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The CSD held its third session from 11-28 April 1995 in New York. The revised format of the Commission, which included numerous panel discussions, enabled the participants to enter into a dialogue. The two days dedicated to the sharing of national experiences in implementing Agenda 21 was a departure from the CSD's previously UN-centered focus. The Day of Local Authorities, combined with the NGO and government-sponsored panels and workshops throughout the session, enabled the CSD to examine the local aspects of implementing Agenda 21.

The Commission under its new Chair, Henrique Cavalcanti (Brazil), examined the second cluster of issues according to its multi-year thematic programme of work. Delegates discussed: trade, environment and sustainable development (Chapter 2); combating poverty (3); consumption patterns (4); demographic dynamics and sustainability (5); integrating environment and development in decision-making (8); major groups (23-32); financial resources and mechanisms (33); transfer of environmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity-building (34); science for sustainable development (35); and information for decision-making (40).

The sectoral cluster for 1995 included: an integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources (Chapter 10); combating deforestation (11); combating desertification and drought (12); sustainable mountain development (13); promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development (14); conservation of biological diversity (15); and environmentally sound management of biotechnology (16). The Commission also established the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests to "pursue consensus and formulation of coordinated proposals for action" with regard to the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. The session concluded with a two-and-a-half-day High-Level Segment, attended by over 50 ministers and high-level officials.