The Water and Sanitation Challenge: How
Complex? How Urgent?
Provision of good
water and sanitation services is a pre-requisite to achieving several
Millennium Development Goals, which were reaffirmed at the WSSD (World
Summit on Sustainable Development). However, measures for promoting
sustainable use of water are far from satisfactory, with about 1.2 billion
people still lacking access to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion lacking
adequate sanitation facilities. The ever-increasing competition for
water affects the poor most, especially women and children who have
to walk farther in search of water to meet minimal household needs.
This session will review initiatives in the water and sanitation sector
– Is enough being done to make the delivery and management of
these services more participative? How should the regulatory, management
and financial aspects of these services be strengthened? How can cross-sectoral
management of water resources be improved?
for Sustainable Development: Ensuring Economic Growth and
About 2 billion
people in the world, mostly in the rural areas, do not have access to
electricity, a further 2 billion are severely undersupplied. One-third
of the world continues to rely on traditional fuels, with serious gender
implications. At the same time, burgeoning energy demand increases the
threat to the global environment. The key challenges facing the world
relate to ensuring universal and equitable access to clean and efficient
energy services, with a focus on decentralized systems. This session
will review if enough is being done by way of policy, institutional,
and technological initiatives to meet these challenges.
Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods: Global Surpluses and Household
About 70% of poor
people in developing countries live in rural areas and depend directly
or indirectly on agriculture for livelihoods. These people and entire
economies are now threatened by the impacts of unsustainable agricultural
policies and practices on the natural resource base. This session will
focus on initiatives needed for agricultural intensification and to
make agriculture a vehicle of growth for poverty reduction. These include
initiatives to address serious constraints on agriculture – limited
natural resources, unfinished institutional reforms, poor rural infrastructure,
and systems for knowledge generation and dissemination.
Public Education in a Knowledge Society:
Creativity, Content, and Delivery Mechanisms
Many of the sustainability
concerns that we face are rooted in attitudes, behaviours, and inadequate
awareness and information. Educational institutions and the media have
an enormous responsibility in creating an informed and sensitive society.
This session will examine how sustainable development can be ‘taught’
in schools and universities and how the media can become an effective
channel for sounding alarms and sharing lessons.
Defining the Stakes, Engaging the Stakeholders:
Inclusive Approaches for Coordinated Action
There is an urgent
need to identify and coordinate the roles and responsibilities of various
stakeholders such that an efficient financial and institutional framework
can be evolved for meeting developmental objectives. This session will
discuss experiences and lessons in conceiving and delivering efficient
public–private partnerships, along with the engagement of other
stakeholders, to address critical environment and social issues as well
as in using new instruments for promoting greater environmental accountability
in the private sector.
Bridging the Science and Technology Gap:
Institutional Innovations and Effective Financing
A major obstacle
to sustainable development for much of the world is the lack of scientific
and technical capacity. There is a felt absence of harnessing science
and technology to address the fundamental questions of sustainable development.
How should appropriate technologies be developed, transferred, and adapted
and scientific capacity built and maintained through stronger partnerships
between the scientific community on the one hand and policy-makers,
business, and civil society on the other? How should the process of
technology transfer amongst countries be strengthened? This session
will assess if enough is being done to answer these questions.
Taking Stock: Have We Achieved Anything
Since WSSD and Charting
the Path Ahead: Creating Political Resolve and Forward Momentum
of sustainable development require cross-ministerial and multi-disciplinary
solutions. This implies that while on the one hand, environment ministers
have to step beyond the traditional mandate of their ministries, other
ministers must also get involved to ensure an integrated framework that
harnesses the coordinated efforts of all ministries and governments.
In this session, ministers holding a variety of portfolios will use
this global platform to assess how sustainability challenges can be
addressed through an un-fragmented approach within and across nations,
the lack of which is one of the major reasons for the inadequate implementation
of Agenda 21.