Daily report for 4 February 2002
2nd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee
Delegates met in a morning Plenary to hear a presentation by Jan Pronk, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the WSSD, and in the afternoon and evening, in a Plenary Interactive Discussion of the Chair’s List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion prepared over the weekend to aid in the development of the Chair’s report, which will be considered on Thursday.
In a brief morning Plenary, Jan Pronk, Minister for the Environment, Housing and Spatial Planning of the Netherlands and Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, explained his mission and what he had accomplished, including responses from capitals. Pronk said he was primarily tasked with getting Heads of State and Government to the Summit, as well as identifying the leaders’ expectations, soliciting their commitment and encouraging coordinated preparations for the Summit at the national level.
PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) introduced the List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion to be considered by two parallel Interactive Discussion Groups. Stressing that the exercise should not be a negotiation, but rather identify what was lacking and needing improvement, Salim proposed, and delegates agreed, to adjourn the morning session to allow time for regional consultations on the List. Responding to enquiries by the US and AUSTRALIA, the Secretariat said it had inadvertently omitted the proposals on domestic governance submitted by JUSCANZ, and Salim added that these aspects would also discussed on Thursday, 7 February during the informal open-ended consultations on sustainable development governance. The proposals were circulated in the afternoon as Add.1 to the List.
Instead of breaking into two parallel discussion groups as originally proposed, delegates met in Plenary chaired by Salim to discuss his draft List. At the urging of the G-77/China, among others, it was agreed to remove thematic cluster titles from the draft document.
GLOBALIZATION: HUNGARY proposed drawing attention to transboundary issues and addressing synergies between the Financing for Development and WSSD processes. JAPAN called for emphasis on trade-related capacity building, avoidance of specific references to World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements or timeframes and, with CANADA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and TURKEY, opposed reference to global corporate accountability. MEXICO called for environmental standards related to access to genetic resources and sustainable use of water, forests and oceans. SWITZERLAND supported references to complementing the WTO Doha agenda and called for increased emphasis on the environmental-social dimension of economic processes and the internalization of external costs such as through the polluter pays principle.
On behalf of the G-77/CHINA, Chile suggested: removing references to the Åarhus Convention; adding text on responsibility of "transnational corporations and other institutions with global reach"; including references to SIDS in a paragraph on duty-free and quota-free treatment for exports; and integrating numerous paragraphs from their position paper. Zimbabwe, also on behalf of G-77/China, added that globalization encompasses more than just the WTO and trade. BELARUS proposed importing more language from the Millennium Declaration in order to expedite the drafting process and avoid using unclear concepts. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said 2005 was not a realistic timeframe for removing trade-distorting subsidies and providing market access for developing countries.
The US stated that the Secretary-General’s report should complement the Doha Declaration, called for text regarding the need for more globalization and more trade toward eliminating poverty, and objected to the assumption that corporate actors are necessarily "bad actors" and require more regulation. TURKEY drew attention to the importance of local actions and improved local government. KAZAKHSTAN, with KYRGYZSTAN, proposed additional references to countries with economies in transition. Spain, for the EU, highlighted key areas of globalization: adequate institutions for national action and governance; trade; unequal distribution of foreign direct investment benefits; and international environmental governance.
CHINA stressed the importance of market access for developing country products, and, with EGYPT, proposed reference to the role of transnational corporations in globalization. SAMOA drew attention to the work programme for small economies that resulted from the WTO Doha meeting and suggested elaboration on how full participation for developing countries would be operationalized. ICELAND proposed adding text on removal of environmentally-harmful subsidies, and that this should be done through the WTO. JAPAN supported text on bridging the digital divide, noting their US$15 billion voluntary contribution to this end.
INDIA stated that participation, decision making and access to information are national governance issues, and therefore should not be included. Clarifying that no development agenda had resulted from the Doha meeting, she also called for deletion of all references to it. SOUTH AFRICA called for: discussing a package of economic measures that addresses globalization, including elements such as technology transfer, debt relief, official development assistance, regulation of transnational corporations and financial markets; and proposing the launch of a global programme of action on sustainable tourism.
POVERTY ERADICATION: The HOLY SEE noted the need for access to social services such as health and education, and for strengthening existing programmes rather than launching new ones. TURKEY observed that discussion of poverty issues is currently too rural-focused and called for highlighting the importance of capacity building for poverty eradication. Saudi Arabia, with Zimbabwe, for the G-77/CHINA, noted that poverty eradication should not be linked solely to agriculture. NORWAY, with EGYPT, said the one overarching goal for the Summit—poverty eradication—should not be isolated in a single section but, rather, should run through the document. SAMOA requested that ecotourism be clearly addressed. ICELAND said that mobilization of political and financial capital toward poverty eradication programmes could be a significant outcome of the Summit.
JAPAN pointed out diverse agricultural services such as environmental conservation and maintenance of rural communities. He called for emphasis on local conditions, and suggested text referring to promotion and dissemination of sustainable agriculture in order to ensure food security. Zimbabwe, on behalf of the G-77/China, suggested adding text on foreign occupation and conflict, refugees, food availability and "adequacy" and access to energy.
IRAN suggested adding text from the G-77/China position paper on access to affordable healthcare, enhancing international aid to promote primary social development, and combating HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. SOUTH AFRICA suggested making the reference to poverty reduction targets the chapeau for the cluster.
UNSUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: SOUTH AFRICA said a sustainable system of global production must be more equitable and balanced. Zimbabwe, for the G-77/China, advised that the Global Compact is only a voluntary list of principles. JAPAN proposed adding reference to developing countries in a paragraph on changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
BRAZIL said the notion of making sustainable development competitive is missing from the document, the impression that globalization impacts only developing countries should not be conveyed, and its role for the industrialized countries must also be addressed, citing rising greenhouse gas emissions as an example. He called for more specific language if mention is made of "launching" various programmes. He said: the outcome of the Latin America and the Caribbean regional meeting was not properly reflected in the Chair’s List; points referring to sustainable agriculture should be clustered; and poverty should be addressed as a cross-sectoral issue.
The US suggested that more emphasis be put on food security and hunger and the role of women, and that text be added on diversifying economies through entrepreneurship and market approaches. He proposed deleting parts of text in the section on poverty and consumption patterns, and clarifying certain notions, for example, on corporate responsibility. HUNGARY proposed adding references to basic human needs, access to food and energy, urban poverty eradication, and the Earth’s carrying capacity. He drew attention to the fact that corporate responsibility was already taken up in the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues in discussions with industry. NEW ZEALAND suggested adding public sector financing opportunities as a necessary transition stage in developing countries. He objected to proposals to delete references to the Doha Ministerial Declaration and the WTO, and suggested bringing the idea of corporate responsibility in line with the Global Compact. He also called for a "robust" section on consumption patterns. NEPAL preferred to include text on traditional knowledge from the G77/China paper, and on accession of least developed countries to the WTO. LAOS PDR insisted that a reference be made to vulnerable countries.
IN THE CORRIDORS
While the Chair’s List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion drew mixed reactions from all regional groups, many delegates expressed their disappointment. The List was said to be missing several issues discussed during the first week. An addendum to the List regarding domestic governance submitted on the basis of a US paper was seen by some as a "blueprint of how national governments should operate." Concern was also expressed over the seeming projection of desertification as an African issue, as well as the non-identification of the urgent points – identified elsewhere by bolding the text – in the section on consumption and production patterns, and presentation of lead in gasoline, not HIV/AIDS, as the leading health concern.
Frustration among delegates mounted over sudden procedural changes. While the initial intention was to have two parallel Interactive Discussion groups on the List all day starting at 10:00 am, the morning Plenary postponed the start of discussions to the afternoon after regional groups informally requested time to consult. However, at the start of the parallel discussions in the afternoon, delegates were informed that Chair Salim had proposed returning to Plenary for procedural guidance, only for the Interactive Discussion to then be conducted in Plenary. Slow progress and the departure of interpreters at 6:00 pm bred new problems. France questioned the continuation of Plenary in one UN language, in light of which Chair Salim appealed to delegates to continue with Plenary until 7:00 pm and resume in two parallel Interactive Discussions Tuesday, in order to speed progress, only to be informed by the Secretariat that the conference room facilities for the second group had already been cancelled. Consequently, delegates agreed to conclude the Plenary at 7:00 pm and resume Tuesday.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary will convene in Conference Room 1 to continue with the Interactive Discussion on the List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, 3:00 - 6:00 pm and in an evening session from 7:00 - 9:00 pm, starting with "Non"-Cluster D on health.
SIDE EVENT: The Bureau of the UN Forum on Forests will hold an informal briefing from 1:15 - 2:45 pm in Conference Room 5 on the Forum scheduled for March.