Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Quick Question and Answer on the UN-CSD

Q. What is the United Nation’s Commission on Sustainable Development (UN-CSD)?

A. “The United Nations’ Commission on Sustainable Development (UN-CSD) was created December, 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of the 1992 United Nations’ Conference on Environment and Development (also called the UNCED or Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the UNCED, world leaders signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, endorsed the Rio Declaration and the Forest Principles and adopted Agenda-21, a 300-page plan for achieving sustainable development in the 21st century (UNCED documents). The UN-CSD's role has been to ensure effective follow-up of the Earth Summit and to monitor and report on implementation of the Earth Summit agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels.”

(additional information)

Q. How Does a CSD Work?

A. Each CSD is divided into issue areas known as thematic clusters. The thematic clusters change every two years. In 2008/2009, CSD-16 will focus on, Agriculture, Rural development, Land, Drought, Desertification, and Africa. The first year is referred to as a review year, during which stakeholders present key issues relevant to their countries/regions to the larger CSD body. The year ends with a Review Session held in New York, this year it will take place between May 5th-16th. At the Session, world leaders and government representatives listen to stakeholder presentations and discuss strategies to mitigate local and regional issues. The second year, in this case 2009, is dedicated to policy development relating to the thematic cluster.

Q. How will I, as a member, benefit from ASA-CSSA-SSSA contribution to the UN CSD?

A. The UN CSD-16 is currently in a policy review year. As part of this review, the U.S. is collating a National Report profiling domestic and international development best practices, case studies, and effective partnerships. Members of ASA-CSA-SSSA can submit case studies or best practices through ASA-CSSA-SSSA to the State Department to be profiled in the U.S. National Report or can register sustainability partnerships directly with the UN.

ASA-CSSA-SSSA hopes to participate in the Regional Implementation Meeting in Geneva in Geneva in January and to host learning sessions at the CSD, and participate in the CSD in May, 2008 at the UN in New York. With broad participation in the policy review year in 2008, ASA-CSSA-SSSA can influence the forthcoming policy debate at the UN CSD in 2009.

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