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Updated on June 22,  2001

Second Summit of the Americas:

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

At the Second Summit of the Americas, the Governments of the Hemisphere acknowledged the effort made by the OAS in the area of Sustainable Development Summit. They instructed it, through the Inter-American Commission on Sustainable Development, to continue the positive work related to fulfillment of the Santa Cruz and Miami mandates. Leaders also requested that other entities of the Inter-American System and the United Nations work to strengthen cooperation related to implementation of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action.

At the same time, the OAS's Secretary General presented a report at the Santiago Summit on the implementation of the initiatives previously agreed upon at the Bolivian Summit. In this report, the Secretary General emphasized the importance of creating a forum at the ministerial level, in order to set up a dialogue which will not only resolve the conceptual differences between the developed and developing countries’, but will also help to more precisely define the initiatives making for a smoother execution of the mechanisms. In this same sense, the Secretary General's suggestion also illustrates the necessity of prioritizing the initiatives.

The Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment functions as the Chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) coordinating the implementation of the sustainable development mandates. The IATF has established seven Working Groups, each in charge of the principal initiatives from the Bolivian Summit. These Groups have programmed the following actions:

  • Establish a hemispheric network of experts on environmental law.
  • Execute the activities contained in the Inter-American Strategy for Public Participation.
  • Identify mechanisms to strengthen public and private sector financing of sustainable development projects.
  • Provide support to the Inter-Agency Working Group in the follow-up and implementation of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action.
  • Support the Biodiversity Initiative.
  • Provide support to the Inter-American Water Resources Network .
  • Support the initiative on Sustainable Cities and Communities.
  • Support the Inter-American Forum on Sustainable Development. The Forum will be the platform for discussion of regional, sub-regional and national policies in the field of sustainable development, and will serve to define regional positions on global issues.
  • Develop programs with a view to implementing the proposals presented in the Report of the Secretary General on Bolivia Summit mandate implementation.

The Interagency Task Force

Meeting in April and July 1999 to follow-up on its activities, the Task Force accomplished the following:

Working Group on the establishment of an Inter-American Network on Environmental Law: The informational meeting of the network, tentatively being called FIDA, the Spanish acronym for Inter-American Forum on Environmental Law, is being planned for November 1999. The site has not yet been determined. Additional activities to be undertaken in the next few months will include the development of cooperative relationships with potential partners for FIDA, the creation and publishing of the first issue of a FIDA newsletter, and the initiation of a Web page that will post information of interest to participants in the network.

Working Group on Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development – The IDB informed that it is preparing three documents in the area of financing. One is on financing of biodiversity; another document relates to environmental funds; and the third has to do with environmental strategy for the Multilateral Investment Fund.

Working Group on Mainstreaming Disaster Reduction in Development (DRWG) –The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF ) was informed on the structure and content of the two tasks in progress on (1) policies and criteria for international reconstruction activities, and (2) vulnerability assessment outputs. It was noted that there are valuable experiences coming from dealing with El Niño, hurricanes Georges and Mitch, and the Armenia, Colombia earthquake which should be incorporated in the draft reports being prepared by DRWG presentation to the Inter-Agency Task Force. In the case of policies and criteria, additional topical areas such as activity transparency, accountability, and public education might be added. It was again noted that the principles should cover rehabilitation and reconstruction activities and not attempt to include relief and humanitarian assistance activities. 

Working Group on Cleaner Production – The representative of UNEP/ROLAC informed that progress has been made in pursuing the two main goals established by the working group in 1998: (1) the First Cleaner Production conference of the Americas was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in August of 1998, and it established a Cleaner Production Roundtable of the Americas which held its first meeting in Santiago, Chile, in December of 1998 and; (2) the development of a regional program on Cleaner Production in Hospitals and Health Centers is underway with a pilot project in several hospitals in Tlalpan District in Mexico City. The Working group also informed that national Cleaner Production Centers (NCPCs) had been established in Costa Rica and El Salvador. Negotiations are also underway to establish NCPCs in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador and Argentina.

Working Group on Coordination of Technical Cooperation for Improving Access to and Quality of Drinking Water – The Group informed that the Regional Plan of Action for Improving Access and Quality of Drinking Water, prepared by the Working Group,is on PAHO's Web page http://www.paho.org The document is being used by countries and participating agencies as a framework for selecting and developing projects. A white paper on "Water and Health" will be prepared as a joint effort by OAS and PAHO and presented at the next CIDS meeting.   At country level, El Salvador was selected as the country for implementation of the first pilot project. A mission with representatives of EPA, PAHO, USAID,UNICEF, NSF International and AIDIS will be in El Salvador to discuss with local authorities the framework for implementation of the drinking water pilot project. Nicaragua and Honduras are being considered as additional pilot countries. In June a high-level workshop will take place in Trinidad and Tobago, to discuss implementation of a plan of action in the English speaking Caribbean countries.

The Interagency Task Force held a meeting on April 4, 2000 where the participating groups presented the following reports of their activities: 

  • UN/ECLAC – Report of the Regional Consultative Meeting on Sustainable Development held in Santiago, Chile, January 19-21, 2000
  • UNEP/ROLAC – Report of the Twelfth Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of the environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Barbados, 2-7 March, 2000
  • IDB - Report of the Forty-first Annual Meeting of the IDB Board of Governors, held in New Orleans, 27-29 March, 2000
  • IBRD/LCSES - Joint Activities in Latin America and the Caribbean in Climate Change
  • OAS - Santa Cruz + 5 (preparations)
  • OAS - Inter-Agency Committee on Natural Disaster Reduction (IACNDR)
  • Working Group Reports

For a detailed information of the meeting, please look at the attached report.

The Inter Agency Task Force held a second meeting on July 28, 2000.  The agenda of the meeting was the following:

  • Rio+10: Report by the representative of the Division for Sustainable Development of the UNDESA on consultations and regional meetings which had taken place as part of the preparations of the Summit. 
  • Presentation of the reports of the Working Groups 
  • Santa Cruz+5 Meeting: The Government of Bolivia has offered to serve as host of Santa Cruz+5 meeting, which is planned for the last quarter of 2001. 
  • IV Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management: The government of Brazil will be hosting this event in April 2001.
  • Miscellaneous: A Global Environment Facility meeting on International Waters, organized by UNEP and UNDP, will be held in October in Budapest.  The World Water Council will be meeting in Marseilles, France, in October. IICA is hosting a meeting in Mexico (September 6-8) on Agricultural Research and Extension.

The next IATF meeting will take place in November 16, 2000.  For more detailed information about the meeting, please look at the attached report.  To see results from the meeting itself, please click here.

Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS)

The Second Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development (CIDS) was held October 13-15, 1999. The following topics were discussed:

1. Report on the Execution of the Initiatives of the Bolivia Summit. This point covered the progress made in the mandates given to the OAS and future plans pertaining to these mandates. Specifically, consideration was given to the following topics (at this time, all documents are only in Spanish):

  1. Financing Mechanisms

  2. Transfer of Science and Technology

  3. Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN)

  4. Public Participation

  5. Environmental Law Network

  6. Inter-agency Coordination Group

  7. Interaction and Coordination between the CIDS and CSD (UN), UNDP, and other Intergovernmental Entities

  8. Other Initiatives of the Plan of Action

2. Concerns of Small-island Nations of the Caribbean on Sustainable Development.

3. Santa Cruz Plan of Action and Inter-American Program for Sustainable Development. In this regard, consideration was given to the convening of a Ministerial Meeting in Bolivia in late 2000, in order to discuss progress made over the past five years, since the implementation of the Santa Cruz Plan of Action, and the design of a strategy for the future. One of the concerns related to this meeting is the determination of the representatives to be sent, since not all the countries of the Hemisphere have a ministry of sustainable development.

4. Climate Change. The CIDS provided guidance on the role to be played by the OAS in matters related to climate change.

For further information on the Second Meeting of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development, see the resolutions indicated below that were approved during this meeting:

XXX OAS General Assembly

During the XXX OAS General Assembly held in Windsor, Canada, in June 2000, Governments approved the following resolutions related to this initiative:

Meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bolivia Summit Follow-Up

On November 16, 2000, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bolivia Summit Follow-Up met, in which the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the OAS Unit for Sustainable Development and the Environment (USDE) made presentations on their progress made in follow up to the Santa Cruz Summit on Sustainable Development. PAHO has been active with safe drinking water initiatives and has initiated a pilot project in El Salvador, with the goal of 100% disinfection. It also convened a sub-regional meeting in Buenos Aires on "Water Quality Survey and Control." More information on PAHO's initiatives can be found on their Web site: http://www.paho.org.

The OAS/USDE Working Group on Mainstreaming Disaster Reduction in Development is preparing a paper entitled Policies and Guidelines on International Assistance for Disaster Reduction, which formed the basis for a discussion on the structure and functioning of international disaster reconstruction assistance. The USDE also distributed a document which summarizes activities undertaken by the Inter-American Biodiversity Network (IABIN), the Inter-American Water Resources Network (IWRN), the network of officials and experts in environmental law (FIDA) and the Inter-American Strategy for Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-Making since the Santa Cruz Summit, entitled "Status of Implementation of II-CIDS Resolutions".

Finally, the USDE prepared a draft of the document, "2001 Summit of the Americas: Partnership for the Sustainable Development of the Americas," for distribution at the meeting. The document provides a comprehensive outlook of the sustainable development components in previous summits.

Renewable Energy in the Americas

The Renewable Energy in the Americas 2000 Conference took place in Washington, DC, in December 4, 2000. The conference included the participation of almost 100 senior energy officials from twenty countries in the hemisphere. The meeting served as a forum for energy decision-makers to share best practices and experiences in the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The meeting's agenda and list of participants, along with further information on the 2000 Conference, can be found here.

Meeting of Environment Ministers of the Americas

The Environment Ministers of the Americas met on March 29-30, 2001, in Montreal, to discuss topics in the following areas: international environment and sustainable development issues; the challenges of management in a changing hemisphere; improving the environment for better human health; and the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. These four issues were the focus of the Ministerial Communiqué that was released shortly after the conclusion of the meeting. These environmental challenges will be presented to the Heads of state and government for their consideration at the Third Summit of the Americas, which will be held in Quebec City, Canada, April 20-22, 2001.

For more information on the meeting, please see the Ministerial Communiqué:

Inter-Agency Task Force on Bolivia Summit Follow-Up

On May 4, 2001, a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bolivia Summit Follow-Up took place at the OAS Main Building, in Washington, DC. At the meeting, the recently celebrated Quebec City Summit of the Americas was proclaimed a successful event that, within the area of sustainable development, focused primarily on disaster management. 

The Task Force also considered other meetings that will be taking place in the near future. ECLAC informed the group that a regional meeting on sustainable development would be taking place on October 23-24, 2001, to consider a regional report on national and hemispheric activity in the promotion of sustainable development. On September 2-6, 2001, the Inter-American Water Resources Network (IWRN) will host the 4th Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management in Brazil. All countries - including Cuba - will be invited to attend the event, which anticipates the involvement of 600-800 participants.

In the collection and review of methodologies for vulnerability assessment and indexing, the Inter-American Committee on Natural Disaster Management (IACNDR) is helping to coordinate a workshop on the possibility of forming partnerships in the application of said assessments, which will take place on August 13-15, 2001, in Charleston, South Carolina. It was also announced that the 4th Water Information Summit will take place on October 24-26, 2001, in Panama, in which managers of water data will be invited to actively participate.

The OAS distributed final copies of the Inter-American Strategy for the Promotion of Public Participation in Decision-Making for Sustainable Development, which is a result of a three-year effort in the hemisphere. Copies of the Strategy are available in four languages at the following Web site: http://www.ispnet.org.

The next meeting of the Task Force was set forth for either the 1st week in August or the 3rd week of September, 2001.

The mandates and initiatives for sustainable development were reinvigorated and fortified at the 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas.  For more information on these mandates, and to continue with follow up activities in the area, please click here.

Updated on June 22, 2001

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