TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEWS FROM RIO+5, ISTANBUL AND ANNAPOLIS
They Put the Whole Picture Together
By Joan M. Veon
The women's International Media Group, Inc.
Dr. Wally N'Dow, Secretary General of UN Conference on Human Settlements-Habitat II - Rio +5
So we have arrived at this point where in terms of seeking sustainable human features, the human settlements dimenstion--how we live, how we are going to live in this organized 21st century.... We have got to a point where we cannot not partner with the private sector and as governments, the civil society, as NGO's, but also as people active in international development such as the UN. That is what Istanbul tried to convey. (emphasis added)
Dr. Wally N'Dow:
Istanbul, in addition, to still focusing on the importance of housing and human shelter, was not just a housing conference, it was importantly a debate abut the cities, the urban challenge, that was the main difference. In 1976, there were then subjects that were taboo in the United Nations. One could not discuss subjects such as the role of the private sector because we were still in the grips of the Cold War with ideologies contending over what the capitalist, socialist, what was acceptable in the UN fora and what could not be discussed so private sector and land--who owns, it how it is managed- -these were things that could not be discussed. In Istanbul we were able to go beyond those and the barrriers came down and the debate included not only government but local authorities, mayors were there in a big way in Istanbul. This was not the case 20 years ago. Governments still felt at that time that UN Conferences only had to do with their vision, their ideas, their resources, and their political will so this is what has changed in the past 20 years. (emphasis added)
Mayor Kurt Schmoke - Baltimore - Intereviewed in Istanbul, June, 1996:
Well, I have tried to do here is to let the other members of the delegation and those from around the world know how important this conference is to mayors in the US. We have had representatives from both democrat and republican parties, mayors from cities throughout the country and we just wanted people to know that we feel how important this conference is. It is the beginning of a new era with local government officials being listened to in the development of UN documents and we see this as kind of the wave of the future. There will be more and more of these conferences in which we try to solve local problems through these international forums. (emphasis added)
Dr. Noel Brown - Spent 32 years at United Nations Environment Porgramme, Now Special Advisor to G-77 - Rio+5
I believe that the future of the UN with rest on effective partnering with the private sector--with business and industry. But I also believe that the environment and the environmental community must also rethink its mission and re-define its role as we enter the phase of globalization and as we are on the threshold of the 21st Century.
Third Clip - Dr. Brown:
The UN, I think, is now coming around to encouraging, inviting and involving business more fully. The Earth Summit five years ago had a specific provision, Chapter 30 of Agenda 21 called upon business to become partners with the UN. In the reporting five years later, we have discovered that business and local communities have moved faster and more consistently implementing the provisions of Agenda 21 so I think the time is right and business is ready. Governments are now beginning to accept the fact that a new world is in the making. The industrial community is a very important component that must work in tandem with us.
Fourth Clip - Dr. Brown
What happened at Istanbul is that public-private partnerships were realized. For years, we in the UN, paid lip-service to public-private partnership by the way we treated the private sector. They were guests of the system, they made a few pronouncements and went home. Now for the first time they are integrated into the system and we are talking about the city and enterprise. So I think the partnership component was given a level of reality. I think you have to give a lot of credit to Wally N'Dow, S-G of the Habitat II Conference. He took it seriously and he kept his word that business must become partners with the UN and his portfolio made that a reality because after all the city is usually the platform for industrial and economic operations. Most of our stockmarkets--do you of any stockmarket in the rural area? Most of the money flows flow through the urban environment and so the fact that he recognized and made provisions for this was unique. Also I have to give UNEP credit as well because in 1974 we created the first Industry and Environment office in Paris and in 1984 we had the first conference of business and environment called the World Industry Conference on the Environment and Development-WISING in Versailles France. So we have been inching away. But it was only when Dr. N'Dow took charge of Habitat that this public-private partnerships was given a new reality within the UN and there is no turning back. (emphasis added)
Jeb Brugmann, Secretary-General of ICELI - RIO+5
Throughout the 1980s, local government officials, about 600 of them, organized in a network called "Local Elected officials for Social Responsibility" and their concern at that time was primarily addressing the local impacts and the international development impacts of government foreign policy. You may remember cities declaring themselves as sanctuaries for refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala, divesting from South Africa, establishing sister-city relations with the Soviet Union and this movement built and demonstrated the capacity of local governments to have an impact in international affairs so when the Cold War came to an end, we, in the movement, decided that we had to identify the next phase of activities for local government involvement and it was clear at that time that we should focus on the global environment.
Jeb Brugmann - ICELI
Now we are able to plan ahead a bit more rather than react to an international policy in figuring out what we can do with it. We get engaged in the design of that policy. As the United Nations is right now negotiating an international treaty on dealing with the Climate Change problem, the cities are the table. In the U.S. 45 cities have joined an international "Cities for Climate Protection Campaign" and their commitment as participants in that campaign is to develop a local action plan to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. EPA is giving full support to this activity financially and in other ways and in fact, the cities are reporting to the U.S. EPA on their emissions reduction so the U.S. Government can go to the international arena and claim that the U.S. is complying with its treaty commitments. So we are now at the starting point of engaging in a process with the United
Nations and governments in actually designing the policies that we can implement locally in order to achieve global environmental accords and we will be doing the same with Climate. Agenda 21, endorsed a major international campaign called "Local Agenda 21" whereby now more than 2000 cities in more than 60 countries around the world are developing Agenda 21's for their cities with concrete targets, with concrete budgets on how they are going to implement these things and this is a movement that is now beginning in the U.S. Out of the 4000 or so cities and towns in the United States, there are now only 19 formally in this Local Agenda 21 activities.
(Names of cities: Seattle, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Chattanooga, TN, and Tacoma Park Maryland.)
Jeb Brugmann, ICELI
Well, as most people know in their cities, if there isn't a good relationship between the residents of the town or the businesses of the town and the local government, not much gets done.
Jeb Brugmann, ICELI
We're trying to overcome this by taking a partnership strategy to implementation and in may cities, particularly those that are doing this local Agenda 21 process in the U.S. What they do is create multi- sectoral councils or organizations where local government representatives, business, the church community, the union community, the non-profit community meet together to flesh out a common strategy in areas where they can agree with one another and make joint agreements to implement that strategy.
Jeb Brugmann, ICELI
Why we haven't done something sooner is an interesting question. I like to say, in a historical context that we spent most of the 20th century arguing over two doctrines of development. There is the socialist doctrine of development and the capitalist doctrine of development and we spent all our resources battling between these two doctrines. We had the Cold War, we had real wars. I mean, hundreds of billions of dollars. And, it wasn't until the Cold War came to an end, 1987 the World Commission on Environment Development put forward a third doctrine called sustainable development which is about balancing between social equity, the long time socialist concern, economic vitality, the capitalist concern and then this new concern that neither paid any attention to which is environmental sustainability. So, we have a new concept for how to develop now and we're just beginning to learn how to put it into pra