Background

On the follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, CEB members welcomed the establishment of an open-ended group of HLCP to give focused attention to the issue and assist HLCP in preparing further CEB discussions on the matter at its next session. They shared the group’s assessment that the Johannesburg Summit had given renewed political impetus to the implementation of commitments and agreements reached at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, including by introducing important new goals and targets, and that it was now incumbent on the system to build on and sustain that momentum. It was necessary in that connection both to focus inter-agency cooperation for sustainable development on advancing the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and to work towards effectively integrating relevant conference follow-up processes so that they became mutually reinforcing and serve together, to maximize their impact on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. The need, highlighted in the group’s discussions, for the system to take into account ongoing intergovernmental discussions on approaches to the integrated follow-up to conferences, was reiterated.

Discussion

CEB members also shared the view that strategic and programmatic frameworks to advance implementation of these outcomes and related actions in the water and sanitation, energy, health, agriculture and biodiversity areas should be flexible and action-oriented. They should contribute to enhancing coherence and impact by all concerned institutions, rather than adding to them. The need for bold approaches that give more visibility to implementation processes, particularly with respect to water and energy, was particularly stressed. Those approaches should serve not only to reinforce system-wide coherence but also fully exploit the opportunities presented by partnerships with the private sector, local authorities and civil society. The same considerations applied to follow-up actions concerning changing patterns of productions and consumption. In recognizing the importance of this objective, the World Summit on Sustainable Development had highlighted the need to work also at sectoral and enterprise levels and involving business and workers in those processes. There was general support for the view that the main focus of inter-agency action should be at the country level, avoiding the creation of new coordination mechanisms, while building on and reinforcing existing ones.

Action

CEB encouraged HLCP and its open-ended group to pursue their work on identifying the actions required to maximize the system’s support to a sustained follow-up to the Summit, taking into account the above-mentioned considerations. With regard to the intention of HLCP to initiate a study on the system’s collaboration with civil society, CEB members welcomed the initiative, noting that it would also serve to complement, from a system-wide perspective, the Secretary-General’s decision referred to in his report on United Nations reform, entitled “Strengthening of the United Nations: an agenda for further change” (A/57/387) to establish a panel of eminent personalities to review the relationship between the United Nations and civil society.