The Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan, also the Chair of the Commission on Sustainable Development, held an informal consultation on 15 January 2013 to discuss the upcoming Twentieth Session of the Commission and to hear the views of Member States on lessons learned from Rio+20. The World Youth Alliance was present at the event.
The Commission on Sustainable Development was launched at the 1992 Rio Summit. Its main tasks are keeping sustainable development issues high on the international agenda, and reviewing sustainable commitments, funding, and implementation. It is currently undergoing a transition from the Commission on Sustainable Development to the High Level Political Forum, as determined by the 2012 Rio+20 outcome document.
UN General Assembly Resolution 67/203 recommends that in order to ensure a smooth transition, three perspectives be taken into account:
1. Agenda: Should the 20th Session be purely procedural or have a more substantive agenda regarding sustainable issues such as biotechnology and bio-diversity?
2. Duration: Should the 20th Session last for one day, half a day, or a couple of days?
3. Timing: Should the 20th Session be held before or after the General Assembly?
In terms of responses, Member States such as the EU, US, Canada, Italy and Norway expressed the desire that the Commission be short and procedural. On the other hand, Egypt, Indonesia, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia preferred that more substantive issues be discussed, and that the duration of the 20th Session remain flexible at this time. Member States like Mexico even proposed two sessions to cover both procedural and substantive issues. Such disagreement reveals that fundamental tensions still underlie the sustainable development agenda.
The Commission will start to consult Member States of the High Level Political Forum, which will be lead by the Permanent Representatives of Italy and Brazil, in early February. The consultation will not only play a crucial role in the creation of the new UN body, but also will be included in the Report of the Secretary General to the Forum.
by Jonathan T.Y.Yang, Advocacy Group of World Youth Alliance