Statement on behalf of Third World Network at Roundtable 3 of the MDGs Summit


New York, 21 September 2010

Statement on behalf of Third World Network 

by Chee Yoke Ling (Director, Third World Network) at Roundtable 3 on Sustainable Development during the 





As several speakers have stressed, there is a net South-North transfer of resources. This was the case when the sustainable development agenda was negotiated and adopted in 1992. The situation continues with the flow of natural resources from developing countries with most of the value added in developed countries, unfair terms of trade, continuing external debt and increased protectionism through trade measures and intellectual property rights.

The foundation of sustainable development is (1) equity as enshrined in the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and (2) the interlinkages among the three pillars of environmental, economic and social sustainability.

However, on biodiversity, the background note of the Roundtable (question 3) focuses on forest. Biodiversity encompasses agriculture, aquatic and marine biodiversity as well as microorganisms. The note also focuses on conservation/protected areas.

The Convention on Biological Diversity that was adopted in 1992 encapsulates the principles of sustainable development in its three objectives of conservation, sustainable use and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of biological resources. In Montreal, negotiations are going on now to finalise a new protocol on access and benefit sharing to prevent biopiracy and implement the Convention’s third objective. It seeks to correct a historical injustice where developing countries’ resources and traditional knowledge have been taken and commercialized without the fair benefits returning to the countries, indigenous peoples and communities.

Unfortunately, the biotechnology, agro-chemical and pharmaceutical industries are strongly resisting this. We wait to see if, at the High Level Meeting on biodiversity tomorrow, there will be good or bad news on this protocol that is supposed to be adopted in October when the Convention Parties meet.

On international partnerships and resources needed to support national efforts (question 4), the financial crisis has shown that systemic reforms are needed but actions have not taken place. We hope that the General Assembly in this session will extend the work of the working group on follow up to the conference on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development and ensure that it has a mandate to bring about concrete results.

Lastly, the privatization and deregulation trends since 1992 have also made sustainable development unachievable. The role of the state in ensuring national policy space and the participation of citizens in development are essential for sustainable development.

See other civil society participations at the MDGs Summit roundtables