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Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2002
Ensuring sustainable livelihoods:

challenges for governments, corporates, and civil society at Rio+10
8 - 11 February 2002, New Delhi

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DSDS 2002: Plenary session 10, 11 February 2002

Ministers of the environment: challenges at Rio + 10
Mr Roberto Tortoli
Deputy Minister for Environment and Land Protection, Italy


Preliminary draft

Mr Chairman, Ministers, distinguished Delegates,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Italian Government.

I am very happy for the opportunity to address this meeting and to put forward Italy’s view on fostering sustainable development.

Italy is strongly involved in the preparatory process for the Johannesburg Summit both by active participation in all regional and global meetings and by giving voluntary contributions to the UN General Trust Fund, taking into account that some of these meetings will be organised by developing countries.

During the two last weeks Italian delegates have participate in the Johannesburg PrepCom2 in New York at the United Nations; they have expressed our appreciation for the assessment made by the Secretary-General assessment on the implementation of Agenda 21 that is, in our view, a basic step to take stock of a ten years long worldwide experience.

Italy shares the key areas proposed in the UN Report for further implementation of Agenda 21 as a valuable contribution for the preparation of the Johannesburg Summit; the key areas are also in the agenda of this Delhi Summit 2002 and the Italian delegation is ready to contribute in making our deliberations forward looking and useful to face our major challenges to fulfil sustainable development objectives.

As one of the most industrialised countries we strongly believe that we have a major role to play in order to ensure the success of policies to reduce the impact of economic activities on the environment, de-coupling economic growth from environmental degradation and promoting eco-efficiency.

This aim is enhanced by the commitment to help poorest developing countries through poverty reduction initiatives and greater co-operation in the area of sustainable development.

This should be based on four pillars:

    • debt relief for the poorest indebted countries

    • increased market access for developing countries

    • promotion of foreign direct investments in developing countries

    • ODA more focused on social spending, especially for health and education.

In order to achieve these goals, we strongly believe that environmental policies must become an integral part of every government policy, making it possible to talk about sustainable development rather than merely attempting to reduce the damages of unsustainability.

We also support the adoption and implementation of national strategies for sustainable development in each country as the main tool in order to make concrete progress towards the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. The effectiveness of the national strategies depends on their capacity to integrate the environmental concerns in the decision-making process for the definition of economic and social policies. The strategic environmental assessment could be a useful tool in this respect.

In this context Italy will adopt its own strategy as soon as the ongoing consultation process will be carried out and before the next PrepCom4 at ministerial level in Jakarta.

The objectives of our national strategy reflect the commitments taken in international and regional fora.

These objectives are:

    • the decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation

    • the reduction of risk with the shift from the emergency to the prevention approach, in line with strategic vision of development

    • effective participation of all actors in the relevant decision-making processes.

As it is shown in the Italian Report to Johannesburg, some important achievements has been reached, in particular in energy consumption and production trends, in the industrial sector, in agriculture and in protection of natural ecosystems and biodiversity.

On the other hand, major concerns still regard the pollution from transport sector, the risk of soil erosion and hydro-geological disorders.

Furthermore, we are committed to improve the development and use of common sets of indicators to evaluate progress in achieving sustainable development targets and goals; this will help the integration process and guarantee transparency in policy decision.

A stronger commitment is required to ensure the participation of the civil society in the decision-making processes related to the environment. This would guarantee transparency in light of the principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration.

In order to highlight the priority of participatory democracy in the Government agenda, Italy will host in October 2002 the first Meeting of the Parties of the UNECE Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

We believe that this Convention can serve as a useful model for promoting citizens’ environmental rights on a global basis.

We fervently hope that the principles contained in the Convention and citizens environmental rights in general will be broadly and concretely affirmed in Johannesburg.

To improve the participation of major groups in achieving sustainable development a widespread program of Local Agenda 21 was launched by the Ministry of Environment and Land Protection all over the country. Many municipalities and provinces started the consultative process and the discussions to prepare their local sustainable development strategies. The Regional Environmental Protection Agencies Network and a National Coordination Board followed this implementation.

Local implementation of sustainability must be improved all over the world and particularly in developing countries; financial support to local initiatives should be a concrete tool for the dissemination of a new cultural wave of sustainability.

Mr Chairman,

Let me conclude by confirming my Government’s commitment to contribute to effective preparations for the Johannesburg Summit and to participate in the Summit at the highest political level.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.