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CSD 19 Concludes Without Agreement

14 May 2011: The 19th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 19), which convened from 2-14 May 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, focused on developing policy recommendations related to transport, chemicals, hazardous waste, mining and the 10-year framework of programmes (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production (SCP), but concluded without adopting these decisions. 

Despite negotiations having continued past the scheduled end of the session and into the early morning of Saturday, 14 May, no consensus was reached on the Chair's proposed package text. Delegates also discussed convening a resumed session in June, but did not agree on this option. As a result, CSD 19 adjourned without adopting an outcome containing policy recommendations on its thematic cluster.

In addition to negotiating the policy options, CSD 19 delegates participated in a multi-stakeholder dialogue with Major Groups and a High-level Segment with Ministerial Roundtables. A Partnerships Fair, Learning Center and side events also took place throughout the two-week session.

At the opening session of the High-level Segment, on 11 May, Chair of CSD 19 László Borbély, Minister of Environment and Forests of Romania, noted that the challenges posed by climate change predicted “pressures yet to come, if we do not find a way to embrace sustainable development.” Barbados, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), noted that of all the cross-cutting issues currently facing small island States, by far the most significant was the growing threat of climate change. He added that while those States had contributed the least to that global threat, they continued to bear the brunt of its effects. He stressed the need for an integrated approach that included capacity building and transfer of technologies to assist small island States in addressing the dangers that climate change posed to their island ecosystems.

Climate change issues were discussed primarily in the context of Working Group 1 on transport, chemicals and mining. On 2 May, during the first reading of the Chair's negotiating text on transport, the EU: proposed text highlighting the links between climate change mitigation and transportation; and called for incorporating transport in climate-financing schemes, and supporting the capacity of developing countries in measuring and reporting. Canada urged that transport be climate change-resilient. During the second reading of the transport text, on 4 May, the G-77/China stated that climate change mitigation was addressed elsewhere and was unnecessary to include, while the US proposed amendments specifying that transportation policy meet “commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions” to make the text more useful.

During the first reading on interlinkages and cross-cutting issues, including means of implementation, on 4 May, Algeria, for the G-77/China, emphasized that interlinkages take into account economic, social and environmental aspects as identified in CSD 11 and the global economic, food, energy pricing and climate change crises.

On 9 May, the G-77/China insisted on including specific reference to “poverty eradication, long-term food security, adverse impacts of climate change, desertification, and biodiversity loss,” with “developed countries taking the lead,” as referenced in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI).

During the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on 11 May, Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underscored the need to fully implement the Cancun Agreements and the importance of SCP for climate change.

During the 13 May Ministerial dialogue on “moving towards sustainable development: expectations from Rio+20,” Grenada, on behalf of the SIDS, said action on climate change must come together with changes in consumption and production and improvements in poverty eradication, in order to make a green economy possible. [UN Summary of HLS Opening Session] [IISD RS Earth Negotiations Bulletin Meeting Coverage and Analysis]