Report of main proceedings for 4 April 2002
3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee
Delegates met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions to continue consideration of the remaining sections of the compilation Chairman’s Paper. Working Group I established informal groups that met during lunch to consider the subsections on energy and oceans, with the latter also meeting in the evening. Working Group III met in the afternoon to conclude consideration of the informal paper on sustainable development governance.
Editor’s Note: ENB coverage of Working Group II ended at 11:40 pm.
WORKING GROUP I
Working Group I completed consideration of the section on protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development, except for the oceans and energy subsections.
Energy: During informal-informal discussions on energy, facilitated by Gustavo Ainchil (Argentina), delegates diverged on using CSD-9 as the basis of work, which: the US and NORWAY supported; SWITZERLAND, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and the EU suggested building upon; while Iran, for the G-77/CHINA, supported working "within the CSD-9 framework." MEXICO, supported by AUSTRALIA and the US, emphasized technology transfer. JAPAN opposed, and NEW ZEALAND supported, numerical targets. HUNGARY supported specific national goals for renewable energy sources, and, with AUSTRALIA and the EU, opposed TUVALU on a proposal for an "international legally binding agreement" on renewable energy mainstreaming. A revised text is expected to be circulated on Friday morning, 5 April.
Oceans: During informal-informal consultations, facilitated by Guy O’Brien (Australia), delegates presented comments that will become part of a "facilitator’s non-paper." Discussion centered on references to: the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration and "harmful" subsidies; the precautionary approach; the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; the Reykjavik Declaration on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; flags of convenience; living marine resources; marine protected areas beyond national jurisdictions; accelerated pressure on and sustainable development strategies for the Arctic; and the use of the term "global commons."
Atmosphere: The EU and JAPAN opposed, and NORWAY supported, a specific deadline for the provision to developing countries of environmentally sound alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. The EU, JAPAN and the US supported deletion of text on conducting an international assessment of ozone-friendly substances. The US preferred removing reference to Kyoto Protocol commitments.
Agriculture: AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND and NORWAY supported agricultural and natural resource management research for sustainable agriculture and rural development. The EU, the US and AUSTRALIA supported text on reversing the declining trend in financial resources for agricultural research. The G-77/CHINA supported stakeholder involvement in rural planning and called for reference to sustainable wetlands management. NEW ZEALAND, with AUSTRALIA, CANADA and the G-77/CHINA, and opposed by JAPAN and NORWAY, called for deletion of reference to the multifunctions of agriculture. On illicit crops, NORWAY supported, and CANADA objected to, adding reference to the precautionary principle, while the G-77/CHINA suggested "taking into account the negative social, economic and environmental impacts" of combating illicit crops. The G-77/CHINA and the US agreed on deleting text on capacity building for developing countries to comply with food and agricultural product standards.
Desertification: UZBEKISTAN suggested adding text on the Aral Sea Basin. On the GEF’s role: the EU supported a reference to the GEF 2002 Beijing meeting; the G-77/CHINA called for reference to the Caracas Declaration; and the US said the UNCCD Conference of the Parties should determine financing arrangements. JAPAN objected to text on predictable and stable financial resources.
Climate Change: The US suggested drafting changes reflecting its position against ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and for text on flexible mechanisms of the Protocol and continued development of adaptation strategies. With AUSTRALIA and CANADA, he supported text on the Marrakesh Ministerial Declaration. The EU supported text "urging all countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol." The RUSSIAN FEDERATION objected to specific dates for Kyoto Protocol ratification.
Mountains: NORWAY, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, emphasized language on enhancing sustainable development in vulnerable ecosystems, particularly the Arctic. The G-77/CHINA objected to Japan’s amended text for voluntary benefit sharing from the use of biological and genetic resources. ANDORRA called for consideration of land use planning in mountain regions.
Tourism: The US provided text on technical assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition (CEITs) for sustainable tourism. The G-77/CHINA requested wording on organizations other than the World Tourism Organization to facilitate promotion of sustainable tourism. The EU emphasized tourism without negative environmental impacts.
Biodiversity: The EU proposed text on ecological networks and, with NORWAY, on the importance of the outcomes of the CBD Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6). CANADA preferred text linking poverty eradication to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. JAPAN objected to text on property rights for traditional knowledge. Delegates diverged over specific dates on reducing the rates of biodiversity loss. The G-77/CHINA called for adequate means of implementation for developing countries. On access to genetic resources and benefit sharing, the US opposed the call for an international regime or framework.
Forests: Most delegates emphasized language from UNFF. The EU suggested finalizing this subsection after CBD COP-6.
Minerals and Mining: CANADA circulated new text that was supported by most delegates, which addresses partnerships, developing countries and CEITs, life cycle considerations, and stakeholder consultations. The US stressed sustainable mining, and the G-77/ CHINA underlined supporting small- and medium-scale activities to empower local communities.
WORKING GROUP II
The Working Group resumed consideration of means of implementation, concluding trade-related paragraphs in the subsections on globalization, capacity building and information for decision making.
The EUROPEAN COMMISSION, for the EU, submitted new text on market access for agricultural products. The US, with JAPAN, proposed replacing provisions on market access for developing countries with text from the Brussels Programme of Action for least developed countries, but the G-77/CHINA preferred mentioning developing countries in general. The EU called for coherent implementation of the Doha and Monterrey decisions.
On eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, the G-77/ CHINA proposed stating in "developed countries." The EU supported, and the G-77/CHINA objected to, text on ILO core labour standards in business and trade. JAPAN opposed mention of a relationship between trade and environmental agreements. There was no agreement on reaffirming the precautionary principle. SWITZERLAND suggested merging the text with provisions on "avoiding its abusive interpretation by developed countries," and proposed moving text on coherence of trade and environmental rules, internalization of external costs and the precautionary principle to the section on governance.
Capacity Building: The US objected to, while the EU supported, a G-77/CHINA proposal for a global initiative. POLAND stressed a local focus. The EU supported involving women and protecting traditional knowledge in partnerships. Many delegates supported MEXICO’s proposed language on enabling countries to monitor and evaluate Agenda 21 implementation, while the G-77/CHINA objected to reference to monitoring. Delegates diverged over reference to poverty reduction strategy papers, but agreed on supporting development of poverty reduction strategies.
Information for Decision Making: The US stressed common standards, relevance to sustainable development and, with SWITZERLAND, public accessibility. On observation systems, the G-77/ CHINA called for more time to consider the proposal. On indicators, the US called for deletion of the reference to "social indicators." The US, with JAPAN, suggested "promoting," instead of "ensuring," access to disaster-related information.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (SIDS): The G-77/CHINA presented revised text for this section, based on the compilation Chairman’s Paper. The EU and NEW ZEALAND expressed general support for the text. The US, JAPAN, the EU and AUSTRALIA, opposed by NEW ZEALAND, suggested deleting references to target dates, except for the comprehensive review in 2004 of the Barbados Programme, which the US and the EU did not wish to be termed as a "second global conference." The US and AUSTRALIA suggested dropping reference to a global initiative to assist SIDS in mobilizing resources for adaptation needs. JAPAN objected to mention of increased financial assistance to SIDS, and to the Western and Central Pacific Ocean migratory fish stocks convention.
WORKING GROUP III
Working Group III convened for final consideration of sustainable development governance (SDG) based on the informal paper issued on 30 March. Co-Chair Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) invited general comments for the revision of the paper, which would be tabled for negotiation at Bali.
Many delegates considered the paper a good basis for discussion. The G-77/CHINA stressed strengthening institutional arrangements for sustainable development, consideration of globalization, technology transfer and finance mobilization, and noted an attempt to micromanage the national level. The EU stressed, inter alia, strengthening regional and local aspects, the need for a separate section on partnerships, further consideration of interagency cooperation, and the possibility of universal CSD membership. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION expressed doubt regarding CSD and UNEP/GMEF universal membership. NORWAY called for, inter alia, precision in defining the agents of implementation of governance at the international level and effective modalities to fulfill the CSD’s mandate to monitor resource commitments.
The US supported the section on good governance. TURKEY underscored local governance, and good governance as defined in Monterrey, and, with MONACO and Nauru, for the PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM, stressed regional and subregional levels, while MEXICO stressed all levels. NEW ZEALAND noted a lack of regional commissions and Capacity 21 initiatives in some regions. Countered by the G-77/CHINA, CANADA objected to singling out the right to development.
Concluding the discussion, Co-Chair Anaedu urged delegations to submit text by 8:00 pm, Friday, 5 April.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The enthusiasm and interest demonstrated by participants during the start of the PrepCom waned to an all-time low on the eve of the closure of PrepCom III, with some stating that they were no longer feeling motivated. Although in the preceding days interest had centered on the possibility of an intersessional or pre-Bali meeting, the Bureau apparently failed - yet again - to arrive at a decision. Also, amid confusion regarding deadlines for submitting amendments and the fate of unfinished compilation texts, the Anaedu-Engfeldt paper on sustainable development governance, which had provoked a surprisingly short discussion, ended with the G-77/China grumbling about concerns of developing countries not being fairly represented. Some delegates were exasperated by Co-Chair Anaedu’s Friday 8:00 pm deadline for submitting amendments to the Secretariat, which they criticized as being too strict, but Chair Anaedu prevailed. It is claimed that the Co-Chairs plan to release the revised paper, which will be tabled for negotiation in Bali, on the Johannesburg website by 10 April.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Closing Plenary is expected to convene at 3:00 pm in Conference Room 1.
WORKING GROUP I: Informal-informal consultations on oceans will start at 10:00 am in Conference Room 6. Informal-informals on energy will be held from 1:15 to 3:00 pm in Conference Room 7.
WORKING GROUP II: The Group is expected to convene from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm and following the afternoon Plenary in Conference Room 4 to conclude consideration of the sections on Africa and the globalization subsection on means of implementation.