Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 18

Memorandum from British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND)

SUBMISSION BY BOND'S DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT GROUP

  The Development and Environment Group is a part of BOND - British Overseas NGOs for Development. BOND is a network of more than 260 UK based organisations and works to improve the UK and Europe's contribution to international development.

  The Development and Environment Group (DEG) is open to all BOND members and is largely attended by policy workers. It has been very active on the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) both on policy and in awareness raising work.

  In January 2002, DEG held a workshop on WSSD attended by 105 representatives from 68 non-government organisations as well as officials from all the main Government Departments involved in WSSD.

  The information given below is a summary in note form of the points raised during discussions that are relevant to the key questions being considered during the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry.

1.  VIEWS ON HOW THE UK IS FORMULATING ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE NATURE OF THIS CONTRIBUTION

  1.1  Development NGOs feel there is a need to move to a different development model not purely Globalisation, liberalisation and positive benefits simply trickling down from stronger National economies

  1.2  There is a need to integrate health, environment and social issues into international trade and financial mechanisms, not as add-on but as a central goal.

  1.3  There is a need to be realistic about where there are trade-offs between environment: economic and social.

  1.4  The Summit should be about cross-cutting, not sectoral issues, this is what makes it different from other multilateral initiatives .

  1.5  It is felt the UK government needs to improve its "joined-up thinking".

  1.6  The UK Government core issues and stance on issues likely to be raised are not clear. There is particular lack of clarity/process to link the initiatives at the different levels of government (UK, country/regional, local). Examples: How do the different government department initiatives fit together (DFID, DTI, DEFRA), and the five working groups set up by the PM? How will the poverty and environment linkages raised by DFID be integrated into the possible priority issues identified by the Policy Unit (water and energy)?

  1.7  There needs to be improved co-ordination both between departments as mentioned above and also between different policies and priorities. eg Within DFID the stance on trade liberalisation seems to fit poorly within the pro-poor agenda

  1.8  Any issue selected as a priority needs to be looked at in the context of the bigger test of equity and a rights based approach (including social environmental rights).

  1.9  Approaches need to reduce the vulnerability of the poor by improving governance and the control of the poor over resources.

  1.10  The Summit should be about viable alternatives, not just aspirational goals.

  1.11  The UK Government should support work on Global environmental governance - particularly on how UNEP will fit into any structure proposed.

  1.12  The Summit should be start of a process for greater accountability - for Governments and corporates.

  1.13  The UK Government should pressurise for more progress on resource mobilisation - obviously considering work on Financing for Development. There are issues around both quantity and quality of aid. For example on quality, genuine participatory processes to establish pro-poor priorities for use of aid, more support for disaster preparedness.

  1.14  The UK Government should promote responsibility and accountability of individuals and the local scale and impact of these actions on world. First concentrate on areas where potentially huge shifts are not required in northern consumer.

  1.15  The work on these issues should be ongoing - not just up to Johannesburg.

2.  VIEWS ON UK PROMOTION OF THE SUMMIT AND INVOLVING STAKEHOLDERS

  2.1  The UK government must take more responsibility:

    —  to inform public;

    —  to consult the public and civil society; and

    —  to engage with the media.

  2.2  Make awareness-raising work more human (less technical) and more local/individual by using:

    —  Plain English.

    —  Relevance.

    —  Stories about individual lives.

  2.3  The Government should engage the corporate sector more positively, including use of business resources and motivation eg BP and drive for greater accountability.

3.  VIEWS ON HOW THE UK IS HELPING TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE SUMMIT IN OTHER NATIONS AND FACILITATE THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROCEEDINGS

  3.1  The UK and EU should work to make the Summit more multilateral with constructive US involvement. Should work to counterbalance the US encourage them to engage more constructively and not have Summit agreements that are based to much on what the US is prepared to accept rather than what the majority want.

  3.2  Tony Blair and all levels of British Government should get George Bush and high level US involvement in Summit—Tony Blair is positioned to do this and publicly supports the importance of the Summit. Should use influence with other Governments where possible.

  3.3  September 11 has increased recognition of the impact of national policies and raised the momentum for global action on poverty reduction and inequalities. It highlighted the inherent danger of a process of globalisation which leaves many poor people marginalized and leads to increasing inequities. This momentum should be used.

  3.4  NGOs are encountering resistance to increasing the levels of aid to the 0.7 per cent of GNP by northern governments. UK Government should act unilaterally to increase their level of aid and should lobby other Governments to do likewise.

March 2002



 
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