Headlines

Solo Dialogue to focus
on institutions, development

Delegates from 80 Earth Summit member nations will gather in Surakarta (Solo), Central Java, on Tuesday to discuss institutional reforms in sustainable development
movements.

The so-called Solo Dialogue will be the first official meeting of summit members since the adoption of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) in 2002.

“Indonesia will try to bridge discussions on institutional reform on sustainable development to gain input from other countries,” Dana Kartakusuma, a sustainable development specialist from the Environment Ministry, said.

The results of the Solo Dialogue are expected to be submitted to the world’s highest conference on sustainable development, the Rio+20 conference, slated to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012.

“Many countries have organized conferences on the green economy but there has not yet been an official meeting on sustainable development,” Dana said.

The Rio conference is also expected to discuss green economy issues.

Dana said that strengthening institutional frameworks for sustainable development was crucial to prevent overlap between UN bodies.

Environment ministers from Botswana, the Congo, Fiji, Indonesia, Nepal, Lesotho, Romania, the Solomon Islands and Zimbabwe are expected to attend the Solo Dialogue, which ends on Thursday.

The United Nations has increased its funding of member organizations, some of which have overlapping economy, social and environmental responsibilities.

The United Nations on Environment Program (UNEP), for example, has around 700 multilateral agreements, including those covering sustainable development.

Meanwhile, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC), which focuses on economic and social affairs, also has a special commission on sustainable development.

“There are too many UN bodies dealing with the same issues with financial backing coming from members. It makes the bodies’ work inefficient and expensive,” Dana said.

Mudding the water further were several regional UN bodies, such as the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and multiple national sustainable development commissions.

The Indonesian government has long proposed creating a national sustainable development commission.

Rasio Ridho Sani, the ministry’s planning and foreign cooperation chief, said that there were options for promoting the environment and sustainable development within institutional frameworks.

European countries have proposed strengthening the UNEP by turning it into a specialized agency, dubbed the World Environmental Organization (WEO).

However, many developing countries prefer a new umbrella agency that will integrate economic, social and environment issues.

“The Solo Dialogue will propose a road map to strengthen institutions on sustainable development to make them effective and focus on dealing with substance rather than high price tags,” Rasio said.

Indonesia previously organized a conference to integrate the UN’s Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm treaties in Bali in 2010 in a bid to boost cooperation on chemical and waste management.

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