Summary: September 24, 2003: European Parliament - Sustainable development – annual follow up to World Summit (Strasbourg)
Motion for a resolution - Progress report on EU participation in the plan of implementation of the world summit on sustainable development
Debate : 24.09.2003
The House adopted a joint resolution on the EU's contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Plan of Implementation. The House reaffirms, on the first anniversary of the WSSD, the need to act urgently on the commitments taken in Johannesburg, as outlined in the political declaration and the plan of implementation.
On the EU water initiative, MEPs ask for the further development of the EU Water Initiative to take the form of support by the EU, through its own funding instruments and by other activities, for African projects with a view to ensuring that the countries themselves are committed to implementation and that they feel ownership of the proposed activities. MEPs call on the Commission to ensure that, in the current WTO negotiations on services (GATS), equitable access to water resources is guaranteed for the local communities. The House takes the view that the establishment of a European Water Fund from the European Development Fund reserve is a good initiative in principle and that the fund must have as its main objective support for the water policy of the beneficiary countries.
On EU Energy Initiative and Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition, the House takes the view that access to energy is an indispensable component of development and therefore constitutes an economic and social right. MEPs welcome the EU Energy Initiative, but deplore the fact that no new financial resources have been allocated to address effectively the energy/poverty nexus as well as the energy/environment nexus. Parliament also emphasises that the establishment of a special EU Sustainable Energy Fund - like the one considered for water - would represent a significant contribution to the solution of energy poverty.
As for global governance and link between trade and environment, MEPs underline that one of the key lessons of the WSSD summit was the need to create a coherent and integrated system of global environmental governance, and that this should, therefore, be the priority for policy-makers in the next few years. The House welcomes the European Council's commitment in Thessaloniki to establish a European diplomacy based on the environment and the principle of sustainable development as a mechanism to promote EU leadership, and believes that the first test cases of a 'European green diplomacy' are the Russian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and the promotion of the precautionary principle in international trade negotiations.
Finally, MEPs believe that monitoring of the WSSD commitments and timetables must be carried out as systematically as possible. The House undertakes, in this context, to do this on an annual basis – together with a broader interim assessment, evaluating the progress of global and EU activities and the need for new initiatives to be taken and support given with implementation.