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Functional Commissions 2000

  Statement by H.E. Dr. Milos Kuzvart, Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic, PREPARATIONS FOR THE RIO + 10 at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development Eight Session, High Level SegmentNew York, 26 April 2000 Statement by H.E. Dr. Milos Kuzvart, Minister of Environment of

  • Statement by H.E. Dr. Milos Kuzvart, Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic, PREPARATIONS FOR THE RIO + 10 at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development Eight Session, High Level Segment
    New York, 26 April 2000


Statement by H.E. Dr. Milos Kuzvart, Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic, PREPARATIONS FOR THE RIO + 10 at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development Eight Session, High Level Segment

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Agenda 21 was conceived as a blueprint for 21st century. Now, this new century, and indeed, the new Millennium is here and we are asking ourselves how far did we get on the road towards sustainable development. The answer is by no means simple. On one hand, the concept of sustainable development seems to be still somewhat elusive and difficult to operationalize. On other hand, we see expanding and boldening stream of thousands of concrete activities inspired by the very same concept. We see increasing involvement of various stakeholders and constituencies, North and South, East and West. It is not exaggerating to say that the process of promoting sustainable development is now well rooted and, well, sustainable in itself. And its dynamism is now probably much more felt in the world outside, rather than in these conference rooms as the multi-stake-holder dialogue over the last two days reminded us of.

A lot has happened since Rio - the world is not the same and our thinking of sustainable development is not the same either. In the year 2002, we are scheduled to take stock of what has been done, and probably reflect the new perspectives on sustainable development, as they evolve.

The Czech Republic already expressed its full support for the statement of the European Union. I certainly will not reiterate all the points raised but confine myself to just a few following points:

The World Summit of Sustainable Development should be held out of New York and in a developing country, preferably in Africa.

It is necessary to start preparation for this meeting as soon as possible. Although some crucial decisions will have to wait for the General Assembly it would be more then timely to try to give the preparatory process a general direction already here, to stress the political importance of the meeting and to outline its basic objectives, for instance in a form of some broad, frame resolution. Many international and intergovernmental organizations are already preparing themselves for this important event and the synergies and momentum already emerging should not be wasted. The regional approaches should be exploited too, such as the preparatory process for the Kiev 2002 Conference of the ECE Region.

It is also very timely to urge all relevant actors and us, governments, on the first place, to start preparation for Rio + 10 in the areas under our own control as soon as possible and to mobilize all relevant elements of the civil society. In this respect I would like to draw your attention, Mr. Chairman, to the important European initiative, namely the Aarhus Convention concluded two years ago in Denmark. The backbone of the Convention, the enhancement of public participation, is essential for the successful implementation of the concept of sustainable development. We support the effort to make this Convention a worldwide issue.

We also support the notion that the economic and social pillars of sustainability should be given more consideration in integrating all the dimensions of sustainable development. At the same time, however, we must not forget that - as GEO 2000 and other authoritative statements clearly stated - there has been some progress on environmental issues since 1992, but it is not nearly fast enough. The main issues should be explicitly addressed. According to our opinion, the highest priority should be given, among others, to the following. First, the issue of the reduction of biological diversity at all levels including the genetic, species, ecosystem and landscape levels. The velocity with which we humans are destroying other forms of life on the Planet Earth is truly frightening. The second issue is the climate change. We see the Kyoto Protocol as the first step in the right direction and urge States and Governments to make all the efforts to ratify it before the Rio+10 Review.

An important prerequisite for the transformation of the economic and societal progress towards the sustainable path is policy relevant, credible and reliable quantitative information. In this respect, we believe that the role of indicators is a crucial one. We fully support their further development and their broad use at all levels.

We believe that event like the World Summit on Sustainable Development should bring forward a strong, forward looking, visionary statement. The Earth Charter could be such an essential stament. We support its development and hope it will be prepared in time.

In concluding, let me, Mr. Chairman, to express my hope, that the Czech Republic, whose candidate is likely to preside over the next session of the CSD, will contribute in considerable way to the successful preparation of the Rio+10 event.

Thank you.