How to make the Commission for Sustainable Development work

  • 14/06/2003

How to make the Commission for Sustainable Development work It was only half a year ago, but events since the Johannesburg earth summit already make it seem like a distant event. The world has just seen an American-engineered war in which the un was sidelined and the us paid scant regard to the views of even its traditional allies. The current global political theatre is centred on anything but sustainable development. Against this background, the 11th meeting of the un's Commission for Sustainable Development (csd) held in New York, usa, from April 28 to May 9, does not really seem like an important event. It clearly was not.
The enemy is strong In the current context, however, what is important is that the global sustainable development agenda still has fora and institutions that keep it going. In this respect a major role is played by the conventions on climate change and biodiversity. Their objectives most often put them on collision course with very strong economic interests. In spite of this, these conventions have achieved a fair degree of success (assuming Russia's announced ratification will finally push the Kyoto Protocol over the threshold required for it to come into force).

However, the politics of setting up new institutions and frameworks against the old forces of non-sustainable development clearly has its limits. These can only be overcome if sustainable development is integrated into the core of the global and national economic and political agendas. This is clearly not an easy task in the current situation.

The fierce struggle in Johannesburg over the relationship between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (meas) towards the World Trade Organisation (wto), which ended in a typical stalemate

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