Earth Network Update - May 1997

Thilo Pfennig Thilo.Pfennig at
Wed May 28 03:52:16 EDT 1997

>From: Earthnet <earthnet at>
>Date: 27 May 97 16:38:49
>To: Thilo.Pfennig at
>Subject: Earth Network Update - May 1997
>The Earth Network for Sustainable Development - May 1997
>Rio+5 Breaks New Ground for Sustainable Development
>The Rio+5 Forum, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 13-19 March, broke
>new ground by bringing together an unprecedented range of experienced
>and committed "stakeholders" in the development of innovative
>strategies for moving sustainable development "from Agenda to Action" --
>the theme of the Forum.
>Organized and coordinated by the Earth Council, the Forum was the focal
>point of a year-long process of consultations and research involving
>nearly 6,000 organizations worldwide.  The Forum engaged the following
>diverse groups in forging new links and alliances, and generated a rich
>harvest of experiences and strategies:
>- National Councils for Sustainable Development (NCSDs)
>- Community-based organizations and local authorities
>- Business and industry organizations
>- Science, technology and research institutes
>- NGO networks
>- Financial institutions
>- UN development agencies
>- Environmental organizations
>- Philanthropic organizations
>- Values and education groups.
>The Forum generated global media coverage and concluded by reaching a
>"multi-level" consensus on "systems-based" approaches for addressing
>key sustainable development challenges across disciplines, sectors,
>institutional and national boundaries.
>(visit -->
>A Vision for NCSDs
>A fundamental aim of Rio+5 was to strengthen and advance the work of
>NCSDs around the world.
>116 Representatives from 71 National Councils (63 from NGOs and 53 from
>government) elaborated a common vision of NCSDs as leading
>"multi-stakeholder" bodies for "operationalizing" the economic,
>environmental and social goals of sustainable development at the
>national and local level.
>A series of critical issues and related actions were defined by NCSDs in
>a document which was subsequently presented to the Fifth Session of the
>UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in New York in April.
>The document also makes the following key recommendations for guiding
>the successful establishment and evolution of NCSDs:
>- Governments should create and support high-level, multi-stakeholder
>NCSDs which bridge the public and private sector, and are capable of
>participating in international decision-making processes;
>- NCSDs should have the widest possible representation of major players
>in the public and private sector, including all major groups identified
>by Agenda 21;
>- NCSDs should be  task-oriented advocates of integrated policies for
>sustainable development -- promoting participation; educating and
>communicating; monitoring and evaluating progress; disseminating and
>promoting tools for sustainable practices; and supporting local action;
>- Multilateral institutions -- the World Bank, UNDP, UNCSD, UNEP,
>regional banks and others -- should involve, rely upon and support
>NCSDs, in order to elevate sustainable development in the global agenda.
>(visit -->
>Global Governance Panel Convened
>A central precept emerging from the Rio+5 Forum was that global
>agreements and global sustainability must be built on local and national
>sustainability. A high-level panel was convened on this subject on March
>18, co-chaired by Earth Council Chairman Maurice F. Strong and Israel
>Klabin,  President of the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable
>The Global Governance Panel was moderated by Klaus Schwab, Founder and
>President of the World Economic Forum. The panelists were: World Bank
>President James Wolfensohn, who spoke on "The Role of International
>Financial Institutions"; UNDP Administrator James Speth who presented
>"The Role of International Development Agencies"; Stephen Schmidheiny,
>Founder and President of of the World Business Council for Sustainable
>Development (WBCSD),  who spoke on "The Role of Business"; and Katia
>Drager Maia, Coordinator of the Brazilian NGO Forum and Earth Council
>Executive Director Maximo Kalaw, who presented "The Role of Civil
>The panelists pointed out respective challenges for governments,
>business and NGOs in integrating the social, economic and ecological
>dimensions of sustainable development into their policies, programmes
>and actions. The presentations also identified the need for sustainable
>development to become the integrating framework for UN institutions, and
>for global accords to be made relevant to local and national
>(visit -->
>In a separate meeting with representatives of NCSDs, Mr. Wolfensohn
>expressed the World Bank's commitment to reforming its policies towards
>sustainable development by the year 2000. He also pledged the Bank's
>future support to NCSDs, with the specific aim of increasing civil
>society participation within their structures.
>President Cardoso Addresses Forum
>Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, acting as Honourary
>President of the Rio+5 Forum, delivered a nationally-televised speech to
>Forum delegates on "The Role of State". In his remarks of 18 March,
>President Cardoso stressed that sustainable development is impossible
>without the establishment of democracy and equity at all levels of
>government and society, from national to local.
>President Cardoso commended the Forum for "being of great profit to all
>of us who are interested in advancing new practices for the
>transformation of our society and the achievement of sustainable
>(visit -->
>Regional Alliances Formed
>Rio+5 Forum delegates resolved to form stronger collaborative
>partnerships for advancing sustainable development at the regional
>level, based on mutual priorities and needs. Two important agreements
>for Latin America were reached in this respect:
>a) Forum delegates from the Southern Cone region of Latin America
>adopted the "Declaration of Santiago", which mandates the creation of
>the Alliance for Sustainable Development of the Southern Cone (ALISUR)
>by civil society as well as business organizations in Brazil, Uruguay,
>Paraguay, Chile and Argentina. The new alliance was endorsed at the
>Forum by other civil society organizations throughout Latin America.
>b) Delegates from the Caribbean region resolved to create a similar
>multi-stakeholder Alliance for Sustainable Development of  the Caribbean
>(ALICAR). The proposal was subsequently endorsed by Caribbean member
>states of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) at a meeting held in
>Aruba in May, and an organizing committee has already been established
>with the participation of civil society organizations, government
>representatives and the Earth Council.
>(contact: Lorena San Roman, Regional Coordinator for Latin America
>and the Caribbean -- lsanroma at
>Rio+5 Reported to UNCSD and NGOs
>Major conclusions and recommendations of the Rio+5 Forum were presented
>to a Ministerial Session of the UNCSD on 8 April by Maurice Strong.
>Mr. Strong summarized the Rio+5 process and its complementary value to
>the UN's own five-year review process. He emphasized the experimental
>nature of Rio+5 in generating a rich harvest of "action experiences",
>while providing a framework for linking, integrating and managing a
>wide range of sustainable development issues.
>(visit -->
>On 11 April, Maximo Kalaw delivered a statement to a UNCSD plenary
>session which summarized the consultative and research processes of
>Rio+5. He emphasized Rio+5's contribution to enlarging the concept of
>"common but differentiated responsibilities" beyond the financial and
>develoment capabilities of countries, to encompass major stakeholders of
>civil society in the building of an integrated and coherent management
>system for sustainable development.
>(visit -->
>In a separate "question and answer" session held on 21 April with some
>NGOs active within the UNCSD process, Mr. Kalaw explained the
>complementary role of Rio+5, and clarified related issues of "political
>space" and funding. A cooperation agreement was produced to guide the
>Earth Council's future relations with members of the NGO Steering
>Committee of the UNCSD, and national NGO networks..
>Earth Charter Draft Approved
>Another key outcome of the Rio+5 Forum was the approval and presentation
>of the Earth Charter "benchmark draft" by the Earth Charter Commission,
>whose inaugural meeting during the Forum capped a year of initial global
>consultations on the Charter's structure and contents. The meeting was
>co-chaired by Commission members Mercedes Sosa, Mikhail Gorbachev, and
>Jim MacNeill.
>The benchmark draft combines principles contained in various existing
>charters, codes of ethics and declarations. On 8 April, the benchmark
>draft was presented by Maurice Strong to the Opening Plenary Session of
>the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). On 15 April,
>Mikhail Gorbachev delivered an internationally televised speech at
>George Washington University in Washington, DC., in which we spoke at
>length about the benchmark draft and Earth Charter process.
>Delegates of the Rio+5 Forum have been invited to organize consultation
>meetings on the benchmark draft within their own constitutencies,
>organizations and networks, as part of ongoing and expanding
>consultations worldwide. The results of these consultations will be
>integrated into a new working draft for possible review and approval by
>the Earth Charter Commission in mid-1998. This would help build momentum
>for its presentation to the United Nations, expected by the year 2000.
>(visit -->
>Next Steps for the Earth Council
>Rio+5 also pointed to the need for the Earth Council to intensify its
>programme for NCSDs. In response, the Earth Council is embarking on a
>three-year programme to support and strengthen approximately 70 NCSDs.
>The programme will initially focus on strengthening  NCSDs in Bolivia,
>Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Niger, Philippines, Poland and
>Uganda -- all of which participated actively in Rio+5, and  have
>demonstrated a political willingness to promote multi-stakeholder
>In addition, the Earth Council is seeking initial funding support for
>the establishment of four regional secretariats to work directly with
>NCSDs, primarily in the development of training programmes and forums
>on specific sustainability issues such as biodiversity, economic reform
>and ecology, and energy efficiency.
>"Multistakeholder" participation in the Rio +5 Forum
>NGO networks:                         	         32
>Community-based Organizations (CBOs):             7
>NCSDs:                                          116
>Local authorities:                               15
>Business:                                        26
>Women's Networks:                                 9
>Indigenous Peoples:                               9
>Youth:                                           12
>Values and Educational Groups:                   29
>Philanthropy:                                     2
>Policy, Science and Technology Institutions:     96
>UN and International Financial Organizations:    41
>Donors:                                          16
>Special Invitees:                                23
>Earth Charter Commission:                        14
>Media:                                           12
>Total delegates from South:                     262
>Total delegates from North:                     197
>A database of Rio+5 participants is currently under development at
>the following URL:
>For more information about Rio+5, the Earth Charter and other Earth
>Council initiatives, please re-visit our WWW site at:
> or contact us directly via e-mail.

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