Report of main proceedings for 21 June 1993

CSD-1

Amb. Razali opened the morning's session of Plenary by resumingdiscussion on progress in the incorporation of UNCEDrecommendations within the UN system (Agenda Item 5). Brazilstressed the crucial importance of liberalization of trade in theachievement of sustainable development. The NGO Task Force on Legaland Institutional Matters said that the leading bodies of relevanttreaties, organizations and the GEF should work together to ensurethe implementation of Agenda 21. She stressed the need forSecretariat and intergovernmental coordination; agency reportsshould follow a format with respect to specific information withregard to Agenda 21; and a working framework should be establishedfor NGO participation in intersessional consultations.

PROGRESS IN THE INCORPORATION OF UNCED RECOMMENDATIONS WITHIN THE UN SYSTEM

Amb. Razali opened the morning's session of Plenary by resumingdiscussion on progress in the incorporation of UNCEDrecommendations within the UN system (Agenda Item 5). Brazilstressed the crucial importance of liberalization of trade in theachievement of sustainable development. The NGO Task Force on Legaland Institutional Matters said that the leading bodies of relevanttreaties, organizations and the GEF should work together to ensurethe implementation of Agenda 21. She stressed the need forSecretariat and intergovernmental coordination; agency reportsshould follow a format with respect to specific information withregard to Agenda 21; and a working framework should be establishedfor NGO participation in intersessional consultations.

FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS, FLOWS AND ARRANGEMENTS

Razali thanked Vice-Chair Arthur Campeau for the work he did on thedraft decision on finance and told governments that he would ensurethat the commitments made in Rio remain valid and not diluted. Hebegan discussion on paragraph 6 of the G-77's draft and said therewas a proposal that might allow resolution on intersessionalmeetings if the term "intergovernmental" is deleted. Colombiaresponded that the G-77 has some difficulties removing the word"intergovernmental". He added that no one is suggesting that thisad hoc committee is a decision-making body yet countries must havea way to speak on the elements to be discussed. Nominations shouldbe made by CSD members and the Bureau can invite other experts tomake contributions. Egypt proposed inserting a phrase to ensurethat the working group reports back to the Commission. Pakistansuggested: "The Commission decides to establish an intersessionalad-hoc open-ended working group composed of experts nominated bygovernments of the Commission to undertake the following tasks:".Denmark, Australia, Norway, the US and the Russian Federation wereable to support both of these proposals. The Philippines modifiedthe end of Pakistan's proposal "decides to assist the Commission inthe following tasks." Norway suggested inserting "on a trial basis"after "establish." Brazil supported the original formulation,including the word "intergovern- mental." The Chair decided tomove on and return to this paragraph later.

Paragraph 7 addresses government reporting on financial aspects ofimplementing Agenda 21. Iceland amended the paragraph to read: "Asfar as possible this information should include an assessment ofthe assistance rendered in relation to programme areas of Agenda21." Australia thought this amendment was too restrictive.Paragraph 8 requests reports from the international financialinstitutions. The US proposed including all relevant UN specializedagencies and relevant organizations in the UN system. Paragraph 9addresses GEF restructuring and replenishment. Denmark, supportedby the US, wanted to delete specific mention of "environmentalproblems at the local and national levels" as this was not agreedto in Rio. Paragraph 10 addresses the need for adequate financialsupport to UN programmes for Agenda 21 implementation.

Colombia then announced new text for paragraph 6: "The Commissiondecides to establish an intersessional ad-hoc open-ended workinggroup, composed of governments who will nominate experts, in orderto assist the Commission to undertake the following tasks:". A newsentence at the end would read: "The Commission will decide on theagenda and the procedures of work of the working group which willreport on its findings to the Commission." Austria did not agreewith this formulation as the language was not clear. Razaliresponded that the UN is no place for clarity of language. Moroccoand Japan asked for the budgetary implications. Australia asked ifthe group will consider contributions from NGOs and otherorganizations and Colombia assured that this was the case. Onsub-paragraph (i), Japan and the US proposed including action bygovernments, in addition to bilateral and multilateral fundingorganizations. A number of delegates disagreed. On sub-paragraph(ii), Australia proposed the inclusion of domestic policies andpriorities in the list of aspects that determine the flow offinancial resources. Many developing countries agreed, providedthat the policies of developed countries are also examined. Swedenwas concerned that this proposal would overburden the workinggroup. Austria warned against duplication of work by UNCTAD andother agencies. On sub-paragraph (iii), Saudi Arabia proposeddeleting "of all aspects" of Agenda 21. Other members of the G-77disagreed. The US proposed a (iii)bis on encouraging governments todevelop sustainable development strategies. Razali announced thathe would prepare a new draft and discussion would resume in themorning.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP I

Negotiating Group I began discussion on the chapeau of paragraph 8of document L.3, guidelines to the Secretariat for organizinginformation provided by government. The word "analytical" was addedafter "reports" that would be prepared by the Secretary-Generalfor future CSD sessions. In sub-paragraph (h) on trade, aspresented by Venezuela, Canada thought a reference to "traderestrictions and distortive policies and measures" should beremoved. Australia said this could raise considerable difficulties.Canada withdrew her request, resulting in completion of the draftdecision.

The group then addressed Agenda Item 5 concerning incorporation ofthe UNCED recommendations in the activities of internationalorganizations. Mexico, supported by Brazil, said the heading shouldmention the Rio agreements or Agenda 21, instead of the principlesof sustainable development. The Chair and France said that thistitle was agreed to during the organizational session. A lengthydebate ensued on paragraphs 1 (taking note of UN actions) and 2 (onthe ACC). The Netherlands said the CSD should know how theSecretary-General would make the IACSD's work effective. Colombia,speaking for itself, said the Netherlands' idea should be looked atin light of paragraphs 6 and 9. France asked if language should beadded on the Statement of Forest Principles. Brazil and Cuba wantedto mention the Rio Declaration. India raised concerns about theconventions. The US proposed that the Commission request ECOSOC torecommend that the ACC develop a UN system-wide strategy foreffective implementation of Agenda 21. India said the CSD shouldrequest the Secretary-General to continue reporting on how theIACSD carries out the task formulated in paragraph 1. Iceland spokeof the need for enhanced coordination.

In paragraph 3, on the need for further measures to incorporatesustainable development principles in the UN system, Uruguay,supported by Austria and the Netherlands, favored a flexible systemso as not to create new bodies. The US cautioned against creatinga new reform study process. France said complementarity should bestressed and overlap avoided. Colombia thought the target specifiedwas intergovernmental machinery, not the UN system. In paragraph 4,on harmonization of governing body policies, Brazil felt that thetext should be streamlined as it went beyond section 38.20 ofAgenda 21. The Chair said the language should be more open thanthat of Agenda 21.

Iceland called for enhanced cooperation with NGOs and other majorgroups in a new paragraph 5. Cuba wanted more information about theproposal's scope. Australia, supported by Canada, agreed with theintention, feeling strongly that mechanisms are needed forimproving coordination with NGOs. The US urged deletion of theoriginal paragraph 5 due to difficulty with estimated costs by UNorgans. India thought that there must be an evaluation ofresources. The Chair offered a compromise, taking into account thediscussions on finance and organizational budget cycles. Indiabrought up new and additional financial resources. The US objected.The Chair offered compromise language dealing with Chapter 33 ofAgenda 21.

Iceland offered six sub-paragraphs on Secretariat guidelines toamend paragraph 6 on agency reporting. The US, backed by India andBrazil, thought that reference to environmental conventions shouldbe deleted. Paragraphs 7 and 8 were easily adopted. In paragraph 9,Iceland favored language to focus on the clusters. NegotiatingGroup I thus completed its work.

PLENARY

The afternoon session of Plenary considered the decisionstransmitted by Negotiating Group I. France, supported by Benin andTunisia, were concerned that the documents under consideration werenot available in all languages. Razali accepted the proposal byBenin that the documents be adopted ad referendum with theprovision that they may be reopened only on problems with thetranslation. The decision on a multi-year thematic programme ofwork for the Commission (E/CN.17/1993/L.4) was adopted, as amendedby Negotiating Group I. The document on issues relating to thefuture work of the Commission (E/CN.17/1993/L.2/ Rev.3) was adoptedwithout comment. In the decision on guidelines to the Secretariatfor organizing information provided by governments(E/CN.17/1993/L.3/Rev.3), Morocco proposed that the words "inparticular" be replaced by "including" in paragraph 7(m) thatmentions "other relevant environment and development issuesincluding those affecting youth, women and other majorgroups." L.3 was adopted without further discussion. Ghazi Jomaaexpressed his heartfelt thanks to his colleagues for theircooperation and collaboration, saying that the participation ofIGOs and NGOs was part of the new era and spirit of the CSD.

INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP II

After introducing the Chair's draft decision on technologytransfer, cooperation and capacity building, Vice-Chair ArthurCampeau asked for general comments and delayed aparagraph-by-paragraph review until after the G-77 discussed thedraft. Hungary said the draft does not address responsibilities ofnational governments and proposed text on this issue. Campeauresponded that paragraphs 3, 4 and 10 address elements of nationalresponsibilities. Japan appealed to the G-77 not to draft its owntext on this issue. Japan also made a number of specific commentson the text, including that the CSD should avoid duplication ofefforts of other UN bodies. He also mentioned that he did notunderstand the reference to market and non-market barriers, asintellectual property rights promotes rather than hinderstechnology transfer.

Korea said the draft missed three points made in Plenary: publicowned technology, incentives and intersessional activities.Australia proposed an additional paragraph on the importance oftechnology transfer on a commercial basis and the need for asupportive legal environment in developing countries. Sweden warnedagainst unnecessary bureaucratization, meetings and reports at theinternational level and said that the text should referencetechnology transfer and cooperation between developing countries.The Russian Federation said that countries undergoing transition tomarket economies should be mentioned. Sri Lanka noted theimportance of collaborative research. Denmark, on behalf of the EC,made a number of specific proposals to the text, including: supportfor UNDP and UNEP's initiatives on capacity building; developmentof a favorable environment for investment in developing countries;and avoiding proliferation of reports.

The US suggested that paragraph 2 include other objectives found inAgenda 21, supported Denmark's amendments to paragraphs 3 and 4,and agreed with Japan's cautionary note in paragraph 5 onmechanisms. The US proposed a new paragraph that would welcome theinitiation of activities to facilitate implementation of Agenda 21,including consultations focussed on issues to be discussed by theCSD, and encourage governments and NGOs to provide information tothe CSD through the Secretariat. Saudi Arabia proposed mentioningthe WMO's initiatives in paragraph 7. Norway suggested that thedocument reference private incentives to transfer technology andthat existing international organizations, together with theSecretariat, be used in the consultations and preparation for eachsession. They proposed that paragraph 10 be amended so thatinformation provided by governments relates to the clusters.Austria said that in paragraph 5 the CSD is assigning itself thetask of promoting environmentally-sound technologies whengovernments should be doing it.

IN THE CORRIDORS

As the negotiated documents for this session are finalized,attention in the corridors has turned to arrangements for thehigh-level meeting scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. It islikely that more than 36 ministers will participate at this openmeeting. There will be no speakers' list and some observers havesaid that they hope that there would be no formal statements inorder to promote dialogue. Razali is scheduled to open the meetingand discussion will continue through Thursday morning. Razali willthen present a summary of the discussion and the group will have toagree on the format and the substance of the document on Thursdayafternoon.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary still has three decisions to beadopted: UN system activities (Item 5), transfer of technology(Item 6), and finance (Item 7). Razali will circulate a new versionof the draft decision on finance and discussions will continue. Arevised version of the draft decision on progress in theincorporation of recommendations of UNCED in the activities ofinternational organizations should be issued this morning and thePlenary should take it up later in the day.

NEGOTIATING GROUP II: Discussion will continue this morningon the draft decision on progress achieved in facilitating andpromoting the transfer of environmentally sound technologies,cooperation and capacity-building.

Participants

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

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