HC Deb 01 July 1993 vol 227 c574W
Mr. Hayes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the outcome of the first meeting of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development held in New York from 14 to 25 June.

Mr. Gummer

The commission was established following the Earth summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Its task is to monitor progress in following up the Rio agreements, focusing in particular on the implementation of agenda 21.

The commission has made a highly satisfactory start. Countries represented at the first session in New York adopted a positive and constructive attitude towards the work of the commission.

Agreements were reached on the commission's work programme and on guideline for national reporting of progress in implementing agenda 21. Agreement was also reached on a number of intersessional meetings on substantive issues which would prepare the ground for the commission's second session next year.

The 1994 session will focus on health, human settlements and fresh water, and toxic chemicals and toxic waste; 1995 on land, desertification, forests and biodiversity; and 1996 on atmosphere, oceans and all kinds of seas. A number of issues, including finance, technology transfer, co-operation and capacity building, will be considered each year. In 1997 the commission will review overall progress in implementing agenda 21.

All countries have been encouraged to contribute to the process by making national reports on progress towards sustainable development in a common format and covering issues identified by the commission.

The United Kingdom Government are members of the Commission and are playing a full part in its work with wide participation from non-governmental organisations. We aim to produce the United Kingdom's own sustainable development plan by the end of 1993, and report on this to the commission's 1994 session.

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