Memorandum from the Foreign and Commonwealth
PREPARATIONS FOR THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE
The Environmental Audit Committee is undertaking
an inquiry into UK preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, 26 August to 4 September 2002 Johannesburg) and has
asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to submit a memorandum
as part of its investigations.
1. What input has FCO had to the UK preparations
for the World Summit on Sustainable Development?
1.1.1 The FCO has a substantial contribution
to make both to the formulation and delivery of the UK's aims
for WSSD. We use our Global network to engage key partners and
to build support for UK aims for WSSD. This includes drawing attention
to linkages with other international policy processes relevant
to WSSD, for example trade regulation, the Financing for Development
and the external policies of the EU.
1.2 The committee is aware that each department
is represented on the MISC 18 Ministerial Group on the World Summit
on Sustainable Development chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
Please outline how [the FCO] co-ordinates its input to this committee.
1.2.1 Many parts of the FCO and our network
of overseas Posts are involved in this effort. Overall FCO input
is co-ordinated by a working group chaired by the Global Issues
Director and attended by geographic and relevant functional departments
(United Nations, Planners, Economic Policy, Human Rights Policy,
Legal Advisers, Commonwealth, News, Parliamentary Relations, Research
Analysts, Energy/Maritime). Day to day co-ordination of FCO work
is provided by a dedicated five-person team in Environment Policy
Department, four members of which have been seconded into the
FCO to supply specialised support for the Summit preparations.
These secondees come from LEAD (Leadership and Development) International,
Unilever and WWF. The FCO team work closely with DEFRA and other
government departments to co-ordinate and develop policy issues.
1.2.2 Within the FCO, Global Issues Command
leads on co-ordinating WSSD activity. FCO departments are closely
involved in a range of WSSD issues, including governance, globalisation,
financing for development, energy, corporate social responsibility
and water/oceans. The FCO is also responsible for developing and
co-ordinating the UK's diplomatic strategy for WSSD.
1.3 Is MISC 18 the key route by which your
department is contributing to the UK preparations for the World
1.3.1 The FCO is undertaking a number of
key initiatives as part of the UK preparations for WSSD. These
are co-ordinated with other government departments at the High
Level Steering Group supporting MISC 18.
FCO officials attend all Whitehall
meetings on WSSD, and chair Whitehall groups formulating UK positions
on environment and sustainable development governance, globalisation
FCO officials also attend meetings
of the EU working group co-ordinating WSSD in Brussels and all
UN preparatory meetings as well as feeding UK positions into EU,
Commonwealth and wider UN processes.
The FCO has been leading on efforts
to ensure WSSD has a high profile in the Commonwealth, including
at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting.
The FCO leads on two of the Prime
Minister's five business initiatives announced in March 2001 to
demonstrate partnership action for Sustainable Development in
and by the UK. These cover finance, tourism, energy, forestry
and water. The FCO leads on developing initiatives with UK business
on tourism and energy.
1.3.2 With other government departments,
the FCO has selected 29 WSSD target Posts to focus UK diplomatic
efforts in preparation for the Summit. This network of FCO posts
has undertaken several lobbying exercises on WSSD. The wider FCO
network has helped promote WSSD by putting it on the agenda for
Ministerial and high level bilateral meetings and visits. These
bilateral contacts have been used to promote UK objectives for
WSSD, encourage high level attendance, and attempt to stimulate
the involvement of non-environment ministries in WSSD preparations.
1.3.3 The FCO's environment attachés
network was launched at a conference held in November 2001 attended
by 48 Posts plus OGDs and NGOs. Preparations for WSSD were a primary
focus of the conference, the aim of which was to improve the effectiveness
of the FCO network in promoting UK environmental and sustainable
1.3.4 The FCO's Environment Project Fund
(EPF) is being used to finance projects worth £130,000 in
South Africa to help prepare for WSSD and another £608,213
world-wide to assist civil society in developing countries with
their WSSD preparations. Examples include projects on "Regional
Voices and Global Partnership" in the Solomon Islands (£61,831)
Project 2 and another called "Youth, Poverty and Environment"
in the Cameroon (£36,582).
1.4 Please outline how far other involvement
in the preparations (additional to attendance at MISC 18) came
about. For example was it by request from another department,
instigated by [FCO] and/or [FCO's] ongoing work?
1.4.1 The UK's goals on Sustainable Development
are cross-departmental and can only be effective if each Department
contributes what it can to the shared goals. The FCO's involvement
is a contribution to this team effort.
1.5 Please give details of any papers/strategies/other
work that [FCO] has prepared to support [its] contribution to
MISC 18 and the UK preparations in general. Has [the FCO] carried
out or contributed to any special reviews of progress connected
to preparations for the Johannesburg Summit? Have these been discussed
at management board level?
1.5.1 MISC 18 keeps under regular review
the progress of the UK's preparations for WSSD and has settled
the UK's priorities for the Summit. However it has been the practice
of successive governments not to disclose the agendas or substance
of Cabinet Committees.
1.5.2 The FCO has carried out analyses of
several issues related to strengthening international environmental
governance, and continues research into sustainable development
1.6 Has the [FCO] actively publicised the
preparations for the World Summit and its own involvement?
1.6.1 The FCO has actively publicised the
preparations for the WSSD through its website, conferences and
receptions (including the attaches event), other diplomatic events
(for example, two environmental diplomacy seminars for EU officials
and NGOs held in 2001) and through public diplomacy activities
1.6.2 The FCO also contributed to DEFRA's
communications strategy, soon to be published.
2. Please set out which UK Sustainable Development
indicators [FCO] has lead responsibility for and which other indicators
the [FCO's] policies particularly affect.
2.1 The FCO does not lead on any Sustainable
Development indicators. Those to which the FCO is seeking to contribute
Rise in global temperature.
Fish stocks around the UK fished
within safe limits.
State of the world's fisheries.
Overseas Territories fisheries.
Biodiversity in coastal/marine areas.
Compliance with bathing water directive.
Number of countries with national
Native species at risk.
Greening government operations.
Public understanding and awareness.
UK public expenditure on global environment
Implementation of multilateral environment
3. What systems does the [FCO] have in place
to monitor progress on how far the [FCO's] policies are contributing
to UK progress on Sustainable Development and the issues which
were mapped out in Agenda 21 after the Earth Summit in 1992?
3.1 FCO objectives on sustainable development
are set out in the Public Service Agreements and cover the economic,
social and environmental pillars. Progress towards these objectives
is reviewed quarterly.
3.2 FCO participation in ENV(G) (Green Ministers)
helps to focus FCO policies towards the achievement of the headline
indicators outlined in the UK Sustainable Development Strategy.
The FCO is writing a Sustainable
Development Report as part of its Spending Review 2002 bid;
The FCO has produced a strategy for
raising awareness of sustainable developmenta baseline
survey on staff awareness was carried out in 2000 and progress
will be reviewed later this summer;
An environmental management system
is to be implemented in the FCO from March 2002. This system will
provide a framework for the identification and management of our
environmental impacts, such as energy and water use, waste, travel
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