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During the discussion of this topic, the delegates considered the CSD's role and its relationship to the other international organizations involved with this issue -- UNEP, UNCTAD and Committee on Trade and the Environment in the newly created World Trade Organization (WTO). The relationship between trade, the environment and sustainable development, and relevant actions desired on the national level, were also discussed.

The following issues were raised during the discussion of the Chair's draft text: the internalization of costs, taking into account the level of development and without distorting international trade and investment; the importance of an open multilateral trading system; and the focal point for further discussions on this issue.

The final round of negotiations on this text took place in a closed, informal session, which extended into the early morning hours of 25 May. Many felt that it was a significant step for the CSD to take a stand on this issue at the time when the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment was being launched. The final text calls for the CSD, UNCTAD and UNEP to be represented at the meetings of the WTO Trade and Environment Committee. It also notes that the CSD will annually review "developments in the area of trade, development and environment with a view to identifying possible gaps and to promote cooperation and coordination."

The negotiations on this issue were followed closely by representatives from the UN agencies, especially UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP, and GATT. Approximately one hour before the CSD adopted this text, UNCTAD established an ad hoc working group on trade, environment and development, the drafting of which involved close monitoring of the CSD talks and which will also seek to coordinate with other international bodies. [Return to start of article]