Report of main proceedings for 1 May 2001
1st WSSD Preparatory Session (PrepCom-1)
Delegates discussed stakeholder participation in the Summit and the draft rules of procedure for the Summit and its preparatory process, and heard presentations by South Africa on Summit preparations and by Indonesia on the third preparatory session. To allow G-77/China consultations in the early afternoon, delegates reconvened at 5:00 pm, and began informal consultations on the five draft decisions.
JoAnne DiSano, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, presented the Secretary-General’s Report on suggested arrangements for involving NGOs and other major groups in the Summit and its preparatory process (E/CN.17/2001/PC/22), noting that it builds on the experience of stakeholder participation in the CSD process.
On accreditation criteria and procedures, the G-77/CHINA: proposed text underlining the role of the PrepCom in the accreditation of NGOs and major groups; requested that the Secretariat submit its recommendations to the PrepCom two weeks before each session; proposed the establishment of a trust fund; and called on the Secretariat to evaluate the outcome of the Multi-stakeholder Dialogues. INDONESIA offered to host a business forum in September 2001 to collect inputs on implementation of sustainable development. The EU, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, NEW ZEALAND and SWITZERLAND underlined the importance of building on the CSD’s experience with stakeholder participation. MAURITANIA called on developed countries to mobilize resources for the participation of NGOs from developing countries, and proposed provision be made for a dialogue between heads of State and NGOs at the Summit. The US recalled the dialogues at UNGASS-19 where stakeholder interventions were interspersed with government comments. The EU suggested adopting the Report as proposed.
DRAFT RULES OF PROCEDURE FOR THE SUMMIT
Delegates commented on the proposed rules of procedure for the Summit (E/CN.17/2001/PC/24). The G-77/CHINA, with MAURITANIA, SAUDI ARABIA and MEXICO, underlined the need for a large Bureau, expressing preference for 39 members. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION preferred nine Bureau members. The G-77/CHINA proposed textual amendments regarding simultaneous interpretation at the meetings, and proposed listing the associate members of regional commissions who may participate as observers. The US emphasized that this must be an exhaustive list. On Summit themes, the G-77/CHINA drew attention to statements of Member States, outputs of regional and subregional intergovernmental processes and of national preparatory committees. With the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, he said processes relevant to the Summit should be integrated into the PrepCom. The G-77/CHINA also proposed that the Secretariat prepare reports on trends in the implementation of Agenda 21 based on national reports, and evaluate: actions undertaken by the UN system in providing assistance to developing countries; contributions made by major groups in implementing Agenda 21; and implementation of the mandates of CSD since CSD-1.
PREPARATORY ACTIVITIES AND PROCESS FOR SETTING THE AGENDA FOR THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
SOUTH AFRICA presented an update of preparations for the Summit, noting that, inter alia: the conference venues have been secured; provision has been made for accommodation at appropriate rates; a national preparatory committee has been established with participation of major stakeholders; an environmental management plan and standards will be implemented; a major exhibition on leading industrial and environmental technologies will be held; and that the Summit website will be launched in July 2001. An initial conference logo design was presented. INDONESIA outlined logistical details for the PrepCom to be held in Bali from 27 May to 7 June 2002.
The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND PACIFIC described preparatory activities in the region. HUNGARY advised that Agenda 21 should not be renegotiated, nor should the Rio Summit be repeated, and emphasized the need for realistic, achievable and short-term goals. NIGERIA observed that common but differentiated responsibilities have been neglected, resulting in a lack of substantive action in Agenda 21 implementation. A representative from the EDUCATION CAUCUS called for recognition and reaffirmation of the vital role of education in sustainable development. The UNED FORUM stressed that the CSD address issues of legitimacy and that the process should be facilitated in a constructive and creative way that leads to a sense of engagement and enthusiasm. Describing the history and purpose of the organization, the INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON CHEMICAL SAFETY highlighted bilateral and multilateral initiatives related to, inter alia, responsible chemical management. The G-77/CHINA, with EGYPT and SAUDI ARABIA, suggested that the Secretariat prepare a list of activities and conferences relevant to the 2002 Summit and indicate how they will feed into the preparatory process.
DRAFT DECISION 1: Progress in Preparatory Activities at the Local, National, Regional and International Levels as well as by Major Groups: Regarding progress in preparatory activities, the G-77/CHINA proposed that the GA resolution 55/199 provide the "terms of reference" for the preparatory process. Regarding mobilizing high-level political leadership for effective Summit preparations, the G-77/CHINA, the US and the EU offered suggestions stating that these preparations result in a strengthened global partnership and further implementation of Agenda 21. On the integration of intergovernmental processes into the preparatory process, the G-77/CHINA and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION opposed a US proposal that the results of preparatory processes be "taken into account." Regarding regional preparations for the Summit, HUNGARY proposed reference to a "pan-European" region. SWITZERLAND suggested that each region provide an assessment of Agenda 21 implementation.
Regarding the Secretary-General’s report for PrepCom-1, the G-77/CHINA urged consideration of inter-regional preparations and underlined the need to address cross-sectoral issues. The EU called for consideration of preparatory activities of major groups. HUNGARY, with the EU, called for deciding main themes according to GA resolution 55/199 and based on the outcomes of preparatory activities.
Regarding documentation for submission to the PrepCom at its next session: the G-77/CHINA proposed submissions by the UN system and Bretton Woods institutions on their implementation of Agenda 21; the US, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, suggested adding reviews of domestic and international obstacles to implementation; ICELAND, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, proposed information on options to improve the CSD’s effectiveness and input into the evaluation and definition of its role and programme of work; HUNGARY suggested an integrated assessment of recent social, economic and environmental trends and their scenarios for the next decade; and POLAND called for input from major groups. BRAZIL noted that while the Secretariat should summarize trends, it is the Commission’s responsibility to evaluate progress, while EGYPT emphasized that the purpose was to identify salient trends. In response to the G-77/China concern that Hungary’s proposal is too ambitious and Iceland’s proposal exceeds the mandate given to the Commission, HUNGARY emphasized the need to ensure synergy and linkages with other processes, and ICELAND suggested confining action to the mandate as stipulated in GA resolution 55/199.
On inputs from other processes, the G-77/CHINA suggested that the International Environmental Governance (IEG) process seeks to capture the environmental agenda, and, due to the need to balance the three pillars of sustainable development, emphasized that the IEG outputs should be submitted to the first substantive meeting of the PrepCom, whereas the EU preferred that it be done "as soon as possible." CANADA noted that the IEG results should be submitted to UNEP’s Governing Council before submission to the PrepCom. Following interventions by ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, MEXICO, PERU, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and SAUDI ARABIA, it was agreed that the matter be discussed informally. The G-77/CHINA proposed that the results of UNCED-related conventions, as well as other relevant global environmental conventions, be taken into account in the Summit preparatory process.
On the importance of a pro-active public information campaign to promote the Summit and raise awareness of sustainable development, the G-77/CHINA proposed that the Secretary-General inform the next PrepCom about progress achieved in this regard. In addition to mobilizing political support, the EU, with the G-77/CHINA, proposed that the role of the Bureau include pursuing the support of international financial institutions. Discussion regarding confusion over the meaning of the role of the PrepCom in providing an "oversight of various intergovernmental preparatory activities" will be revisited after informal discussions.
DRAFT DECISION 2: Specific Modalities of Future Sessions of the PrepCom: Regarding the first substantive session, the G-77/ CHINA suggested adding reference to the results of inter-regional meetings and proposed a new paragraph on the results of the UNEP IEG process. CANADA pointed out that the results of the UNEP IEG process would not be ready until the second preparatory session. The G-77/CHINA suggested holding informal discussions on this issue.
On the draft document resulting from the first preparatory session, HUNGARY supported separating references to Agenda 21 implementation and specific time-bound measures. INDONESIA pointed out that the references originated from GA resolution 55/199. On the timing of the second substantive session, the G-77/CHINA expressed concern about overlap with other environmental or sustainable development meetings. On Bureau consultations with States and other interested parties, the G-77/CHINA queried the meaning of "other interested parties" and the venue of consultations.
DRAFT DECISION 3: Tentative Organization of Work During the Summit: The G-77/CHINA amended reference from "stakeholders" to "NGOs and other major groups accredited to the Summit."
DRAFT DECISION 4: Rules of Procedure of the Summit: NIGERIA queried the specific provision for participation of the European Commission and underlined the role of other regional bodies. On the number of Summit Vice-Presidents, the EU called for a small managerial Bureau, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION said nine is the optimum number, and the G-77/CHINA, supported by MEXICO, expressed preference for 39, but indicated willingness to find a middle ground, noting the option of five representatives from each UN region. This will be addressed informally.
DRAFT DECISION 5: Accreditation and Participation: On HUNGARY's suggestion that stakeholder views be sought, the Secretariat noted these had been expressed earlier. The US requested clarity on inconsistent references to "substantive" preparatory committees. CHINA questioned a provision for NGOs that are on the roster of the CSD, but that lack consultative status with ECOSOC. CANADA expressed concern about text intimating that stakeholders be denied opportunity to make submissions due to limited time. CHINA underlined the need for sufficient time for heads of State to make statements. Following proposals from CANADA and the EU, text was amended recognizing that due to time constraints, only a small but representative number of accredited participants will be invited to address the Summit.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Unlike Monday, when the corridors were a hive of activity and abuzz with gossip and anticipation, Tuesday was characterized by a far more muted atmosphere. This comparative quiet belies the variety of issues on participants' minds. While some speculated on the possibility of a high level "Summit ambassador" being appointed, others suggested the establishment of a panel comprising senior dignitaries representing different stakeholder groups. Some delegates wondered aloud on the extent to which this issue is affected by the apparent internecine conflicts between DESA and UNEP. There was talk also of the underlying motives surrounding debates on the size of the Summit Bureau, and on the issue of international environmental governance. In the meantime, other participants focused their energies on the implications of apparent divisions within the NGO community.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will convene at 10:00 am in Conference Room 3 to continue discussion of the draft decisions. In the afternoon, delegates are expected to adopt the report of the session and conclude their work.