ENB:05:01 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]


In preparation for the ECOSOC organizational session in February, the Secretary-General prepared three documents 1) proposals for the CSD rules of procedure, including recommendations for the participation of NGOs, specialized agencies and IGOs, and the European Economic Community (E/1993/12); 2) a note on the establishment of the CSD that set out for the ECOSOC the background for the decisions that it was to take in regards to the CSD (E/1993/14); and 3) a report on the High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development (E/1993/15).

The ECOSOC organizational session, which was supposed to meet from 2-5 February, ended up lasting for two weeks. The ECOSOC negotiations on the CSD took much longer than anticipated due to lack of agreement on the procedural arrangements for the participation of the European Economic Community. While the GA, had given the EEC certain additional rights at the Rio Conference, these arrangements did not apply to the work of the Commission. The member states of the EEC have delegated authority to the European Commission to speak on their behalf regarding several issues including fisheries, agriculture and trade. For this reason the EEC has been advocating certain procedural arrangements that would give it the same rights as States, short of the right to a vote.

At the ECOSOC session, the EEC proposed language for the CSD rules of procedure that would ensure the full participation of the EEC, "within its areas of competence, in the work of the Commission and of its subsidiary organs. This participation shall not include the right to vote. Consultations and negotiations on matters of particular concern to the European Economic Community shall be conducted in such a way as to ensure the full participation of the EEC." This was opposed by most of the non-EEC members on the grounds that it would give to the EEC, as an inter-governmental organization, some rights similar to those of member States and, in fact, a permanent seat on the Commission. Numerous informal consultations were held before a compromise was worked out that would have used the Secretary-General's proposed language for the rules of procedure with a cross-reference to the precedent set during UNCED, combined with a note from the President of the Council stating that it would be understood that EEC representatives would be able to participate in all formal and informal meetings of the CSD. After consulting with their capitals, a number of delegates soon found that they were unable to accept this solution and further negotiations followed. A fragile compromise was reached that would have allowed the participation of "other regional and sub-regional integration organizations to the extent that it has attained a similar level of competence, in accordance with its mandate." The problem with this compromise was that some developing countries felt that their regional development organizations should, eventually, enjoy the same rights as the EEC. A compromise along these lines was worked out in which regional organizations would present their areas of competence to each of the sessions of the CSD. This was still not acceptable to all parties and a decision was postponed until ECOSOC could reconvene in a resumed session.

ECOSOC was able to take four decisions related to the CSD which: 1) established the CSD, called for elections for the 53 members to be held on 16 February, set the dates for the organizational and first substantive session and set the provisional agenda for the organizational session; 2) established the rules of procedure for the CSD as a functional commission of ECOSOC, including supplementary arrangements regarding the participation of specialized agencies, IGOs and NGOs; 3) decided to conduct a review of current arrangements for consultations with NGOs; and 4) requested that the regional economic commissions submit reports to the CSD by 1994 on their plans to implement Agenda 21 and examine the relevant portions of Chapter 38 of Agenda 21.

[Return to start of article]