I N T E R N A T I O N A L L E A D E R S H I P
T A S K F O R C E
The purpose of the International task force is to advise the President on policies that foster U.S. leadership in sustainable development internationally. Specifically, it shall promote the creation and continuation of national sustainable development councils around the world, advise the President on the promotion of sustainable development in international fora, and shall recommend policies that encourage foreign investment by the U.S. Government, businesses, investors, and, as appropriate, multi-lateral institutions that are consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
The Multilateral Agreement on Investment
The task force held a forum on the MAI on February 10, 1998. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together various views on the prospective agreement being negotiated in the OECD. At face value, the MAI seeks to protect investors by ensuring that their investments abroad will be treated no differently than investments made by nationals of that country. Such protections would increase international investment by reducing risks and costs. However, many are concerned that national sovereignty would be threatened, and that broader effects on the environment, labor, and social justice could result.
Forum presenters included: Amb. Al Larsen, State Department; John Audley, National Wildlife Federation; Steve Canner, US Council on International Business; Antonio Parr, World Bank; David Schorr, World Wildlife Fund.
There was general agreement that the dialogue was helpful, as views on both the value and pitfalls of the MAI were expressed. Since February 10, the governments negotiating the MAI have suspended negotiations until at least this fall because many differences could not be overcome by the initial spring deadline. The task force feels it has made a valuable contribution to the dialogue and will move on to the other two agenda items. General issues that emerge in the MAI forum will be explored in the rest of the task force's work as it considers international capital flows and sustainable development.
Interaction with other National Councils on Sustainable Development at the National Town Meeting
Honduras: The Honduran Council, CONADES, was created through Executive Decree in 1994 and reformed in 1997. It is composed of 22 members from government, civil society, and private enterprise and coordinates follow-up activities of implementing Agenda 21 and the Central American Alliance for Sustainable Development commitments. Honduras lists "7 E's" as important in its pursuit of sustainable development: Economic growth, Equity and justice, Environmental protection, Emphasis on transparency, Education, Energy, and Employment opportunities for all.
A recent success is organzing an Executive Commission for Sustainable Development which unites municipal councils and deparmental development commissions to promote sustainable development locally, including courses and seminars. In the Fall of 1998 a workshop on National Integrity was held with the support of the Central American Bank of Economic Integration, the World Bank, and Transparency International. Over 200 representatives from a wide variety of organizations participated. This resulted in a "Pledge of Integrity" which emphasizes dialogue between different sectors to promote civic, ethical, moral, environmental values in a transparent manner.
The biggest challenge is to move the theory of sustainable development into practice.
Japan: The Japanese Council (JCSD) was the first dialogue between high level government and non-governmental entities, established in June 1996. Members come from the national government, industry, non-profit organizations (including academia), and local government. It has taken awhile for the group to build trust, but the increased communication is well worth it. Its major activities have been: preparation of National Consultation Report for the Rio +5 Forum; preparation for the Third Conference of the Parties (COP 3) in Kyoto by convening monthly meetings in the 8 months prior to the conference; and creating a vision.
The JCSD presents the following three results as its most successful contributions:
The JCSD worked together to prepare for this year's UN Commission on Sustainable Development and is particularly interested in exploring the issue of sustainable consumption in advanced economies. They are interested in taking some concrete actions in cooperation with other National Councils at next year's G8 Environmental Future Forum in Japan. The biggest challenge was for all sectors to come to the table on equal terms to work together, and then alleviating lask of understanding and apprehension on the part of the government and business sector toward civil groups and NGOs and the distrust of NGOs toward government and business.
Recommendations to President Clinton: Send a signal of support for high-level multistakeholder councils, by example in the United States and in discussion with other heads of state. Commit to implementing recommendations for sustainable development and to exploring how to reconcile developed society's wants with the need to leave an opportunity for a high quality of life for future generations.
The International Leadrship Task Force's final recommendations can be found in PCSD's final report.
Metropolitan and Rural Strategies Task Force
Environmental Management Task Force
International Task Force
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