2nd International Expert Meeting on the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP: A Report
The 2nd International Expert Meeting on the 10 year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production - the second international meeting in the Marrakech Process - was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the United Nations Environment Programmes (UNEP) and hosted by the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy. The meeting was held in San Jose, Costa Rica from 5 - 8 September 2005. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Allen Flores of the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy and Ms. Viveka Bohn of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Sweden.
Some of the background documents distributed by the organizers prior to the meeting included the discussion paper Making the Marrakech Process work , and Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production: Human Settlements and Water (a paper prepared by the UN DESA for CSD-13)
Some key objectives of the meeting were:
Taking stock of developments since the first international expert
meeting – particularly with respect to regional processes
Reviewing the conclusions of the regional meetings and determining how international SCP activities can support regional and national priorities
Establishing ways to improve international cooperation and assistance for developing countries on priority issues
Reviewing the scope of the 10-year framework, reflecting the priorities of governments and assessing the need to develop further specific areas of work
Exploring opportunities or building and / or strengthening international and regional partnerships for work on SCP
Providing inputs to the CSD.
The organizers emphasized that there was a need to go beyond the reiteration of policy goals and priorities and consultations, and move towards implementation. Another key theme raised was the need to raise the priority of sustainable production and consumption (SPAC) issues in developing countries. Some related initiatives highlighted included the need for “leapfrogging” (as emphasized in the African regional meetings) and the need to link SPAC with raising standards of living – particularly in developing countries.
Yet, in spite of the stated need to move beyond consultation, the meeting did not involve negotiation. The participants had been invited in their capacity as “experts” on sustainable production and consumption issues, and meeting was structured to involve information gathering rather than consensus building.
Around 150 participants attended the meeting. The NGOs invited included representatives from Consumers international, ANPED, Greenpeace, ECOPLAN (Columbia), ICLEI, Integrative Strategies Forum and regional roundtables on SCP.
The organizers of the regional meetings in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America, and the Nordic sub-regional process made presentations on the conclusions and follow-up activities engineered by the regional expert SCP meetings. Details about these regional processes, including regional strategies and priorities, can be found at the official Marrakech process website (as well as the regional pages of the ICSPAC website ).
A multi-stakeholder discussion served to demonstrate the role and strategies of actors, other than government, who are involved in trying to shift unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The World Bank demonstrated the use of tools like the Cost of Environmental Degradation (COED) that could be used to demonstrate the monetary value of policy response to environmental degradation. Greenpeace highlighted its work with companies as well as public interest groups in the field of chemicals and toxics. IKEA talked about its work in ensuring good social, environmental and labor conditions in its suppliers. The Columbia Youth Partnership explained its project to promote sustainable consumption among the youth through education, information and awareness-raising.
Following the call of the 2003 Marrakech meeting, a number of countries and institutions have organized themselves into taskforces to work on specific issues or priorities of SPAC. Sweden, in cooperation with UNEP, Consumers International and other countries and groups has initiated a Taskforce on Sustainable lifestyles that aims to identify and disseminate best practice in the area of sustainable lifestyles. Switzerland's Sustainable Procurement taskforce aims to promote understanding on the issue, exchange experience and develop links between stakeholders, and prepare a public procurement toolkit that would be presented at the next international meeting in 2007. Germany's Cooperation with Africa taskforce aims to assist African countries in the process of “leapfrogging” to SPAC patterns using partnerships. UK initiated a Sustainable Products taskforce that aims to improve international cooperation in raising product performance. During the course of the meeting, Argentina, Costa Rica and some other countries joined together to create a taskforce that was focused on promoting and supporting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Continuing with their emphasis on implementation, rather than more formulation, the CR meeting featured Cooperation Dialogue Sessions between the participants and representatives of international donor agencies including the World Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and UN DESA. The participants and the representatives discussed the ways and means to finance projects related to SPAC implementation. The sessions served to highlight the link between SPAC on one hand, and poverty reduction and development on the other, raise the priority of SPAC projects in development agencies by engaging them as a stakeholder in the Marrakech Process and help developing countries by providing a potential source of funding for such projects.
The participants divided into 5 working groups that discussed several aspects of the SPAC issue. Some highlights of the working group discussions include the following:
Working Group 1 discussed production processes and industrial development, issues that are directly relevant to the thematic cluster being considered by CSD 14 & 15. The participants highlighted a mixture of voluntary partnerships/ accords and regulations that are clear, predictable, fair and flexible are necessary to encourage industry to adopt SPAC. They called on the Marrakech process to facilitate the access of SMEs to finance and technology. They emphasized the importance of partnerships and networks on sustainable production including National Cleaner Production Centers, networks on supply chain management, regional networks etc. Finally they recommended involving chambers of commerce, industry associations and the academic community in the 10-year framework process.
Working Group 2 dealt with urban planning and waste management – issues of particular relevance to developing countries. Participants highlighted the importance of city-based sustainability and environmental plans – which a well developed SPAC component. They also emphasized the importance of the 3R approach, education, public awareness, partnerships, assistance from developed countries, capacity building and support – particularly of developing countries and SMEs.
Working Group 3 dealt with sustainable consumption and product development , covering sustainable procurement, sustainable product design as well as sustainable lifestyles. Participants emphasized that sharing information through databases, websites etc and providing support were the two most important priorities in sustainable procurement. They also called for a common vision on sustainable products and felt that governments should develop minimum standards and benchmarks to measure progress. Finally, they highlighted the need for national action plans on SCP involving NGOs and other stakeholders for implementation of SC policies.
Working Group 4 dealt with regional and national strategies for SCP . The group discussed the various strategies of policy-making in SPAC, including having a specific strategy devoted to the issue, incorporating it into NSSD, linking it to poverty reduction strategies or the MDGs etc. They recommended systematizing stakeholder (particularly NGO & business) involvement in strategy creation. They emphasized that the means of monitoring progress should be an integral part of strategy making. They called for the creation of non-prescriptive guidelines for the development of national strategies on SPAC, a taskforce on indicators that could share knowledge and the development of a tool to measure the cost of inaction on SPAC.
Working Group 5 dealt with energy, climate and air pollution – again issues of relevance to CSD 14/15. The participants recommended using national and regional measures to support energy efficiency and renewable energy. They also highlighted linkages between the energy topic and the Sustainable Products taskforce, the sustainable procurements taskforce, CSD and WSSD partnerships.
The draft Co-Chair's Summary acknowledged and appreciated the work being put into the various taskforces and called for the various taskforces to report back during the next international meeting in 2007. It highlighted the importance of the global cooperation dialogues and asked for a review of existing SPAC projects that are being supported by development agencies, in order to help identify opportunities of access to global funds. The meeting participants suggested that the summary also highlight the role of civil society in the Marrakech process, national action plans on SPAC, the importance of local implementation etc.
Integrative Strategies Forum