Interagency Task Force (IATF) on Bolivia Summit Follow-up
Report of the April 4, 2000 Meeting
Regional Consultative Meeting on Sustainable
Mr. Lowell Flanders, Assistant Director, Division for Sustainable Development of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) briefed the Task Force on the outcomes of the Regional Consultative Meeting on Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean held at ECLAC’s headquarters from 19 to 21 January 2000 in Santiago, Chile. The objectives of the meeting were: 1) to exchange national experiences in formulating and implementing national sustainable development strategies; 2) to analyze means in which regional and sub-regional cooperation in sustainable development has been promoted; and 3) to strengthen CSD-regional links including the Bolivia Summit follow-up and to explore regional priorities for the Earth Summit +10 review of 2002. About fifty-four participants attended the meeting, representing governments from the region at the senior policy-making level, regional and sub-regional IGOs, financial institutions, key UN regional entities and selected NGOs active in the region. The outcome of the meeting was presented at the 12th Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean in Barbados in March 2000. The report will also be made available to participants at the 8th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in New York in April 2000. Mr. Flanders stated that although major advances have taken place in the implementation of national sustainable development strategies there are several challenges: weak long-term political commitment at the highest national levels; confusion on the real meaning and scope of sustainable development (only environment or integrated approach that incorporates economic, social and environmental concerns); and complexity of coordinating activities and priorities of international institutions with national needs. The next step is to conduct a regional assessment of the implementation of Agenda 21 in the region to be presented at Rio+10 summit. A publication with a summary of national sustainable development strategies will be coming soon. Mr. Flanders (as well as several of the participants) expressed concern about the lack of coordination of the several high level and technical meetings taken place in the next two years in relationship to Rio+10, Bolivia+5, and UN CIDS.
Twelfth Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean – UNEP/ROLAC
Mr. Ricardo Sanchez Sosa, Director, ROLAC/UNEP, briefed the ITC on the recently held forum of ministers of Environment of LAC (Barbados, March 2-7, 2000). The meeting was attended by 69 government representatives from 24 countries of the region (21 at ministerial or deputy ministerial level), and 5 representatives from 3 observer countries. Other participants included 30 representatives of 21 international, regional and sub-regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and two special guests. Mr. Rawle Eastmond, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy was elected president of the meeting. The major output of the meeting was the approval of the Barbados Declaration, which will guide the environmental agenda in the region in the 21st century. The group concluded that the region will face three major environmental issues: natural disasters, preservation of tropical forests and urban environment. Some of the major points of the declaration include:
In addition to the declaration, the group approved 21 decisions ranging from means of implementing the regional action plan adopted at the 11th meeting of ministers in Peru (March 1998), to adoption of disaster prevention, mitigation and assistance planning as a priority for the region, request to the Conference of the Parties to Multilateral Environmental Agreements to support regional coordinating mechanism, support to develop and establish a Caribbean Climate Change Center, and promote an integrated management approach to the Caribbean area.
Report of the Forty-First Annual Meeting of the IDB Board of Governors – IDB
Mr. Gil Nolet, lawyer with the Environmental Division of the Inter-American Development Bank, reported from the recently held annual meeting of the IDB Board of Governors, held in New Orleans, March 27-29, 2000. The Bank presented a new institutional strategy to the Board of Governors addressing four areas: (1) social sector reform; (2) higher growth rates, with heightened competitiveness and environmental sustainability; (3) improved governance, understood as encompassing modernization and reform of the branches of government; and (4) renewed support for regional and global integration initiatives. This new strategy needs to be approved by the Bank’s Executive Directors. There were several technical workshops during the days preceding the annual meeting on: natural hazards (which presented an action plan for vulnerability reduction); climate change (which established a framework for action, not only for energy but also adaptation projects); rural development; and private sector and environment. Specifically to facilitate the development of small and mid-size firms, the Bank will make accessible grants from MIF, largely financed by the governments of Spain, Japan and USA. Mr. Nolet also mentioned that the Bank has created a new lending facility with easier and faster approval procedures for projects in the education, health and trade sectors for up to US$5,000,000.
Joint Activities in Latin America and the Caribbean in Climate Change – IBRD/LCSES
Mr. Walter Vergara, a Principal Specialist, Latin America and Caribbean Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Vice-Presidency of the World Bank (LCSES) presented a summary of activities under implementation by the World Bank in the area of climate change. Mr. Vergara explained that the World Bank is presently assisting member states in three areas: capacity building, mitigation and adaptation. With regards to capacity building, the Bank is funding small grants to assist countries with their national strategies to address the responsibilities established under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), primarily in relationship to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Three projects are on-going in Latin America in Colombia, Argentina and Bolivia and one more is under preparation in Brazil. The Institutional Development Fund (IDF) provides funding to strengthen existing institutions. In the area of climate change, the IDF is funding climate change and CDM offices in Colombia and Mexico. In the area of mitigation of greenhouse gases, the government of Mexico with World Bank assistance is finalizing the preparation of project to capture CH4 emissions from land fields to be used as an energy resource for the transport sector. Finally, the World Bank, GEF and OAS are implementing a project for Caribbean countries to begin the process of adaptation to impacts of climate change: Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Global Climate Change (CPACC). The project, which began in 1997, has one of the highest performance ratings in the Caribbean portfolio and it is an excellent example of collaboration among two of the members organizations of this task force. The World Bank is now discussing with the OAS and the project’s partners in the Caribbean region about plans for follow-up projects. One of the first steps will be the establishment of the Caribbean Climate Change Center, which was endorsed by the Meeting of the Ministers of Environment (Decision 6).
Santa Cruz + 5 preparations – OAS
Richard Meganck, Chairman of the Task Force and Director of the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment of the OAS, presented a report on the status of preparations for the Santa Cruz + 5 Meeting. The OAS has a mandate to organize this meeting, which will be held in Bolivia in 2001. As part of these preparations, the OAS will be updating the Report of the Secretary General on Bolivia Summit Implementation, which was originally published by the OAS in 1998. All agencies and organizations that are involved in follow-up to the Santa Cruz summit are requested to update the technical annexes to this report before the end of this year (2000). An official request will be sent to the heads of these agencies in the next few weeks. The updated publication and the results of the Santa Cruz + 5 meeting will serve as important inputs to the subsequent Rio + 10 meeting.
Inter-Agency Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR) – OAS
Stephen Bender, Principal Specialist from the USDE/OAS, reported that the newly formed Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR) has held two meetings since its formation in 1999. In the first meeting, three working groups were created: preparedness and response (chaired by PAHO), financing disaster reduction (IDB) and vulnerability assessment and indexing (OAS). Each of these working groups is preparing a report on its focus area for presentation to the IACNDR for use in preparing for the OAS General Assembly in June. A short list of high-priority issues will be extracted from these working group reports for possible consideration at the General Assembly as a resolution on natural disaster reduction. The reports will also list the themes that are still under discussion. Although the current work focuses on reports before the 2000 OAS General Assembly, the committee's work will continue afterwards. The next meeting of the IACNDR will be held in late April or early May.
Working Group reports