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DEMOGRAPHIC DYNAMICS AND SUSTAINABILITY: During the general discussion on cross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/10 and Add.1), the EU called for international cooperation on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, stressing access to reproductive health services. The NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL said its report on ICPD implementation in 65 countries indicated low levels of high-level government participation.

During negotiations, an early reference to particular government action in support of “gender issues” was deleted by the G-77/CHINA and eventually replaced with a reference to the ICPD. The G-77/CHINA introduced language on gender-sensitive analysis as an essential step.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.7) notes that: greater importance is being attached to population questions and the need to integrate population factors into environment and development planning; the importance of effective information, education and communications strategies to give greater visibility to critical linkages between population, development and environmental issues, and of the full and equal participation of women; and the need for ECOSOC to examine the division of labor between the CSD and the Commission on Population and Development.

COMBATING POVERTY: During a general discussion of cross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.177/1996/9), the US called attention to women and children in studies and measurements of poverty, while the EU suggested that the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) follow-up should be coordinated by the Commission on Social Development. He said ECOSOC should consider the division of labor between the Commission on Social Development and the CSD. INDIA suggested that poverty eradication be among the issues examined at the 1997 Special Session.

During the negotiations, the EU added a reference to country-specific target dates for the substantial reduction of inequality. The G-77/CHINA supported national target dates for sustainably reducing absolute poverty in the shortest possible time and introduced a new paragraph on political, economic and social marginalization in developing countries. The US introduced language on basic needs, and amended language on poverty eradication, preferring to commit to eradicating absolute poverty and reducing overall poverty.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.2) notes: the need to formulate or strengthen national strategies to eradicate poverty, preferably by the end of the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty (1996) and address issues of gender, inequality, and environmental issues. Also noted are the Beijing Platform for Action’s recognition of the role of women in poverty eradication and the preparations for Habitat II. The Commission is called upon to focus on the interlinkages between poverty and the environment.

TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGIES, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY-BUILDING: During a general discussion on cross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/13 and Add.1), the G-77/CHINA stressed that EST transfers should be on preferential and concessional terms, with the necessary financial means and expertise. BRAZIL suggested using multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) to facilitate EST transfers, adding that they should be economically feasible and socially acceptable.

In the negotiations, the G-77/CHINA added a paragraph on favorable terms, taking into account the need to protect intellectual property rights and the role of ESTs in helping developing countries achieve sustainable development. INDIA expressed concern about the emphasis given to the role of the private sector. CANADA cautioned against language that might infer that ESTs are only of interest to developing countries.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.14) notes: the need for new and efficient technologies to increase the capabilities of countries, in particular developing countries, to achieve sustainable development; the role of financial support and partnership arrangements with donor countries and agencies, and the private sector; the need for measures to ensure equal access and opportunities for women; the need for appropriate legislation and policies in countries with economies in transition; and the International Organization for Standardization’s development of the ISO 14000 and other environmental management standards. The decision encourages governments and the private sector to promote, facilitate and finance access and transfers of ESTs on favorable terms and public-private partnership arrangements. It also calls for government-business cooperation to help small companies access finance for technological cooperation and technology transfer, and business, including transnational corporations (TNCs), to take steps to facilitate access to financial markets for businesses, and to promote capacity-building.

TRADE, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: During a general discussion of cross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/8 and Add.1), CHINA stressed the issue of barriers to trade with developing countries. MALAYSIA cautioned against unilateral trade sanctions. MEXICO echoed a concern that environmental protection should not become a pretext concealing protectionist measures. INDONESIA invited the CSD to send a clear message against unilateral and discriminatory measures. The EU said trade liberalization and environmental protection can be mutually supportive and environmental policy should not be detrimental to competitiveness.

During the negotiation of the decision, delegates debated the relative merits of the roles of “positive measures,” such as improved market access, and trade measures in securing compliance with MEAs. The G-77/CHINA introduced language to suggest that positive measures should be employed to reduce or obviate the necessity for trade measures. The US added a subparagraph recognizing that trade measures play an important role in achieving MEA objectives. He also cautioned against CSD-4 interfering in related deliberations at UNCTAD and UNEP. The EU supported the view that trade provisions in MEAs can play a positive environmental role. The G-77/CHINA also attempted to introduce language on eco-labeling, signaling a recognition that certain unilateral measures taken by governments may be detrimental to the common interest. The US said UNCTAD had not adequately consulted on its BIOTRADE initiative and reserved judgment on its merits.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.15) addresses: trade measures in multilateral environmental agreements, including an examination of their effect on the achievement of environmental goals and on trade and competitiveness; a rejection of “green countervailing duties” or other protectionist measures inconsistent with the WTO; relaxation of environmental laws to encourage investment or exports; eco-labeling and public awareness; trade liberalization, including the environmental impact of trade policies, and the impact of imports prohibited for sale on environmental grounds by exporting countries; sustainable development of the commodity sector; biological diversity and trade issues, including the BIOTRADE initiative; and technical assistance for developing countries and countries with economies in transition to participate in international deliberations on trade and the environment

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISMS: Discussion on this issue on was focused on the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1996/4 and Add.1) and the report of the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group (E/CN.17/1996/7). Traditional positions on diminishing ODA resources were restated. The EU and the G-77/CHINA noted that ODA is currently insufficient to implement Agenda 21. The EU emphasized the need for more effective use of existing resources, and a shift to an enabling environment to promote non-ODA resources and the use of innovative mechanisms. The US reiterated that it is not among the countries that have committed to the target of 0.7% GNP for ODA. CHINA joined those who expressed disappointment at the failure of the international community to honor financial commitments undertaken at UNCED, and noted the historical links between environmental degradation and the expansion of private capital. Fears about a shift in emphasis to private investment and national implementation were expressed by some G-77 countries.

During the negotiations, the G-77/CHINA introduced new language: highlighting the volatility of private capital flows and the need to examine initiatives for stabilization; noting that the expansion of flows has been limited to some developing countries; and calling on business and TNCs to encompass sustainable development objectives. They also added text on external debt and debt servicing and on Global Environment Facility (GEF) replenishment. The EU reaffirmed that, “in general,” financing for Agenda 21 will come from a country’s own public and private sectors. The US introduced language on open investment and non-discriminatory trade. The US opposed the G-77/CHINA’s call for a substantial replenishment of the GEF and an extension of the matrix approach to cover the “rights” of holders of traditional technology. JAPAN had “difficulty” with a G-77/CHINA proposal to delete a paragraph on improving the effectiveness of ODA and leveraging private investment. He added that it was not for the Commission to make recommendations on levels of GEF replenishment. Differences over referencing sustainable development and economic growth within the context of external debt were resolved by resorting to language from General Assembly Resolution 50/92.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.18) notes that commitments made at UNCED on new and additional financial resources remain a key element and that there has been a decline in ODA and an increase in private flows to some developing countries. Also noted are: the effectiveness of ODA; the volatility of private capital flows; the role of TNCs and sustainable development goals; assistance for low-income countries with multilateral debt problems; pollution abatement funds (PAFs); financing ESTs in a stable regulatory framework; broadening the matrix approach to include benefits to the traditional holders of indigenous knowledge; and the role of major groups in financing Agenda 21 activities.

CHANGING PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION PATTERNS: The discussion in this issue focused on the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1996/5 and Add.1) and the report of the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group (E/CN.17/1996/7). The G-77/CHINA found the preliminary draft decision “unbalanced” and offered a redraft calling for a more “action-oriented” and balanced approach to both supply and demand sides. The US said it did not want to isolate consumption from production. It is changes in production that are primary. The US also noted an emerging global consensus on the need for change and proposed that governments report on their experiences to CSD-5. There was resistance to emphasizing the need to change consumption patterns and unsustainable lifestyles in industrialized countries, while a reference to common but differentiated responsibilities in the context of changing consumption and production patterns was conceded. The G-77/CHINA qualified a reference to environmental taxes to ensure that these are domestic.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.16) notes: the opportunity of the 1997 review for a shift to a more action-oriented approach; supply and demand approaches; that eco- efficiency should not be a substitute for unsustainable lifestyle change; the need for improved market access, particularly for developing countries; the need for further analysis of, inter alia, eco-space and ecological footprint concepts; the role of government procurement policies; the need for analysis of policy measures, including environmental taxes, market-based instruments, and removal of environmentally damaging subsidies; that instruments should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or disguised trade restriction; ongoing research by international organizations including UN agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and the OECD; and major group work on UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection.

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