Freshwater Action Network
– grassroots influencing on water and sanitation

FAN and the 12th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12)

CSD-12 took place on 14 - 30 April 2004 was a non-negotiating session which provided a listening environment for NGOs and civil society groups to talk about experiences, successes, lessons learnt and recommendations for furthering goals, targets and commitments.

Major group involvement

NGOs were one of 9 major groups at CSD-12 others were; Youth, Trade Unions, Women, Indigenous Peoples, Farmers, Local Authorities, Science and Technology and Business and Industry. The Major Groups each held daily meetings and fed into a joint statement to the Ministers. The statement recognised the participatory nature of the meeting but also noted that it had failed to prioritise issues of concern on the water, sanitation and human settlements theme.

Major group statement (PDF 160Kb)

NGO feedback

Still a need for:

  • A bridge between 2004 review and 2005 policy sessions to maintain continuity no clear process was defined on how to take discussions forward to CSD-13
  • Inclusion of environmental concerns and integration of environmental and development considerations, the summary failed to identify: 
Use ecosystem approach in IWRM
Integration of environmental sustainability into PRSPs and the other poverty eradication efforts such as the MDGs
Inclusion of mechanisms to ensure that funding reaches the community level to address water related environmental issues
  • Linking together the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the MDG and WSSD targets and commitments; there was a call for CSD to become an effective mechanism for monitoring progress of the five year review of the MDGs (September/October 2005), Task Force 7 of the Millennium Project covers water and sanitation, the same ground as CSD-12 and CSD-13.
  • Giving key and cross-cutting issues, e.g. agriculture, the rural poor and biodiversity, crucial to water, sanitation and human settlements a place at the political forefront.
  • Better reporting mechanisms for outcomes of the Regional Implementation Forums. The lack of structured and complimentary reporting frameworks made comparison and common ground hard to find 
  • Streamlining and coordination of strategies (PRSPs, NSDSs, IWRMS) at national and donor level 
  • Aid and financing for water and sanitation, there was a general recognition that water and sanitation were not well reflected in PRSPs, the main mechanism for levering and directing funds from governments to developing countries 

The first Session of CSD-13 was opened at the close of CSD-12 and John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) was elected CSD-13 Chair. There was disappointment among some NGOs that a women was not elected Chair and that John Ashes was not a Minister (although he has since been made one!)

CSD-13 will be a Policy Year to decide measures to speed up implementation and mobilize action to overcome obstacles and constraints for implementation of actions and goals on water, sanitation and human settlements. The inter-sessional meetings between now and when the policy negotiations take place will be crucial to really moving forward on the issues and challenges raised.

Download day-by-day feedback on each session (PDF 52Kb)

NGO major group statement: NGOs call on governments to remove key barriers to better water management (PDF 162Kb)

FAN is part of a Consortium of NGOs who produced the following papers for CSD-12:

FAN CSD Briefing 2003 English (PDF 175Kb)

FAN CSD Briefing 2003 French (PDF 190Kb)

FAN CSD Briefing 2003 Spanish (PDF 175Kb)

NGO reflections from CSD-12

"There were useful discussions in formal sessions, side-events and in the margins during the first week. Sanitation in particular was given greater attention than in previous international meetings."

"There were problems in carrying forward the richness of these discussions into the second week, particularly the High-Level Segment." "A notable achievement was the decision of representatives of the nine Major Groups to produce a single intervention in the closing plenary session."

"There is still a question on the repesentativeness of Major Groups, particularly of organisations from the South."

"It is disappointing how little mention is made in the UN CSD process of the other UN processes."

"The CSD was valuable in terms of the access it provided to senior officials in both donor and developing countries. It's not everyday that one can pursue agendas, test out and sell ideas to donor country delegations. NGO participants going fully prepared with their messages, backed up by evidence or materials, were able to do effective proactive lobbying of governments at the CSD. It is therefore important that those who participate in such events come prepared."

"Side-events and networking seem to be where major impact could be made."

Further reading