United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

South Africa

Thirteenth Session of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable
Statement to the High Level Segment
H.E. Marthinus Van Schalkwyk
Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
20 April 2005
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At the outset let me congratulate you on your leadership and that of the Bureau of this 13th session
of the Commission on Sustainable Development.
The South African delegation associates itself with the statement made by Jamaica on behalf of
the Group of 77 and China.
CSD 13 is a significant meeting. It is the first substantive policy session under the Commission's
new work cycle. It is our responsibility here at CSD 13, to adopt policy decisions that will expedite
implementation of the thematic targets, set in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on water,
sanitation and human settlements, as well as on the cross-cutting issues identified at CSD 11. In
the next three days, we must clearly pronounce on how we are going to move to real action that
will enable us to meet the goals and targets in the thematic cluster.
At the end of this session we must be in a position to deliver a clear message to the upcoming 5
year review of the Millennium Declaration.
Mr Chairman
The global challenge of poverty eradication remains. We are, however, continually reminded that
practical solutions to the development challenges of Africa and the developing world must be
found. We have seen substantial progress in developing countries in establishing the conditions
necessary for achieving the targets of the JPOI. Without action on critical issues that are the
means of implementation, such as finance, market access, investment, technology as well as
investment in good governance at national and international level, many countries will simply be
unable to meet the targets. We, in the developing world, will find ourselves failing in our pledges to
improve the quality of life of the people that do not have access to the basic services that millions
in the developed world simply take for granted.
In Africa, significant progress has been made. NEPAD sets the framework for economic growth
and sustainable development in our continent. The past few years have seen improved economic
growth rates. The establishment of coordinating bodies such as the African Ministerial Council on
Water (AMCOW), the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development
(AMCHUD), the African Water Facility hosted by the African Development Bank and a host of other
mechanisms, are testimony to the commitment of African governments' to action on the water,
sanitation and human settlement targets of the JPOI. In addition, since human settlements provide
the locale for the expansion of access to water, sanitation and other services and infrastructure
such as transport, education and health, steps have been taken to ensure the appropriate coordination
at the political level. This, then places human settlements in their right context as the
setting for the implementation of decisions, actions and programmes for sustainable development.
We hope that this arrangement will permeate into he work of CSD.
Through these mechanisms Africa has the ability to use additional aid productively to make the
necessary progress towards ending poverty. This capacity could be improved even further if the
policies of our development partners become more supportive of these efforts. Therefore, Africa
needs concrete financial and technical support. Progress in many parts of the continent towards
achieving the targets of the Millennium Declaration and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
remains slow. On present trends, many of the targets will not be met.
We call on our developed country partners:

to fulfill ODA and other financing commitments made at Monterrey
to relax as a matter of policy, the conditionalities in financing programmes to achieve the
targets of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and to adopt a "learning by doing"
? to replenish, synergize and capitalize the various global and regional funds and facilities
including the Global Poverty Fund and

to transform policies of international financial institutions so that they are supportive of the
needs of developing countries
Financing development too often comes at our own expense. Foreign currency debt, market
constraints and markets structured to reduce prices of our commodities foster dependence by
preventing us from using our income to build infrastructure and provide sufficient social services.
Action is needed urgently, to enhance market access, to reduce agricultural subsidies and to
register progress in the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting of the Doha Development Round of the
The crippling burden of debt is reversing any positive impact of ODA and FDI efforts.
Action is needed urgently, through measures such as debt relief, debt cancellation and other
innovative mechanisms geared to comprehensively address the debt problems of developing
countries, in particular the poorest and most heavily indebted ones. Advances in science,
technology and innovation are crucial for achieving the long term goals of sustainable
development. Monitoring and evaluation systems must be strengthened and capacity developed in
data management, analysis and narratives to demonstrate impact on poverty eradication,
Mr Chairman
On the thematic issues of water, sanitation and human settlements, allow me to highlight what I
believe are some of the priorities.
In the area of Human settlements, in light of the estimates concerning the rapid urbanization of
African cities and towns, we must aim to establish a global slum upgrading target that is both
realistic and indicates urgency. The international community needs to set an ambitious global
target to halve the proportion of people living in slums by 2020. It is within the overall context of
human settlements that we are able to measure essential quality of life issues - such as access to
water and sanitation. It requires intergovernmental co-ordination and the necessary institutional
agreements to ensure oversight of these outcomes.
The target for delivering on integrated water resource management plans is upon us. Where the
target has been met, finance and capacity for implementation needs to be prioritized. In other
areas, support is needed urgently for the finalization of these plans.
Provision of sanitation is a critical issue for human dignity, and needs to be prioritized at all levels
to accelerate access to sanitation services, and co-ordinated with health and hygiene programmes.
Considering water scarcity, especially in Africa, there is a need for innovative solutions for dealing
with waste-water treatment and reuse. Policy measures are needed to stimulate further research
and development in this area.
Mr Chairman
Governments alone cannot deliver on the Johannesburg targets. Partnerships with the private
sector and civil society organizations are an essential ingredient. We welcome the steps that have
been taken to ensure that the voices of major groups will influence the final outcome of CSD 13.
To achieve co-ordination at international level on water and sanitation, UN Water needs to be
strengthened. In the human settlements arena, the work of UN HABITAT in placing the plight of
slum dwellers on the international agenda is welcomed, and needs to be further supported.
We also welcome the recommendations in the Secretary General's report, "In Larger Freedom", to
reform ECOSOC so that it can effectively assess progress in the UN's development agenda, and
provide direction for the efforts of the various social and economic intergovernmental bodies of the
Finally Mr Chairman,
There is a need to ensure an effective monitoring system of the CSD 13 thematic cluster after this
session. In this respect, we are in full support of the G77 proposal to use a part of the

Intergovernmental Preparatory Meetings to review progress on the thematic clusters that have
already been addressed by the Commission.
I thank you.