WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
- At its Millennium Session
in 2000, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to undertake a ten-year
review of progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the 1992 UN Conference
on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Rio Earth Summit. This review will
take place at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa
in 2002 the Johannesburg Summit. However, an important challenge is
to ensure that the outcome of the Summit is not limited to a review but leads
to new visions, commitments, partnerships and plans for practical implementation
to make sustainable development a greater reality at all levels.
- As a unique and major
feature of the preparations for the Summit, it was agreed that the main issues
for the Summit would arise from participatory national and regional assessments
and discussions drawing from all segments of society and regions of the world.
- The global inter-governmental
process, which will involve three preparatory meetings to be held in the first
half of 2002, will benefit from Regional Inter-governmental Preparatory meetings
("prepcoms") to be held in all regions in the second half of 2001.
In order to support this process and to take advantage of the views of experts,
the United Nations is convening independent Regional Roundtables of eminent
persons and leaders of civil society in the five regions of the world.
- The Latin America and
the Caribbean Eminent Persons Regional Roundtable was held in Barbados from
18 to 20 June 2001. This report attempts to capture the key concerns expressed
and proposals for action made by the participants. The participants attended
in their personal capacities and provided their perspectives on major accomplishments
and major lessons learned since Rio in 1992, on the major constraints to sustainable
development, on new challenges and opportunities for the future, and on strengthening
the institutional frameworks for sustainable development, both within Latin
America and the Caribbean and globally.
- The report is intended
to help in the preparatory process leading up to the Summit with new ideas,
based on the participants practical experience and interest in sustainable
development, to develop a platform which outlines key policy issues, priorities
and follow up actions for the region as well as at the global level.
- This report will be forwarded
to all of the regional and sub-regional prepcoms. It will also be made available
to the global preparatory meetings. Furthermore, the Roundtable report will
be posted on the Johannesburg Summit web site.
- The Latin America and
the Caribbean Roundtable was organised by the Secretariat of the World Summit
on Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Government of Barbados.
The Roundtable was chaired by Sir Alister McIntyre. A full list of participants
is attached as an Annex to this report.
- At the opening of the
Roundtable, introductory statements were made by Sen. The Hon. Tyrone Barker,
Acting Minister for the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, Ms. JoAnne
DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic
and Social Affairs, the United Nations; and by Sir Alister McIntyre, the Chairman.
- This report represents
the thrust of the general discussion. It would be surprising if, in a diverse
group such as this, there were not differences in views and emphasis among
individual members. Participants however did subscribe to the overall content
of the report.
major challenges and opportunities for sustainable development in the Latin
America and the Caribbean region
- The Latin America
and the Caribbean region is one of the most diverse regions in the world,
both in terms of ethnicity, cultures and biodiversity. The region has the
highest level of biodiversity in the world, however these global resources
are under serious pressure. Each year 6 million hectares of tropical forest
are lost. Coastal and marine ecosystems, including coral reefs in the Caribbean
are under threat from tourism and pollution. Climate change is likely to be
the most serious of all threats to the natural environment of the region.
Demographic trends have led to the growth of large urban areas. The region
has two of the largest mega-cities in the world, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.
- Along with the
exploitation of natural resources there has been long term destruction and
exploitation of the original inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Since European landing in the Hemisphere in 1492, indigenous people have been
continuously marginalised and impoverished.
- The overriding
and burning issues for the region, however are the high levels of poverty
and income inequality between the developed and developing countries and within
countries of the region. From 1990 to 1999, absolute poverty in the region
increased from 200 million to 225 million people. The ratio of the highest
20 per cent of household incomes to the lowest 20 per cent is twenty fold,
making the region the world leader in income inequality.
- The increasing
impacts of globalisation that have occurred since Rio have brought benefits
to some countries in the region but there is widespread concern about the
costs that have arisen. In many cases globalisation has meant a widening and
deepening of the exploitation of renewable and non-renewable natural resources,
often in a non-sustainable way. This developmental pattern has introduced
new pressures on the environment and on particular population groups that
are not being adequately addressed. In particular, mining and oil activities
have often caused the destruction or degradation of valuable ecosystems that
have not taken properly into account the rights of indigenous people. The
net long term impact of globalisation in the region as a whole will be adverse
unless managed within a framework of sustainable development. There is a need
for the region to make a transition from a resource intensive economy to an
industrial and service-based economy with a higher value added content and
economy that expands employment opportunities.
- Since Rio, there
has been a deepening of the understanding of sustainable development, with
a particular emphasis on the social, cultural and economic aspects. Nevertheless,
the high expectations of Rio have not been realised, either globally or within
the region. This is primarily because effective operationalisation of sustainable
development has been limited.
- In this context
therefore, the Roundtable reaffirmed the critical and fundamental importance
of sustainable development not only for the region and the world, but for
the future of humanity. There is no other way but sustainable development;
economic development, social development and environment protection must be
undertaken in a mutually reinforcing way. The Johannesburg Summit must be
a rallying cry to re-invigorate the vision of sustainable development and
lead to more determined efforts globally, regionally, nationally and locally
for its achievement. Sustainable development must become a central tenet of
international and government policy and of the behaviour of the private sector,
civil society and individuals.
- The achievement
of sustainable development in the region needs cohesive, coherent and long
term national and regional policies that are aimed at fostering a higher quality
of life in all of its aspects and at increasing opportunities, as well as
providing for human rights, freedom for individuals and communities as well
as for societies at large.
- National strategies
and policies that support sustainable development need to be internally consistent
from a technical viewpoint, with sufficient political consensus to be maintained
over time on the basis of concrete results and full inclusion of all members
of society. The strategies and policies may vary over time, due to political
changes and shifts in emphasis, to be expected in a democratic society, but
the consensus on fundamentals needs to be strong enough to make development
over time sustainable.
- The necessary
national and regional policies require a supportive and conducive international
- Within the region,
sustainable development must involve sufficient and more equitably shared
economic growth; social and human development; environmental protection and
resource renewal; participatory and stable democratic governance; viable,
effective and transparent institutions, and a cultural environment that respects
moral and spiritual values as well as cultural cohesiveness and diversity.
The achievement of sustainable development regionally and globally will require
the absence of war and civil strife which in turn will require the enhancement
of national, regional and global capacities to negotiate and reconcile differences.
- In order to achieve
sustainable development in the region, participants believed that the following
priorities need to be addressed:
- Eradication of
all forms of poverty;
- Robust and sustained
- Conservation and
sustainable utilisation of the regions wealth in biological diversity;
- Political and
institutional reforms to deepen democracy and freedom, as a means of forging
a better organised and empowered civil society, that vigorously advocates
the improvement of the quality of life;
- Greater political
will of governments and stronger administrative infrastructure to implement
public policies of sustainable development; and
- Attainment, through
international co-operation and solidarity as well as national and regional
efforts, of mechanisms (for example international laws), technical and financial
assistance to support the development of strategies for sustainable development.
could be pursued taking into account the considerations dealt with below.
and quality of growth
- Robust economic
growth is fundamental for the region. However, participants emphasised that
the quality of growth has to improve significantly in order to ensure a sustainable
long-term future. In order to improve the quality of growth, participants
felt that economic growth had to address social equity, ecological sustainability
and advances in human rights.
- Employment has
become more precarious since Rio. Redundancies and unemployment have increased
and there has been unprecedented growth in the regions informal sector.
- Gross domestic
product (GDP) continues to be used as a measure of well being. Work is going
on to develop new ways of measuring growth to reflect social and environmental
costs. For example, many countries are already attempting to develop and apply
green accounting and sustainability indices.
and trade liberalisation
- Although globalisation
can bring benefits, it is resulting in uneven and inequitable consequences
between and within countries. Its effects need to be properly evaluated and
global arrangements should address ways and means of compensating for some
of its unintended effects.
the growth that has occurred in world trade, the continued existence of barriers
in developed countries constitutes a brake on the export growth of developing
- It will be of
great importance in the furtherance of sustainable development to address
the linkages between trade, environment and core labour standards. At the
same time, participants recognised that these linkages should not be used
as a protectionist tool. This Roundtable acknowledged the complexity of current
negotiations regarding the relationship between trade and environmental agreements,
but expressed its concern about continued resource degradation and human exposure
to harmful substances under current trade regimes.
- There is also
a need for developed countries to increase and stabilise financial flows.
In particular, it was noted that the region suffered directly and indirectly
from externally generated economic and financial shocks.
of macro- and micro-economies
- There have been
significant gains in macroeconomic stability, underpinned by increases in
export earnings and growth in domestic savings and investment. This macroeconomic
stability should be maintained. At the same time, microeconomic policy changes
are still lagging. Bureaucratic inefficiencies persist and there is a disturbing
incidence of corruption. The support for small and micro-enterprises should
be increased. This includes institutional issues, such as protection and extension
of property rights with special focus on women and indigenous peoples. Investment
in both social and physical infrastructure remains insufficient.
and transfer of technology and management systems
- Rapid development
of information technology in recent years has brought renewed urgency in increasing
the international competitiveness of the region. This could well lead to additional
gaps between developed and developing countries. There is also a concern about
creating technological illiteracy, causing a digital divide within countries.
Training of both youth and adults and relevant education are urgently indicated.
- The focus on technology
should not just be on its development but also on recovering certain traditional
technologies in which this region has great experience. An example is the
production of coffee through agro-forestry methods that have been passed from
traditional methods to modern farmers which result in significantly greater
yield than that produced with green revolution technologies. There is a need
to rescue traditional technologies that are in danger of being lost.
- Scientific research
and development need to be increased, especially with respect to agricultural
technology. National science and technology policies warrant further development.
The tendency in recent years has been for this research to be carried out
by large multinational corporations. Increased publicly-funded research is
needed, particularly to address the needs of small- and medium-sized farmers.
Similarly, ODA for research and development should be increased.
- Clean technologies
exist commercially, but their transfer to areas of greatest need should be
accelerated. Participants reiterated the need for favourable access to, and
transfer of, such technologies.
is one means to promote sustainable business practices. Although large companies
may have the capacity to implement it themselves, there is a need to encourage
and support the effort of small and micro-enterprises in this regard. It would
also be desirable for eco-efficiency to be undertaken by governments, for
example, in the area of social infrastructure, such as the health sector,
including hospitals and sewerage system.
- The development
of environmental management systems as voluntary mechanisms is spreading with
more than 500 such systems having been developed in Latin America since Rio.
- Economic instruments
should include the creation of markets that ensure sustainability. Clear incentive
mechanisms should be developed for activities that contribute to sustainable
development. Similarly, disincentives should be applied for unsustainable
activities, including the elimination of subsidies.
financing and debt
- Mobilising capital
from nationals resident abroad can be an important source of financial resources
for sustainable development. There are now some experiences of this possibility,
examples being in India, the Philippines and Dominican Republic.
- External debt
levels and balances of payments have improved in some countries, but the situation
in the region remains discouraging. Debt still constitutes a heavy burden
on countries in their pursuit of economic growth and sustainable development.
The issue of debt relief, including possibilities for cancellation, deserves
- Some highly indebted
countries in the region have successfully carried out debt swaps, thereby
saving substantial sums in interest payments. These examples could be applied
by other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- It was noted that
the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has developed indicators
for international companies, quoted on major markets. A second stage will
involve indicators for emerging markets. These should be available by the
end of this year.
- Participants noted
that the Tobin tax continues to be discussed and deserves further
- The region is
particularly vulnerable to increasingly frequent and often severe socio-environmental
disasters, linked to the effects of climate change and global warming, such
as hurricanes, floods and forest fires. This is illustrated by the high and
recurrent incidence of hurricanes, earthquakes and storms in small countries
in the Caribbean and the effects of "El Nino" and "La Nina"
phenomena in many Latin American countries. Countries in the region that are
heavily dependent on agriculture are particularly susceptible to plant and
animal disease, the negative consequences of pesticide use, and genetic contamination
of endemic species, indigenous cultures and biodiversity caused by the introduction
of transgenic crops. Effective policies on biosafety are, thus, urgently required
and there is a strong case for instituting insurance funds to cover losses
from socio-environmental disasters.
of biological diversity and environmental services
- Value should be
placed on biodiversity and environmental services, particularly in territories
where indigenous people live, respecting the evaluation by indigenous people
themselves. There is also a need to respect and protect traditional knowledge
with respect to the management of biological diversity and its use, including
the use of natural medicine. The financial resources thus generated could
contribute to promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty. These
actions should involve effective participation by indigenous people.
- Sustainable development
in the Caribbean, Central and Latin America depends on deepening inter-relationships
among these three areas. It is important to stress that sustainable development
for this region is dependent upon closer integration, regionalism and a working
together rather than believing that each country can achieve sustainable development
on its own.
circumstances of small states
- The special circumstances
of the small states remain an important consideration for the region. Smallness
of territory, narrow resource base, limited scope for social planning; vulnerability
to exogenous economic and environmental events, are among the impediments
to their achieving sustainable development in the context of globalisation.
- For these reasons,
the special needs and vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
need to be recognised and addressed.
- The participants
noted the importance of properly assessing the interrelated impacts of major
sectoral activities on each other in the context of sustainable development.
Agriculture, mining, energy, tourism and transport were considered particularly
important. Concern was expressed at continued soil degradation and loss of
biodiversity caused by agriculture and mining activities. The importance of
developing renewable energy sources and promoting their widespread use was
- The importance
of promoting programmes for energy efficiency and incorporating these in the
policies of major energy consuming sectors was highlighted. Participants also
underscored the contribution that increased use of renewable energy and sustainable
use of traditional energy resources would make to meeting the growing need
for energy services and to achieving sustainable development.
- Tourism is a sector
which in some countries dominates the whole economy, accounting in most Caribbean
countries for the largest proportion of foreign exchange earnings and employment.
The sector also employs high proportions of women and young people. Unless
carefully developed, tourism has the potential to cause substantial social,
cultural and environmental damage. New and helpful developments involve attention
to community concerns about such issues as land use, direct benefits and consultation
of local communities about development plans. The situation of indigenous
people deserves special attention. Creating sustainable tourism for the region
involves addressing, inter alia, the establishment of appropriate regulatory
frameworks and enforcement of national and regional standards, creation of
innovative financial instruments and human resource development.
- Furthermore, the
region offers excellent opportunities for sustainable development through
eco-tourism. Full advantage should be taken of this potential. It can contribute
significantly to increasing income and employment creation.
- There is an urgent
need to build on recent achievements of macroeconomic stability in the region.
Participants recognised that trade and investment are important engines of
growth. Macroeconomic policies must ensure the creation of decent work as
well as more and better jobs.
- Gains in productivity
and competitiveness are needed to increase growth rates and improve internal
and external balances. The adoption of technologies and associated training
should be stimulated. Transaction costs need to be reduced, especially those
from bureaucratic procedures.
and support should be given to the development of small and micro-enterprises.
They should be endowed with flexibility to make them adaptable to change and
- Land reform and
democratisation of property are also urgent matters to be addressed.
factors, human development and cultural issues
- Overriding priorities
for the region are to overcome poverty, racism, social and cultural exclusion
- High rates of
demographic growth continue to constitute a problem for the sustainable development
of some countries in the region. These countries must make better efforts
towards implementing appropriate demographic policies.
- Participants felt
there was currently insufficient focus on human development in the region.
Half of the population is less than twenty years of age. This presents major
challenges and opportunities. It will be critical for the regions future
to channel sufficient resources to ensure adequate physical, nutritional and
educational development of this generation, to shape talent and enhance career
development. Participants stressed their concern at the low quality of education
that was generally to be found in Latin America and the Caribbean in comparison
with some other regions of the world. The investment in education of sufficient
quality should have the highest priority in the allocation of public resources
and there should be incentives to stimulate private investment in the sector.
Life long learning should be a way of life. Inefficiencies in spending on
educational investment need also to be addressed.
- An understanding
of sustainable development issues should be an important part of education
and information programmes and an integral component of the curriculum at
all stages of life, from early childhood to tertiary and adult education.
Educational programmes should incorporate values related to personal growth,
social solidarity and respect for the natural environment, with special reference
to indigenous people.
- A holistic approach
to educational reform should also include improvements to teacher training.
Reform at the tertiary level is needed for the new training of teachers and
increases in teachers compensation should be introduced. Illiteracy
must be eradicated; the lack of skills in information and communication technology
also requires immediate attention.
- There are concerns
that people, especially young people, are being drawn by global commercial
television towards unsustainable lifestyles. Mass media should be used instead
as an educational tool for teaching about a sustainable and consistent lifestyle.
- Programmes for
sustainable development education need to incorporate the objective of having
a more conscious and motivated society that would advocate the improvement
of the quality of life throughout sustainability. It is important, in this
respect, to strengthen existing regional programmes of environmental education,
intensify international co-operation and maximise the opportunities offered
by the telecommunication and information technologies revolution.
- There must be
full respect for human rights, and among them the freedom of association and
other core labour standards. All people need access to such basic resources
and services as energy, food, water, sanitation, the provision of healthcare
and transportation. Each country needs to establish a social safety net for
all as a basic human right.
- The concept of
mentor schemes Dominica is an example of such - where mature business
people partner young people to help them look for and create jobs, should
be developed and extended across the region.
- Participants recognised
the important contribution that the indigenous peoples of the region make
through concepts and strategies for sustainable development that are based
on their culture of sustainability, environmental awareness, spirituality,
and self-management of their resources. The level of recognition of indigenous
rights and culture and their role in decision making is increasing, but further
advances are urgently required. There is a continued need to recognise collective
- Diverse economic
and social instruments are needed to address the particular gender issues
in the region. For example, Central America and the Caribbean have the largest
number of female-headed households in the world. High levels of domestic violence
and health issues (such as HIV/AIDS and cancer) affect women disproportionately.
A positive factor has been the significant percentage of women enrolled, and
graduating, in higher education.
- Corporate social
responsibility is becoming increasingly important. Councils for Sustainable
Development for business and trade unions have developed guidelines that help
companies to incorporate social and environmental issues in their activities.
These guidelines should be widely disseminated and businesses should be encouraged
to adopt them. Growing education of consumers could help exert pressure on
companies to abide by sustainable development principles.
- In a region that
is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual, there must be equity and
equality of opportunity among all groups and in all areas, such as employment
and access to social services. It is important to retain high quality people
in employment within the region, with particular emphasis on opportunities
for women, indigenous people and other people who have been marginalised.
resources and biodiversity
- Latin America
and the Caribbean is a region of vital importance for the global community
in terms of natural resources. It is a region rich in mineral, water and marine
and coastal resources. The region is the richest in biological resources on
the planet with respect to its fauna, flora and micro-biota. It has a wide
variety of ecosystems of particular importance: terrestrial, freshwater, coastal
and marine, including coral reefs. In its territory are located the largest
and richest natural forest ecosystems of the tropics. It is also the richest
region in terms of genetic resources, some of them of global importance for
food security and human health.
- It is a region
where important progress has been achieved in the declaration of part of its
territory and territorial waters as nature reserves of different types. Since
Rio, the region has made significant progress in ratifying and implementing
the main multilateral environmental agreements.
- Despite the increasing
destruction and deterioration of natural resources, Latin America and the
Caribbean have a very rich endowment of natural ecosystems in sharp contrast
to most developed countries where the natural systems are deeply altered,
their natural forest ecosystems are sparse and their marine resources have
been depleted. Because of this situation, the region has a special responsibility
to play a leading international role to ensure the conservation and sustainable
use of biological resources for the well being and survival of the planet.
- Natural resources
and environmental management measures have improved in most countries of the
region. However, efforts to avoid environmental degradation and halt deforestation,
soil degradation and loss of biodiversity need to be intensified.
- Issues of global
warming and climate change and their effects on sustainable development are
of vital importance to countries in the region and should be tackled urgently.
- The use of economic
instruments appropriate to the region that promote greater environmental responsibility
and accountability in the utilisation of natural resources should be encouraged.
- There is a need
for research in all aspects of natural resources, particularly with respect
to agricultural resources for enhancing food security in the region. Sharing
examples of good practices in natural resources utilisation should be central.
- Indigenous peoples
are historically linked to the stewardship of the genetic resources of plant
and domesticated native animal species and to the preservation of traditional
knowledge associated with the uses and properties of many species in their
natural ecosystems. There is, therefore, a need to recognise that this knowledge
is part of the scientific and technological patrimony of the countries in
the region. Its wider use is of importance to the local and global community
in the protection and sustainable utilisation of natural resources, and also
in the provision of other environmental services.
- Strategies and
policies for sustainable development of tourism, energy and marine resources
and protection of coastal environment need to be strengthened.
- The international
community should support in all possible ways these priorities, with the goal
of conserving resources that neither the region nor humanity can do without.
institutions and international co-operation
- A fundamental
requirement for achieving sustainable development in the region is the need
for effective governance, adequate institutions and a supportive international
environment. Significant improvements are required in each of these areas
in order to meet fundamental challenges of sustainable development. Governments
must become more accountable for their performance in implementing sustainable
development policies. On-going reform efforts are required to give greater
rights to civil society through such policies as equitable access to justice
and legislative action to support public participation.
- In the period
since Rio, major efforts have been made in the region to deepen and strengthen
democratic, transparent and inclusive institutional arrangements. Paradoxically,
these efforts have been paralleled by a weakening in the capacity of the state
to deliver public goods and services. Governmental budget cuts have had a
disproportionately adverse effect on the many new environmental agencies established
in the region since Rio.
- Continued efforts
will be required to establish and strengthen democratic systems of governance,
including improvements in participation of civil society, which meet the particular
needs of the people and countries of the region. Efforts to increase democratisation
should particularly be addressed by the elimination of all forms of racism.
- There has been
a shift in emphasis away from state productive activity towards enhancing
public goods, increasing social and human development, improving security
and justice, and securing more stable institutions.
- Trafficking in
narcotics, corruption, youth unemployment, child labour, crime and drug dependency
are increasingly worrying phenomena in Latin America and the Caribbean, as
they are in other parts of the world. It is generally believed that only through
equitable economic growth and increased democratisation will these problems
become more controllable. However, strengthening open and transparent systems
of justice and increased capacity of related agencies could assist in reversing
- One of the adverse
effects of globalisation for the region is the increased opportunity for expansion
of international trade in narcotics, which has a significant effect on some
countries efforts to achieve sustainable development. It poses one of
the major threats to society and the natural environment in the region. Both
the demand and supply sides of this informal sector need to be tackled, both
by countries in the region and by the developed countries that account for
much of the consumer market. Governments should intensify efforts to combat
the consumption of illicit drugs that are particularly harmful to youth at
the national and international levels.
- The establishment
and strengthening of property rights systems and arrangements for the protection
of indigenous and traditional land rights and knowledge, including through
legislative mechanisms, will contribute significantly to economic development
and a more equitable society in the region.
- Public sector
capacity needs to be enhanced in various ways in many countries of the region.
There has been a decline in the notion of civil service excellence in many
government systems. Better training programmes and more attractive compensation
packages and deliberate programmes to attract the best and brightest entrants
with special attention to attracting under-represented groups such as women,
people with disabilities and indigenous persons are required.
- Public agencies
will in many cases act more responsibly and effectively if, with appropriate
safeguards, they can be granted greater autonomy and separation from the executive
arm of government. The establishment of statutory authorities in several countries
in recent years are illustrative of this.
- Public sector
reform will not support sustainable development unless there are also political
and constitutional reforms. One of the critical constraints to sustainable
development in the region is the absence of political will, understanding
of, or interest in, making sustainable development a central policy of the
state. Similarly, there is a lack of political will and government capacity
in the implementation of agreed policies. Allied with the normal short-term
electoral process, which results in a lack of consistent and coherent policy
making and implementation, political constraints are a key impediment to sustainable
development in the region.
- More inclusive
and full participation of civil society and the private sector in local and
national decision making and policy formulation will increase political information
on sustainable development issues, promote accountability and contribute to
stability and continuity of policies on sustainable development through a
wider consensus on priorities, strategy and policy.
of public decision making to the level where these decisions take effect can
often promote sustainable development through greater understanding and ownership.
Progress has been made in the region towards granting more autonomy and self-government
to indigenous people and others, but more needs to be done in this regard.
- A feature of sustainable
development governance in Latin America and the Caribbean is that responsibility
for promoting sustainable development rests primarily with Environment Ministers.
Sustainable development should be a central thrust of government policy. Thus
all Ministers should share responsibility for applying sustainable development
policies in their countries, for implementing relevant aspects of the policies
and for reporting on them.
- As successful
implementation of sustainable development requires participation of all major
elements of civil society e.g. business, indigenous people, trade unions,
religious bodies, women, small farmers, political parties and scientists,
mechanisms to provide for their formal and effective involvement need to be
established. A number of countries in the region have established national
sustainable development councils. Other countries in the region should consider
establishing these or similar representative bodies and/or other mechanisms,
such as sectoral strategies and national mission statements of guiding principles
and values, and implementing the resultant proposals for action.
and regional co-operation
- Capacity building
and the reform of governance and public and private institutions in order
to promote sustainable development in the region require a supportive international
environment. The Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and
the Caribbean and the Central American Alliance for Sustainable Development
provide examples of co-ordinated approaches.
- Many of the regions
sustainable development priorities need to be addressed nationally. But an
environment of coherent and consistent international co-operation,
equity and regional actions, would make a very significant contribution to
sustainable development in Latin American and the Caribbean.
- The experience
of international co-operation for development, as reflected in official development
assistance, needs to be reviewed in light of the regrettable decline in the
accepted international target for official development assistance in order
to promote greater consistency with the goals of sustainable development.
- The region should
strengthen and speed up integration schemes to better link the small market
economies to the larger ones in the hemisphere, as well as among themselves.
The capacity and effectiveness of a number of sub-regional arrangements to
support sustainable development are in many cases very limited. Regional institutions
often have difficulty in implementing agreed actions. The capacity of regional
bodies should be enhanced.
- Special problems
such as corruption, trafficking in narcotics and international crime, will
only be effectively addressed within the context of international co-operation.
International agreements and programs to eliminate narcotics trafficking require
strong support from the international community. There was also a call for
the reduction of military expenses and international disarmament.
- Concerns were
expressed that developed countries had failed to deliver on their Agenda 21
commitments and/or had applied an inappropriate redefinition of Agenda 21
principles. The Participants also called on all countries which had not already
done so to ratify the Rio Conference conventions as part of the agreed international
sustainable development legal regime.
- One of the main
challenges is the need for significant changes in policies and behaviour,
and the urgency of effecting them. It is imperative that the Johannesburg
Summit re-energises the vision of sustainable development at all levels of
government and society. It should reaffirm its confidence in practical, concrete
partnerships between public sector, private sector and civil society. Heads
of State and Governments must also reaffirm their commitment to the principles
of good governance.
- As previously
mentioned, the term sustainable development needs to return to
its original significance: that economic development, social development and
environmental protection are mutually reinforcing components. The Summit must
result in better understanding and acceptance by individuals, civil society,
business and governments of the multi-faceted character of the concept, which
should include consideration of cultural and spirituality issues. It should
recognise the common and differentiated responsibilities of all governments
and social partners.
- The Summit should
underline the reality that the issues at stake relate basically to the security
of life for human beings.
- The Summit should
result in agreement on strategies, policies and measures designed to address
rigorously poverty reduction and equity. Economic growth should be seen as
a means towards that end, not as the end in itself.
- The process should
strengthen the regional approach. The coral reef initiative in the Caribbean
area could serve as an example of the partnerships between countries that
need to be taken to address issues of common concern.
- The outcome of
the Johannesburg Summit should include a vision for sustainable development
that encompasses universal human rights.
- Sustainable development
should move from rhetoric to operative reality. Well-designed and time-bound
commitments are needed to take the agenda forward, with strong mechanisms
of accountability, so that achievements against the commitments made are readily
identifiable. There must be focussed goals with tangible, quantifiable action.
- Issues related
to sustainable development that have reached a new dimension of gravity since
Rio, and that should therefore be addressed at the Summit, include HIV/AIDS,
depletion of the ozone layer, climate change, biosafety and ethnic conflicts.
Those attending the Summit should be invited to consider how new inter-ethnic
and inter-cultural relations could be constructed.
- The Summit process
needs to be transparent. Business and civil society will continue to be key
actors with governments in taking forward the sustainable development agenda
and it is crucial that they should be able to speak at Johannesburg.
- It will be important
for young people to be involved in a meaningful way. Young people of diverse
cultures and backgrounds should be represented in each of the major groups
and delegations. They have a critical role because of their unique situation
and perspective. They should be given the opportunity to influence current
decision-makers, whose actions will directly impact on them. The new generation
should join the recommitment for Agenda 21.
recognised the need to harmonise international trade arrangements with sustainable
development and to make them mutually supportive. For example, a vibrant agriculture
sector is critical to the attainment of sustainable development. At the present
time, the regions agricultural trade is being negatively affected by
barriers and distortions that affect its ability to compete with agricultural
products in other parts of the world. These concerns should be urgently addressed
in the World Trade Organisation agreement on agriculture.
- There is a need
to reform and democratise international financial institutions. A new vision
of financing for sustainable development should emerge from the Summit process.
Financing for sustainable development remains inadequate and the development
banks should pay greater attention to addressing this inadequacy in all sectors
and at all levels. The global financial architecture needs to be reformed,
involving issues such as the role of international financial institutions,
the mobilisation of financial resources for sustainable development and financing
for mitigating natural disasters.
- The worlds
leaders should be charged to reiterate their commitment to sustainable development
and to a global culture of justice, which addresses inter alia the
principles of social justice, the right to development and prior informed
- Sustainable tourism
deserves a special place on the agenda, given its crucial importance to developing
economies, especially small island states.
capacity for the display and dissemination of best practice. Participants
supported the idea that a Village of Hope should be established for South
Africa in 2002 to provide an opportunity to share good practice and role models,
thereby reinforcing and encouraging people working for sustainable development
at all levels.
ROUNDTABLE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
18-20 June 2001
Sir Alister McIntyre
Technical Advisor with the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery; ex-Vice
Chancellor, University of the West Indies; former Deputy Secretary General
of UNCTAD and Assistant Secretary General at UNHQ
Fernando Alves de Almeida
President of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development
(BCSD Brazil); assistant professor of Environmental Impact Assessments
in Engineering Department at the UFRJ
Asesores Estrategicos (consulting firm); Chairman of Board and DG of International
Center for Economic Growth; former President of the Republic; LAC Vice-President
of the World Bank and General Administrator of the Interoceanic Region
for Economic and Social Policies of the Inter-American Regional Organisation
of Workers (ORIT), a branch of the International Confederation of Free
Trade Unions (ICFTU) for the Americas
Margarita Marino de Botero
Advisor, National Institute for Science and Technology-COLCIENCIAS; Founder
and Executive Director of El Colegio Verde de Villa de Leyva (The Green
biologist; expert of bio-diversity of Peru, especially in the Amazon area;
author of nine book sand more than 150 articles on the environment and
Alvaro Colom Caballeros
and President of Grupo Mega and Secretary General of Uridad Nacional Esperonza
(UNE); extensive expertise in conflict resolution; former Vice-Minister
in Guatemalan Ministry of Finance
involved in policy making process for sustainable development in the Caribbean
region and globally through various contexts including the World Conservation
Union and UNCBD; co-founder of the Cropper Foundation
of the indigenous university, Universidad de las Regiones Autonomas de
la Costa Caribe Nicaraguense (URACCAN), and Dean and Professor of human
rights, health and indigenous rights
Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO); Resources Member
Trade & Sustainability businesswoman and founder of the Red Thread
women's collective in Guyana.
Raimundo Carlos Florin
Director of the Business Council for Sustainable Development of Argentina;
former private banker and counsellor for Argentinean Government, World
Bank and Inter-American Bank of Development
Arnoldo Jose Gabaldon
experience incorporating numerous senior positions, including Professor,
Simon Bolivar University; Member, Earth Council; Ecology and Environment,
S.A.; former Minister of the Environment and Natural Renewable Resources
and Minister of Public Works.
General, Caribbean Tourism Organisation and tourism expert; former West
Indian diplomat; serves on the Boards of several national, regional and
of the Future Centre Trust of Barbados and Treading Lightly Centre for
Problem-Solving for Sustainability; Co-ordinator of Village of Hope for
Global Conference in SIDS.
Auki Tituana Males
of Cotacachi, Indigenous leader; former Director of Planning and Finance
of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE)
Director, The Development Institute; internationally-recognised NGO advocate
for the environment; former Minister of the Environment for Dominica.
Osvaldo Martinez Martinez
of Parliament of Cuba; Faculty Professor of Economics at the University
of Havana; President of the Permanent Commission for Economic Affairs
of Parliament; Member of UN Expert Group for Development Rights
Manuel Felipe Olivera
environmental expert with more than 20 years' professional experience;
recently ended three-year term as Director of the City of Bogota Environmental
Director of Caribbean Equity Partners (fund management company); former
investment banker with Dean Stanley Witter; former Rhodes Scholar; founding
member of Generation 2000 (G2X)
Delegate to the Central American Council for Sustainable Development,
First Vice-Chair of the Inter-American Committee on Sustainable Development
of the OAS; and Executive President of CONADES.
Minister of Environment in Colombia; environmental consultant; former
co-Chairman of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and general manager
of National Institute of Environment and Natural Resources
Lloyd Erskine Sandiford
Prime Minister of Barbados and long-serving Member of Parliament; has
headed numerous delegations from Barbados to international meetings and
conferences; member of Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development
Bank; Chairman of CARICOM
Sergio Molina Silva
of Economics, University of Chile; Vice-President, Banco del Desarrollo;
Director of Development Bank and former President of the Banco Central;
former Minister in Chile of Finance, of Education and of Co-ordination