Motion for a resolution - B5-0403/2003Motion for a resolution


19 September 2003

further to Oral Question B5‑0051/2003
pursuant to Rule 42(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Caroline F. Jackson
on behalf of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Policy
on the EU's contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Plan of Implementation

Procedure : 2003/2567(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the EU's contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Plan of Implementation

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the outcome of the WSSD in Johannesburg and its own resolution of 26 September 2002,

–  having regard to its resolution on the communication from the Commission 'Ten years after Rio: preparing for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002'[1],

–  having regard to its resolution on the communication from the Commission 'Towards a global partnership for sustainable development'[2],

A.  whereas one year after the Summit, the need to ensure sustainable development, both inside and outside the EU, is more urgent than ever,

B.  whereas in a long-term strategy for sustainable development, its three dimensions of economic growth, social cohesion and environmental protection must be mutually supportive,

C.  whereas the ambitions set by the EU in the preparation of the Johannesburg Summit were higher than the results obtained,

D.  whereas very little effort has been made by industrialised countries to move towards sustainable consumption and production patterns;

E.  recalling existing commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals:

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Develop a global partnership for development;
  • F.emphasising the importance of the new commitments agreed upon at Johannesburg:
  • -to halve the proportion of people living without sanitation to complement the Millennium Goals of halving the number of people without access to fresh water,
  • -to promote the renewable energy sector,
  • -to establish a framework of programmes for sustainable production and consumption,
  • -to minimise significant adverse effects of chemicals on human health and environment,
  • -to reduce the loss of biodiversity,
  • -to halt fishstock depletion and to establish new protected areas;

1.  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 and considers that effective follow-up will be the best proof the EU's commitment to sustainable development;

2.  Considers, therefore, that the EU must continue to ensure leadership in the follow-up process involving all stakeholders in the decision-making and implementing process, and that the EU and Members States should now put in place ambitious plans of action, timetables and resources to follow up on the recommendations made;

3.  Notes that it is imperative that the EU promote and implement policies to fulfil the Johannesburg commitments and take new initiatives which are needed to achieve the long-term goals of sustainable development;

4.  Welcomes, in this context, the provisions of the draft Constitution Treaty, which require all external actions and aspects of Union policies to be consistent with the objectives of sustainable development, poverty eradication and environmental protection in developing countries;

EU Water Initiative

5.  Asks 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 and EECCA countries’ partnership projects with a view to ensuring that the countries themselves are committed to implementation and that they feel ownership of the proposed activities; calls 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;

6.  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, which must be based on democratic management and equitable distribution; believes that additional funding will be needed in future for the implementation of the EU Water Initiative;

7.  Emphasises that the focus of the EU Water Initiative should be on the provision of clean water and sanitation and on the introduction of sustainable water management practices, taking into account integrated river basin management and transboundary cooperation;

EU Energy Initiative and Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition

8.  Takes the view that access to energy is an indispensable component of development and therefore constitutes an economic and social right; welcomes the EU Energy Initiative, but deplores the fact that no new financial resources have been allocated to address effectively the energy/poverty nexus as well as the energy/environment nexus; 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;

9.  Supports the aims of the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition (JREC) initiated by a coalition of like-minded countries for the promotion of renewable energies; believes that the International Conference for Renewable Energies hosted by Germany in 2004 will be a key place to discuss issues such as: removal of barriers, financial incentives for clean technologies, assessment of export credit agencies practice in developing countries;

10.  Calls on the Commission to make sure that the primary purpose of energy programmes, within its development portfolio, is local development, facilitated by the involvement of local actors in programme implementation and by the decentralisation of energy programmes; believes that technology should be used to improve energy efficiency, while using clean and renewable energy sources;

Global governance and link between trade and environment

11.  Underlines 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;

12.  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;

13.  Stresses that the EU must bring its influence to bear to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals and the Johannesburg commitments are taken into account in its own activities, as well as in the activities of the various UN bodies; believes that, to ensure this, there is a need for a political dialogue between the EU and the UN;

14.  Underlines that the EU agricultural subsidies and their effects on developing countries have become a barrier for a good working relationship between the EU and G77 countries on the international scene; a reform of the CAP, giving access to developing countries' agricultural products, is therefore needed to ensure the credibility of EU commitments on sustainable development;

15.  Recalls that the WTO is not an environmental policy-making body and looks for further clarification of the relationship between WTO rules and multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) to ensure that sustainable development objectives are not weakened by trade rules;

Sustainable production and consumption

16.  Recalls that one of the key commitments in Johannesburg was for the industrialised countries to develop a 10-year programme for sustainable production and consumption, which would significantly help to decouple economic growth from resource use; calls therefore on the Commission to elaborate an action plan to meet these objectives, so that the EU can become the driving force behind innovations in this field; welcomes, in the context of the Sixth Environmental Action Programme, the future EU thematic strategy on 'Sustainable use and management of resources';

17.  Calls on the Commission, Council and Member States to promote corporate accountability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at international level by integrating such principles in external relations, development and trade policies; recommends, in particular, that these concepts be promoted among export credit and development finance agencies and other institutions involved in foreign direct investment; asks the EU to take the lead by adopting binding rules on corporate accountability;

Streamlining WSSD commitments

18.  Calls on the European Council to ensure that sustainable development becomes a major and regular aspect of forthcoming Spring Councils, by asking the Commission to prepare an annual stocktaking of the Johannesburg, Cardiff (environmental integration) and Göteborg (EU sustainable development strategies) processes in the context of its synthesis report, before the end of the year preceding the Spring Council;

19.  Recalls its commitment to examining its own internal working mechanisms, not only to ensure that there is an effective annual process within Parliament for reviewing progress with regard to the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development at European Union level, but also to monitor the international agenda for sustainable development;

20.  Believes that monitoring of the WSSD commitments and timetables must be carried out as systematically as possible; 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 – and to cooperate closely in this task with other interested parties, notably the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and accession countries, the social partners and the UN.