Report of main proceedings for 17 June 1993

CSD-1

CSD HIGHLIGHTS: THURSDAY, 17 JUNE 1993

The discussion on finance (E/CN.17/1993/11 and Add.1) continuedwith a statement by Egypt who suggested that a high-level expertgroup of financial experts should look into new sources of funding,such as tradable permits, the polluter-pays-principle anddebt-for-nature swaps. Brazil said that the CSD's responsibility isto reverse the trend of shrinking resources. Poland stated that theGEF should treat the economies in transition on an equal basis withother countries eligible for funds. Sri Lanka expressed hope thatthe CSD will monitor the flow of funds. Venezuela proposed that theSecretariat's reports address distortions and protectionism andadded that the CSD must have intergovernmental participation in allintersessional activities. Benin recommended cancelling all publicdebt for low income countries.

Bolivia stressed the need for a follow-up consultation mechanismthat would allow transparent sharing of information on Agenda 21implementation. Canada supported ad hoc working groups orroundtables to serve a preparatory or advisory function for theCSD. Sweden suggested that OECD DAC guidelines be used for thesubmission of financial information. Senegal said that the CSDshould think about how the GEF should finance the desertificationconvention. The US said that the CSD should use the information inthe OECD database rather than create new bureaucracies. The OECDrepresentative responded that the OECD will give the CSDinformation from its financial monitoring data systems. TheEnvironmental Liaison Centre International stated that the CSD mustaddress the need for a new policy on foreign debt.

FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS, FLOWS AND ARRANGEMENTS

The discussion on finance (E/CN.17/1993/11 and Add.1) continuedwith a statement by Egypt who suggested that a high-level expertgroup of financial experts should look into new sources of funding,such as tradable permits, the polluter-pays-principle anddebt-for-nature swaps. Brazil said that the CSD's responsibility isto reverse the trend of shrinking resources. Poland stated that theGEF should treat the economies in transition on an equal basis withother countries eligible for funds. Sri Lanka expressed hope thatthe CSD will monitor the flow of funds. Venezuela proposed that theSecretariat's reports address distortions and protectionism andadded that the CSD must have intergovernmental participation in allintersessional activities. Benin recommended cancelling all publicdebt for low income countries.

Bolivia stressed the need for a follow-up consultation mechanismthat would allow transparent sharing of information on Agenda 21implementation. Canada supported ad hoc working groups orroundtables to serve a preparatory or advisory function for theCSD. Sweden suggested that OECD DAC guidelines be used for thesubmission of financial information. Senegal said that the CSDshould think about how the GEF should finance the desertificationconvention. The US said that the CSD should use the information inthe OECD database rather than create new bureaucracies. The OECDrepresentative responded that the OECD will give the CSDinformation from its financial monitoring data systems. TheEnvironmental Liaison Centre International stated that the CSD mustaddress the need for a new policy on foreign debt.

TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGY, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY-BUILDING

Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai introduced documentE/CN.17/1993/10 and said that the CSD's comparative advantage inthis area is its capacity to link technology, education, scienceand cooperation. India stressed the need to move from conceptualissues to mechanisms and modalities for technology transfer andendogenous capacity building. Korea said that the Secretariat'sdocument insufficiently covers government policies and the work ofthe private sector. Sri Lanka suggested that the CSD surveyavailable technologies in different sectors. Denmark, on behalf ofthe EC, said that the CSD should work closely with other UN organson capacity building and relevant conventions should provideinformation on technology to the CSD as part of the programme ofwork.

Pakistan listed the major issues as: the dissemination oftechnology; the removal of barriers to the free flow of technology;and the provision of financial support for countries that wish topurchase technology. Japan described the UNEP InternationalEnvironmental Technology Centre that was set up in Osaka last year.The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions stressed theneed to give a high priority to employment and training and toensure that introducing technology does not mean job losses. Chinasupported the establishment of regional centers for environmentallysound technology. Sweden, on behalf of the Nordics, stressed: theimportance of efficient operation and maintenance of technologies;strengthening the capacity to develop and adapt environmentallysound technology; the role of the private sector; and the CSD'sdiscussion on technology should relate to the clusters underreview. Germany mentioned the importance of the private sector anda favorable investment climate.

The US opened the afternoon session by announcing the freedistribution of a software product that is designed to track the2509 activities in Agenda 21 -- an example of technology transferwith no patents or copyrights. Egypt stressed the need to discusstechnology both in conjunction with the sectoral issues as well asa cross-cutting issue. Mexico mentioned that a large part oftechnology is the product of transnational corporations. Algeriasaid that the costs of technology and protectionist policies onlymake the situation worse. The US stressed an integrated approach totechnology, including development, transfer, needs assessment,institution and capacity building.

The Philippines outlined problems faced by developing countries andsupported the creation of a data bank. Colombia, on behalf of theG-77 and China, said that the CSD should set up regional centres toensure access to environmentally sound technologies and monitorimplementation of environmental conventions with regard totechnology. The International Chamber of Commerce said that fortechnology transfer to work, there must be effective marketmechanisms, a positive investment climate and a sound legalframework. The Ad Hoc NGO Working Group on Technology mentioned theneed for exchange of appropriate technologies and the need to focuson technology development and capacity-building by localcommunities.

Australia saw the need for close links between the private sectorand all other sectors of society. The UK described the GlobalTechnology Initiative launched in Birmingham last March thattransfers technology on commercial terms and provides information.Nigeria asked how to guarantee transfer of technology on amarket-based approach in view of the critical burden of debt andtrade restrictions. The Russian Federation suggested that the CSDstudy different technologies and how they can help or hindersustainable development. Singapore stressed the need for: access toinformation on available technologies; a favorable businessclimate; technology assessment institutions; greater policycoordination; resource development and local capacity building.Uruguay mentioned the importance of culturally appropriatetechnology and the need to adapt technology to endogenous settings.The Women's NGO Caucus said that the vital socio-economiccontribution of women and the indigenous sectors was omitted fromthe document and listed the ways in which women should be involvedin the planning, design and transfer of appropriate technologies.Brazil said that any intersessional mechanism should abide by theintergovernmental nature of the CSD.

Morocco said that many developing countries are sold obsoletetechnology and often do not receive the know-how to make thetechnology a reality. Malaysia said that governments must createthe atmosphere to produce good technology and supported regionalnetworks, clearinghouses and collaborative networks to facilitatetechnology transfer. The International Council of Scientific Unionsdescribed its work on capacity building and the participation ofscientists in decision-making. Senegal stressed the need to takeinto account the role of women in technology transfer. Tunisiamentioned a need to find a medium between market prices andintellectual property rights.

The Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia said that the CSDmust take stock of technology developed at the ground level.Bolivia said that financial issues, institution building andtechnology are the pillars of the CSD's work. Benin said that theCSD must communicate with other UN bodies, NGOs and the privatesector on this issue.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP I

The first meeting of this group, chaired by Ghazi Jomaa of Tunisia,considered the revised text of E/CN.17/1993/L.2, "Issues relatingto the future work of the Commission." On paragraph 3, Indiafavored changing "pre-sessional documents" to "theSecretary-General's reports." Mexico stated that the CSD shouldidentify issues on which intersessional consultations could be heldwith all members of the Commission and other interesteddelegations. Saudi Arabia differed on the use of the term "membersof the Commission" as it would be preferable to include all memberStates of the UN. Australia observed that it was important toestablish a framework for intersessional consultations. Austriafelt that the Mexican approach would complicate matters. India,supported by the Netherlands, thought the scope of the Mexicanproposal opens all issues to observers. Austria said thatorganizational matters, like the venue of the next meeting, mighthave to be discussed between sessions. Mexico urged flexibility,but not so much that the work of the CSD would be restricted to asmall group.

On paragraph 4, the Netherlands suggested that the high-levelmeeting "should", rather than "could", provide for an open exchangeof views. Brazil asked that outstanding issues relate to the workof the CSD itself.

Mexico said that paragraph 5 was unnecessary. Norway, supported byAustria, thought that an addition of the words "new and" before"emerging policy issues" was in order. Austria cautioned againstoverloading the ministerial segment. Cuba felt that if thisparagraph was kept, the CSD should begin addressing issues stemmingfrom the global approach of Agenda 21. Singapore suggested the term"major and emerging issues" be used. Iceland said that the focus ofthe high-level meeting should be more thematic. Ghazi said thiscould create a problem because the high-level meeting should be anintegral part of the meeting. Denmark, on behalf of the EC,suggested adding a reference to issuing results of the high-levelsegment in a "concise agreed document." China, supported by Germanyproposed text reading, "The outcome of the high-level meeting maybe a concise agreed document." Pakistan and Denmark supported theChinese text, while Australia, Mexico and Austria opposed it.Venezuela did not want the proposed document to lead to prolongednegotiations. The US offered another compromise, "Results should beexpressed as participants deem appropriate."

On paragraph 6, Burkina Faso supported a broader range ofministerial participation. India, supported by Mexico, Venezuela,and the Philippines, suggested "appropriate" ministerialparticipation. Japan proposed deleting the paragraph. Paragraphs 7and 8 were acceptable.

In paragraph 9, Egypt opted for cutting reports which were askedfor, especially the mandate for the Secretary-General to reportannually on Resolutions 42/186 and 187, superseded by the mandateof the CSD. Austria and Iceland asked for clarification on thetypes of reports needed. While the Netherlands favored reports fromthe agencies. Egypt said that he was not fond of reports unlessthey were analytical. In paragraph 10, Algeria drew attention toprocedures whereby ECOSOC might first have to be asked to inviteregional groups to submit reports to be considered by the CSD.Australia counseled that it was desirable to prepare reports on thebasis of comparability.

Paragraph 11 was acceptable. In paragraph 12, the Philippines saidthat the CSD would decide on the arrangements for NGOcontributions. The Netherlands favored meetings with NGOs.Australia proposed, "The Chairman, with the assistance of theBureau and the Secretariat, as the need may arise, should beencouraged to conduct informal intersessional consultations,inter alia along thematic lines, with representatives ofNGOs and others with relevant experience." Mexico asked how theresults of these consultations would be used.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP II

Informal Negotiating Group II, chaired by Arthur Campeau of Canada,considered the draft decision prepared by CSD Chair Razali,"Initial Financial Commitments, financial flows and arrangements togive effect to the decisions of UNCED from all available fundingsources and mechanisms." Many delegations had not see thisdocument, which had been circulated earlier in the day.

The document's preambular paragraphs mention a concern that UNCEDfunding falls significantly short of expectations and that lack offinancial resources are the major constraint to Agenda 21implementation. It invites countries that provide information toOECD to consider redesigning data classification so that it fitswith specific Agenda 21 clusters. The document invites theSecretariat to organize consultative processes for: monitoring andassessment of financial resources for the clusters; monitoringaspects that determine financial flows; and assisting the CSD todevelop a policy framework for mobilizing resources for Agenda 21.It outlines information that governments would be invited toprovide regarding the financial aspects of Agenda 21 and requeststhe various financial institutions to report on theirimplementation activities. The draft recommends GEF replenishmentand restructuring. Finally, it invites governing bodies of UNagencies and programmes to ensure that funds go to implementingAgenda 21.

Colombia, on behalf of the G-77, proposed that this meeting shouldbe used for a general exchange of ideas on the draft. Germanysuggested that the best use of time would be to adjourn and holdregional discussions. The Russian Federation proposed that thepreambular paragraphs could be discussed. Lacking consensus on away to proceed, Campeau adjourned the meeting early to allow theregional groups to discuss the document.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: Twenty UN agencies have been invited to speak onAgenda Item 5, "Progress in incorporating the recommendations ofUNCED in the activities of international organizations, andmeasures undertaken by the ACC to ensure that sustainabledevelopment principles are incorporated into programmes andprocesses within the UN system." If there is time, governments willhave an opportunity to comment.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP I: Negotiating Group I will beginnegotiations this morning with L.4, the Chair's draft decision onthe multi-year thematic work programme. It is expected that thegroup will move paragraph-by- paragraph through the text. If timepermits, the group may begin discussing L.3 Rev. 1, "Guidelines tothe Secretariat for organizing information provided byGovernments."

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP II: Campeau will begin thisafternoon on a first reading of the Chair's draft decision onfinancial commitments, flows and arrangements. Look for a new paperto emerge on technology transfer, based on the discussions thatended yesterday in Plenary on Agenda item 6.

Participants

Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions
NGOs