Business Makes an Impact at Commission on Sustainable Development

(Photo: United Nations)
(Photo: United Nations)

On May 15, the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) concluded two years of negotiations on how to drive forward implementation of Rio and Johannesburg summit commitments in six major development areas – agriculture, land, water, rural development, drought, and Africa.  The two-week summit, which included a high-level session, agreed a set of priorities to expedite the implementation of sustainability measures in the cluster of land and agriculture issues.

USCIB and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) served as the primary business representatives at the CSD, working with the International Agrifood Network, Croplife International and the International Fertilizer Association.  The CSD recognizes nine “major groups,” or important sectors of society, which are expected to contribute their experiences in implementing Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and in identifying future areas for partnership and strengthened implementation.  ICC represents the “business and industry” major group, and has official status in the CSD’s activities.

Business engagement in the CSD session – which was attended by representatives of over 60 governments and numerous non-governmental organizations – emphasized the stake and contribution of a broad range of industries that are concerned in the food value and supply chain, as well as in other promising areas, such as biotechnology, energy and sustainable chemistry.  Business representatives underscored the importance of flexibility to reflect national circumstances, integrated policies that reflect risk assessment and management, sound science and economics.

“We were able to draw attention to the need for a strengthened focus on capacity-building and information-based approaches,” said Helen Medina, USCIB’s director of agriculture, health care and biotechnology.  “One critical element of that is to ensure that intellectual property rights are protected and strengthened.  This year’s CSD deliberations made good progress in providing momentum to international cooperation to address the food crisis, and to advance emerging technologies in other agricultural areas, such as bio-energy and biotechnology.”

The draft text included references to trade, technology, climate change, biodiversity, and the right to food.  Throughout the week, USCIB and ICC met with several with government officials and intergovernmental authorities to stress the importance of advancing measures to accelerate economic recovery and address trade, IPR and biodiversity in their primary forums, such as the World Trade Organization, the World International Property Organization and UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

A copy of the full CSD conclusions text, the ICC discussion Paper on CSD-17 and all Business and Industry interventions can be found on ICC’s website at

Staff contacts: Helen Medina and Norine Kennedy

More on the International Chamber of Commerce

More on USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group

More on USCIB’s Environment Committee

UN Commission on Sustainable Development website

Staff Contact:   Brian Lowry

Senior VP, Innovation, Regulation, and Trade
Tel: 202.617.3159

Brian Lowry leads USCIB’s policy work on trade, health, food, agriculture, chemicals, and intellectual property. He also coordinates USCIB’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Lowry joined USCIB in February 2021 having previously worked as an executive in the agriculture and crop science industry. Through his role as an executive, Lowry was also a longtime USCIB corporate member leader, as well as co-chair of USCIB’s working group on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda. Lowry was also the first board chair of the UN Global Compact Network USA.
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