---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 1997 13:23:18 -0800 (PST)
From: World Sustainable Agriculture Association <wsaadc@igc.apc.org>
To: san@nal.usda.gov, gnfs@unac.org, pmadden@igc.apc.org, pmadden1@aol.com


A public briefing will be given on March 10th by the US Department of
Agriculture (USDA) on the Commission on Sustainable Development's (CSD)
upcoming Earth Summit Review.  Other countries will also likely be meeting
with their constituents for their input on future directions for
sustainable agriculture and rural development initiatives at local and
international levels.

This memo provides additional information on the United Nations meetings
that will be held, as well as what citizens can do in their own
communities.  UN, government and NGO background papers will be available on
webpages for those who can access them.  Papers available and websites are:

*  Government reports to the CSD on progress made towards Agenda 21 in the
past five years.  Includes government focal point names and addresses for
many countries.

*  The Report to the CSD on overall progress in Promoting Sustainable
Agriculture and Rural Development, prepared for the Review by the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO).

*  A  background paper prepared by NGOs active in the Rio Earth Summit and
Commission on Sustainable Development.
*  A paper prepared by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for the Rio+5
conference being held in Rio March 13-19, 1997.  Organized by the Earth

*  Chapter 14 of Agenda 21, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development
negotiated at the Earth Summit in 1992.

*  Chapter 32 of Agenda 21, The Role of Farmers (as well as other Major
Groups such as NGOs, Scientists, Business and Industry, Women, Indigenous
Peoples, Local Authorities, etc.)

*  The NGO Sustainable Agriculture  Alternative Treaty, negotiated at the
International NGO Forum (INGOF) in Rio in 1992.

The following background information was prepared by the United Nations
Association-USA, with update and minor revisions by World Sustainable
Agriculture Association (WSAA).


June 1997 will mark the fifth anniversary of the 1992 U.N. Conference on
Environment and Development (UNCED), or the "Earth Summit," which was held
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Now is the time to plan to use the anniversary
of the Earth Summit to promote and strengthen sustainable development
efforts, from the community level to the United Nations.  The anniversary
proves a "hook" for organizing meetings and doing media work.  Anniversary
events being planned at the U.N. also provide opportunities for citizens
and citizen groups to highlight their experiences and views of progress
made, lessons learned, and future priorities.  There are many linkages to
the World Food Summit follow-up as countries begin to prepare national
plans of action for food security as well.

United Nations Events Related to the Fifth Anniversary of UNCED

The U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will devote its fifth
annual meeting (7-25) April, 1997, New York) to a "Five-Year Review" of
progress since the Earth Summit.  The CSD will review achievements and
failures in implementing Agenda 21 (the UNCED action plan), try to increase
political commitment to Agenda 21 objectives, and assess the institutional
mechanisms for Agenda 21 follow-up, including the CSD itself.  One week
will feature dialogues between governments and what Agenda 21 called the
"major groups" (non-governmental organizations, local authorities,
business, labor, farmers, the scientific and technical communities,
indigenous peoples, women, and children and youth).  Preparatory
"intersessional" meetings of the CSD Working Groups took place in New York
24 February - 7 March.

The U.N. General Assembly will hold a Special Session (23-27 June, 1997,
New York).  The objectives are to (1) revitalize and energize commitments
to sustainable development; (2) frankly recognize failures and identify
reasons why; (3) recognize achievements and identify actions that will
boost them; (4) define priorities for the post-97 period; and (5) raise the
profile of issues addressed insufficiently at the Earth Summit.

National governments have prepared profiles of national efforts to
implement Agenda 21.  The U.N. system also has prepared a series of
reports, including ones on implementation of Agenda 21 and recommendations
for future actions and priorities, trends in sustainable development, and
applications of the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and

How to Participate in U.N. Events Related to the Fifth Anniversary

Among the ways you may participate in international anniversary events:

*  Send your views and reports to your national delegation to the CSD.
Contact relevant government agencies to find out who prepared reports and
who will be attending the meetings.

*  Check other websites if possible, to see reports submitted by
governments <http://www.un.org/dpcsd> and the NGO Steering Committee for
the CSD <http://www.igc.apc.org/habitat/csd-97>  For those unable to access
the Internet but have email, you can sign up to receive information by
sending a message to <csdgen@undp.org>  A related listserve which addresses
the World Food Summit is hosted by the Global Network on Food Security,
hosted by the United Nations Association in Canada.  Those interested can
sign  on to it with a message to majordomo@unac.org:  <subscribe unac-food

*  Participate in official meetings (accredited NGOs only).  For the CSD
intersessional and annual meetings, if your organization is in General or
Special Consultative Status or on the NGO Roster of the Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC), send a letter stating your interest in participating and
listing your representatives to the DPCSD NGO Section (One U.N. Plaza,
Tenth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10017; fax: (212) 963-4968.  Arrangements for
NGO participation in the special session of the General Assembly in June
have yet to be finalized.

*  Participate in or organize parallel or side events at official U.N.
meetings by contacting the CSD NGO Steering Committee, which facilitates
the participation of non-governmental organizations in meetings of the CSD.

An NGO Forum is planned for April and June.  A Forum Coordinator will be
appointed and information posted on the website of the NGO Steering

*  Organize a program, town meeting, or other event to focus on
achievements, failures, and lessons learned in sustainable agriculture/
sustainable development locally, nationally, and internationally since the
1992 Earth Summit.

*  Use the anniversary as a news hook to get media attention for
sustainable development work being done by your organization or community.
Gather stories of local efforts and concerns to provide to individual
reporters or to use in o-eds or letters-to-the-editor.  Seek a meeting with
local editorial boards to talk about the fifth anniversary and connections
between local, national, and international sustainable development work.

For further information on sustainable agriculture NGO activities for the
Earth Summit Review in New York, contact Thomas Forster, who is helping
with coordination at <tforster@igc.apc.org>