General Secretariat, Organization of American States

 UNIT FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT

QUARTERLY REPORT OF ACTIVITIES

(July-September 1998)


TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

1. SUPPORT TO ORGANS OF THE OAS

In relation to the Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development

2. SUPPORT TO OTHER OFFICES OF THE ORGANIZATION

3. PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

3.1 Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Border Areas

3.2 Cooperation for Integrated Management of Coastal Zones

3.3 Cooperation for Integrated Management of Water Resources and River Basins

3.4 Cooperation for the Mitigation of Natural Disasters

4. EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

ATTACHED TABLE


 UNIT FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT

QUARTERLY REPORT OF ACTIVITIES

(July-September 1998)

INTRODUCTION

This report, which covers the third quarter of 1998, presents the activities conducted by the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment (USDE) within the framework of the Program of Activities for 1998, which is based on the Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development. The information is presented in accordance with the following four categories: support to organs of the OAS, support for other offices of the Organization, partnership for development activities, and the exchange of information. The text is followed by a table that compares, for each project, the financial resources of the entire project, the amount programmed for 1998, the sum executed during the third quarter of the year, and the cumulative execution. 

1. SUPPORT TO ORGANS OF THE OAS

In relation to the Summit of the Americas on Sustainable Development

Activities continued on the execution of the project Coordination and Follow-up of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action and the Execution of Activities under the Inter-American Program of Sustainable Development in Support of Chapter II of the Plan of Action of Santa Cruz.

In the project for the establishment of a hemisphere-wide network of officials and experts on environmental law, progress was made on the preparation of the report on the consultation with experts at the technical meeting held at the North-South Center of the University of Miami on May 21 and 22, and also on the preparation of the blueprint for the network.

- The Working Group on Cleaner Production, chaired by UNEP, helped to organize the August 17-19 "Cleaner Production Conference of the Americas: Building a Roundtable for Hemispheric Cooperation," which was held in Sao Paulo. This was a major meeting, with costs in excess of $250,000, and involved a partnership of UNEP, USEPA, USAID, the IDB and the OAS in support of the Government of Brazil. A copy of the draft report of the meeting was circulated to Task Force members. The working group is expected in the future to concentrate on issues of cleaner production in the hospital sector.

- The Working Group on Coordination of Technical Cooperation for Improving Access to and Quality of Drinking Water, chaired by PAHO and involving a partnership of the IDB, the World Bank, the OAS, USAID, UNICEF, and the Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineers (AIDIS), has launched a comprehensive program of cooperation in support of the implementation of Initiative 47 of the Santa Cruz Summit. Four task groups have been formed within this working group, to deal with Policies and Standards, Pollution Technologies, Surveillance of Drinking Water and Promotion of Community Participation. The outputs of these groups will be evaluated at the October 1-2 meeting of the collaborating institutions. PAHO has published the Plan of Action for Improving Access and Quality of Drinking Water, which was circulated to all task-force members. The OAS and PAHO are discussing the holding of a ministerial-level meeting on water and health in 1999 or 2000. Plans for this event will be considered at the Third Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management to be held from March 21 to 25, 1999, in Panama.

- The Working Group on Sustainable Cities and Communities, chaired by the World Bank, has completed its assignment, with the publication of "Sustainable Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean: Best Practices and Emerging Issues for Action." This report is a product of a meeting held at the World Bank on February 4 and 5, 1998, which involved the collaboration of several organizations including the OAS, the IDB, the World Bank and USAID.

- The Working Group on Cooperation on a Model Project of Energy Infrastructure, chaired by CAF, has likewise completed its assignment, with the preparation of a case study entitled: "The Bolivia-Brazil Regional Integration Pipeline: An Example of How International Financing Agencies Have Coordinated under the Principles of Sustainable Development." This $2.15 billion pipeline investment project involves co-financing of the World Bank, the IDB, and CAF along with federal, state, and private-sector entities in Brazil and Bolivia. The draft case study was circulated to Task Force members in early 1998.

- The Working Group on Establishment of a Hemispheric Network on Environmental Law, chaired by the OAS, reported on a network consultation meeting held on May 21 and 22 in Miami that involved broad stakeholder participation. Key principles for the network and its structure, membership, and financing were discussed. A comprehensive report of the meeting is expected in the near future. UNDP, UNEP, and USEPA are supporting the efforts of this working group.

- The Working Group on Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development, chaired by the IDB, reported that a consultant’s report on innovative financing for biodiversity conservation is nearing completion and a workshop will be held later this year that will involve IBRD, USAID, CAF, the OAS and other agencies.

The Task Force next considered the proposal of the OAS and the World Bank to create a new working group on Natural Hazard Vulnerability Reduction in Development. This idea was favorably received and it was agreed that the initial participants in the group would be the World Bank, the IDB, USAID, and PAHO, with other agencies urged to join in addressing this very important and topical issue. The OAS will initially chair the Working Group.

In discussing future directions of the Interagency Task Force, there was general agreement on the usefulness of the effort and recognition of the concrete products that have been obtained so far. It was noted that the Presidential Summit in Santiago earlier this year called upon the agencies of the inter-American and United Nations systems to reinforce their cooperation in the implementation of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action.

2. SUPPORT TO OTHER OFFICES OF THE ORGANIZATION

Coordination was maintained with other units and offices of the General Secretariat in carrying out the activities assumed by the OAS in follow-up of the Plan of Action of Santa Cruz.

Cooperation was extended to other units and offices in the preparation of an initial estimate of the costs of compliance with the mandates from the Chilean Summit, and to the Department of Fellowships in the selection of fellowship recipients for courses in fields related to sustainable development and the environment.

 3. PARTNERSHIP FOR DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

3.1 Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Border Areas

Gulf of Honduras. The work centered on revision of the final document of the Plan of Global Action and Implementation Strategy and on consultation with governments concerning it. Support continued to be provided to those responsible for public participation and follow-up of the Plan of Action of the Special Binational Commission on the Project for Sustainable Tourism Development and Land-Use Management, by means of advisory services to FUNDESO members.

Assistance was provided in arranging for the funding requested from the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency (COSUDE) for the execution of the Agriculture and Forestry Project, in both the coastal zone and the Middle and Upper Chamelecón River Basin. Support was also given to the Office of the Vice President of Guatemala for financial management of the Tourism Development Project of Izabal and the Agricultural and Forestry Development Project.

San Juan River Basin. FEMCIDI funds made it possible to hold two environmental education workshops in Costa Rica and to prepare aide-mémoires of the workshops held Los Chiles, Ciudad Quesada, and San Carlos.

Work continued on the compilation of geo-referenced data on the natural resources and socioeconomic features of the Basin, conducted at the municipal level in Nicaragua and at the cantonal level in Costa Rica. At the same time, progress was made in validating and disseminating of the information already compiled.

The GEF approved Block B financing totaling $283,000 for the preparation of the Integrated Water Resource and Sustainable Development Plan for the San Juan River Basin and Its Coastal Area. UNEP is serving as the implementing agency and the GS/OAS, through the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment, as the executing agency for the project.

Costa Rica-Panama Border. Work continued on the follow-up of the Binational Sustainable Development Plan. Training workshops were held on the decentralization of sustainable development and citizen participation in it, ecotourism, integral farm management, management and protection of marine and coastal resources, management of natural resources and protected areas, etc., with active participation by the Binational Sectoral Technical Committees.

Meetings were held to plan, coordinate, and evaluate binational sectoral management in the various sectoral committees participating in the border cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Paz River Basin. Certain subbasins were identified as critical because of their social, economic, and environment problems. This ranking took place in an integrated fashion, on the basis of resource and impact parameters. As a result, 10 subbasins out of the 56 (35 in Guatemala and 21 in El Salvador) that make up the entire basin were designated for priority treatment.

Progress was made in preparing the document on comprehensive diagnosis of the Basin and in consulting on it with the national institutions participating in the project.

3.2   Cooperation for integrated management of coastal zones

3.3 Cooperation for integrated management of water resources and river basins

3.4 Cooperation for the mitigation of natural disasters

4. EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

[Sustainable Dev/tracker.htm][Sustainable Dev/tracker.htm]