The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established as a functional commission in the UN Economic and Social Council, implementing Chapter 38 of Agenda 21, reached in 1992 in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), to follow-up on obligations under the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI).
The CSD is structured in 2-year implementation cycles: a review year assessing progress made, identifying key challenges and obstacles to implementation, and a policy year, giving further policy guidance on how to overcome the obstacles and accelerate implementation. Each cycle addresses 3-5 key issues from the JPOI.
Main Outcome of CSD17
The 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD17) negotiated policy recommendations on agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.
The agreed outcome has strong language and recommendations on various points that are EU priorities, such as adaptation needs of agriculture to climate change, emphasis on land planning and sustainable agricultural practices as well as on sustainable forest management and the contribution of such policies to meeting climate concerns. The key role of policies for water, soil and resource management was also agreed by all parties. On biofuels, a compromise text was reached on acknowledging ongoing efforts on enhancing the sustainability of biofuels.
The meeting also agreed on policies addressed to the needs of Africa. These include language on needs of a green revolution to help boost agricultural productivity, food production and national and regional food security in a way which supports ecosystem functions.
Follow-up on CSD17 Outcomes
CSD 17 agreed on strong and useful recommendations in relation to soil, water, land management (resource management in general) as well as to adaptation needs of agriculture. Building trust between the North and the South is at the core of CSD's mission. CSD 17's success is an important expression of common commitment that can enhance such trust, and have positive effects on other international actions and negotiations later this year.
The new much welcomed outcome of CSD 17 was the acknowledgement of the urgent need for a "change of mind" in the agricultural sector in relation to resource use. Recommendations in this regard should be followed up both nationally and in the international context (ie in particular by the UN Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and by other relevant organisations.)
The current cycle, CSD 18-19 (2010-11) addresses transport, waste, chemicals, mining and the so-called "10 Year Framework of Programmes" (an international frame on sustainable consumption and production to implement Green Economy). These topics are all important to the EU. In particular, the idea of a "10 Year Framework of Programmes" on sustainable consumption and production was put forward by the EU at the WSSD in 2002 and formed the basis for the adoption of an EU Sustainable Consumption and Production package.
The main themes of CSD, centered around resource use, also relate to the upcoming Rio+20 Conference, as the Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development will be the key topics for the Conference. They are also in line with the the overall policy objectives of the European Union, as defined in the Political Guidelines of President Barroso. The EU will actively engage in the discussions on these topics. We see Rio+20 as a good opportunity to put the greener economy on top of the global agenda.