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Discussion on this issue was aided by several preparatory documents: Part IV of the Secretary-General's overview of cross-sectoral issues (E/CN.17/1994/2); and the Task Manager's report on decision-making structures of the Interagency Committee on Sustainable Development. The Austrian-sponsored symposium on "Sustainable development and international law" also provided recommendations.

During the negotiation of the Chair's draft text, 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 the inclusion of both proposals. The EU proposed a new paragraph 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. The final compromise text, however, referred only vaguely to the "need for coordination and more efficient structural arrangements among secretariats of conventions related to sustainable development."

The final text (E/CN.17/1994/L.8) emphasizes the importance of creating a national legal framework for the implementation of Agenda 21; calls for support to ensure the participation of developing countries in negotiating fora; underlines the need for consistency of substantive objectives among international instruments and Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration and calls on the Secretary-General to monitor such developments; recommends the use of non-legally binding agreements; and notes the need for improved coordination and provision of common services among the secretariats of major sustainable development conventions. [Return to start of article]