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On Friday, 3 May 1996, delegates began the final meeting of CSD-4 by turning their attention to Agenda Item 6.b, progress report of the Intergovernmental Ad Hoc Panel on Forests (E/CN.17/1996/24). The Secretariat read a statement regarding the financial implications for the third and fourth sessions of the IPF.

Vice-Chair Paul de Jongh (Netherlands) then invited the Commission to consider Agenda Item 8, the adoption of a note from the UN Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1996/37) on proposals for a medium-term plan and requesting relevant inter-governmental bodies to take into account decisions of the CSD as well as the Special Session of UNGA 1997. The Commission also adopted a decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.5) on Intersessional Working Groups, pursuant to paragraph 3 of General Assembly Resolution 50/113 on the Special Session in 1997, requesting the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group, which will meet from 24 February - 7 March 1997, to assist the Commission in undertaking its review.

ACTION ON DRAFT DECISIONS: The Commission was then invited to consider Items 3, 4, 5b, 5c, and 6a, and adopt all the draft decisions negotiated by the drafting groups:

Drafting Group I:

Drafting Group II:

Drafting Group III:

  • Major groups (E/CN.17/1996/L.7)
  • International institutional arrangements (E/CN.17/1996/L.8)
  • Promoting education, public awareness and training (E/CN.17/1996/L.9)
  • National mechanisms and capacity-building (E/CN.17/1996/L.10)
  • Integrating environment and development in decision-making (E/CN.17/1996/L.11)
  • Information for decision-making (E/CN.17/1996/L.12)
  • International legal instruments and mechanisms (E/CN.17/1996/L.13)
  • Information provided by governments and institutions (E/CN.17/1996/L.6)
The US asked that a statement, reiterating that it is not one of the countries that has affirmed or reaffirmed a commitment to 0.7% GNP for ODA, and noting that national governments have the primary responsibility for implementing sustainable development, be included at the end of the CSD report.

The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said it considers that the CSD’s decision on Implementation of International Fishery Instruments (E/CN.17/1996/L.22) is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of States in accordance with international law, the UN Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (1995) and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995). He expressed regret that the very important issue of a call for States to cooperate by becoming members of regional and subregional fisheries management organizations and by participating in regional and subregional fisheries management arrangements that the EC considers necessary to ensure the sustainablity of living marine resources is not at all reflected in the CSD’s decision.

CHAIR’S SUMMARY OF THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The Chair noted that CSD-4 was marked by the active participation of many ministers, and representatives of national governments, UN organizations and major groups. Participants welcomed the evidence of progress at the national level, but stressed the need to disseminate further the message of Agenda 21 at the local level.

The Commission welcomed the progress in recent intergovernmental negotiations related to oceans and seas, and agreed that the need now is for governments to implement these agreements. Participants expressed concern that significant fish stocks are depleted or over-exploited and considered that urgent, corrective action is needed. Regarding atmosphere, participants emphasized the need to reduce local emissions, and invited governments to consider policy instruments to improve energy efficiency and to promote the use of renewable energy resources.

Delegates welcomed the work done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and the review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Regarding the latter, participants emphasized the need for greater efforts in developing and implementing sustainable development policies and measures, as well as for building human resources and institutional facilities.

Participants recognized the need to further refine the concept of education for sustainable development and to identify what the key messages of education for sustainable development should be. With regard to changing consumption and production patterns, eco- efficiency was recognized as a tool, but not a substitute for changes in the unsustainable lifestyles of consumers.

Participants underlined the need to fulfill all financial commitments of Agenda 21, and recognized that ODA has a special role to play in promoting sustainable development in developing countries. The importance of the participation of the private sector was also noted. A CSD task force on technology transfer and sustainable industrial development was proposed. Governments were called on to ensure appropriate coordination between trade and environment officials.

Finally, the vital importance of the Special Session of the General Assembly was stressed. Participants highlighted the need to: revitalize commitment to the concept of sustainable development; recognize failures and the reasons for failure; boost implementation of the Rio commitments; define priorities for the period beyond 1997; and raise the profile of issues that were not sufficiently addressed in Rio.

CLOSING STATEMENTS AND OTHER MATTERS: Delegates then adopted the provisional agenda for CSD-5 (E/CN.17/1996/L.4), which includes a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and preparations for the Special Session of the UNGA. The Rapporteur, Adam Vai Delaney (Papua New Guinea), then presented the report of the session (E/CN.17/1996/L.3), which was adopted. After hearing closing statements from the G-77/China, the EU, the US and Belarus, the fourth session of the CSD came to a close.

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