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Ruud Schuthof, Executive and Policy Assistant to ICLEI Secretary General

Dispatches from the United Nations

May 12, 2009

ICLEI is representing local governments at the meeting of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development taking place in New York (USA).

The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit.

15 May 2009

Today is the last day of CSD. There is quite some excitement here on whether there will be a text adopted in the end. There are several references to links between urban and rural areas in food security.

This morning 3 of the 9 major groups, representing civil society, got the opportunity to deliver statements. Local authorities were among the 3.

The day continued with working groups and meetings between the chair and delegations. In the evening, at around 20:30, a consensus on the text is reached (which will be available on the web soon). The Major Groups got the opportunity to address their views on the text.

It was an intense CSD conference, with deliberations continuing until late at night on many days. An agreement has been reached, with various goals regarding agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. Local authorities will hopefully be at the heart of implementation.

14 may 2009

Today I attended roundtable sessions on Realizing Green Revolution in Africa and  Integrated Management of Land and Water Resources for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development.

I attended a very interesting side event on Urban Food Security, organised by the  Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Bank. It was good to meet both organisers, as we have close relationships with both. Concrete examples on urban agriculture and clear data were delivered by the various speakers. The topic is very relevant, taking into account the high level of urbanisation and the high need for new forms to meet food security. Presentations will be posted on the CSD website.

We, as Local Authorities group, will have the possibility to address the ministerial plenary tomorrow morning, on shared visions of major groups. The importance of urban areas and their links to the rural areas will be addressed, among others.

This day leaves me with the hope that CSD will be coming to a final text tomorrow.

13 May 2009

Today CSD's high level segment started.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed the delegations in the General Assemblee room. Other high level speakers were Ms Marton- Lefevre from IUCN and the CSD chair, Ms Gerda Verburg, minister of agriculture from the Netherlands.

I attended a side event on Rio+20. The government of Brasil and South Africa
were presenting, as well as Stakeholder Forum. There was general agreement in the room on having a summit in 2012. The summit should focus on both stock taking and on a way forward, taking into account the world's state of today. Involving local authorities among various other stakeholders from civil society was seen as key.

I was interviewed by a PhD student, who is doing research on the role of subnational governments in CSD.

I introduced myself to Mr Achim Steiner, UNEP's Executive Director, and talked with various delegations, among which the Norwegian, mainly on urban food security. I am looking forward to a side event on urban food security tomorrow, organised by the Norwegian ministry of Foreign Affairs and the World Bank.

12 May 2009

The Local Authorities group delivered its statement at the multistakeholder dialogue session with ministers, major groups and UN agencies. The statement was delivered by Stephen Kabuye, Mayor of Entebbe, Uganda, and vice-president of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability. Local Authorities recommended the Commission on Sustainable Development to take into account the increasing level of urbanisation and the importance of finding integrated solutions for urban and rural areas, in partnership with local governments.

Also, a presentation was delivered in cooperation with the NGOs on urban-rural partnerships for food security and vibrant markets.

I was interviewed by Stakeholder Forum on the role of green open spaces, like the Central Park in NYC, in cities. Should be available tomoorow at media.stakeholderforum.org

11 May 2009 

Arrived at CSD today. I was in the first working group on agriculture, rural development, interlinkages, cross-cutting issues and means of implementation, in which sections on urban-rural linkages for food security were added. Within the Local Government delegation we prepared for the statement in the multistakeholder session tomorrow. The multistakeholder session is a dialogue for ministers, major groups and UN specialised agencies. ICLEI's Vice President will present the Local Government statement. There will be a separate presentation on urban-rural linkages, on which the Local Government and NGO delegation collaborated.

8 May 2009

Below is the opening statement delivered by Mr. Emilio D'Alessio, an ICLEI Executive Committee Member.

Internationally local governments are committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development. Local governments are playing an increasingly important role in managing globalisation, managing vital ecosystems services, protecting and enhancing the natural environment, and tackling global poverty, through working in partnership with all sectors of the local community. (read more)