Memorandum from the Department of Trade
DTI INPUT TO
1. DTI has been closely involved in UK preparations
for WSSD. The department has been an integral part of UK preparations
for, and member of delegations to the processes that prepared
for the Rio Summit, and those that emerged from UNCED, including
the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), and for example
the UNECE regional preparatory conference in preparation for WSSD.
2. The department's main focus has been
on the key business contribution to progress towards the goal
of sustainable development. In addition, DTI has had lead responsibility
for the UK approach on the issue of technology transfertogether
with finance, a critical and sensitive focus of attention at the
multilateral level since before Rio.
3. The sustainable development team in Environment
Directorate leads the DTI input. It co-ordinates input from the
wide range of DTI interests, including, for example, those related
to trade, energy, science and innovation policy. It does so using
the various networks, teams, and mechanisms through which it co-ordinates
the Department's overall approach to sustainable development and
its integration throughout the department's policies and activities.
These are the same avenues used in the DTI contribution to: "A
better quality of lifea strategy for sustainable development
for the UK" published as "Quality of Life Counts"
in December 1999; development and further progress on the EU Sustainable
Development Strategy agreed at the Gothenburg European Council;
as well as the development and implementation of DTI's own Sustainable
4. DTI was also closely involved in preparation
of the UK White Paper on International Development: "Eliminating
World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor" (December
2000) that sets out the UK approach on many of the issues that
will be key to the success of the Summit.
5. MISC18 is an important route, but not
the only one by which the DTI is contributing to UK preparations
to WSSD. Other contributions include active involvement in preparations
at EU level. This includes taking the lead on the EU approach
on science, technology and innovation issues, and playing an influential
role in development of the EU approach on "sustainable production
and consumption," as well as other business-related issues
such as energy and globalisation/trade.
6. This involvement flows naturally from
and builds on DTI's longstanding contribution to policy and action
on sustainable development at the national, EU and wider international
levels. As part of the interdepartmental team preparing for the
Summit, the department has contributed to the papers for consideration
by MISC18, in particular on the UK approach to science, technology,
resource productivity and business engagement, including work
which DEFRA are coordinating on five possible business initiatives.
The department has contributed to the government's efforts to
publicise WSSD, for example through participation in various stakeholder
and other events focused on the Summit. But it has not undertaken
any particular actions on its own account to publicise the Summit
or its involvement in the preparations.
7. In keeping with the overall UK aim of
encouraging a forward-looking approach at WSSD focused on implementation,
DTI is undertaking a specific stream of work aimed at ensuring
a positive and constructive outcome on "technology transfer."
This looks to address the issue in the wider context of the development
and continuous improvement of capacities to access, absorb, use
and adapt scientific and technological knowledge, in particular
in developing countries.
8. With DTI funding and support, the Royal
Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) held a "High-level
workshop on strategies for addressing the linkages between technology
and sustainable development at the World Summit for Sustainable
Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg 2002" on 17-18 January
2002. The workshop brought together high level officials, experts
from business, academia, NGO's from developed and developing countries
as well international organisations to consider key issues related
to technology and sustainable development, to help generate ideas
for new initiatives that could be taken forward at WSSD. [see
annex]. It was also circulated as an official background document
at the recent PrepCom II at the United Nations.
9. Chatham House have circulated a draft
full report of the event for comment by participants. The final
report, including the opening speeches by Lord Sainsbury, the
Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ngubane, Minister of Arts,
Culture Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa, and
Dr Hee-Yoi YU, Vice Minister for Science and Technology, Republic
of Korea, will be made widely available shortly. Like the summary
report, it will be available on the UN Web site: http://www.johannesburgsummit.org.
In the light of informal discussions with a number of delegations
and others in the margins of PrepCom II, the DTI and Chatham House
will be exploring further the options for taking or encouraging
new initiatives at and after WSSD.
10. DTI has not approached the UK Sustainable
Development indicators, either the full set of the 15 headline
indicators, individually or collectively as being the responsibility
of particular individual departments. They are tools for helping
to monitor and assess progress towards the overall goal of sustainable
development, as well as guiding policy development and priorities.
11. The linkages between the SD indicators
and particular policy areas and, where relevant, to performance
against particular PSA targets are set out and discussed in the
reports reviewing progress on the UK sustainable development strategy.
DTI contributes to the preparation of these reports, in particular
in respect of business and business-related progress. The first
annual report was published in January 2001 and the second, for
2001, will be published shortly. DTI has also reviewed progress
in implementing its departmental SD Strategy in consultation with
a range of stakeholders. A report will be published in the coming
weeks. Both the strategy itself and the review have focused on
a number of key priority areas rather than attempting to address
comprehensively the very wide ranging contributions that DTI policies
and activities make to sustainable development and its economic,
environmental and social pillars. The department had not attempted
to assess the contribution of its policies and activities since
1992 to the issues and actions covered in the forty chapters and
nearly four hundred pages of Agenda 21, nor does it have plans
to do so.