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CSD-4 Chair Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria) opened CSD-5 on Tuesday, 8 April. He called for a reconfirmation of the definition of “sustainable development” as it emanated from Rio and for a balance of actions so the economic, social and environmental components can reinforce each other. Delegates elected Dr. Mostafa Tolba (Egypt) as CSD-5 Chair. He noted that the concept of sustainable development is still open to interpretation, and identified challenges with regard to climate change, biodiversity, desertification, official development assistance (ODA), technology transfer, protection of the ozone layer, consumption patterns, population and poverty.

Joke Waller-Hunter, Director of the UN Division for Sustainable Development, said the Special Session must reaffirm the highest levels of support for sustainable development, recognizing the interdependence of its economic, social and environmental components and reaffirming the developmental dimension of sustainable development. She said UNGASS should emphasize to the UN system, the World Bank, IMF and WTO the need for partnerships at national, regional and global levels.

Delegates elected to following Vice-Chairs: Monika Linn-Locher (Switzerland) from the Western European and Others Group, John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) from the Latin American and Caribbean Group, Bagher Asadi (Iran) from the Asian Group and Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland) from the Eastern European Group, who served as Rapporteur.

Following a number of introductory reports on the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group, the IPF, the High-Level Advisory Board, UNEP, GEF and the Earth Council’s Rio+5 Forum, delegates launched into a three and one-half day High-Level Segment, during which ministers, ambassadors and NGOs offered statements on the reports of the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group and the IPF. During the second week of the CSD, delegates offered amendments to the Co-Chairs’ draft outcome of the Special Session, prepared during the Intersessional Working Group. Dialogues with major groups took place in parallel sessions. Two Drafting Groups and numerous informal groups were created during the final week as delegates attempted to craft the document their Heads of State or Government will adopt at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session in June.

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