiative stance by many of the major players, especially countries such as the United Kingdom – and possibly the USA, albeit from hotel suites rather than the conference floor. A difficult scenario for them to accomplish if they remain on the outside of the Summit, especially as the bulk of their overseas aid goes to middle income countries, whose needs will not be paramount to the majority of delegations.

19.       The Conference therefore, although tough, should quickly identify common strands of opinion around themes such as the need to take action now to reduce global inequality and by doing so the risk that life for all of us cannot remain stable.

20.       Similarly, large play will be made at the Summit around the view that globilisation will create unprecedented opportunities to reduce poverty and faster progress towards delivering the Millennium Development Goals (e.g. of eradicating world poverty and providing universal primary education).

21.       However, against this is the fact that because the benefits of globalisation have been unevenly spread, any further progress will depend on political will and on the commitments undertaken by individual governments, whose position on various issues will centre around their abilities to harness the benefits and tackle the difficulties of the agreements sought.

22.       So what are the main themes of those conferences?

Doha offered the opportunity to increase world trade and therefore greater prosperity. The main arguments at this conference were centred around access for developing nations, thereby giving them a greater share of globalisation benefits.

Monterrey focused on lifting the poorest societies out of poverty. For instance, it has been established that at least $50 billion in additional international aid is required to deliver the UN Millennium Development goals to the poorest nations. Estimates vary, however it is generally accepted that at least half of this should be directed towards the African continent.

Johannesburg will be the opportunity to pull these threads together with action on the environment, the central focus being to create truly sustainable development. The Kyoto Protocol will of course lead to a better and healthier world. However, more importantly, via mechanisms such as technology transfer and the Clean Development mechanism, developing countries could benefit directly, financially and environmentally.

23.       Johannesburg will also be the stage set to launch the objective year of 2015 to deliver the UN’s Millennium Development goals, which will incorporate issues such as the eradication of poverty, the provision of universal child education, etc. Good governance will be the key strategy adopted by leading nations in this regard, e.g. to achieve it, countries with effective governments, healthy democracies, proper management of public finances, effective health and education services, fair law enforcement and a free media, have to be created.

      Conclusion

24.       Johannesburg will allow States to take advantage of “globalisation opportunities” with responsibilities. Thus the global coalition against terrorism will be set alongside the war on poverty, hunger and environmental degradation. Prosperity and security at home only being guaranteed by social justice and stability abroad. The general theme being globalisation as a force for good.

3.       The example of climate change

A.       A brief overview

25.       Climate change is potentially the greatest physical threat facing the world during this century. However, it is something which can effectively be combated, provided decisive action is taken by the whole of the international community.

26.       Unfortunately, because of the amount of pollution over recent decades, some major effects are inevitable whatever action is taken now. It is thus essential that individual governments establish strategies for adapting their societies to the changes that will in themselves involve new business and employment opportunities associated with these new challenges.

27.       Evidence that our climate is changing is now generally accepted. Global temperatures have risen by 0.6 °C over the past 100 years. The 1990s being the warmest decade in the northern hemisphere in the past 1000 years. Carbon dioxide levels have risen by over 30% since the industrial revolution. The impact of recent climate changes is witnessed clearly by incidences such as shrinking glaciers, less ice in the Arctic, the loss of and decline in some plant and animal species and early blossoming of botanical species throughout the world.

28.       Indeed, computer models of the changing state of the atmosphere and the oceans that allow for natural variations in climate and solar variability can now describe past climates up to 100 years ago. By including in their analysis the effects of extra carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by industry, transport, agriculture and forest fires, accurate science has proven that these gases are effectively trapping outgoing radiation from the Earth, thereby increasing surface temperatures.

29.       More worrying is the fact that by using the same computer models, scientists now generally agree that global temperatures will rise between 1.5 and 6 °C by the end of this century. The range of degrees is only conditional upon the volume of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted in the future.

30.       Some predictions are extremely worrying, for instance that temperature rises would double in the next hundred years, something without precedent in the past 10,000 years. Others warn that if the Russian permafrost melted it would lead to huge releases of methane into the atmosphere, which in turn would seriously heat up the earth. What is certain, however, is the fact that if no action is taken, there will be a levelling out of temperature at a high level in the next 300 years, which would cause a dramatic reduction in population levels, via increased diseases, natural catastrophes, food and water shortages and environmental blight.

31.       As we all know, changes in climate extremes can and often are costly and damaging to lifestyles and the environment in particular. For example, even modest changes in climate extremes in the United Kingdom would seriously damage coastlines and estuaries with sea rises of 0.5 metres, leading to loss of land and abandonment of some communities. In contrast, in Mediterranean countries, increases in temperatures will inevitably cause the loss of many traditional lifestyles. Similarly, developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable of them, will continue to be particularly affected by the adverse effects of climate change. There would be more flooding in some areas like Bangladesh and further droughts and desertification in Africa and Central Asia. Changes would be widespread with no nation untouched. For instance, in the USA, the central food plains in the mid-west would suffer crop loss. Whilst in Canada the danger is of major natural deforestation of traditional woodlands.

B.       What can be done?

32.       Primarily, emission of greenhouse gases must be reduced by about 40% to prevent the most serious effects. There may be temporary solutions over a few decades by massive tree planting to fix the carbon dioxide, however, as trees die the carbon dioxide is then released again.

33.       The Kyoto Protocol, though limited in scope, represents the best international framework “start” to addressing the problem. Essentially, it will lead to a reduction in emissions of between 2 and 9% by developed countries. This agreement and mechanism was a major political achievement and proof that the international community is capable of joining together to find solutions to common threats.

34.       In conclusion, although the USA has withdrawn its original support for the Kyoto Protocol, the good news is that its Administration has accepted that climate change should be tackled. Indeed, President Bush has recently announced his alternative to the Kyoto Protocol which relies upon the fast track development of technologies and new clean fuel sources. Whilst these developments are welcome, it is doubtful whether the rest of the world will allow the USA to remain the environmental global ostrich for much longer. A factor already recognised by American industry, which is actively engaged and with a global view of the matter.

35.       The key to the success of the Kyoto Protocol is therefore going to be the way in which individual countries respond to its challenge. For it to be successful, they must accept partnerships with other nations along the following approaches to the problem:

a.       The science of climate change and assessment of its impacts.

b.       The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

c.       Adapting their nation to the likely consequences of climate change.

36.       A range of new innovative measures are already helping many nations towards these goals. These include: the funding of space satellites and ocean buoys projects for climate monitoring; the introduction of specific taxes linked to gas emissions; energy saving adaptations and education; investment in clean fuel energies; adaptation of priorities and planning in agriculture and building regulations; tree planting of maintained sustainable forests; and, last but not least, new technological investment and innovation, especially in the transport and energies industries.

37.       The Kyoto Protocol has at the very least woken up the world to the problems caused by its own modernisation. It is therefore not too much to ask that we use our endeavours to find solutions to the negative impacts of our own creations.

4.        Conclusion

38.       The Kyoto protocol illustrates how a problem seen as a grave and pressing issue ten years ago has been approached, with the scant progress made due only to the mobilisation of scientists, civil society and political commitment in certain quarters. This is why the rapporteur wished to draw special attention to this question, which has mobilised the Parliamentary Assembly.

39.       But he is well aware, as is the Committee, that a whole host of problems will be discussed in Johannesburg and priorities will have to be set for the action taken by the Parliamentary Assembly, the European Parliament and national parliaments to back the decisions and initiatives required to follow up the Johannesburg Summit.

40.       Moreover, the Committee and the Assembly have already covered and continue to cover other questions of importance for sustainable development, some of which will certainly be discussed at the Johannesburg Summit. Only recently, they have debated and made proposals on forestry policy and management, the preservation of fishing resources, water resources and agricultural policy. They have also stated views on the future role of the Council of Europe in the area of the environment and on interparliamentary cooperation in these different spheres. The Committee on the Environment and Agriculture and the Assembly must pursue such initiatives, taking account of the conclusions of the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development.

*

* *

Reporting committee: Committee on the Environment and Agriculture.

Reference to committee: Standing terms of reference.

Draft resolution adopted unanimously by the committee on 21 May 2002

Members of the committee: Mr Martinez Casañ (Chairman), MM. Behrendt, Hornung, Stankevic (Vice-Chairmen), Mr Agius, Mrs Agudo, MM. Akçali, Akselsen, Mrs Angelovicova, MM. Annemans, Apostoli, Bartos, Bockel (Alternate: Goulet), Briane, Browne, Carvalho, Sir Sydney Chapman, MM. Churkin (Alternate: Sudarenkov), Ciemniak, Cosarciuc, Duivesteijn, von der Esch, Etherington, Frunda, Giovanelli, Gonzalez de Txabarri (Alternate: de Puig), Graas (Alternate: Calmes), Grachev, Grignon, Grissemann, Gubert, Hajiyeva, Haraldsson, Ilascu, Janowski, Juric, Kalkan, Mrs Kanelli, MM. Kharitonov, Lord Kilclooney, MM. Kostenko, Kostytsky, Kurucsai, Kurykin, Lachat (Alternate: Mrs Fehr), Libicki, van der Linden, Lotz, Manukyan, Mariot, Mauro, Meale, Monteiro, Müller, Oliverio (Alternate: Crema), Podobnik, Pollozhani, Popov (Alternate: Bakulin), Salaridze, Mrs Schicker, MM. Schmied, Skopal, Skoularikis, Ms Stoejberg, Mr Stoica (Alternate: Coifan), Ms Stoyanova, MM. Theodorou, Timmermans, Tiuri, Truu, Vakilov, Velikov, Volpinari, Yürür, Mrs Zetterberg, Mr Zierer.

N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretariat to the committee: Mrs Cagnolati, Mr Sixto and Ms Odrats.





Appendix 2

Ten years after Rio: global deterioration of the environment and

parliamentary support for the Kyoto Protocol

Draft resolution presented by

the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

to the 107th Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

(Marrakech, 17-23 March 2002)

1.       Since the first Earth Summit held in Stockholm in 1972 the environment and its position in relation to economic development have given much cause for concern.

2.       As alarm bells have sounded regarding the state of our planet, and as its resources have continued to deteriorate, there has also been a growing awareness of such problems. This was reflected in the united and committed stance adopted by the countries at the second Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 in favour of a more determined approach to stepping up international cooperation.

3.       The Rio Conference had the merit of providing the international community with a newly-defined framework within which to reflect on the issues at stake and where “sustainable development” takes the form of an integrated approach in which economic and social development and protection of resources are taken into account alongside solidarity and equality.

4.       Nearly ten years later, however, and on the eve of the third Earth Summit scheduled to take place in Johannesburg in September 2002, the state of our planet is no less alarming, and the results of the undertakings given in Rio de Janeiro are disappointing.

5.       Climate change is one of the most serious and most urgent challenges facing most industrialised and developing countries.

6.       It was in response to this particular challenge that the United Nations drew up the Framework Convention on Climate Change (CCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The Convention is aimed at stabilising concentrations of greenhouse gases at safe levels, while the Protocol sets specific objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the countries with the highest emission levels.

7.       To date 180 countries have become parties to the Framework Convention and 84 have signed the Kyoto Protocol. Before its entry into force, however, the Protocol must be ratified by 55 countries accounting for 55 % of developing countries’ carbon dioxide emissions in 1990.

8.       The USA’s about-face and withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol caused legitimate concern among the international community which feared that the Protocol, regarded as the first practical measure in this field, might be compromised by the withdrawal of USA who, despite accounting for less than 5 % of the world population, is responsible for nearly 25 % of global greenhouse gas emissions.

9.       In spite of this regrettable unilateral decision, however, efforts made at the recent Conferences of the Parties resulted at the end of the CPO7 held in Marrakech from 29 October to 9 November 2001 in an agreement establishing an international regulatory framework making the Kyoto Mechanisms operational.

10.       Although the agreement is by no means perfect, it does mean that signatory countries are now able to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and to define and implement the national action plans necessary for its application.

11.       It is important that the Johannesburg Summit should send out a powerful political signal by ensuring that the Kyoto Protocol is ratified by as many countries as possible and, above all, by a number sufficient to ensure its entry into force.

12.       The IPU is aware in this context of the role that can be played by multilateral parliamentary assemblies, both at international level and at the level of national parliaments and their respective government bodies.

13.       It is also pleased to note that this spirit is reflected in the measures adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at the recent Conferences of the Parties and, in particular, in the round table organised in Marrakech in cooperation with the European Parliament.

14.       It welcomes the fact that these two European parliamentary bodies have decided to organise a parliamentary round table during the Johannesburg Summit on the main issues relating to sustainable development.

15.       It is convinced that such an initiative will provide an opportunity to step up parliamentary cooperation in this field and to define action that needs to be taken at this level so that the process may progress.

16.       Concerned to ensure a broader geographic dimension and in so doing secure a united and committed approach on the part of those parliamentary assemblies most directly concerned, the IPU willingly agrees to be part of this initiative.

17.       Consequently, the Inter-Parliamentary Union:

i.       asks the parliaments of its member States to monitor closely the process to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in their own country and to undertake to ensure that this process is completed before the Johannesburg Summit;

ii.       decides to accept the invitation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to take part in the parliamentary round table scheduled to take place during the Johannesburg Summit.

Appendix 3

Ten years after Rio: global degradation of the environment
and parliamentary support for the Kyoto Protocol
Resolution adopted by consensus by the 107th Conference of the Inter-parliamentary Union
(Marrakech, 22 March 2002)

The 107th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Recalling and reaffirming parliamentary support for the commitment made by States at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, to the principle of sustainable development as the blueprint for future policy development,

Noting that UNCED adopted the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 and the Statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests as well as two legally binding Conventions, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity, and that negotiations on a Convention to Combat Desertification and the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States were initiated there and subsequently concluded in 1994,

Recalling the adoption by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, at its 97th Inter-Parliamentary Conference (April 1997), of a resolution entitled "Measures required to change consumption and production patterns with a view to sustainable development", which urges parliaments to honour the commitments undertaken in 1992,

Cognisant of the Declaration, adopted by that same Inter-Parliamentary Conference, in which the IPU inter alia cautions of the dangers of a "wait-and-see" policy and reaffirms that granting the developing countries new and additional financial resources remains one of the keys to sustainable development throughout the world,

Mindful of the Nineteenth Special Session of the UN General Assembly ("Rio + 5") in 1997, at which participants expressed general dissatisfaction with the advances made in the practical implementation of the Rio commitments and called for measurable progress and the formulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development before the follow-up Conference ("Rio + 10") in 2002,

Aware of the outcome of the negotiations at the resumed Sixth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 6) in Bonn in July 2001 and at COP 7 in Marrakech in November 2001, which paved the way for the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force prior to the World Summit on Sustainable Development ("Rio + 10") in September 2002,

Noting the progress made in national and international environment policy (including the phasing-out of substances which deplete the ozone layer in the stratosphere) and the adoption of various global targets to combat poverty since 1992,

Deeply concerned that the high expectations raised by the international community's necessary and ambitious objectives in environment and development have not been met,

Worried that rising consumption and unsustainable methods of economic management continue to deplete the natural resource base, and that environmental pollution ? especially air and water pollution – is increasing,

Underscoring that the ongoing destruction of habitats poses a threat to biological diversity and that poor historic and current agricultural management techniques have contributed to a decline in soil quality due to widespread soil degradation and erosion,

Alarmed that many natural resources (such as water, land and soil, forests and fish stocks) are already exploited beyond sustainable limits and that global health is under serious threat from waste products and harmful emissions,

Recognising that women have been primarily responsible for family subsistence, and that environmental degradation, including the rapid dwindling of natural resources such as water and firewood, have in many countries created conditions in which women struggle to meet the basic needs of their families and have had to become increasingly self-reliant heads of households as men have migrated to the cities in large numbers, following a decline in land productivity,

Alarmed that children, who are vulnerable in their early years, are liable to suffer permanent damage as a result of environmental pollution and unhealthy living conditions,

Reaffirming the resolution on volunteers adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union at its 105th Conference (April 2001) and recognising the important role that volunteerism plays in sustainable development,

Underlining the need to focus on practical measures for environmental protection and on sustainable development that engages civil society, especially businesses and NGOs in follow-up,

Welcoming the United Nations Millennium Declaration on 8 September 2000 and the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the goal of environmental sustainability,

Deeply concerned that, despite the commitments made in 1992, global emissions of greenhouse gases have continued to rise, climate change is entrenched and ongoing, and the natural resources needed to sustain the growing world population are at risk,

CLIMATE CHANGE

OTHER SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

Poverty and environment

Water

Other key initiatives


1 Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Iceland, Malta, Romania.