UN sets schedule to target environmental issues
Country: UNITED NATIONS
Author: Leslie Adler
The U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development set the schedule after a two-day meeting. The meeting built on last year's Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, which set a goal to halve by 2015 the proportion of people earning less than a dollar a day while preserving the planet's resources for future generations - known as sustainable development.
"The primary focus was on working out arrangements to ensure that we really focus on implementation after Johannesburg," Nitin Desai, undersecretary-general, department of economic and social affairs, told a press briefing.
The commission formulated a schedule through 2017 devoting two-year periods to each of a series of related environmental issues.
"A large number of these goals should be treated as instrumental toward the Millennium goals," Desai said.
The United Nations 2000 Millennium Summit set the original goal of halving by 2015 the proportion of people earning less than a dollar a day.
The initial two-year period, for 2004 and 2005, will focus on issues of water, sanitation, and human settlements. In 2006 and 2007, the focus will be on energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution and atmosphere, and climate change.
In 2008 and 2009, the issues will be agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.
Topics for future years include transportation, chemicals, forests, biodiversity, mountains, oceans and seas and disaster management and vulnerability.
Last year's Earth Summit set goals for key environmental areas such as reducing the number of people without access to proper sanitation, restoring depleted fish stocks, and improving biodiversity by cutting the rate at which rare animals and plants are becoming extinct.