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UNGA Agrees to Discuss Indicators of Sustainable Development, Endorses UNCSD Prep Process

20 December 2010: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Report of its Second Committee on sustainable development (65/436) during a plenary session on 20 December 2010. The report contained several recommended resolutions, including one on "Harmony with Nature" (65/164), which calls for an interactive dialogue in April 2011 on "criteria and indicators to measure sustainable development in harmony with nature," and another on Agenda 21, by which the UNGA endorsed the UNCSD preparatory process recommended by the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee.

On Harmony with Nature (Add 9), the UNGA adopted the draft resolution recommended by the Second Committee, as orally corrected. The draft requests the Secretary-General to convene an interactive dialogue to commemorate International Mother Earth Day on 22 April 2011, and to contribute to the UNCSD by promoting a holistic approach to sustainable development in harmony with nature. The topics for the dialogue are: ways to promote a holistic approach to sustainable development in harmony with nature;and sharing national experiences on criteria and indicators to measure sustainable development in harmony with nature. The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund for the participation of independent experts in the dialogue.

In the resolution on Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) (65/152-154), the UNGA invited Governments and other stakeholders to participate fully in the UNCSD preparatory process and called for further voluntary contributions to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) trust fund to cover the participation of developing country delegates, as well as representative of major groups, in the meetings of the preparatory process and in the Conference.

By this resolution, the UNGA also endorsed the recommendations of the first meeting of the UNCSD Preparatory Committee regarding the preparatory process, including the request to the Secretariat and relevant UN agencies, in consultation with the Bureau, to "organize within existing resources, open-ended informal intersessional meetings for total duration of not more than six days, including one two-day meeting between the release of the synthesis report requested above and the Second Preparatory Committee, and two two-day meetings between the Second and Third Preparatory Committees, the final intersessional meeting taking place no later than eight weeks prior to the Third Preparatory Committee, to have focused substantive discussions to advance the subject matter of the Conference."

On climate protection, the UNGA took consensus action to adopt the draft resolution recommended by the Second Committee (65/159), an annual text. By the resolution, the Assembly calls for efforts to address climate change in a manner that enhances the sustainable development and sustained economic growth of the developing countries and the eradication of poverty. These efforts should be carried out by promoting the integration of the three components of sustainable development (economic development, social development and environmental protection) as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars.

The UNGA also adopted the resolution recommended by the Second Committee on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (Add. 8) (65/163).

In addition, the UNGA adopted resolutions: proclaiming 2012 as the "International Year for Sustainable Energy for All" (Resolution 65/151), aimed at creating "an enabling environment for the promotion and use of new and renewable energy technologies, including measures to improve access to such technologies;" establishing 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, encouraging States and UN bodies to promote international cooperation to achieve the water-related goals set forth in Agenda 21, the Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation; and calling on the UN to promote ecotourism as a way to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in developing countries (65/173). [Report of Second Committee on Sustainable Development] [Addendum on implementation of Agenda 21 (A/65/436/Add.1)] [Addendum on Harmony with Nature (A/65/436/Add.9)] [Resolution 65/164 on Harmony with Nature, Issued 15 March 2011]