Report of main proceedings for 5 May 2003
Delegates convened in two parallel working groups in the morning and afternoon to begin negotiating the Chair’s draft decision on the future programme, organization and methods of work of the Commission. Working Group I discussed sections of the draft decision on the future organization of work and the multi-year work programme, while Working Group II considered reporting, enhancing the contribution of the UN system, Major Groups and other constituencies, and the CSD’s role as a focal point for partnerships. Delegates also met in Plenary to discuss preparations for the 10-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the sustainable development of small island developing states (SIDS).
On Monday afternoon, delegates convened in Plenary to discuss the preparatory process for the 10-year review of the BPOA. Many speakers thanked the outgoing chair of AOSIS, Tuiloma Neroni Slade (Samoa), for his contribution to the SIDS cause. JoAnne DiSano, DESA, drew attention to General Assembly resolution 57/262 on the urgent need for full and effective implementation of the BPOA, and reported on the Secretariat’s work to support the preparatory process.
MAURITIUS, speaking for AOSIS, indicated his understanding that the UN would provide sufficient resources to enable two representatives from each SIDS to participate in the regional preparatory meetings. FIJI, on behalf of the PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM, stressed the importance of national reporting in the review process. SEYCHELLES, for the AIMS GROUP (Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas SIDS), said its members lack the institutional arrangements of other SIDS regions, and requested additional technical assistance. NAURU supported strengthening the UN SIDS Unit.
SAMOA said the preparatory process should enhance understanding of SIDS vulnerabilities, as well as the need for improved trade relations, long-term institutional capacities, access to investment capital, and collaboration mechanisms. The INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES stressed the need to focus on disaster mitigation and preparedness, and on capacity building, and called for the donor community to fully engage in the BPOA review process.
WORKING GROUP I
In their preliminary comments on the draft decision, many countries welcomed Chair Moosa’s text as a sound basis for negotiation. The G-77/CHINA said the overarching cross-cutting theme must address durable, reliable, and predictable means of implementation. JAPAN, supported by NORWAY, called for an assessment of the budgetary implications of the programme of work. The EU voiced its preference for a long-term work programme with flexibility to address emerging issues. He also called for sharing experiences on NSSD implementation, including voluntary peer reviews. The US, AUSTRALIA and CANADA underscored the need to clearly identify the outcomes of each CSD session.
The working group then proceeded to a paragraph-by-paragraph reading of the text. The G-77/CHINA, supported by the EU, proposed adding "Agenda 21 and the JPOI Implementation Track" to the draft decision’s title. Regarding the section on the future organization of work, the EU said the CSD should contribute to implementing internationally-agreed development goals. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, JAPAN and the US suggested text restricting the length of CSD sessions to one week. The US stressed the "action" aspects of review and policy years, and explained its notion of experts’ action forums. He also suggested streamlining the calendar of meetings. The G-77/CHINA proposed references to the CSD focusing on overall progress, constraints and obstacles in implementing selected "clusters" of issues. He also suggested reorganizing a paragraph on the work of the CSD subsidiary machinery to reflect the JPOI more accurately. There was a general view that the section dealing with regional implementation forums needed streamlining, and several suggestions were made on review meetings at different levels, including on the cooperation of international financial institutions (IFIs) and the WTO. UGANDA suggested references to the subregional level, with the EU adding local and subnational levels.
On the CSD’s high-level segment, the US, supported by the EU, proposed that it should enhance implementation and offer guidance for future action-oriented measures. JAPAN and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the high-level segment should only take place in the policy year, while CANADA and AUSTRALIA supported deleting references to the precise scheduling of the high-level segment. The EU noted that IFIs and the WTO should also be involved in these segments.
On the relationship between ECOSOC and the CSD, the US, supported by several others, voiced concern with the current text and proposed using wording from the JPOI instead. SWITZERLAND said sustainable development themes should be addressed in the ECOSOC substantive session, and not its ministerial segment.
On the Annex outlining the multi-year programme of work, the G-77/CHINA proposed a clustering approach that would allow for the consideration of all issues identified in Agenda 21 and the JPOI. He proposed that the first cycle address water and sanitation, human settlements, land, agriculture, rural development, drought and desertification. The EU proposed that the programme of work covers the main themes and overarching objectives of the WSSD, namely poverty eradication, unsustainable consumption and production, and protecting the natural resource base, and include corporate and social responsibility. He called for a greater balance between the agreed themes and expressed a preference for three issues to be addressed in each cycle. JAPAN suggested adding water and disasters to the cross-cutting theme in the proposed first cycle of work and, supported by the US, urged removing the reference to a comprehensive review cycle in the tenth year. The US, REPUBLIC OF KOREA and SWITZERLAND supported the Chair’s proposal for addressing a single issue per cycle.
WORKING GROUP II
In the initial exchange of views, the US stressed that guidance provided during last week’s high-level segment should be contained in the decision, and noted the absence of outcome-oriented language. The EU welcomed the draft as a solid basis for negotiations.
Delegates then discussed the section on reporting, with the EU suggesting amending the title and text to refer to "monitoring and reporting," rather than simply "reporting." Arguing that it created a dual reporting system, AUSTRALIA proposed deleting text highlighting the importance of reporting on progress to both regional implementation forums and global CSD meetings. The EU preferred retaining a reference to regional-level reporting. The US, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND and JAPAN stressed the need to avoid duplication and called for reducing the reporting burden. NEW ZEALAND also stressed enhancing existing subregional reporting mechanisms.
The G-77/CHINA requested clarification on the types of reporting referred to in the text, and proposed restructuring the section into four parts outlining the requirements for national, regional, and global reports, and the role of the Secretary-General’s reports.
The EU proposed a new paragraph clarifying how a reporting system should enable the Commission to address the relevant requirements in the JPOI. He said the system should: assist the Commission in reviewing and monitoring progress and fostering the coherence of implementation, initiatives and partnerships; provide a forum for analysis and exchange of experiences; and consider more effective use of national reports and regional experience. Supporting the EU, SWITZERLAND stressed the importance of reporting in assessing progress in implementation, and called for exploration of innovative reporting mechanisms, such as peer reviews. The EU further proposed that reporting should include inputs from the local and subnational levels and from the Bretton Woods Institutions and MEAs.
In the afternoon, delegates discussed the section on enhancing contributions of UN funds, programmes, specialized agencies and other organizations. Observing that this section paraphrased Chapter XI of the JPOI and added nothing new, the US, supported by AUSTRALIA, suggested deleting this part of the draft. The EU and MEXICO expressed concern at this "drastic" suggestion, and proposed a number of alterations to the existing text. On a paragraph outlining areas where the UN system should undertake further measures, the G-77/CHINA suggested a new sentence urging "information exchange and knowledge sharing on all aspects of the implementation of Agenda 21 and the JPOI."
On enhancing contributions of Major Groups and other constituencies, the G-77/CHINA, opposed by SWITZERLAND, CANADA, and the US, suggested specifying that Major Groups should only be involved in the area of implementation. The G-77/ CHINA also proposed deleting a paragraph concerning involvement of other constituencies, such as disabled persons, consumer groups and educators, while the EU suggested further involving parliamentarians, media and the elderly. The US proposed substituting "Major Groups" with "civil groups," so as to allow for engagement of a broader range of society.
Delegates concluded the afternoon’s discussion by considering the CSD’s role as the focal point for partnerships. In addition to just monitoring existing partnerships, the EU, US and AUSTRALIA proposed that the CSD mobilize or catalyze new ones. MEXICO suggested deleting a paragraph outlining the CSD’s role in providing a monitoring mechanism for partnerships, arguing that this is an excessive burden on the Commission. SWITZERLAND and the US proposed text endorsing the Bali Guiding Principles as the general framework for establishing partnerships. The G-77/ CHINA circulated a non-paper outlining its position on partnerships.
The EU, supported by JAPAN, but opposed by the US and NEW ZEALAND, suggested language requesting that reports by partnerships be provided biennially. The US, supported by NEW ZEALAND, said that this reporting should be voluntary. The EU also proposed language requesting the Secretariat to further develop guidelines on reporting.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As delegates engaged in the detailed task of paragraph-by-paragraph negotiations on Monday, a number of participants were commenting on the "brisk pace" set by the CSD working groups. As some had predicted, after spending the weekend honing group positions, delegations were eager to populate the text with their views. Developing countries insisted that the CSD focus on obstacles and constraints to implementation, which to most observers appeared to mean placing financial resources at the top of the agenda. These countries also unveiled a revamped version of the Commission’s work cycles - a "solid proposal," in the words of a spokesperson. Meanwhile, several developed countries were stressing the need for pragmatic outcomes of the Commission’s work, focusing, in particular, on best practices and partnerships. Noting that these two visions of the work programme bore scant resemblance to one another, several participants felt the Chair’s matrix had done little to bridge the gap. Indeed, judging by the discussions in Working Group I, some argued that it may have added to the confusion on an issue that might, in the long run, prove to be the main stumbling block for this session.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The draft decision on SIDS will be presented in Plenary in Conference Room 4. Check the Journal for exact times.
WORKING GROUP I: This Working Group will meet in Conference Room 4 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and later in the afternoon to continue negotiating on sections in the Chair’s draft decision on the future organization of work and the multi-year programme of work. Check the Journal for exact times.
WORKING GROUP II: This Working Group will convene in Conference Room 6 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and later in the afternoon to continue negotiating sections in the Chair’s draft decision on reporting, enhancing contributions of the UN system, Major Groups and other constituencies, and partnerships. Check the Journal for exact times.