Summary report, 27–28 September 1999
22nd Special Session of the General Assembly for the Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS
The Special Session of the General Assembly (GA) for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action (POA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) convened in New York from 27-28 September 1999. Over the course of the meeting, delegates met in five Plenary sessions and heard addresses from 11 Heads of State or Vice-Presidents, 59 Ministers and more than 50 permanent representatives. The Special Session established an Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole (COW), which met in two parallel sessions to the Plenary. The Special Session adopted a political declaration and a text on the state of initiatives for the future implementation of the POA. The Special Session also forwarded a draft resolution on the Caribbean Sea to the regular session of the GA for further consideration.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BARBADOS PROGRAMME OF ACTION
The Programme of Action was adopted at the UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, which was held in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 25 April to 6 May 1994. The Conference had its roots in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and was established by UN General Assembly Resolution 47/189. The POA identifies priority areas and indicates specific actions that are necessary to address the special challenges faced by SIDS. Priority areas requiring action, as identified by the POA, include: climate change and sea level rise; natural and environmental disasters; management of wastes; coastal and marine resources; freshwater resources; land resources; energy resources; tourism resources; biodiversity resources; national institutions and administrative capacity; regional institutions and technical cooperation; transport and communication; science and technology; human resource development; and implementation, monitoring and review of the POA. In fulfilling those actions, the POA identified several cross-sectoral areas that required attention, including: capacity building, including human resource development; institutional development at the national, regional and international levels; cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies; trade and economic diversification; and finance.
The Conference also adopted the Barbados Declaration, which was intended as a statement of the political will that underpins the precise agreements contained in the POA.
RIO +5: The 19th Special Session of the General Assembly, which convened from 23-27 June 1997, reviewed SIDS issues in consideration of the further implementation of Agenda 21 in areas requiring urgent action. In that context, the Special Session requested that the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) at its sixth session in 1998 undertake a review of all the outstanding chapters and issues of the POA adopted at the Barbados Conference. It was also decided that a two-day special session of the GA would be held in 1999 for an in-depth assessment and appraisal of the implementation of the POA. The CSD was requested to serve as a preparatory committee for that special session.
Meeting of representatives, donors and SIDS: In response to GA resolutions 51/183, 52/202 and 53/189, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the UN Secretariat, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organized a meeting of representatives of donors and SIDS from 24-26 February 1999 to consider ways and means of assisting SIDS in mobilizing resources to implement a range of sustainable development projects proposed by SIDS that were submitted to bilateral and multilateral donors, as well as to build momentum at the international level for the continued implementation of the POA.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION: CSD-7 convened on 23 and 30 April 1999 as a preparatory committee for the Special Session on SIDS. The CSD based its discussions on a Chairs text forwarded by an Ad Hoc working group that met during the CSD-7 intersessional working group in February 1999. The Chairs text was titled State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA.
On 23 April, the CSDs High-Level Segment discussed the POAs implementation, difficulties met and lessons learned, and suggested elements for the Special Session's outcome. On 30 April, the CSD considered preparations for the comprehensive review of the POA. The CSD approved and recommended the draft provisional agenda and organizational matters for adoption by the Special Session of the GA. The CSD also adopted an oral decision recommending that the GA authorize it to hold a resumed session for two days in September in order to complete its work. A revised draft of the Chairs compilation document on the State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA and a draft Declaration resulted from informal consultations.
The CSD held a resumed session from 9-10 September 1999. Delegates continued to work on an informal document containing texts entitled Draft Declaration and State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA. The document was the result of informal consultations held following the April meeting of the CSD.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
On Monday, 27 September 1999, Martin Andjaba (Namibia) opened the 22nd Special Session of the General Assembly. The Plenary then elected the President of the 54th General Assembly, Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), to preside over the Special Session. President Gurirab welcomed participants and, recalling the commitment made in Barbados in 1994 to pursue sustainable development and economic growth for SIDS, called upon delegates to renew and strengthen the Barbados POA. He remarked that SIDS have achieved great strides in preparing sustainable development strategies. He noted many of the challenges facing SIDS, including natural disasters, depletion of fisheries, marine spills, inadequate waste management, limited freshwater resources and economic volatility.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan recalled the conference slogan from Barbados, small islands, big issues. He described SIDS as the frontline zones where many of the main problems of environment and development are unfolding and emphasized that they provide a test of the commitments made at UNCED. He noted that SIDS have built-in resource constraints that make them fragile and vulnerable both environmentally and economically. He cited globalization as an additional challenge facing SIDS, noting that trade liberalization will make it difficult for some small island products to compete. He recalled that the POA committed the international community to offer funding, technology and other assistance in a spirit of solidarity and enlightened self-interest, and noted contributions to SIDS from the international community through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN agencies, the private sector and NGOs. However, he stressed SIDS need for more investment, ODA and low-cost technology. In closing, he said brighter horizons for SIDS could result in brighter horizons for the world in general, and urged delegates to reaffirm their commitments to SIDS.
President Gurirab next addressed organizational matters and introduced the agenda for the meeting (A/S-22/1). The Plenary adopted the meeting agenda and elected John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) to serve as the Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole (COW). Gurirab noted the COW would consider the draft Declaration and the State of progress and initiatives for the future implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (A/S-22/2/Add.1).
Following the opening session, the Plenary began its general debate on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the POA. Many delegates said SIDS had followed through with commitments they made in Barbados, but lamented the failure of the international community to do the same. Delegates highlighted, inter alia: the need for new, adequate, predictable and additional financial resources from the international community; decreasing ODA to SIDS; new challenges SIDS face in light of increased globalization and trade liberalization; SIDS' vulnerability to ecological factors such as climate change, sea level rise, hurricanes and other natural disasters; and the necessity of developing a vulnerability index for SIDS.
GUYANA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, said discussions at the Special Session would serve to highlight SIDS special needs and to focus attention of the international community on the problems and constraints SIDS face for the achievement of sustainable development. He indicated that SIDS continue to be vulnerable to natural disasters as well as to the increasing pressures posed by the process of globalization, which widens the gap between developed and developing countries. He said SIDS efforts to implement the POA had not been met with the same level of commitment and resources from industrialized countries, and called on these countries to live up to their share of the environment and development partnership.
SAMOA, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), indicated that SIDS have done their best to implement the POA and noted that although the review process should have been a relatively simple task, negotiations had not been easy. He said participants at the Special Session should ask themselves whether their message to the world about SIDS was a powerful one and whether the international community truly shared a common vision for the future. He emphasized that reaffirming the nature of SIDS as a special case was important and indicated that the disadvantages SIDS face, such as their ecological fragility and economic vulnerability, still remain. In a rapidly globalizing world, SIDS find themselves in uncharted waters. He called on the international community and on the UN for full engagement and support in assisting them to find and implement solutions.
FINLAND, on behalf of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, highlighted the following emerging concerns for SIDS: continuing deterioration of the marine environment; freshwater and land degradation; increased frequency and severity of natural disasters; economic difficulties due to external factors; and the expansion of globalization, which puts SIDS at risk of economic marginalization. She said national and regional sustainable development strategies should include strengthening human and institutional capacities, and be oriented towards poverty eradication and gender balance. She stressed forging partnerships with the private sector and other major actors. She identified the Lom Convention as the centerpiece of cooperation with SIDS and stressed ensuring the successor to the Lom Convention as well as the Millennium Round of the WTO negotiations would further reduce trade barriers and provide SIDS with more secure access to export markets.
PALAU expressed frustration at the lack of action and support by donor countries in implementing the POA. He said the research center established by Palau and members of the international community to monitor coral reefs should inspire similar actions in favor of SIDS.
MICRONESIA said SIDS deserve recognition for their efforts to implement the POA, emphasized the need for continued support from the international community, and highlighted that donor countries must take into account SIDS' varying characteristics that .
CYPRUS noted most of the problems confronting SIDS stem from climatic changes, primarily the result of carbon dioxide emissions from developed countries. He highlighted the importance of cooperation and shared responsibility by the international community and identified the concern of vulnerability to security threats.
INDIA said energy is an essential component of economic and social growth and offered to share its experience and knowledge regarding non-conventional energy supply equipment with SIDS. He said the international community must shoulder the responsibility of providing adequate assistance to SIDS and promoting the transfer of appropriate technologies.
JAMAICA highlighted the following priority issues: development of a vulnerability index; special consideration within UNCTAD and the WTO of vulnerabilities and limitations that undermine SIDS' efforts to participate in the global marketplace; increased ODA; addressing the effects of global warming; protection of marine resources from land and ship generated pollution; capacity building; a participatory approach and public education programmes; transfer of technology; and poverty eradication programmes. He welcomed the Caribbean initiative to recognize the Caribbean Sea as a special area in the context of sustainable development and urged the international community to consider it favorably.
AUSTRALIA emphasized increased participation of SIDS in the decision-making processes that affect them. He advocated assisting SIDS' integration in the multilateral trading system and said future trade negotiations need a balanced agenda, taking into account the concerns of small and vulnerable economies. He said the document on the state of progress encourages widespread recognition of the economic and environmental vulnerability of SIDS and noted that if agreement of a single measure of vulnerability proves elusive, the international community must find alternative methods to describe, analyze and address the difficulties SIDS face.
The SEYCHELLES identified lack of economies of scale and difficulties in attracting investment; and limited institutional and financial capabilities for adequate representation in international negotiations, especially those related to finance, trade and environment, as obstacles to SIDS' development. He underscored the expeditious development of a vulnerability index as a priority and stressed closer coordination between the UN and the Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA underscored growing political awareness regarding the specific situation of SIDS. He said certain conditionalities are required to help SIDS recover from climate catastrophes and address the impact of globalization. He called for technical assistance and suggested inter-SIDS cooperation to face heavy reliance on foreign imports.
HONDURAS said challenges had not been fulfilled due to, inter alia: a decrease of global assistance, fall of export prices and climate hazards. He called for financial resources and underscored the value of regional identification of shared responsibilities.
GRENADA highlighted, inter alia: the importance of ecotourism; freshwater management; and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, particularly for developing solar and renewable energy. He said the establishment of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) has further limited the effectiveness of management measures, resulting in overexploitation and pollution of natural resources, including coral reefs. He deplored over-fishing and said SIDS should sign and ratify the Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks agreement.
EGYPT stressed the relationship between trade and sustainable development and called for special and preferential treatment to enable SIDS to cope with the impacts of globalization. He also underscored development should not be confined to the eradication of poverty.
BRAZIL emphasized that SIDS need more effective financial backing, improved access to appropriate technology, and support for capacity building. He urged countries to consider the special case of SIDS at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
GREECE supported the development of a comprehensive vulnerability index, emphasized the need to reverse the downward trend in ODA, and called on the international community to work cooperatively with governments, the private sector, AOSIS and regional groups such as CARICOM/CARIFORUM, the South Pacific Forum and the Indian Ocean Commission to enhance efforts to assist SIDS. ARGENTINA suggested a timeline for implementing the objectives of the POA and welcomed the declaration of the Caribbean Sea as a special area in sustainable development. CROATIA supported the development of a vulnerability index with indicators appropriate for measuring the true social and economic conditions in SIDS. He emphasized the importance of technology transfer, especially for desalinization of water and waste treatment and supported the establishment of a consultative mechanism on oceans and seas.
PALESTINE stressed the importance of assisting SIDS faced with specific problems additional to those of developing countries.
SECOND PLENARY SESSION: CAPE VERDE stressed that SIDS have fulfilled their commitments under the POA and made serious efforts to implement it. He believed the Special Session would help SIDS efforts and encourage international partners to cooperate in the areas of finance, technology and trade. He opposed use of per capita GNP, which has resulted in ODA cuts, and welcomed ECOSOC's ongoing study of SIDS' socioeconomic and environmental vulnerability and sustainability.
BARBADOS called for more flexible transitional arrangements to allow SIDS to adjust to full trade liberalization. She noted SIDS require protection against the spread of transnational crime. She asked for strong commitment from the international community to develop special measures to assist SIDS in adjusting to globalization and to guard against their further marginalization.
UGANDA expressed concern over the increasing vulnerability of SIDS and noted if left unattended, it could soon mirror critical circumstances in Africa, least developed countries and developing landlocked countries. To this effect, he called for SIDS recognition as a particularly vulnerable category deserving special attention, special treatment under the WTO and favorable consideration for access to concessional resources in POA implementation.
SLOVAKIA, on behalf of the Visegrad Countries, said global responsibilities towards the future of SIDS include recognition of their special vulnerability and successful combat of global warming through the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. He suggested partnerships with governmental, nongovernmental and private sectors in formulating a common development policy for SIDS.
The SOLOMON ISLANDS said efforts to produce a composite vulnerability index must continue in order to determine levels of international support required to cope with challenges of sustainable development. She stressed the importance of regional cooperation, highlighting SIDSNet as a channel through which SIDS can exchange experiences and information. She identified, inter alia, declining ODA, fall in commodity prices and heavy debt as obstacles to wider and timely implementation of programmes. She called for adequate, predictable, new and additional resources, as called for in Agenda 21, and capacity building and access to appropriate environmentally sound technologies (ESTs).
CANADA noted the need for SIDS to pool resources and pursue regional cooperation, and reaffirmed partnership between SIDS and the international community as a key element in the implementation of the POA. He supported the Caribbean Sea initiative.
The MARSHALL ISLANDS was disappointed at attempts to back away from financial commitments made at Barbados. He lauded the achievements of SIDSNet, given its limited resources, supported strengthening of the DESA SIDS Unit, and called for vigorous action in the areas of technical and financial assistance and capacity building. He underscored the importance of enabling SIDS to develop national mechanisms for achieving sustainable development.
Noting that SIDS have demonstrated their resolve to implement the POA, SURINAME lamented that the international community had not done the same and regretted declines in concessional financial support and ODA. He supported the Caribbean Sea initiative. Regarding the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes, he expressed satisfaction with decisions adopted by the Special Session, which will take care of the shortcomings in existing international legal regimes, particularly regarding disclosure, liability and compensation. He drew attention to the new phenomena of piracy and illegal fishing and called for the design of a strategy to halt these practices. He called for strengthening the DESA SIDS Unit and recognized SIDSNet as an important tool in capacity building efforts.
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS said progress made has been partly the result of contributions and assistance from donor agencies and countries. He supported the declaration of the Caribbean Sea as a special development area, underscored that efforts towards economic growth and reduction of poverty are being undermined by unjust international trading systems and economic regulations. He urged rapid completion and adoption of a vulnerability index and its full recognition by the UN.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA called for international and regional action to help SIDS face globalization challenges and a combination of concrete and effective measures to guarantee peace and stability to SIDS. He advocated poverty eradication programmes, social and health care services and planned relief assistance for natural disasters.
BAHRAIN noted the international community had a special duty to support SIDS' integration into the global economy and to enable them to comply with WTO requirements. He said effective support from donor states and organizations for implementing the POA would spare SIDS from the burden of borrowing from international funds.
GERMANY supported, inter alia, participatory sustainable developing strategies and partnerships with the private sector. He drew attention to possible risks in changing the terms of trade in favor of SIDS and suggested SIDS' participation in world trade be facilitated through development assistance and increased market accessibility.
NORWAY suggested focus on the key areas for urgent action such as natural disasters, climate variability, freshwater resources, sustainable energy and tourism. He underscored the importance of both domestic and multilateral resource mobilization and of an integrated, cross-sectoral approach.
ECUADOR suggested the effects of globalization be taken into account in the assistance to and cooperation with SIDS in implementing the POA and facing new global challenges. He called for special sustainable development programmes for the Caribbean area and demonstrated the importance of early warning of El Nio impacts.
CHINA noted obstacles facing SIDS including limited resources, single-sector economies, ecosystem fragility, marine and coastal pollution and sea level rise and underscored the need to reverse the declining ODA trend. He said the Asian financial crisis had adversely impacted SIDS and cited globalization and fierce international competition as additional challenges facing SIDS. He called upon the international community to: intensify financial, technical and capacity building support; encourage SIDS to formulate strategies for sustainable development; and assist SIDS in overcoming the challenges of economic globalization.
NAMIBIA called for continued financial assistance, training and information dissemination to help SIDS in achieving sustainable development. In implementing the POA, he called for specific steps to be taken in parallel with the principal elements of Agenda 21 to assist SIDS in developing innovative projects on, inter alia, tourism, maintenance of clean water, and capacity building.
SLOVENIA said the GEF, UNDP and the Lom Convention represent useful instruments to further efforts towards environmental protection and economic development. He noted global responsibility in addressing sea level rise and climate change, globalization of trade, and poverty and social disintegration.
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION stated that economic risks from vulnerability and distance from the global market impede SIDS sustainable development. He supported efforts to integrate socioeconomic development strategies and policies and stressed the need for, inter alia: effective measures to provide assistance to SIDS; more coherent activities supporting national efforts; improved coordination and strengthening of human potential; facilitation of EST transfers; preparation for natural disasters; access to drinking water; protection of coastal ecosystems; and new and renewable energy sources.
BELGIUM said assistance should be targeted to the more needy SIDS.
JAPAN stressed the importance of SIDS ownership of the development process. He recognized that the international community must build highly reliable and feasible systems for implementing the Kyoto mechanisms, including the clean development mechanism, to combat global warming.
FRANCE noted that effective implementation of the POA has been hindered by SIDS economic difficulties and a lack of skilled human resources and administrative capacities and indicated that implementation would only occur if SIDS assume their individual responsibilities, focusing on their national and regional sustainable development strategies. He stated that donor countries should reverse the downward trend in ODA, provide SIDS with the substantial resources to boost their national capabilities, and improve coordination with other donors to maximize the impact of assistance.
LIBYA emphasized SIDS self-reliance, but said the international community must also offer bilateral or multilateral support. He advocated integration of SIDS economies into the world market, and stressed SIDS need for assistance in dealing with hazardous wastes.
NIGERIA highlighted freshwater resources and waste management as critical issues and said SIDS vulnerability to climate change hampers the tourism sector.
TONGA highlighted regional cooperation through the South Pacific Forum and a policy framework for protecting the environment and promoting sustainable tourism. He supported the Caribbean Sea resolution and said vulnerability should be a criterion in special and differential treatment of SIDS. He also stressed the importance of developing fisheries and surveying SIDS continental shelves.
SUDAN said the international community must recognize that SIDS require help.
TUNISIA emphasized the special role SIDS play in protecting the seas and biodiversity. He emphasized the need for South-South cooperation in sustainable development.
PERU lamented that the international community only acted in responses to crises and called for more preventive action.
QATAR said developed countries are responsible for climate change and, therefore, have a moral obligation to assist SIDS. He also highlighted the role civil society and NGOs could play to help SIDS cope with disasters and to implement social development plans.
MONGOLIA said developing countries attach great importance to the forthcoming UN meeting on finance for development and hoped for positive results from the new round of negotiations at the WTO.
MOZAMBIQUE emphasized its concern with issues of marine pollution, unsustainable fishing practices and transportation of hazardous and nuclear materials through its EEZ. He said storms, typhoons and hurricanes are damaging the infrastructures, economy and social fabric of SIDS and urged the international community to take measures to reduce the impact of natural disasters.
THIRD PLENARY SESSION: BELIZE underscored the need for special and preferential treatment for SIDS to enable their continued sustainability. He drew attention to, inter alia: the continued destruction of SIDS natural resources; the dumping of wastes in oceans mostly by industrialized countries; the increase of greenhouse gas emissions; the uncontrolled levels of pollution; and the effects of El Nio.
IRELAND condemned the shipment of transboundary wastes; supported SIDSNet as a useful instrument to bridge the distances among SIDS; and expressed concern over the lack of precision as to the definition of vulnerability.
YEMEN welcomed the Special Session as an opportunity to address the problems and concerns of those people that confront particularly difficult circumstances because of geographical and climatic circumstances, and emphasized the international communitys responsibility to improve the situation.
SINGAPORE said many of the challenges identified by the POA five years ago remain the same and, in some instances, have worsened. He said SIDS vulnerability to disasters caused by phenomena related to climate change and to the ebb and flow of international trade and economy challenge SIDS to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.
The UK referred to its strong historic and cultural connections with many SIDS and emphasized its willingness to work in close partnership to achieve a sustainable and prosperous future for these nations. She underscored elimination of poverty as the overriding goal of the UKs development agenda, noting that the POA does not sufficiently stress the importance of poverty eradication. She hoped that future discussions would pay greater attention to the more vulnerable and seek solutions that will enable them to share the benefits of growth.
NEW ZEALAND drew attention to issues that are of major concern to SIDS, including: climate change and sea level rise; benefiting from trade liberalization; managing ecotourism; obtaining external financial resources; and facing threats from hazardous wastes and marine pollution.
HAITI said the number of environmental refugees was increasing as a result of SIDS vulnerability to natural disasters and environmental phenomena, and called on the international community to address this situation. He supported the Caribbean Sea initiative and identified the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes in the area as a matter of serious concern.
COMOROS said the continued degradation of the marine environment and the dumping of hazardous wastes at sea were issues that deserved priority attention.
PAKISTAN referred to the disastrous consequences that climate change, sea level rise, freshwater shortage and pollution could have for SIDS. He also indicated SIDS are easily affected by global economic upheavals as they rely heavily on trade and highlighted the need to develop a complex vulnerability index to take into account the special characteristics of SIDS.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO noted globalization had accentuated the North/South gap and called for the creation of projects to enhance the quality of life in SIDS with special emphasis on social, educational, health care and nutrition deprivations, deploring the lack of global conscious on these issues. He said coastlines are vulnerable to corruption, terrorism, pollution and drug trafficking, which undermine democracy. He condemned shipment of nuclear wastes to SIDS.
BHUTAN highlighted SIDS preservation endeavors and called for international cooperation and support. He expressed concern over the deterioration of SIDS marine environment due to exploitation and pollution of the oceans. He said globalization was not sustainable and called for a renewed commitment to implement the POA.
The PHILIPPINES called for concrete actions against, inter alia: air and water pollution, including that from waste disposal; coastal and marine resource depletion, including from over-fishing; deforestation due to excessive logging; and dwindling freshwater resources. He supported efforts to avoid SIDS dependence on fuel imports and increased foreign investments in the communications sector.
DENMARK called for means of achieving sustainable development with an emphasis on improvement of living conditions for women and noted national efforts in supporting SIDS regional activities, including climate change programmes and energy planning to increase the use of renewable energies. She called for a political declaration to renew commitment to the POA.
The US said it enjoyed a long-standing and close relationship with SIDS, identified the POA as a truly global effort to pursue sustainable development and said the US wanted to help make the POA a reality. He said that although globalization strikes fear in the hearts of many, SIDS and other countries have much to gain from it. He emphasized that SIDS have the most to lose from climate change, are the least able to stop it and most need an agreement that encourages nations to take actions designed to arrest climate change.
ITALY highlighted features it shares with SIDS, such as its vast coastal areas and the constant threat to Venice from sea level rise. He said the POA, which promised so much, has not led to a substantial increase in aid resources to SIDS and indicated that the dawn of the new millennium represents a unique opportunity to implement long-overdue changes in the types of actions that are to be undertaken.
VANUATU recalled Agenda 21s recognition of the difficulties SIDS would face in achieving sustainable development without cooperation and assistance, drew attention to SIDS dependence on the exploitation of marine and terrestrial resources, and noted SIDS small size and isolation as impeding factors.
EL SALVADOR outlined recent initiatives by the Caribbean countries to address environmental problems such as climate change and expressed support for a draft resolution establishing the Caribbean Sea as a special area. He said Central American countries share SIDS vulnerability to environmental disasters and called on the international community to provide support to SIDS for the management of wastes and land-based sources of marine pollution.
VENEZUELA deplored the lack of effective financial mechanisms needed to achieve POA implementation and enable SIDS to meet challenges posed by globalization. He supported broader, more consistent cooperation, preferential financial assistance on terms defined by SIDS, and non-reciprocal trading to meet the particular needs of SIDS. He supported the Caribbean Sea initiative and the creation of a zone of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.
SWEDEN underscored common but differentiated responsibilities, as set out in Rio. He expressed concern over worsening living conditions in SIDS and called for means to achieve higher standards of living and accrued participation of SIDS in political decisions. He supported partnerships with the private sector and NGOs to reduce dependence of SIDS on imported sources of energy and hoped for continued global cooperation and assistance.
TURKEY called for, inter alia: a new paradigm for development and the inclusion of women in this process; increased international assistance; and strategies to identify priorities and regional actions, such as those created by UNEP. He said tourism would be the 21st centurys biggest industry and noted that SIDS are more vulnerable than other destinations. He said the environmental, cultural and social heritages should be given priority protection, and noted that waste, land and resource management facilities must be put in place as soon as possible.
FIJI lamented the lack of progress in implementing the POA and regretted the international community's failure to provide adequate, predictable, new and additional resources. He said the decrease in ODA has impeded the implementation of the POA. He stressed that special trade preferences are necessary for the survival of SIDS economies and advocated an equitable rule-based trading system. He said natural disasters absorb government expenditures that could otherwise be used for sustainable development goals. He called on the international community to support SIDS efforts in, inter alia, oceanic scientific research and database development, increasing access fees for fisheries, and policing and protecting ocean resources.
LUXEMBOURG highlighted the particular vulnerabilities of SIDS and emphasized the challenges as well as benefits from both shipping routes under SIDS jurisdiction and tourism. The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES said limited results in the sustainable development of SIDS and in the implementation of the POA are due to a lack of technical and financial resources, increasing gaps between rich and poor and increased trade liberalization. He called on developed countries and international financial institutions to increase official and non-official assistance and to cancel foreign debt.
BELARUS noted the benefits of globalization in increasing development, but said some SIDS have been thwarted by narrow economies and shortage of trained personnel. He called for: increasing international assistance; strengthening national economic and scientific potential; and promoting diversification, structural transformation and integration of SIDS economies into the international economy on a just basis.
COSTA RICA emphasized: shared but differentiated obligations in the international community and called for an international system that rewards those who protect the environment; a just and balanced economic order; and international financial mechanisms to rapidly respond to crises faced by small States, particularly the creation of a contingency or reserve fund that will respond to catastrophes. He expressed support for the Caribbean Sea resolution.
CUBA noted increasing difficulties in participating in the economic market and, calling the international order unfair and unsustainable, said neo-economic liberalism would lead to disaster for SIDS. He called for the adoption of measures to allow for sustainable economic integration and highlighted the additional obstacle created by the US economic embargo. He said regional level cooperation requires the development and consolidation of a regional mechanism. He supported the Caribbean Sea initiative and urged all States to support it.
SRI LANKA drew attention to, inter alia: dependence on costly oil imports and the need for alternative sources of energy; proper management of tourism; protection of coral reefs; and adequate management of EEZs.
SOUTH AFRICA called for renewed impetus and support from the international community for the POA. He noted that while the SIDS donor conference was a step forward in this direction, concrete actions are needed for the provision of new, adequate and predictable financial resources and transfer of ESTs on concessional and preferential terms to support SIDS.
SENEGAL said that although significant progress had been made in the implementation of the POA, much remained to be done to protect SIDS from an uncertain future.
PORTUGAL said SIDS were charged with the responsibility of caring for the greater part of the worlds marine resources and their vulnerability affects their ability to respond to this challenge.
LESOTHO said that while the POA was a valuable dynamic framework, the provision of adequate financial resources was crucial to translate it into action. He referred to SIDS plight in addressing sea level rise and said all countries should undertake actions to control greenhouse gas emissions.
MOROCCO said SIDS deserve assistance from the international community because they are the custodians of a large share of the worlds oceans. He called for technology transfer and resource mobilization to reverse the decreasing ODA trend.
FOURTH PLENARY SESSION: THAILAND welcomed Kiribati, Tonga and Nauru as new UN members and said that SIDS remind us that all States, no matter how small, have a role to play in the achievement of global peace and prosperity. He drew attention to the serious threats climate change and sea-level rise pose to SIDS and said there is an urgent need for the international community to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The BAHAMAS cited specific actions taken by Caribbean countries to address the threats of climate change and sea level rise, emphasized the importance of recognizing the Caribbean Sea as a special area and called for the development of indices that take into account SIDS special circumstances.
MADAGASCAR said tropical cyclones, oil spills, transport of toxic waste, plundering of biological resources and aggression of Western culture have had a negative impact on SIDS. Regarding trade, she supported regional integration as a response to globalization. She called for adequate, predictable, new and additional resources and the strengthening of technical, institutional and financial assistance for, inter alia, conservation and resource and waste management.
Highlighting a decline in multilateral and bilateral assistance, INDONESIA noted increased difficulties in attracting investment. In light of the WTO's ruling against SIDS' entitlement to preferential treatment, he said the international community should help strengthen competitiveness and restore preferential treatment.
BURKINA FASO emphasized that SIDS have met their responsibilities at the national and regional levels in elaborating initiatives to implement the POA. However, full realization of the POAs goals were dependent on the will of the international community to provide resources.
The NETHERLANDS said limits to economies of scale and lack of diversity of communications result in a one-sided production structure for SIDS, which leaves them vulnerable to external influences. He said imports and exports are relatively expensive due to SIDS' dependency on long distance transportation systems, and called for regulation and possibly prohibition of transboundary movements of hazardous and radioactive wastes. Regarding climate change, he said SIDS should clearly articulate their needs for financial, institutional and scientific assistance through the national communications within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
ZIMBABWE noted significant progress made at the national and regional levels testifies to SIDS claim of ownership of the POA and their primary responsibility for their own sustainable development. He said domestic microeconomic policy reforms are preparing them for integration into the global economy, and emphasized regional cooperation in exploiting resources. He lamented the lack of complimentary international support and urged fostering of an enabling environment for investment and assistance, as well as strengthening education, training and awareness raising. He said the loss of trade preferences threaten SIDS and noted the need for the international community to realize that SIDS rely on international trade more than most countries.
BANGLADESH underlined the need for increased efforts in capacity building, health, education, social advancement, the eradication of poverty and protection of the environment. He said the GEF should be more responsive to SIDS needs.
KAZAKHSTAN enumerated several factors impeding SIDS sustainable development, including small domestic markets, narrow resource bases, high costs for energy providers, long distances from export markets and great vulnerability to natural disasters. She called for strengthened financial support from all sources, as well as facilitating SIDS wider access to transfer and use of ESTs.
TANZANIA stressed the need to seek solutions to SIDS limitations due to persistent marginalization, vulnerability, poor infrastructure and low levels of technology. He called upon the international community to provide financial and technical assistance, facilitate the transfer of ESTs and establish an equitable trading mechanism.
ROMANIA stated that the international community should focus on remedying the asymmetries between developed and developing countries resulting from globalization. He recommended that SIDS undertake internal reforms in the field of macroeconomic policies to facilitate integration into the global economy and emphasized the need for a focus on eradicating poverty.
SAUDI ARABIA reminded delegates that many developing countries economies depend on production and export of fossil fuels and of the general importance of oil in promoting economic development and social progress.
NICARAGUA discussed developing country hardships endured from natural disasters, specifically from phenomena such as El Nio and La Nia and difficulties arising from the effects of globalization on SIDS economies.
GUATEMALA underscored the need to combat global warming through the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. He called for the improvement of domestic capacity, primarily emergency infrastructures, to cope with natural catastrophes. He said too much dependency on foreign energy sources would increase SIDS economic and environmental vulnerability. He called for strict compliance with the UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Basel Convention to counter maritime waste and pollution problems, and supported the creation and use of a vulnerability index.
LAOS, on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, expressed concern over the risk of SIDS marginalization in the global economy. He called for transfers of technology, capacity building and awareness-raising.
MACEDONIA highlighted the role of governments and the private sector in the successful implementation of the POA. He urged the international community to address marginalization, climate change and problems linked to SIDS dependence on foreign products.
COLOMBIA called for immediate implementation of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean area. He suggested the Caribbean be accorded special treatment and preferential tariffs among countries of the region to fight challenges encountered in the area. He noted the need for, inter alia: financial resources; human resources, including knowledge to reduce, foresee and prevent natural hazards; technology transfer and capacity building to attain sustainable development. He stated that the vulnerability index should take into account individual country characteristics.
The GAMBIA expressed concern over developing countries dependence on financial resources and noted the reduction of ODA together with the absence of compensation for countries undergoing domestic reforms.
The MALDIVES expressed concern at the lack of technology transfer; insufficient UN support and delay in the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. KIRIBATI highlighted the importance of, inter alia: domestic conditions favorable to development and pollution limitation; the creation of environmental standards through increased capacity building assistance; participation in regional and global efforts to address climate change and biodiversity; and skills and technological know-how.
MONACO, on behalf of French speaking countries, noted SIDS high degree of dependency on international trade and their vulnerability to exogenous economic shocks such as fluctuating commodity prices. He called for enhanced access to affordable communication and transportation in SIDS. He advocated assistance to help build their capacities in international trade and supported use of a vulnerability index for taking decisions on preferential treatment.
SPAIN said globalization is irreversible and poses inescapable risks to SIDS and called for the adoption of measures to safeguard SIDS incomes and assure their access to markets. He supported the Caribbean Sea resolution within compliance of UNCLOS.
ISRAEL noted its willingness to share technology with other States and its efforts to broaden global cooperation to this end. He highlighted Israels expertise in water desalinization technology and projects with SIDS on agriculture, medicine and management.
MAURITIUS urged the WTO to recognize the specificities and needs of small economies, including SIDS, so as to provide special and differential treatment appropriate for their development needs. He called for broadening the POA to include the wider context of trade, investment and finance. He drew attention to SIDS difficulties in accessing financial markets as a cause for concern and emphasized that per capita GDP is neither representative of credit worthiness, nor indicative of a lack of economic resilience. He identified challenges facing SIDS, including sustainable growth, economic development with social justice and incorporation of all segments of the population within the development process.
GUINEA BISSAU noted the negative impacts of military conflict on the environment and social and economic structures. While highlighting efforts made toward the implementation of the POA, he noted a wide gap between progress made and the POAs objectives.
MALAYSIA hoped for more tangible results in the future and noted his support for the SIDS position in the UNFCCC negotiations.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA said despite considerable progress at the national level, implementation in a number of key areas has been lacking, particularly at the international level. He added that recent events, such as the rulings on trade preferences of the WTO, do not bode well for SIDS and said such rulings, made in the name of trade liberalization, only serve to severely restrict or eliminate the very trade preferences on which SIDS depend for their economic development.
The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for: renewed partnership to counter SIDS marginalization as a result of trade liberalization; a reversal in the downward trend of ODA; transfer of ESTs; and greater involvement of SIDS in clean development technologies.
The EUROPEAN COMMISSION indicated that policies, actions and measures to implement the POA had to adapt to global changes since Barbados. He highlighted positive aspects of globalization, but noted it also threatens to further marginalize countries unable to adapt. He offered assurance that the special vulnerabilities of SIDS would be borne in mind during the negotiation of the Lom Convention Partnership Agreement.
The HOLY SEE said respect for dignity and freedom of each person should be the guiding force of development programmes and identified improvement of the quality of life for SIDS inhabitants as the POAs ultimate objective. He called on nations to work together to create new and more just international structures in the areas of finance, trade, industrial development and technology transfer.
MALTA urged prompt and concerted action in responding to large-scale natural disasters and offered to cooperate with SIDS to reduce threats to international peace and sustainable development caused by underdevelopment, impoverishment, threat of marginalization, burden of external debt, lack of resources and ecological disasters.
GUAM emphasized the importance of addressing waste management and asked nations to offer SIDS knowledge on emergency response to natural disasters.
The US VIRGIN ISLANDS emphasized the importance of developing measures for adaptation to climatic changes and called for technological assistance and technology transfer to this end. He underscored the importance of natural disaster prevention, mitigation and management.
The COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT, on behalf of its 54 member States, identified six priority areas for international action: immediate entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol; international hazard relief mechanisms; integration of a vulnerability factor into assistance action plans; graduation of some SIDS out of LDC status; longer concession periods, differential treatment and financial mechanisms for SIDS; and capacity building for institutional development and environmental management and planning by institutions involved in capacity building in SIDS.
The SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM noted that individual national capacities to deal with sustainable development issues are limited. The region is, therefore, fortunate to have a range of regional organizations dealing with issues related to fisheries, the environment, education, and sustainable development. It is vital that international agencies use this network of regional organizations to heighten the effectiveness of their activities as development partners. He supported the work on a vulnerability index, expressed concern over sea level rise, and called for the rapid enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol.
AMERICAN SAMOA said Oceania is trying to determine its role as a region in the modern world and urged the speedy implementation of measures for sustainable development of SIDS. He recognized the need for domestic regulations and guidelines to protect coral reefs.
The ASSOCIATION OF CARIBBEAN STATES highlighted the goals of: developing regional and international cooperation; preserving the environmental integration of the Caribbean Sea region; strengthening capacities to face natural disasters; and promoting sustainable development of the Caribbean region.
CARICOM drew attention to Caribbean countries particular vulnerability to natural disasters, noted the impact of the erosion of trade preferences on their economies, and underscored the importance of the Caribbean resolution.
ANGUILLA said that while the POA focused on environmental issues, changes in the global economic structure have resulted in a greater focus on economic issues at the Special Session. He highlighted specific problems of non-independent small islands. He expressed concern over, inter alia, loss of identity in the globalization process, G-7 assertions that SIDS practice unfair competition, and use of per capita income as a criteria for assistance.
The CARIBBEAN CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION, representing a coalition of NGOs, highlighted negative impacts of globalization and trade liberalization. He stressed: greater POA integration into local and national development plans; a more holistic approach to development on the part of the donor community; more mechanisms for creative financing; greater public awareness and greater involvement of local entrepreneurs and community organizations with respect to development initiatives. He supported the Caribbean Sea initiative and called for the removal of all external military bases and a cessation of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. He called for equitable returns for natural resources and said all stakeholders should be held publicly accountable for their commitments.
The PACIFIC RESOURCE CENTER lamented that the text on the state of progress and initiatives for further implementation of the POA is weaker than the original POA, which highlights the rights of SIDS to regulate, restrict and/or ban the importation of hazardous substances and prohibit the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive waste. She called for adequate protection and compensation for the use of traditional technologies, knowledge or practices.
The PAN-AFRICAN MOVEMENTdetailed problems and solutions specific to Indian Ocean SIDS, including: climate change, sea level rise, drug related activities, structural adjustment policies, globalization and trade liberalization and a lack of human resource development facilities. He supported greenhouse gas emissions reduction, a tripartite agreement to end illicit drug trade, debt forgiveness, and the development of human resource facilities as possible solutions to these problems.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
The Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole (COW), chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), met in two sessions and considered the reports forwarded by the CSD (A/S-22/2 and A/S-22/2/Add.1) containing a draft Declaration and a document on the State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA for the Sustainable Development of SIDS. It also considered a draft resolution on the Caribbean Sea as a special area for sustainable development (A/S-22/6), originally proposed by the G-77/China and Mexico. The COW elected Navid Hanif (Pakistan) as Rapporteur.
STATEMENTS BY INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: During its two sessions, the COW heard speeches from international organizations. UNDP highlighted its commitment to capacity building in critical areas of the POA, including the establishment of SIDSNet through which SIDS can access and share sustainable development information on the Internet. He highlighted poor market access and reliance on a single commodity among the problems facing SIDS, stressed the importance of trade and investment for SIDS, and said small- and medium-size enterprises are important in development strategies. He highlighted consultations being organized through its Resident Coordinator system between the UN system and SIDS' governments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society to ensure the integration of sustainable development policies and strategies into national frameworks and action plans.
The FAO presented its Plan of Action on Agriculture in SIDS, along with a Ministerial Declaration on Agriculture in SIDS, both of which are contained in document A/S-22/3. He highlighted the results of the Special Ministerial Conference and said it agreed the Plan of Action on Agriculture in SIDS would focus on the following five commitments: adjusting to changes in the global trading environment; developing more intensified, diversified and sustainable agriculture; meeting the needsof fisheries; ensuring sustainable management of land, water and forestry resources and environmental protection; and promoting capacity building and institutional strengthening. He called on the GA to consider and endorse the Plan of Action, and said the international community and all actors have a crucial role to play by supporting its implementation, and emphasized national efforts and technical and financial assistance in achieving food security and sustainable development.
UNEP said SIDS are a microcosm of the challenges facing all nations. He said that in the coming millennium SIDS will have to address key issues such as: climate change, and the impacts of climate variability and natural disasters; waste management and pollution from land-based sources; freshwater pollution and shortage; unsustainable fisheries; and challenges associated with energy production. He stated that Global Environment Outlook (GEO)-2000 found that future action should focus on five points: tackling root causes of environmental problems, such as poverty, population growth and consumption patterns; taking an integrated approach; preparing for climate change and sea level rise; promoting environmentally-sound tourism; and filling knowledge gaps on the state of the environment. He said at the Special Session, the EU and UNEP will launch reports on SIDS, known as GEOSIDS, which are companion volumes to the GEO-2000 report. He stressed UNEPs commitment to the implementation of the POA and continued support of SIDS efforts in achieving environmental sustainability with development.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) stated that her organization, jointly with CARICOM, undertook a role in the coordination of implementing POA activities, and added that the February donor conference was an important milestone for Caribbean SIDS as it provided an opportunity for all SIDS to congregate and interact. She expressed the need for increased regional partnerships among SIDS. She stated that the POA is a framework that needs to be deepened to capture future challenges, such as changes in trade regimes and protocols resulting in losses of preferential access to markets.
The UN DRUG CONTROL PROGRAMME noted that a serious consequence of globalization on SIDS has been an increase in crime, violence and drug abuse due to SIDS' geographical locations and miles of unmonitored coastline. He stated the Caribbean SIDS recognized their vulnerability and agreed in 1996, as part of the Barbados Plan of Action for Drug Control Coordination, to, inter alia: strengthen maritime and customs cooperation; monitor the movement of vessels; encourage police cooperation and joint training; approve collaboration among the forensic labs; and harmonize drug control and anti-money laundering. He highlighted actions Caribbean States are taking, including enforcing drug awareness campaigns and targeting youth at risk. He emphasized the possibility of establishing stricter methods to suppress local illicit activities through drug crop eradication, interdiction and seizure of illicit drugs, confiscation of the process of crime and capturing criminals.
THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO) noted that the WMO is ensuring the availability of reliable information on weather, climate and water resources; prediction of phenomena such as El Nio and La Nia; and associated impacts on the socioeconomic development of nations. He supported the full implementation of international conventions that would help alleviate and reduce serious obstacles to SIDS sustainable development.
REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POA: On Monday, 27 September, the COW addressed the review and appraisal of the implementation of the POA for the sustainable development of SIDS and had before it the recommendations and report of the CSD, acting as the preparatory body for the Special Session (A/S-22/2/Add.1). COW Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) noted agreement on text regarding hazardous waste in the Declaration. The COW agreed to the Declaration and recommended its adoption by the Special Session.
Draft Resolution on the Caribbean Sea: On Monday, 27 September, the COW addressed the draft resolution on the Caribbean Sea (A/S-22/6) and discussed the possibility of forwarding it to Second Committee of the GA for further consideration. The EU noted specific challenges faced by Caribbean countries and said UNCLOS should be a framework for reference and the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) should be taken into account. GUYANA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, looked forward to further negotiations on the resolution in the Second Committee. MEXICO agreed that further discussions should be included under the Second Committee's agenda item on the environment and sustainable development. The US looked forward to further discussing the issue. The MARSHALL ISLANDS hoped for a speedy conclusion of negotiations and adoption of the resolution in the Second Committee. The COW took note of the draft resolution and recommended that the Special Session forward it to the Second Committee of the 54th session of the GA for further consideration.
The draft Caribbean resolution in its current form contains alternative titles: one recognizes the Caribbean Sea as a special area in the context of sustainable development and the other focuses on promoting an integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea in the context of sustainable development.
The text reaffirms the principles embodied in the Rio Declaration and the POA, as well as UNCLOS. A need was identified to reference the IMO in the text. It states that the Caribbean Sea is mostly comprised of SIDS and affected by, inter alia, their limited capacity, narrow resource bases, need for financial resources, social problems, high poverty levels and challenges and opportunities of globalization. There is a bracketed reference to the vulnerability of SIDS in this context.
It also highlights: the unique biodiversity and highly fragile ecosystems of the Caribbean Sea; the reliance of States on their coastal areas and marine environments; and the number and interlocking character of the maritime areas under national sovereignty and jurisdiction in the Caribbean Sea. These characteristics present a challenge for the effective management of resources, the intensive use of the Caribbean Sea for maritime transportation and, notwithstanding the increase in regulatory measures, the threat of pollution from ship-generated waste and release of hazardous and noxious substances. The text reflects that no consensus was reached on whether any releases or only accidental releases should be highlighted in this context.
The text also emphasizes that the Caribbean countries are highly vulnerable to climate change and variability and associated phenomena and the increase and frequency of natural disasters. It highlights the strong interaction and competition between countries for the use of coastal areas and the marine environment and their resources. It highlights efforts of the Caribbean countries to holistically address sectoral issues related to the management of the Caribbean Sea and to promote an integrated management approach.
The text also emphasizes: the importance of the Caribbean Sea as the heritage of present and future generations; the Sea's importance to the continuing economic well-being and sustenance of people living in the region; and the urgent need to take appropriate steps for its preservation and protection. In this context, alternative proposals for text reflect a lack of consensus on whether the Caribbean Sea should be recognized as a special area in the context of sustainable development deserving appropriate protection, whether the focus should be on an integrated management approach for achieving sustainable development in the region, or whether it should be recognized as an area of great importance for sustainable development deserving protection, consistent with UNCLOS. Further development of the integrated management approach is encouraged, including environmental, economic, social, legal and institutional elements. The text also calls on the international community and the UN system to support efforts in developing an integrated management approach, however references to the POA, CSD-7 and UNCLOS remain in brackets.
There are alternative proposals for a provision stating that member States give priority to improving emergency response capabilities and increasing participation in existing mechanisms to allow for a timely, effective and coordinated response to natural disasters and/or containing environmental damage in the event of an accident relating to maritime transport. Finally, the draft resolution requests the Secretary-General to report to the 55th session of the GA and the CSD on the implementation of the resolution. It is noted in the text that reference should be made to linking reporting in the context of the POA and the follow-up to the SIDS Special Session.
On Tuesday, 28 September, Rapporteur Hanif introduced for adoption the draft report of the COW as contained in A/S-22/AC.1/L.1. The COW adopted the report and authorized the Rapporteur to finalize it for presentation to Plenary.
In a final evening Plenary session on Tuesday, 28 September, delegates considered the report of the COW (A/S-22/9), which was introduced by COW Chair John Ashe. This report contained a provision stating that the GA adopt the Declaration and the document on the State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA for the Sustainable Development of SIDS as contained in document A/S-22/2/Add.1, which the Plenary adopted. The Plenary also agreed to forward the draft resolution on the Caribbean Sea (A/S-22/6) to the Second Committee for further consideration under the agenda item titled "Environment and Sustainable Development." The Special Session then adopted the COW report.
FINLAND, on behalf of the EU, said it would have preferred to see more precise reference to the least developed countries among SIDS in the Declaration. She stated the EU is ready and willing to continue working with SIDS.
The US offered an explanation of its position and requested that his statement be included verbatim in the record of the session. He noted his delegations strong support for SIDS development efforts, as well as the principles and objectives spelled out in the GATT, which recognize the special needs of developing countries. He added that in order for SIDS to take advantage of the benefits of globalization, they must be integrated into the world economy. He referred to text in the document adopted by the Assembly encouraging the multilateral trading system to consider, as appropriate, the granting of special and differential treatment to SIDS and said his delegation interprets this language to be consistent with, but not expansive of, US trade philosophy and market access policies with respect to developing countries. He also said it should not be seen as prejudging the US position on granting special and differential treatment in any bilateral, regional or multilateral negotiations, nor should it prejudice US regional initiatives that offer substantial additional market access to developing countries through such programmes as the US General System of Preferences, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the US proposed African Growth and Opportunity Act and negotiations toward the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
GUYANA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, said the documents adopted by the Special Session represent a sound basis for the second phase of the implementation of the POA and noted that it contains proposals that are focused, action-oriented and quantifiable. She said the undeniable question of economic vulnerability will increasingly present a challenge to the ultimate objective of sustainable development for SIDS and noted that SIDS involvement in the international trading system is fundamental to their economic viability and to the achievement of sustainable development.
SAMOA, on behalf of AOSIS, thanked delegations and the Secretariat for the intense amount of work and attention given to this process and said that the Special Session and the documents that it adopted were about implementation of the POA and strengthening partnership.
GA President Gurirab drew attention to the unanimous consensus on the Declaration and the document on the state of progress and implementation of the POA and indicated that without adequate financial support the way forward for SIDS was uncertain. He said Agenda 21 and the POA set out priority areas and strategies for implementation that were as relevant today as they were in Rio and Barbados, and indicated time was running out for action. He concluded by saying that the Special Session sent a powerful message of the international community's solidarity with SIDS and characterized it as an occasion to ensure that the well-being of SIDS was the business of all humanity. The Special Session was drawn to a close at 10:00 pm.
DECLARATION AND STATE OF PROGRESS AND INITIATIVES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
The Special Session adopted a Declaration as well as a document on the "State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation for the Sustainable of the POA for SIDS." The document on the state of progress is comprised of three sections focusing on the state of progress and initiatives for the future implementation of the POA for the sustainable development of SIDS, sectoral areas requiring urgent action and means of implementation.
The Declaration reaffirms the principles of and commitments to sustainable development embodied in Agenda 21, the Barbados Declaration and the Barbados POA. It recognizes that SIDS share a common aspiration for economic development and improved living standards while remaining strongly committed to conserving their natural and cultural heritage. It recalls that SIDS are a special case for environment and development, given their ecological fragility and vulnerability and specific physical circumstances that pose obstacles to their benefiting from global economic development. It recognizes that SIDS are the custodians of large areas of the worlds oceans, have a high share of global biodiversity and are at the forefront in the fight against climate change. It further recognizes that solutions for SIDS may provide examples beneficial to other countries around the world. While recognizing progress made toward implementing the POA, the Declaration underscores the need for further support to accelerate the POA's implementation, including financial assistance, institutional strengthening and coordination, targeted capacity building and the transfer of ESTs. The Declaration also, inter alia: welcomes SIDS' efforts to implement the POA and to formulate national sustainable development programmes; calls on the international community to provide effective support to SIDS, including capacity and institutional building programs, projects in SIDS and predictable, new and additional financing; and calls for increased efforts to assist SIDS in obtaining ESTs.
STATE OF PROGRESS AND INITIATIVES FOR THE FUTURE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES
The introduction highlights the treatment of the POA since its adoption in Barbados in 1994, at CSD-4 and CSD-7, as well as the SIDS donor conference in February 1999. It notes that in preparation for the Special Session, CSD-7 reviewed the progress made in implementing the POA and identified six priority areas for action detailed below. Among other things, CSD-7 took note of the fact that the pace of globalization and trade liberalization has affected SIDS' economies by presenting new problems and opportunities for them and has increased the need for focused implementation of the POA. The Special Session recognized that while it is up to SIDS to pursue sustainable development, the international community is committed to taking further measures to support SIDS in this regard. It also underscores that poverty remains a major problem affecting the capacity of many SIDS to achieve sustainable development and recognizes the need to integrate economic, environmental and social components of action to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.
SECTORAL AREAS REQUIRING URGENT ACTION: The final document focuses on six sectoral areas set out in the POA that were identified for urgent action at CSD-7.
Climate Change: The final document sets out the following goals for SIDS and the international community to pursue: enhancement of SIDS capacity to respond and adapt to climate change; improvement of work on climate prediction capabilities; and improvement of collaboration between the SIDS unit of the UN DESA and the UNFCCC Secretariat with the goal of incorporating information on SIDS into long-term planning for adaptation.
Natural and Environmental Disasters and Climate Variability: The final document calls on SIDS and the international community to pursue the following goals: improved scientific understanding of severe weather events, especially the El Nio phenomenon; better strategies for prediction and reduction of natural disasters; and development of partnerships between SIDS and the private sector.
Freshwater Resources: The final document stresses the crucial nature of freshwater availability for SIDS and notes SIDS limitations due to small watersheds and urban expansion. It sets out the following goals: implementation of CSD decision 6/1 relating to its programme of work on freshwater issues; improvement of assessment, planning and integrated management of freshwater resources in the special context of SIDS; and coordinating and refocusing aid and other programmes and projects designed to assist SIDS within an integrated water resources management approach.
Coastal and Marine Resources: The final document stresses improved coastal and ocean management, as well as conservation of coasts, oceans and seas and sustainable use of resources. It calls on SIDS and the international community to establish and/or strengthen: programmes to build capacity, assess and manage oceanic resources; and regional partnerships and programmes within the framework of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities and the regional seas programmes. It also calls for: strengthening of national capacity to develop methodologies or guidelines for practices and techniques to achieve sustainable development; scientific research and analysis relevant to conserving and managing migratory and straddling fish stocks; ratification of the UN Agreement for the International Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks and the FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas; policies, strategies and measures to address fisheries' needs; and strengthening of capacity for negotiating fishing agreements, as well as for promoting, assessing and monitoring commercial investment in sustainable fisheries. The final document urges: greater regional coordination in management and monitoring, control and surveillance of marine areas; and assistance in assessing the impact of land-based sources of marine pollution and in developing mechanisms to eliminate or minimize pollution sources.
On hazardous waste, the final document recalls POA text stating that SIDS have the right to regulate, restrict and/or ban importation of hazardous substances and prohibit the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes and reaffirms that POA implementation must be consistent with international law, including UNCLOS and other relevant existing international legal instruments. It takes into account the views and concerns of SIDS that many aspects of the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes are not adequately covered in existing legal regimes, in particular, safety measures, disclosure, liability and compensation in relation to accidents and remedial measures in relation to contamination. It calls on States and relevant international organizations to continue to address these concerns, and calls on the Secretary-General to report to the GA no later than its 56th session on efforts undertaken and progress achieved. The text calls for continued efforts to implement the Basel Convention.
The text also highlights the following actions to sustain healthy coral reefs:
- community-based reef conservation and management;
- initiatives related to aquaculture and ecotourism;
- post-harvest technology and management initiatives;
- integrated reef management initiatives;
- research, monitoring and technology transfer to assess impact of non-living resources; and
- further implementation of coral reef action plans as part of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).
Energy: The final document notes SIDS' dependency on conventional energy sources and a need for mobilization of technical, financial and technological assistance to encourage energy efficiency in SIDS and to accelerate the utilization of environmentally sound renewable energy sources. To this end, the final document calls for SIDS and the international community to pursue:
- establishment of renewable energy initiatives at the regional level in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to achieve economies of scale;
- development of human resources for the planning and sustainable management needs of a renewable energy sector;
- promotion of research and development and private sector investment in priority renewable energy projects;
- financing for renewable energy applications, including guidelines for energy efficiency and conservation; and
- implementation of best practices in achieving clean, sustainable energy resources.
Tourism: The Special Session noted the CSD-7 decision on sustainable tourism and called for its appropriate application to SIDS. The final document calls on SIDS and the international community to:
- establish regional and national environmental assessment programmes to address the social, economic and cultural implications of tourism development;
- strengthen institutional capacity building in the tourism sector;
- promote environmental protection and the preservation of cultural heritage through local community awareness and participation;
- encourage the use of modern technologies and communications systems that effectively maximize the use of global, regional and national information in support of sustainable tourism development;
- improve the collection and use of tourism data as a means to facilitate the development of sustainable tourism;
- establish partnerships for sustainable tourism with the goal of conserving and utilizing limited resources; and
- enhance institutional capacity.
The final document also calls for the pursuit of: enhanced sustainable tourism and sustainably managed tourism operations through the adoption of appropriate regulations; adequate resource mobilization to assist SIDS in strengthening institutional capacity, human resources and environmental protection; and improved capacity to implement treaty requirements of the IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organization. It also underscores the importance of the linkages between sustainable tourism, energy and transport to SIDS and stresses that these linkages should be borne in mind in preparation for the consideration of energy at CSD-9.
MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: The document identifies eight categories of activities related to the means of implementing the POA.
Sustainable Development Strategies: The final document calls on SIDS and the international community to: renew commitment by SIDS to the completion of national sustainable development strategies and, as appropriate, subregional and regional strategies; exchange experiences among different island regions in the implementation of their national strategies; formulate sustainable development strategies through transparent and participatory approaches with clear indicators and benchmarks for progress; strengthen national/regional statistical and analytical services to enable adequate recording and measuring of progress; and ensure consistency with other programmes and plans of action adopted at successive global conferences during the 1990s.
Capacity Building: The final document calls on SIDS and the international community to:
- continue development and implementation of sustainable development strategies to strengthen institutional capacities;
- promote education for sustainable development;
- facilitate SIDS' capacity building for operationalization of sustainable development management concepts;
- make use of traditional and indigenous skills, training and awareness-raising approaches;
- strengthen development of public-private partnerships involving the full range of potential partners; and
- strengthen regional technical training and scientific research centers.
Resource Mobilization and Finance: The final document notes: SIDS difficulties in accessing concessional development finance due to the use of criteria which inaccurately focuses on their relatively high GDP without considering their levels of development, vulnerability or standards of living in real terms; the decline in ODA to SIDS; the need for mobilization of resources at the national level; and the responsiveness of the GEF to SIDS. The final document calls on SIDS and the international community to:
- identify programmes and projects in the areas identified for urgent action to be funded by the GEF;
- improve the effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral development assistance through, inter alia, streamlining and harmonizing procedures, indicators and reporting methods;
- build on the SIDS donors meeting, with special consideration for new and additional financial commitments; and
- invite commitment from international financial institutions for sustainable development projects and programmes in SIDS.
Globalization and Trade Liberalization: The final document notes new challenges and opportunities for SIDS as a result of globalization and stresses that the potential benefits for SIDS from trade liberalization will be severely constrained unless the international community and relevant bodies recognize their limitations and vulnerabilities. This should be done through UNCTAD and the WTO, taking into account the erosion of trade preferences as well as difficulties faced with diversification and access markets. It states that SIDS and the international community should:
- address the disadvantages and the vulnerabilities of SIDS in the context of international trade;
- address the adverse consequences and benefits of globalization and trade liberalization on the SIDS' economies and assist SIDS in improving their competitiveness;
- consider the granting of special and differential treatment to SIDS; and
- address the difficulties of diversification in SIDS' economies.
The final document also calls on: UNCTAD to address SIDS' economic situation and trading prospects in its examination of the impact of globalization and trade liberalization on SIDS; and the international community to provide support and technical assistance to SIDS to enhance their effective participation in multilateral trade negotiations and trade policy.
Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology: The final document emphasizes the:
- development and participation of SIDS in clean technology initiatives, including the identification of EST investment opportunities and environmental management practices;
- promotion of SIDS access by SIDS to information on the availability of EST and the terms of their transfer;
- building of SIDS capacity for science and technology needs assessment;
- development of networking technology-related international support structures, technology centers, enterprise development centers, and research and development institutions;
- encouragement of private sector participation; and
- encouragement of strategic alliances between research and development institutions.
Vulnerability Index: The final document recalls that the POA noted the need for a vulnerability index on socioeconomic and environmental parameters and states that SIDS place high priority on the development of such an index and support defining the concept of vulnerability as it applies to SIDS, as well as identifying SIDS' common elements of vulnerability that render them susceptible to economic and ecological exogenous shocks. The final document calls on SIDS and the international community to: complete the quantitative and analytical work on a vulnerability index for SIDS, preferably by the year 2000; build capacity at all levels for the long-term monitoring and evaluation of vulnerability; and welcome the inclusion of SIDS in the Global Environment Outlook process in order to provide better baseline data.
Information Management SIDS Network: The final document notes the value of the SIDSNet and calls on SIDS and the international community to:
- facilitate the transfer of modern technology and communication systems;
- address the constraints to Internet connectivity;
- improve sustainable development information packaging;
- encourage private sector opportunities and involvement;
- provide necessary human resources support and training;
- establish links to existing clearinghouse and similar network mechanisms and other relevant connections;
- invite appropriate international cooperation for these purposes; and
- strengthen the SIDSNet as a source of information on best practices in environmental management.
International Cooperation and Partnership: The final document sets out the following goals for SIDS and the international community to:
- strengthen existing institutional arrangements in order to enhance UN agencies and regional commissions to be more effective in promoting and assisting sustainable development in SIDS;
- facilitate partnerships among stakeholders;
- recognize the role and functions of AOSIS;
- ensure that UN agencies take national and regional sustainable development strategies as the umbrella for programme design to ensure their activities are aligned with SIDS regional organizations strategies, work plans and coordination mechanisms; and
- support national implementation efforts of SIDS governments.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE SPECIAL SESSION: A MICROCOSM FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The Barbados Programme of Action aimed to strike a balance for sustainable development that promotes economic growth and improved social well-being while preserving the environment. Five years later, the question that arises is whether the balance between the social, economic and environmental variables of the sustainable development equation is being achieved or not.
The Special Session reaffirmed the well-acknowledged fact that SIDS and the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action provide an ideal test case for the global partnership for sustainable development set out in Agenda 21, given SIDS' unique situation as the custodians of a significant portion of the worlds oceans and seas and resources, their environmental and economic vulnerability, and their dependency on limited resource bases for their sustenance. However, whether SIDS can be a successful microcosm for sustainable development is still unclear, particularly in light of the fact that many obstacles still exist.
At the Special Session, many SIDS outlined national and regional experiences in implementing the POA, reflecting a strong sense of commitment to and ownership of the Programme of Action. But all SIDS agreed that support from the international community was insufficient, yet critical for further implementation of the POA. Nevertheless, no specific pledges were made at a meeting between donors and SIDS in February.
SIDS felt that the same constraints they faced five years ago remain today, while new challenges, such as globalization and trade liberalization, have arisen and threaten further marginalization. The Special Session recognized that despite considerable efforts by SIDS at the national and regional levels to address the POA's priorities and objectives, much remains to be done to overcome constraints and address the problems they face.
HEAVILY SAILED SEAS: Delegates acknowledged and reiterated SIDS special vulnerability to natural and environmental disasters but also to other factors, which were highlighted in the Barbados Programme of Action. Many agreed that the general debate provided the opportunity to refresh the minds of delegates on the issues and reinvigorate the implementation process.
One issue that resurfaced was the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes that threatens the livelihood of SIDS. Given the contentiousness of the issue, many delegates initially feared that the COW would spend the better part of the Special Session negotiating text on hazardous and radioactive wastes. However, delegates informally negotiated and agreed to a compromise text before the first meeting of the Committee. As a result, the COW's work was short, simple and mostly procedural. Although the text on hazardous waste was adopted, some had the perception that the final document contained weaker language than the Programme of Action, which highlights SIDS' rights to regulate, restrict and/or ban importation of hazardous substances and to prohibit transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes.
UNCHARTED TERRITORY: Global developments during the five years since Barbados brought new issues to the general debate at the Special Session, including the negative impacts of globalization and trade liberalization on SIDS. Trade liberalization and integration into the global economy present new challenges for SIDS and threaten to unfavorably tip the balance of the sustainable development equation. Many SIDS' economies have traditionally depended on trade preferences that allow them to export their products at protected prices. In addition, SIDS' heavy reliance on imports results in higher living and production costs and makes it very difficult for SIDS to compete in the global market. The WTO ruling that SIDS' trade preferences violate free trade agreements has raised concerns among SIDS that they will not have the necessary means to keep pace with the rapid evolution of globalization and trade liberalization or to avoid economic marginalization. Debates at the Special Session demonstrated the necessity of assistance for SIDS from the international community in integrating their economies into the global economy, yet many developed countries hesitated to support any preferential treatment on trade issues.
Another new issue was reflected in the draft resolution to declare the Caribbean Sea a special area in the context of sustainable development, put forward by the G-77/China and Mexico. The issue was so contentious that delegates were not even willing to discuss it, preferring to defer the topic to the Second Committee of the General Assembly for further consideration. Many countries did not want to proceed with discussions until they had ample time to analyze the legal implications of the proposal or of the possible conflicts it might have with international agreements such as the Law of the Sea. Not everyone was convinced as to why it should be declared a special area. Even a few Caribbean countries questioned the economic implications it could have regarding resource exploitation and trade. Some developed countries opposed it because it might affect their rights of passage and thought it might set a precedent for other areas.
SETTING OUT FOR A SMOOTH SAIL? Many delegates encouraged the development of a vulnerability index on the environmental and socioeconomic parameters of SIDS as an equitable solution for striking the balance between the need for economic growth and the fragile conditions of SIDS, and as a criterion for concessional and preferential financing. However, doubt remains whether such an index can be agreed upon and accepted.
Some delegates from non-SIDS developing countries expressed concern over the vulnerability index and the emergence of a special SIDS status, which could result in a fragmented globalization process rather than a homogeneous international community. Some non-SIDS developing countries, while supporting SIDS' efforts, believe financial help and preferential treatment constitute crutches for SIDS, but not sustainable solutions to their development. They suggest bringing financial, technical and social assistance to all developing states, and then further considering the specific problems faced by SIDS, such as global warming.
The Special Session was for the most part an exercise in bringing old, new and contentious issues to the forefront. However, the real work will be done in other fora. For example, the the proposed Caribbean Sea initiative was forwarded to the Second Committee and the issue of preferential treatment in trade must be addressed by the WTO and UNCTAD.
The Special Session reiterated that full, effective and long-term POA implementation will require a strong and committed partnership between SIDS and the international community. However, several questions remain as to how to translate this into action, how to empower and support SIDS in becoming full members of an increasingly competitive society, how to render them less vulnerable, and how to strengthen SIDS institutionally to find alternative sources of livelihoods while maintaining their fragile ecosystems. The Special Session demonstrated that a true and global partnership remains to be proven, which brings into question the international community's will to uphold the sustainable development partnership set out in Rio. The world will continue to watch the success of the international community in helping SIDS attain sustainable development as an indicator of its commitment to attain global sustainable development. As one delegate put it, no one country of the international community can afford to be an island.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
UNCTAD TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT BOARD: The UNCTAD Trade and Development Board will hold its 46th session (Preparatory process for UNCTAD X) from 18-29 October 1999. For more information contact: Office of the Secretary of the Board; tel: +41 (22) 907 56 36; fax: +41 (22) 907 00 56; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unctad-10.org/welcome.htm.
FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT & TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION: The Fourth International Congress on Energy, Environment & Technological Innovation will meet from 20-24 October 1999 in Rome, Italy. Organized by "La Sapienza" and "Roma Tre" Universities and the Universidad Central de Venezuela, the Congress offers the opportunity for high-level scientific debate and communication between participants on the problems related to regional and urban management. For more information contact: EETI99, Facolta di Ingegneria, Rome; fax: +39 (6) 4883235; Internet: http://www.ing.ucv.ve/ceait/eeti.htm.
UNFCCC FIFTH MEETING OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: COP-5 will be held from 25 October - 5 November 1999 at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, Germany. The technical workshop on FCCC Article 4.8 and 4.9 (adverse effects) is scheduled for 2224 September. A workshop on compliance is scheduled from 6-7 October. For more information contact: the FCCC Secretariat; tel: +49 (228) 815-1000; fax: +49 (228) 815-1999; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unfccc.de/.
EXPERT CONSULTATION ON DEVELOPMENT TRENDS IN AQUACULTURE: The Expert Consultation on Development Trends in Aquaculture will be held at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, from 25-28 October 1999. For more information contact: Rohana Subasinghe or Uwe Barg at FIRI, FAO Headquarters, Rome, Italy; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/FISHERY/events/events.htm.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TROPICAL AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS: HEALTH, CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT: This Conference will be held from 25-30 October 1999 in Nainital, India. For more information contact: Brij Gopal, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; tel: +91 (11) 617-2438/610-7676 ext. 2324; fax: +91 (11) 616-5886; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; Internet: http://www.members.tripod.com/nieindia/index.htm.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS: This Conference will be held from 3-5 November 1999 in Oporto, Portugal. For more information contact: tel: +351 (2) 550 82 70 / 5506710; fax: +351 (2) 550 82 69; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROPERTY RIGHTS AND FISHERIES CONFERENCE: The Government of Australia and the FAO will convene the "Use of the Property Rights in Fisheries Management Conference" in Perth, Australia, from 15-17 November 1999. For more information, contact the Secretariat; tel: +61 (8) 9257-2088; fax: +61 (8) 9257-2099; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.fishrights99.conf.au.
ELEVENTH MONTREAL PROTOCOL MEETING OF THE PARTIES: The 11th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol will be held in Beijing, China, from 29 November- 3 December 1999. For more information contact: the Secretariat; tel: +254 (2) 62-1234; fax: +254 (2) 62-3601; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org/ozone/.
WTO COUNCIL FOR TRIPS: The Council will meet from 23-24 November 1999 in Geneva. For more information contact: WTO; tel: +41 (22) 739-5111; fax: +41 (22) 739-5458.
GLOBALIZATION, ECOLOGY AND ECONOMY, BRIDGING WORLDS: This meeting will be held from 24-25 November 1999 in Tilberg, The Netherlands. For more information contact: ECNC and Globus/IUCN; tel: +31 (13) 466-3240; fax: +31 (13) 466-3250; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.ecnc.nl/doc/ecnc/meetings/ee_99/index.html.
WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE: The Third WTO Ministerial Conference will be held from 30 November 3 December 1999 in Seattle, Washington, US; For more information contact: Mara Parker, SHOMSC, Seattle; tel: +1 (206) 441-6448; fax: +1 (206) 441-6369; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.wto.org/wto/minist/seatmin.htm.
NINTH MEETING ON THE CARIBBEAN ACTION PLAN: The Ninth Intergovernmental Meeting on the Action Plan for the Caribbean Environment Programme and Sixth Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region will be held from 6-10 December 1999 in Kingston, Jamaica. For more information contact: UNEP- Caribbean Environment Programme; tel: +1 (876) 922 - 9267; fax: +1 (876) 922 - 9292; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.cep.unep.org/.
WORLD CLEAN ENERGY CONFERENCE (WCEC 2000): WCEC 2000 will be held at the Geneva International Conference Center from 24-28 January 2000. For more information contact: WCEC Conference Secretariat, POB 928, CH-8055 Zurich; tel. +41 (1) 463-9252, fax: +41 (1) 463-0252, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: There will be informal consultations on the Biosafety Protocol from 20-22 January 2000 in Montreal, to be followed by the resumed session of the First Extraordinary Meeting of the COP to finalize and adopt the Biosafety Protocol, from 24-28 January 2000. The fifth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) will be held from 31 January 4 February 2000 in Montreal. The dates for the meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Article 8(j) are still to be determined. The fifth COP will be held from 15-26 May 2000 in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information contact: CBD Secretariat, World Trade Center, Montreal, Quebec; tel.: +1 (514) 288-2220; fax:+1 (514) 288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org.