Working Group I completed its first reading of the Chair's draft texts on decision-making structures, technology transfer, and trade and environment.
DECISION-MAKING STRUCTURES: In paragraph 2, the G-77 and China proposed deleting references to effective machinery and procedures for treaty implementation and the promotion of dispute avoidance procedures. They proposed replacing this language with a request for UNEP to study the concepts and implications of sustainable development and international law. Other delegations preferred the original text, or recommended that both proposals be merged into a single paragraph. The EU proposed a new paragraph 6 bis supporting developing countries in strengthening capacity to develop environmental impact assessment procedures and participate effectively in the development of international law.
The G-77 wanted to delete paragraph 9 (non-legally binding agreements), since it has "dangerous implications." The Netherlands suggested replacing the text with reference to the use of partnerships with business and NGO communities as a first step to the development of legally- binding instruments. The G-77 also wanted to delete paragraph 10 (improved coordination among convention secretariats), since the CSD's role and the conventions referred to were not clear. Australia supported the existing text and added language on co-location of Secretariats.
TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGY, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY- BUILDING: In paragraph 2 (intersessional working group), the G-77 and China called for the institutionalization of the intersessional working group. The EU, the US and Austria preferred the original paragraph. In paragraph 4 (general actions to combat constraints), the G-77 and China wanted reference to the need to fulfill the developed countries' commitments, as embodied in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21. The EU and US preferred the draft text. The Czech Republic suggested adding reference to the dissemination of environmentally sound technology (EST) on the INTERNET.
In paragraph 6 (actions to be taken), the EU, supported by the US, referred to the need to protect intellectual property rights as well as the needs of developing countries. Switzerland, supported by the Russian Federation, noted the need for ESTs in countries with economies in transition. The G-77 and China, commenting on the EU proposal, stated that they were becoming pessimistic with the direction of the discussion, and suggested that it may be premature for the CSD to discuss the issue of technology transfer. They also took issue with the repeated inclusion of "countries with economies in transition" with "developing countries."
In paragraph 9 (private sector role), Korea called for regional "technomarts" and "technofairs" as approaches to technology transfer. In paragraph 11 (government's role to encourage private sector), Korea called for financial incentives to encourage transfer of ESTs. The US expressed reservations about this proposal. In paragraph 12 (environmental technology centres), Switzerland proposed reference to countries with economies in transition, and was supported by Poland, Bulgaria, and the Russian Federation. Tunisia disagreed. In paragraph 13.1 (collaboration by UN agencies), Sweden requested that the contribution of NGOs be clarified. The Philippines suggested that UNIDO and relevant UN agencies undertake sectoral demonstration projects to support sustainable industrial development. Saudi Arabia objected on the grounds that Agenda 21 pertains to more than the industrial sector.
The G-77 and China offered a 13.1 bis, calling for the development of a mechanism to assess and elaborate an inventory of ESTs in the public domain. The US and Canada thought that this proposal repeated paragraph 13.1. The EU recommended case studies on technology transfer. In paragraph 13.4 (technology transfer mechanisms), the G-77 and China asked to delete the reference to technical experts. The US disagreed. In paragraph 13.5 ("benchmarking"), the G-77 and China called for reference to the energy, transport and agricultural sectors. Saudi Arabia objected, stating that national priority sectors for sustainable development differ.
The G-77 and China suggested a paragraph 8 bis, requesting the Secretary-General to invite experts to make recommendations on the feasibility of a consultative group on environmental technology centres. Austria, the US and the EU expressed reservations on this proposal.
TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT: The delegates heard from the NGO working group on trade, environment and sustainable development, which stated that the CSD is the appropriate coordinating body for the inputs from UN and multilateral organizations. The G-77 wanted the title of the draft to be changed to "Trade and Sustainable Development." The US preferred the Chair's title. The Chair suggested the compromise "Trade, Environment, and Sustainable Development." The G-77 proposed a paragraph 1 bis, which would reflect the Marrakesh message. The EU and US noted that this proposal reflected the preamble to the WTO agreement, which is acceptable. In paragraph 2 (trade liberalization), the G-77 called for internalization of costs, taking into account the level of development and without distorting international trade and investment.
In paragraph 3 (international trading system), Japan and the G-77 noted the importance of an open multilateral trading system. In paragraph 4 (benefits from trade liberalization), Australia mentioned the possible negative effects on the least developed and net food importing nations. The G-77 proposed a diversification fund for African commodities. The EC and the US opposed this amendment.
In paragraph 5 (WTO Committee on Trade and Environment), the G-77 found the draft text overly optimistic, and proposed that the CSD recognize its role as the central organ for these issues. The US proposed the deletion of paragraph 6 (environmental measures), but indicated a willingness to work with the G-77, if Agenda 21 language was respected. The EU proposed a paragraph 6 bis, calling for the development of a framework to facilitate assessment of the environmental impact of trade policies.
In addressing paragraph 7 (cooperation between UN agencies), Canada noted the need to welcome reports of agencies on trade, development and sustainable development. The G-77 called for a paragraph 10 bis, which would take note of the Barbados Programme of Action. The US proposed paragraph 13 bis, which would highlight the need to achieve transparency for public and expert participation.
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