Report of main proceedings for 18 June 1993

CSD-1

Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai introduced the documents forAgenda Item 5 (A/CN.17/1993/8, 9, 13 and 14) and said that theInter-Agency Committee for Sustainable Development (IACSD) met andworked out a process for sharing responsibilities for Agenda 21implementation. During the course of the day, 22 UN agencies andrelated organizations gave presentations. A number of agenciesmentioned the need for greater coordination and cooperation withinthe UN system as well as with NGOs and the private sector. Manyreported they are currently reviewing activities in relation toAgenda 21.

UNCTAD is working on linkages between commodity policy, environmentand development. UNICEF said that follow-up to the World Summit forChildren is encouraging. UNEP has placed its priorities in threeareas: capacity building and partnerships with other UN agencies,IGOs NGOs and the private sector; catalyzing responses toenvironmental problems by bringing governments together; andsensing the environment. The World Bank's actions on Agenda 21include: IDA replenishment; US$2.2 billion to 20 countries forenvironmental concerns; ensuring that lending is environmentallyand socially benign; and partnerships with other organizations andNGOs. UNDP described its new Sustainable Development Network andCapacity 21.

UNFPA is developing an analytical framework to guide linkagesbetween population, environment and development. WHO is developinga new strategy on health and the environment. UNESCO is promoting:education for sustainable development; ecosystem management; andsupport for training and capacity building. UNU is establishing awater resources center in Ontario and a center on governance inBarcelona. GATT said its priority is a successful outcome to theUruguay Round. UNIFEM called for gender balance in institutionsimplementing Agenda 21. ILO is collaborating on the programme onchemical safety, completing a convention on the prevention ofindustrial accidents and has developed its own Agenda 21. The IMOis focussing on degradation of the marine environment from offshoreoil and gas platforms and waste from ships. UNIDO is assisting inthe implementation of the Montreal Protocol and other conventions.IAEA is focussing on capacity building and IFAD is adjusting itslending portfolio in response to Agenda 21. IMF is introducingpoverty alleviation concerns into adjustment programmes. UN DrugControl Programme emphasized the relationship between the drugtrade and the environment. The World Food Programme is increasingassistance for disaster mitigation. OECD is focussing on sharingexperiences of OECD members in specific policy areas, peer reviews,and data indicators.

When the governments had the opportunity to comment, France,supported by Nigeria and India, suggested that agencies makestatements during the substantive discussions on issues that fallwithin their mandates, rather than in the middle of an interminablediscussion of agency activities. The US said the priority is toimplement a system-wide sustainable development strategy, includingrestructuring and reallocation of resources. The EC said thatfuture CSD sessions should allow more dialogue with the agencies.The Nordics suggested that interagency coordination would beenhanced if countries took a consistent position in governingbodies. Egypt said the IACSD should address the allocation of tasksand determine why there is overlap. China stressed increasedcoordination and cooperation on the basis of comparative advantage.

PROGRESS IN THE INCORPORATION OF UNCED RECOMMENDATIONS WITHIN THE UN SYSTEM

Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai introduced the documents forAgenda Item 5 (A/CN.17/1993/8, 9, 13 and 14) and said that theInter-Agency Committee for Sustainable Development (IACSD) met andworked out a process for sharing responsibilities for Agenda 21implementation. During the course of the day, 22 UN agencies andrelated organizations gave presentations. A number of agenciesmentioned the need for greater coordination and cooperation withinthe UN system as well as with NGOs and the private sector. Manyreported they are currently reviewing activities in relation toAgenda 21.

UNCTAD is working on linkages between commodity policy, environmentand development. UNICEF said that follow-up to the World Summit forChildren is encouraging. UNEP has placed its priorities in threeareas: capacity building and partnerships with other UN agencies,IGOs NGOs and the private sector; catalyzing responses toenvironmental problems by bringing governments together; andsensing the environment. The World Bank's actions on Agenda 21include: IDA replenishment; US$2.2 billion to 20 countries forenvironmental concerns; ensuring that lending is environmentallyand socially benign; and partnerships with other organizations andNGOs. UNDP described its new Sustainable Development Network andCapacity 21.

UNFPA is developing an analytical framework to guide linkagesbetween population, environment and development. WHO is developinga new strategy on health and the environment. UNESCO is promoting:education for sustainable development; ecosystem management; andsupport for training and capacity building. UNU is establishing awater resources center in Ontario and a center on governance inBarcelona. GATT said its priority is a successful outcome to theUruguay Round. UNIFEM called for gender balance in institutionsimplementing Agenda 21. ILO is collaborating on the programme onchemical safety, completing a convention on the prevention ofindustrial accidents and has developed its own Agenda 21. The IMOis focussing on degradation of the marine environment from offshoreoil and gas platforms and waste from ships. UNIDO is assisting inthe implementation of the Montreal Protocol and other conventions.IAEA is focussing on capacity building and IFAD is adjusting itslending portfolio in response to Agenda 21. IMF is introducingpoverty alleviation concerns into adjustment programmes. UN DrugControl Programme emphasized the relationship between the drugtrade and the environment. The World Food Programme is increasingassistance for disaster mitigation. OECD is focussing on sharingexperiences of OECD members in specific policy areas, peer reviews,and data indicators.

When the governments had the opportunity to comment, France,supported by Nigeria and India, suggested that agencies makestatements during the substantive discussions on issues that fallwithin their mandates, rather than in the middle of an interminablediscussion of agency activities. The US said the priority is toimplement a system-wide sustainable development strategy, includingrestructuring and reallocation of resources. The EC said thatfuture CSD sessions should allow more dialogue with the agencies.The Nordics suggested that interagency coordination would beenhanced if countries took a consistent position in governingbodies. Egypt said the IACSD should address the allocation of tasksand determine why there is overlap. China stressed increasedcoordination and cooperation on the basis of comparative advantage.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP I

The first item on the agenda was adoption of L.4 on the multi-yearthematic programme of work. Then debate began on L.3, "Guidelinesto the Secretariat for organizing information provided bygovernments." The first three paragraphs, dealing with periodiccommunications or national reports on the implementation of Agenda21, voluntarily provided by governments, were accepted. A lengthydebate ensued on paragraph 4, which deals with a "standardizedformat" and "guidelines." Some delegations, including Iceland, feltthat the Secretariat's work should be free of complications andthat the process of reporting should be expeditious forgovernments. Denmark and Germany favored a standardized format tobe used by the Secretariat and governments. India suggested usingthe format of Agenda 21. The Chair said that he would issue a newformulation on Saturday. On paragraph 5, India suggested that 9months lead time for requesting reports from governments was toolong. The US proposed asking governments to identify a contactpoint to facilitate Secretariat communication with governments onreports.

Changes in paragraph 6, the guidelines to the Secretariat in thepreparation of reports, included Denmark's addition of a referenceto major groups in 6(b), a debate over the US proposal to deletethe mention of non-sustainable lifestyles in 6(d); Iceland'saddition of a reference to "combatting poverty and attention todemographic sustainability" in 6(d); and Norway's suggestion toreference assessment of needs and priorities in 6(j). Denmark andSingapore said that there should be a sub-paragraph on theenvironmental impact of trade policies. Interested parties wereasked to consult on this matter. Finally, 6(m) was amended to read,"Other relevant environment and development issues, in particularthose affecting youth, women and other major groups."

The Chair, Ghazi Jomaa, then returned to L.2, "Issues relating tothe future work of the Commission." Paragraph 3 was deleted due toproblems with the phrase "pre-sessional consultations," which couldconstrain the Bureau. The last sentence of paragraph 6, regardingthe issuance of a document by the high-level meeting, was left inbrackets for the ministers to consider.

Discussion continued Saturday morning on document L.3/Rev.1.Brazil, supported by the US and India, wanted to ensure that thefocus of paragraph 7 was "to facilitate the task of theSecretariat" whereas Australia, supported by Denmark, said that thereporting guidelines should facilitate the tasks of both thegovernments and the Secretariat. The Chair said he wouldreformulate the paragraph to address these concerns.

Paragraphs 8, 9 and 10 address the issues of Secretariat reportsfor future sessions of the CSD. A lengthy discussion ensued duringwhich questions were raised about the number of reports they wereasking the Secretariat to prepare and the guidelines orrestrictions being proposed. Egypt suggested that the Secretariatprepare only one report, whereas the EC said it was essential tohave an overview report and thematic reports relating to theprogramme of work. India proposed a compromise that reflectedconcerns about the analytical and substantive nature of the reportsas well as the need for separate reports. A number of countriesalso proposed amendments to the guidelines.

Paragraph 11 was deleted. Iceland mentioned that paragraph 12 wasnot clear since it addressed both the sharing of experiences andthe development of indicators. The Chair assured the group that theSecretariat would understand it. There was little discussion on thefinal two paragraphs. The Chair then asked the group if they couldaccept the reformulation of a few paragraphs discussed the previousday, as presented in L.4/Rev.2. Paragraph 5 on the submission ofnational reports was approved with an amendment that governmentsare encouraged to notify, "if possible," the Secretary-General ona point of contact. Paragraph 7(d) was amended to read "Measurestaken, including indicators, and progress achieved to reachsustainable production and consumption patterns andlifestyles, to combat poverty, and to limit the demographicimpact on the life-supporting capacity of the planet." A newparagraph 7(h) on trade was proposed on the basis of consultationsheld the previous day. Several delegates wanted time to review thisparagraph.

The Chair then moved to document L.2 on issues relating to thefuture work of the Commission. Egypt, on behalf of Australia,Iceland and the US, proposed paragraph 9 bis, requested theSecretariat to prepare analytical summaries of reports from UNagencies that are highly technical or specialized in nature. Therewas some confusion on the implications of this paragraph. Severalamendments were suggested and the Chair said that he would presenta reformulation on Monday.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP II

Work began on the first five paragraphs of L.5, the draft decisionon financial commitments, flows and arrangements. During thediscussion, the G-77 tabled its own draft text for paragraph 1-5.On paragraph 1, which expresses concern that funding falls short ofexpectations, Austria said that financial flows cannot bedisassociated from projects. The US added that the paragraph shouldbe better balanced. The G-77 proposed the word "requirements" toreplace "expectations". Paragraph 2, addressing levels of funding,received comments that included: the text should not concentrate oncommitments of donor countries and ignore national funding sources(Austria); the lack of financial resources is only one of the majorrestraints (US, Japan, EC, Russia); the need to acknowledge thehigh level of assistance from some countries (Norway); the word"reaffirm" should be used in relation to commitments for 0.7% ofGNP for ODA (US); and mention that the CSD is "disappointed" that"commitments have not be fulfilled" (G-77).

In paragraph 3 on the international economic climate, the followingsuggestions were made: include reference to the quality andeffectiveness of development assistance (US, Japan); emphasize therole of domestic resources (Japan, Denmark, Russia); recommendchanges and more equity in the trading system, resolution of theGATT round and the negative impact of SAPs (G-77). Colombia, India,Cuba and China said the reference to trade was essential. The G-77proposed paragraph 3 bis that welcomes debt relief. Suggestions toparagraph 4, which urges financial and other institutions tointegrate sustainable development in their programmes included: theparagraph should be more precise in its criticism (Austria); UNagencies be included (Norway); and more resources, withoutconditionality, should be provided to developing countries toimplement Agenda 21 (G-77). Russia recalled the Agenda 21preambular paragraph on economies in transition. Pakistantransmitted NGO suggestions for amendments to L.5.

On Saturday, the group spent the afternoon discussing paragraph 6of L.5 on the proposed CSD consultative process to review financialresources available for the implementation of Agenda 21. The Chair,Arthur Campeau, prefaced the day's discussion by acknowledging thatconsensus might not be reached on the important issue of findingthe most effective form of a consultative process. He added thatthe Commission might have to seek guidance from ministers on this.Colombia, on behalf of the G-77 and China, proposed that the CSDestablish an "intersessional intergovernmental ad-hoc open-endedworking group" of experts to assist the CSD, coordinated by theBureau, with financial and technical support from theSecretary-General. Austria expressed concern that the CSD shouldnot give away its most important task of reviewing the adequacy offinancial resources by decentralizing it into a permanentconsultative process. The US, supported by Japan, Australia, Norwayand Iceland, argued for flexibility to allow for innovation,effectiveness and a variety of approaches. The G-77 expressedconcern that the consultative process should not be delegated tothe Secretariat, fearing that they would lose contact with theprocess and be presented with surprises on the eve of the nextsession. The EC suggested the possibility of regional consultativeprocesses. India responded that the trend is toward globalizationof decision making related to sustainable development and thereshould not be regional consultations. Austria was concerned thatthe CSD would become superficial if it met once a year andsupported the value of regional inputs.

One question brought up was whether the working group should beintergovernmental and, if so, would it take political decisions orbe technically oriented. The US argued for procedural guidelinesand timeframes within a non-exclusive intergovernmental process andasked about the need for additional resources for this process. TheSecretariat will report back Tuesday on budgetary implications. ThePhilippines said that instead of amorphous consultations organizedby the Secretary-General, an intergovernmental process could bemore transparent.

The group took a short recess while governments held informalconsultations in the room. After resuming, Campeau explained thatthere were concerns about the implications of the word"intergovernmental" in the G-77 proposal and that some wereconcerned that setting up a "second committee" of the CSD wouldleave little for the CSD to do. Denmark proposed removing"intergovernmental" from the G-77 text. Canada said that theproposed group should include agencies and other bodies that canprovide information without circumventing governments. Colombiaresponded that the G-77 did not want the intergovernmental expertsgroup to be political. He added that this paragraph should contain:1) the mandate to set up the working group; and 2) the terms ofreference and framework for the group.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary will convene under Amb. Razali thismorning to finish work on the draft decision on finance (L.5). At3:00 pm the Plenary is expected to meet briefly to take action onthe following draft decisions negotiated in Group I: Issuesrelating to the future work of the Commission (L.2); Exchange ofinformation regarding the implementation of Agenda 21 at thenational level (L.3); and Adoption of a multi-year thematicprogramme of work (L.4). The Plenary will then resume itsdiscussion on finance.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP I: This group will meet thismorning to discuss the draft decision on Agenda Item 5, progress inthe incorporation of recommendations of UNCED in the activities ofinternational organizations. This draft decision was prepared bythe Chair and distributed to the group on Saturday.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP II: This group will meet in theafternoon to begin discussions on the draft decision on Agenda Item6, transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation andcapacity building.

Participants

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

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