Kazakhstan Begins Consultations on CSD 20

UN DESA15 January 2013: UN Member States have been asked to send written submissions of their views on lessons learned from the past 20 years of the work of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), in preparation for its final session (CSD 20), convening later this year. In consultations hosted by the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan, chair of CSD 20, delegates also discussed the agenda, duration, and timing of CSD 20.

Opening the meeting in New York, US, on 15 January 2013, Byrganym Aitimova noted the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) decision (A/67/203) that the 20th CSD be the final session, and “short and procedural.” Per the decision, CSD 20 should occur following the end of negotiations to create the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and directly before the first meeting of this new body.

Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), outlined the Secretariat's perspectives on the strengths and shortcomings of the CSD over the past 20 years. He said DSD is preparing a report on lessons learned from the Commission, as requested by 67/203 to inform the HLPF negotiations, and cited the short timeline to write and release this report. Major Groups also will be consulted in the writing of the report, he noted.

A letter from Seth sent following the meeting on 15 January suggested that States submit views on: monitoring and reviewing progress in implementing Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) agenda-setting and developing policy recommendations; and partnerships and multistakeholder dialogue. The letter sets a deadline of 23 January.

On the session's arrangements, several countries insisted during the consultations that a half-day, ceremonial meeting of the CSD would best reflect the UNGA agreement. Other countries, however, highlighted the importance of discussing the agenda items previously determined for CSD 20, including biodiversity, biotechnology, the Third International Conference on Small Island Development States (SIDS) in 2014, and forest issues. States also called for flexibility when determining the format and schedule of CSD 20, as details cannot be decided until the HLPF has been formed. Representatives of Italy and Brazil, who will chair the negotiations to create the HLPF, announced their intention to begin meetings by the end of January 2013.

Further discussion on the timing, agenda and duration of CSD 20 is expected to take place bilaterally. [IISD RS Sources]