United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by H E Ms Lena Sommestad, Minister for
Environment, Sweden, in Ministerial discussion with
Major Groups, at the Commission for Sustainable
Development, New York, April 21, 2005
Mr/Madam Chairperson,
In reaching the internationally agreed goals and targets, the participation of
all stakeholders is crucial. I am proud of the commitments we made in
Johannesburg when stating the importance of the contributions from major
groups, and I fully support the EU statement in stressing that the active
participation of major groups is crucial and should be reflected in the
working arrangements of upcoming CSD sessions.
Are we doing enough in making sure that stakeholders have their say? I
believe we can do more, and although all major groups are important
contributors, let me highlight the cooperation with two of them, and how we
can work better together in our common strife for reaching the targets.
Women. The number of women in environmental decision-making
institutions remains unrepresentative and undemocratic. A manifest of
women's collaborative power was the first Global Women's Assembly on
Environment; Women as the Voice for the Environment (WAVE), held in
Nairobi in October last year. The meeting, attended by 150 participants from
civil society fr om 65 countries, was held in conjunction with a meeting of
the Network of Women Ministers of Environment. WAVE is a fruitful
example of how governments and civil society can join forces and work
successfully together. One of the results was a ground-breaking decision on
gender equality in the field of environment, taken by the UNEP GC in
Youth. Young people are a tremendous asset. Never before have there been
as many youngsters in the world , today they make up 45 percent of world
population. However, many go uneducated, unheard and unemployed. This
is a terrible waste of resources ? for individuals and for society, ad it is not
socially sustainable.
We must focus on education, in a broad sense and on education for
sustainable development. We should not focus solely on formal education,
but keep in mind the importance of the non-formal and peer -to-peer
education as well. In this regards, the knowledge sharing between youth
organisations are of immense importance.
We now have the momentum to join forces in the UN Decade of Education
for Sustainable Development. In the UNECE region we have recently
adopted a strategy on education for sustainable development and I hope that
the regions can share practices and learn from each other.
Creating equal participation for women and youth in all stages of the
decision-making processes would create vast opportunities for successfully
achieving the goals we committed ourselves to reach.
Thank you.