Doc. 9597

14 October 2002

Follow-up on the World Summit on Sustainable Development: a common challenge

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Meale and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       This first Earth Summit, held in Stockholm in 1972, agreed on the urgent need to respond to the problem of environmental deterioration. Ten years ago, the UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, adopted the so-called Rio Principles which agreed that the protection of the environment, and social and economic development were fundamental to sustainable development, and set a new agenda, Agenda 21, to achieve such development.

2.       Ten years later, however, the state of our planet is no less alarming, and the results of the undertakings given in Rio are disappointing: deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise, access to water for everyone still appears unattainable and resources continue to be depleted. Matters are hardly any better as far as development is concerned: absolute poverty and inequality are increasing. Furthermore, environmental concerns and sustainable development are still nowhere near the top of our governments’ political agendas.

3.       The recent third World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg; recognised that the failure to implement the decisions taken in Rio was to a large extent due to the inadequacy of the supervisory machinery to meet the tasks set at the end of the Rio Summit. The leaders of the world admitted that, in order to meet the new challenges, it was essential to have a more integrated view on the situation, the obligations and the action to be taken.

4.       It is regretful that the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and its accompanying plan of implementation adopted at the WSSD lay a stronger emphasis on meeting economic, trade and development objectives than on environmental and social objectives. A more balanced progress on both sets of objectives, establishing a clear the link between the environment and development and fully respecting human and social rights, is thus necessary. Further, we feel concerned that the failure to establish a wider range of specific targets and timetables will make it more difficult to monitor progress towards meeting the general objectives of sustainable development.

5.       The political decisions made in Johannesburg will have to go hand in hand with a practical implementation of a plan of action. National parliaments and multilateral inter-parliamentary bodies such as this Assembly can make a significant contribution in this context. Moreover, it opens up further possibility for the civil society to take an active part in such processes through their democratically elected representatives.

6.       The Assembly affirms its commitment to the Johannesburg process and welcomes the contacts that were made between the parliamentarians attending the WSSD, in particular the action taken in co-operation with the European Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

7.       The Assembly wishes to see more importance given to the parliamentary role in future negotiations. It considers that the parliamentary input into the WSSD preparatory process has not been sufficiently taken account, and that this needs to be changed in the future. It therefore insists that new agreements should be subject to greater parliamentary accountability, and that greater contribution be made to the implementation of the decisions taken.

8.       Against this background the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i. call upon the governments of member states to follow up on the implementation of the Johannesburg action programme, to ensure that its targets are met and that the necessary steps are taken to meet its specific objectives;

ii. promote activities in all sectors of the organisation related to the objectives of the Johannesburg plan of implementation with regard to striking a proper balance between the economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development and establishing appropriate monitoring and implementation mechanisms.

Signed : 1

Meale, United Kingdom, SOC

Agudo, Spain, SOC

Behrendt, Germany, SOC

Coifan, Romani       , LDR

Crema, Italy, SOC

Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC

Giovanelli, Italy, SOC

Goulet, France, EDG

Gubert, Italy, EPP

Ilaşcu, Romania, NR

Janowski, Poland, EPP

Lachnit, Czech Republic, SOC

Lobkowicz, Czech Republic, EPP

Maissen, Switzerland, EPP

Masseret, France, SOC

Nazaré-Pereira, Portugal, EPP

Nessa, Italy, EPP

Schicker, Austria, SOC

Schmied, Switzerland, LDR

Sudarenko, Russia, SOC

Theodorou, Cyprus, SOC

Timmermans, Belgium, SOC

Tiuri, Finland, EPP

Toshev, Bulgaria, EPP

Velikov, Bulgaria, NR

von der Esch, Sweden, EPP

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group