Memorandum from the Department for International
Contribution to global sustainable development
1. DFID strongly believes that the eradication
of poverty, as measured by the achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals must be built on the effective management of resources if
it is to be enduring. Similarly, we believe that poverty remains
the central threat to the achievement of sustainable development.
The recognition of this in the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) agenda means that the Summit resonates very closely with
DFID's own goals and objectives. This is not surprising since
the Summit is not Rio +10, it is not the second earth summit,
it is the world's first summit on sustainable development.
2. Our general approach to the issues being
discussed at the summit is set out in the 2000 publication "Achieving
sustainability: poverty elimination and the environment"
and in the UK Government's White Paper of December 2000 "Eliminating
world poverty: making globalisation work for the poor".
We have also done a significant amount of work on determining
the linkages between more effective environmental management and
poverty reduction (see paragraphs 9 and 11 below).
Contribution to the UK's sustainable development
3. DFID does not lead on any of the four
UK indicators for sustainable development, as set out in the UK's
own sustainable development strategy"A better quality
of life". However, by contributing to the development of
HMG's position in key international processes and associated multilateral
environmental agreements, DFID makes a significant contribution
to the achievement of the second UK indicator relating to the
effective protection from global environmental threats. DFID has
and remains active in developing the UK's policy as they affect
developing countries on, inter alia, climate change; biodiversity;
persistent organic pollutants; seas and oceans; and forests.
OF WSSD TO
4. The Summit's overall objectives on poverty
and globalisation reflect many of the issues raised by developing
countries in WSSD preparations. These include concerns around
the volume and quality of official development assistance; access
to markets; the need to manage the impact of globalisation; and
the potential positive and negative aspects of private sector
involvement. These are key features of the White Paoer. Given
this connection, DFID sees WSSD as a unique opportunity to take
forward UK development and poverty elimination objectives through
meaningful agreements in Johannesburg which contribute to the
achievement of the MDGs. Many of these issues are also being dealt
with in other fora, for example in the Doha Trade Round, and in
the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey.
5. Furthermore, the preparatory process
is in itself an important opportunity to develop a wide understanding
of key development issuesparticularly the links between,
poverty, environment and globalisation. We are consequently using
the preparatory process as an opportunity to exert influence at
home and internationally, in particular through our involvement
in the development of the priorities and objectives of the EU
6. It has been agreed that the UK's overarching
objective is to make globalisation work for sustainable development,
especially for the poorest. We also welcome and support the more
specific objectives relating to support for the New Partnership
for African Development, increasing the proportion of the poor
who have access to water, sanitation and sustainable energy, and
looking at the issues of sustainable fisheries and marine protected
7. DFID sees WSSD as an important opportunity
to focus attention on practical actions needed to achieve the
agreed Millennium Development Goals. They should be the focus
of efforts at WSSD. In general, we do not think there is much
to be gained by creating new targets. Efforts should instead be
focussed on addressing the fundamental issues which impede the
achievement of the MDGs, rather than in the pursuit of short-lived
initiatives. Such initiatives can take up scarce resources and
may cut across wider development objectives. It is important that
we seek to build on existing efforts.
8. Achieving the MDGS will require efforts
in three main areas:
actions by developing countries themselves
to implement policies which allow them to participate effectively
and equitably in the opportunities which economic growth and globalisation
actions by developed countries to
ensure a convergence of their domestic policies with the needs
of the developing world. Developed country domestic policies continue
to impede the development of many poor countries; and
increases in the quantity, and improvements
in the quality, of official development assistance.
9. In addition to the general UK objectives,
DFID has two specific objectives for WSSD. They are:
to set out the links between poverty
reduction and the more effective management of environmental resources.
This is a complex relationship which remains poorly understood,
yet it is the key to mainstreaming the environmental into national
development and poverty redcction processes; and
to gain support for the OECD's Development
Assistance Committee's guidelines on strategies for sustainable
development and encourage the UN to take them forward. These focus
on the strategic dimensions of integrating environmental, economic
and social dimensions of sustainability. When approached in this
way, initiatives such as poverty reduction strategies can provide
the basis for a sustainable development strategy.
10. We are pursuing these objectives in
conjunction with other partners. Two high profile side events
were organised at the Second WSSD Preparatory Committee meeting
in New York in January. Both were very well attended with around
150 people at each.
11. The first event concentrated on the
work that is being done to ensure a better understanding of the
relationship between poverty and environmental degradationan
understanding which recognises that the poor are the most vulnerable
to and suffer the most from environmental degradation. A major
output of this effort is a consultation draft produced jointly
with the World Bank, the European Commission and UNDP exploring
the links between poverty and environment.
Further work will be done on the document. We expect it to be
presented at a high level at the Summit itself, and the conclusions
to figure in the political declaration.
12. On strategies for sustainable development,
DFID along with UNDP, UNDESA, the Government of Ghana and the
Royal Danish Government co-sponsored a major multi stakeholder
workshop in Accra in November 2001. The aim was to gain broad
agreement for the DAC principles but, more importantly, to back
the UN reformulation of them, since it is only through the UN
that we can expect to achieve broad international endorsement.
The outcome of the workshop was reported to plenary at the WSSD
Second Preparatory Committee by both the hosts, Ghana, and the
UK, on behalf of the organisers. Six follow-up publications and
reports have been prepared to reinforce and disseminate the lessons
learned from the work on strategies for sustainable development.
We are now developing tools and resources to support implementation.
WSSD WITHIN DFID
Internal DFID Co-ordination and MISC 18
13. The poverty, sustainable development
and globalisation themes which underpin WSSD mean that DFID has
a crucial role to play in formulating and promoting UK objectives.
Consequently, significant resources have been dedicated to WSSD
14. Environment Policy Department has lead
responsibility for co-ordinating WSSD activities in DFID. Two
staff members are deployed full time to co-ordinate activities
and work closely with colleagues in DFID and other government
departments, in particular DEFRA, DTI and FCO. Recognising WSSD's
broad development agenda, an office-wide WSSD Co-ordination Committee
chaired by a Director General was established in November 2002.
This Committee ensure a coherent DFID input into the monthly Whitehall
WSSD Sterring Committee Meetings and to MISC 18. It also provides
briefing to the Secretary of State who places a high priority
Other WSSD Preparations
15. In addition to MISC 18, DFID has and
will continue to advance UK priorities in a number of other important
areas. These include:
effective participation, under DEFRA'S
leadership, in the UN co-ordinated preparatory process. Two preparatory
committee meetings have already been held and two more are planned
ahead of Johannesburg. The Secretary of State will also attend
the final ministerial level preparatory meeting in Jakarta, at
which she will co-chair a ministerial round-table organised by
the Global Environment Facility on financing sustainable development.
efforts to encourage support for
WSSD and high-level attendance by Development ministers at Johannesburg.
The Secretary of State has written to all OECD Development Minister's
urging their participation; and
effectively articulating UK objectives
in the European Union, which provides the formal link for the
UK into the WSSD preparatory process. This is an important task,
especially given the EU's position as the world's largest donor
and the important external impact on the EU's domestic policies
(most notably subsidies and trade policies).
16. DFID has not undertaken or contributed
to any special review of its WSSD preparations.
17. Since 1993 DFID has employed a system
of policy information markers to track the targeting of bilateral
commitments and expenditure against priority policy objectives
of the development programme. This allows us to improve our monitoring
and evaluation of development assistance so making us more accountable
against our broader objectives. This system is compulsory for
all commitments above £250,000.
18. In 1993 additional markersthe
so-called "Rio Markers"were introduced specifically
to assess DFID's contribution towards achieving the objectives
of Agenda 21. These markers relate to sustainable agriculture,
biodiversity, desertification and sustainable forest management.
They complement earlier environment management and planning markers.
A full record of commitments against these Rio markers is attached.
19. Given the resonance of the WSSD agenda
with DFID's priorities and the opportunity it offers to focus
attention on poverty and development issues, DFID has provided
substantial support to the preparatory process in a number of
countries. DFID environment advisers are working together with
FCO Environment Attaches to promote awareness of and interest
in a number of agreed priority developing countries. These include
Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brazil, India and South Africa. DFID country
programmes have provided financial support to in-country preparatory
processes. EPD has made a further £150,000 available to support
these efforts. In addition, £1.25 million has been provided
to the Government of South Africa as a contribution to the costs
of hosting the Summit.
WSSD AND SUSTAINABLE
20. DFID is actively supporting the DEFRA
led WSSD Communications Strategy. This comprises, inter alia,
a dialogue with NGOs and the production of a popular leaflet
outlining UK WSSD objectives and priorities. In addition DFID
is using the current round of Development Policy Fora to raise
environmental issues and the profile of WSSD more generally. A
popular version of EPD's publication on the linkages between poverty
reduction and the environment is about to be published. Arrangements
are also in place to manage media handling for the Summit.
1 Published by DFID, ISBN 1861923120. Back
Cm 5006, December 2000. Back
"Linking Poverty Reduction and Environmental Management".
Policy Challenges and Opportunities. A contribution to the WSSD
process. January 2002. Back