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Report of main proceedings for 1 March 2001

2nd Session of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development

The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development met in formal and informal morning, afternoon and evening sessions to discuss new versions of sections A, B and C of the draft Co-Chairs' text, comprised of submissions by delegates. The Expert Group worked into the night on section C.


In a brief formal session, delegates received a new version of sections A, General Considerations and B, General Principles for Policy Action, of the compilation text. Co-Chair Salamat adjourned the formal session and convened an informal session to discuss the text.


Delegates informally discussed sections A and B of the compilation text in the morning and afternoon. Late in the evening they discussed section C, which was distributed in the afternoon.

SECTION A: GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS: Regarding the paragraph on the central role of energy for achieving the interrelated economic, social and environmental aims of sustainable development, the US said reference to "sustainable development" would suffice. IRAN, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, requested deleting "sustainable," while keeping the wording on the aims, stressing that energy is central to development and not only to sustainable development. Co-Chair Salamat said this discussion is taking place in the context of sustainable development, and delegates agreed to use this formulation.

Different views were expressed regarding language on the magnitude and scale of the energy problem. SWEDEN, on behalf of the EU, rejected wording proposed by the G-77/CHINA on the lack of "commercial" access to energy and transportation and requested retaining the word "modern," which he said is consistent with the World Energy Assessment (WEA). Delegates agreed to retain neither. The US, with the EU, rejected the reference to disparities, "when measured per capita," in the levels of energy consumption, which had been suggested as a compromise by Co-Chair Salamat. This wording was deleted. The G-77/CHINA, with SAUDI ARABIA, opposed a suggestion by the EU to add language on the unsustainability of current patterns of energy production, distribution and utilization. The G-77/CHINA requested specifying this problem as one of relevance to developed countries.

SAMOA, supported by the EU, proposed deleting reference to "large" rural populations so as to apply to small island states. The EU underscored the need to recognize the impact of energy emissions on human health and the environment. Several developing countries opposed and proposed bracketing the language. The EU accepted deleting this reference, but requested maintaining the recognition that patterns of consumption are currently unsustainable, and the paragraph was accepted.

Co-Chair Salamat suggested compromise language for the paragraph on the challenge ahead regarding energy and requirements to meet this challenge. The G-77/CHINA and NORWAY suggested reference to "energy for sustainable development" instead of to "a sustainable energy future." The G-77/CHINA reiterated its request for "new and additional" financial resources as a requirement in this context. The US, supported by AUSTRALIA, said the issue is addressed in later sections of the document, and should be discussed only once. The G-77/CHINA agreed and the issue is pending later discussion.

The G-77/CHINA proposed calling on developed countries to make available to developing countries environmentally sound technological options, noting that this had been agreed at Rio+5. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested extending this to countries with economies in transition. AUSTRALIA stressed that technology should be provided through both private and public sector activities, and suggested stating that technology "should be made available and/ or facilitated by developed countries."

The paragraph was adopted with the issue of new and financial resources placed in brackets.

Regarding the paragraph on action by stakeholders and access to energy, Co-Chair Salamat introduced a compromise text referring to: investment by the private sector; a cost-effective mix of energy resources; greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, including fossil fuel technologies; and promotion of shared objectives.

NORWAY objected to wording on "shared" objectives. The G-77/ CHINA suggested deleting language on private sector investment. The EU opposed, and suggested "public and private sectors." The paragraph was accepted with the references left bracketed.

On the paragraph addressing policies and strategies to achieve energy for sustainable development, Co-Chair Salamat introduced a proposal for compromise text. The EU proposed moving references to the responsibilities of governments to section B of the text, noting that the role of governments is more a principle than a consideration.

The G-77/CHINA requested including reference to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. On financial aspects and on international financial cooperation, he proposed inserting language from Rio+5, which states that ODA is a main source of external funding, and substantial new and additional funding for sustainable development will be required. The US preferred to keep the text on financial issues in brackets pending further consultations.

On the interdependencies among countries, SWITZERLAND suggested stating that "international and regional cooperation is essential to promote fruitful exchange of information." The EU objected to suggestions stating that this limits the concept of international cooperation. Delegates adopted the paragraph with the references to financial issues left bracketed.


Co-Chair Reichl introduced a compromise text on the chapeau of section B, General Principles for Policy Action, which states that: governments and relevant regional and international organizations are invited to consider the following principles when dealing with energy, taking into account national and regional specificities, and bearing in mind the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

The G-77/CHINA, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and opposed by the EU, suggested replacing references to "principles" with "policy options." NORWAY proposed "non-prescriptive" principles and policy options. AUSTRALIA and NORWAY reiterated the importance of individual country circumstances. The EU supported wording on achieving the sustainable development of energy producing, distributing and consuming activities. The G-77/CHINA supported replacing "governments" with "countries." Delegates agreed to bracket the paragraph.

The G-77/CHINA proposed additional text in the chapeau on assistance to governments for their national efforts. The EU proposed text on government responsibility for the development and implementation of energy policies for sustainable development. Delegates agreed to discuss the paragraphs later.

On the sub-paragraph on the energy mix to meet growing energy demand, delegates discussed whether to include reference to nuclear technology. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with CANADA, but opposed by NEW ZEALAND and POLAND, proposed including reference to nuclear technology. The G-77/CHINA, supported by the EU, preferred the Co-Chairs' proposal for compromise text. He requested increasing the number of technologies listed. The EU sought clarification as to whether other advanced technologies include nuclear technology. Delegates agreed to bracket reference to nuclear technology and accepted the paragraph.

A compromise version of the sub-paragraph on integrating energy considerations in various economic sectors was accepted, with reference to the public sector, as suggested by the G-77/CHINA.

The Co-Chairs' proposal for compromise text for a sub-paragraph on establishing an enabling environment "supportive of the objectives of sustainable development" was adopted. The sub-paragraph on developing appropriate energy services, particularly in rural areas, was adopted as proposed by the Co-Chairs.

The sub-paragraph on research and development was accepted as proposed by the Co-Chairs, with minor changes to elaborate on research on activities towards energy for sustainable development, including on transport systems.

A representative of the NGO Energy and Climate Change Caucus gave a statement to the delegates, stressing NGO concerns regarding the rate of progress of the session, and encouraging the use of renewable forms of energy and rejecting nuclear energy and "advanced" fossil fuel technologies.

Regarding the paragraph on security of energy supply and demand, the EU, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, suggested replacing "security" with "management."

The US preferred removing reference to "security" and suggested replacing the language with "supporting market development and stability to ensure energy supply and consumer access to energy service." Delegates decided to consider the proposals and discuss the paragraph later.

Regarding the paragraph on energy efficiency, CANADA said that reference to "national energy efficiency goals" could prove problematic for countries with federal states. NORWAY, opposed by the EU, suggested replacing energy efficiency "goals" with "strategies." Delegates adopted the paragraph with bracketed references to necessary financial support, goals and deployment of energy efficiency.

Regarding renewable energies, delegates agreed to text stating "supporting more use of renewable energy both in grid-connected and decentralized systems."

Delegates agreed to paragraphs on: dissemination of information; supporting energy conservation programmes; and encouraging public-private partnerships. Delegates agreed to language taken from Rio+5 regarding the promotion and achievement of sustainable consumption patterns.

A paragraph referring to optimizing the efficient use of fossil fuels remains bracketed. On strengthening the role of civil society, the G-77/ CHINA preferred the role of "major groups." The paragraph remains bracketed. On enhancing regional and international cooperation for energy for sustainable development, the G-77/CHINA supported, and the EU opposed, reference to the availability of energy. The paragraph remains bracketed. At 10:00 pm delegates began consideration of Section C, Key Issues, and continued deliberations into the night.


Some observers said that NGO views that the Expert Group was not progressing, but was actually moving backwards, signaled the waning confidence some countries have in the multilateral system, which they say has failed to deliver on the promises made nine years ago in Rio.

However, the general upward swing in the negotiating atmosphereThursday caused some participants to express optimism that despite the late hour, some real progress will be made. Some felt that, though the document was taking shape better than they had expected, there may be reason for concern regarding how to proceed when it is finished, as it is not in line with previous CSD decision texts. Nevertheless there appeared to be agreement that this is an issue that can be addressed at CSD-9 if the Expert Group succeeds in forwarding an entire text with minimal brackets.


PLENARY: The Expert Group is expected to meet at 10:00 am in the ECOSOC Chamber, to continue discussing the remaining sections of the compilation text, and will conclude their work.

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