Development agenda tops UN meet

May 5, 2009 12:00 am

, NEW YORK, May 5 –  A high level development meeting has kicked off in New York kicked with a strong warning to member governments that it would not be business as usual.

In her opening speech, the chairperson of the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development Gerda Verburg said all governments must be ready to come up with practical and achievable decisions.

“Let me emphasise that in the midst of multiple crisis being faced today, we need to become even more determined to advance the implementation of the sustainable development agenda,” she told participants.

“We also have an opportunity to make a real difference in expediting the implementation of sustainable development.”

The two-week summit will discuss six major development areas – agriculture, land, water, rural development, drought, and a strong economic performance for Africa.

Speaking to Capital News in New York, Cyril Ritchie – the chairperson of Environment Liaison Centre International – said the negotiations for these thematic areas would be the most problematic.

“That’s where the controversial issues are going to appear because everybody has their own point of view. So it will be a laborious process in which national positions will predominate,” he observed.

“I have to say as a non-governmental person that it seems national positions are no longer particularly the most important ones . We are dealing with a global crisis and we better get beyond purely national priorities,” he added.

According to the negotiating document on agriculture (which is the main thematic area) the focus will be to raise government budgets for agriculture, enhancement of agricultural productivity and sustainability and managing sustainably competing uses of water and land resources.

On land, the issues will be promoting planning and land management practices, promote transparent and decentralised land administration and promotion of sustainable forest management.

Rural development will mainly focus on promoting equitable access to land, water, financial resources and technologies of women, indigenous people and other vulnerable groups.


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