Report of main proceedings for 6 May 2003
Delegates convened in two parallel working groups in the morning and afternoon to continue negotiating the Chair’s draft decision on the future programme, organization and methods of work of the Commission. Working Group I discussed the section of the draft decision on the future organization of work, while Working Group II considered the sections on enhancing contributions of the UN system and Major Groups. An informal consultation also took place in the morning to discuss the draft decision on preparations for the international meeting on the 10-year review of implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS).
WORKING GROUP I
The Working Group began a second reading of the Chair’s draft decision, which had been revised in a compilation text to include delegates’ suggestions from Monday.
FUTURE ORGANIZATION OF WORK: The G-77/ CHINA said it preferred not to overload the initial paragraphs with wording that could be included in the preamble, which has yet to be introduced. He suggested moving the EU’s and Norway’s amendments on "internationally agreed development goals" and "coordination with the follow up of the Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) to the preamble. The EU insisted on seeing the preamble before agreeing to this, and the US objected to mentioning MDGs.
Many delegates agreed that the Norwegian reference to the CSD as a high-level forum for sustainable development should be integrated in the first paragraph, which establishes what the CSD’s organization of work should achieve. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION added a reference to CSD’s role "within the UN system." The G-77/CHINA proposed adding "as appropriate" to text proposed by the US on sharing best practices and on partnerships. However, the US objected to this. The EU and REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported the US text, with the EU adding reference to "voluntary peer reviews." This was followed by an inconclusive discussion on the placement of texts currently in paragraph 1 of the compilation draft.
A new paragraph proposed by the US on the two-year work cycle was debated at length, with the EU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, NORWAY and RUSSIAN FEDERATION opposing use of the word "action" to describe review and policy years. The location and duration of CSD sessions were also discussed, with SWITZERLAND, CANADA and NORWAY voicing preference for them to occur "normally in New York." Several delegations objected to the REPUBLIC OF KOREA’s proposal to restrict the CSD sessions to "not more than one week."
In the afternoon, discussions focused on the Secretary-General’s State of Implementation Report for the CSD Review Session, with delegates debating whether it should be as broad as originally set out in the Chair’s draft, or, as CANADA proposed, simply a "concise overview of progress." The G-77/CHINA said the report should shed light on all issue "clusters." The question of where the report would draw information from elicited some divergent views, with the US proposing a wide range of sources, including practitioners and partnership implementers, and the G-77/CHINA insisting on official sources and regions. The EU emphasized the difficulties of compiling a comprehensive list and the US offered to apply the term "as appropriate" to the list. The G-77/CHINA, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, objected to mentioning the "local and subnational" level in the context of identifying constraints to implementation. The US, with others, said it should not contain a detailed "analysis and evaluation" but rather a "review" of progress on implementation. SWITZERLAND, supported by CANADA, explained its suggestion to place regional implementation forums before the Policy Session, while the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and EU stressed the logic of holding them before the Review Session.
On the outcomes of the Review Session, the EU, with NORWAY, proposed a Chair’s summary of deliberations and a compilation of possible approaches and best practice models. Opposing this, the G-77/CHINA and MEXICO suggested that the outcome should be a report containing identified constraints and obstacles in the process of implementing Agenda 21 and the JPOI. Supporting the idea of a Chair’s summary, the US questioned the EU’s proposal for a compilation of best practice models in the Review Session. In addition to the Review Session, the US proposed holding an expert action forum. JAPAN supported the suggestion, while the G-77/CHINA opposed it.
On text outlining the outcomes of the CSD Policy Session, the G-77/CHINA opposed references to the identification of new issues, challenges and opportunities, as well as references to the Secretary-General producing "policy" reports.
WORKING GROUP II
On Tuesday morning, delegates began discussing a compilation text incorporating delegates’ amendments from the previous day.
ENHANCING CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE UN SYSTEM: The US, supported by CANADA, proposed deleting this section on the grounds that it added nothing new and merely paraphrased the JPOI. However, the EU and G-77/CHINA insisted on its retention. In a paragraph calling on all relevant organizations, UN funds, programmes and regional commissions, and financial institutions, to be actively involved in the CSD’s work on the JPOI, the US proposed referring to paragraph 140(a) of the JPOI, which addresses similar issues. He also proposed deleting a list specifying further measures to implement the JPOI. The EU suggested referring to all of paragraph 140, rather than just 140(a).
Delegates next discussed text requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report outlining the UN system’s response to the JPOI. The G-77/CHINA and US were unable to agree to an EU proposal to insert text highlighting the UN’s response to those areas where there is no clear lead agency, such as water, energy and consumption and production.
MAJOR GROUPS: Regarding the section on Major Groups, delegates agreed to shorten the title to "Enhancing Contributions of Major Groups." On the chapeau of a paragraph deciding that contributions from Major Groups should be further enhanced through a variety of measures, the G-77/CHINA opposed a proposal supported by AUSTRALIA, the US, EU and others to broaden the reference to include "other relevant stakeholders." There was also divergence over an EU suggestion to refer to the "practices" as well as the "rules of procedure" governing the participation of Major Groups, with JAPAN, the US, G-77/CHINA, and others opposing this addition.
In the afternoon, delegates discussed a subparagraph supporting the strengthening of Major Group involvement in CSD activities, including the high-level segments. After some discussion, the group accepted a proposal by SWITZERLAND to specify that this involvement would include holding "an interactive dialogue" during the high-level segments. However, delegates were unable to agree on how the text should guide Major Groups in determining their representation in the segment, with the G-77/ CHINA, BRAZIL and SAUDI ARABIA urging reference to the participation of "high-level" Major Groups representatives. CANADA, MEXICO, SWITZERLAND and several others preferred a less prescriptive formulation calling for "appropriate" representation, and the EU suggested a previously used formula calling for "designated authorized representatives." Delegates were also unable to agree on a proposal by the US to insert text at the end of the subparagraph on the need to reach out to "other relevant stakeholders," in addition to Major Groups. While the EU and RUSSIAN FEDERATION approved this addition, the G-77/ CHINA rejected it.
On a subparagraph promoting the active involvement of Major Groups in implementation, the G-77/CHINA requested that implementation should apply specifically to Agenda 21 and the JPOI, and CANADA proposed adding the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. SWITZERLAND stressed the importance of Major Groups’ role in policy dialogue. Regarding text urging a regional balance in Major Group representation, delegates agreed to wording calling for "better balance and better representation of Major Groups from all regions."
On the involvement of Major Groups in partnership-related and capacity building activities, MEXICO suggested that the text should refer to participation "at all levels." The G-77/CHINA expressed concern that this language could imply involvement at a high-level. Delegates also agreed to a US proposal to mention "partnerships fairs."
On a paragraph proposing that "other constituencies" as well as Major Groups should be actively involved in implementing the JPOI and CSD’s work, the G-77/CHINA preferred deleting this. In response, the EU offered a compromise proposal to delete the paragraph while inserting a reference to "other relevant stakeholders" in an earlier subparagraph. The G-77/CHINA said it would respond to this proposal on Wednesday morning.
INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON SIDS
Chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), this informal meeting took place on Tuesday morning to begin a paragraph-by-paragraph consideration of the draft decision on preparations for the international meeting on the 10-year review of the implementation of the BPOA in 2004. Recalling General Assembly resolution A/57/262 convening the 10-year review, FIJI, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, stressed that "time is of the essence," and called for the full participation of all stakeholders in the 10-year review process. He also noted that the dates and venues for the three regional meetings leading to an inter-regional meeting were yet to be finalized.
Expressing general satisfaction with the draft, the EU requested clarification on the purpose of the three-day preparatory meeting proposed for CSD-12 and, with JAPAN and the US, sought clarification on budgetary matters. The Secretariat highlighted insufficient budgetary savings for the preparatory meetings, and noted that it would seek voluntary contributions to cover the shortfall. The G-77/CHINA said it expected CSD-12 to finalize preparations for the international meeting, including its agenda. He also requested that CSD-12 consider a synthesis report by the Secretary-General based on recommendations from the regional and inter-regional meetings, national assessment reports, and expert workshops, as well as from the international donor and development community. Chair Ashe proposed new language clarifying these matters, and said a revised draft would be ready by Tuesday afternoon for consideration on Wednesday morning.
IN THE CORRIDORS
"Erratic" and "ponderous" were words being applied by some observers to describe the negotiations on Tuesday. In Working Group I, a number of participants left the meeting complaining of time wasted due to repetitious interventions and discussions that, in the words of one delegate, "bore a remarkable resemblance to a dog chasing its own tail."
Meanwhile, Working Group II’s Co-Chair Bruno Stagno was also expressing concern at the "scant progress" made by the end of the day’s session, warning that a tougher approach may have to be taken by the Co-Chairs if agreement is to be reached before the official deadline for negotiations of 1:00 pm on Thursday. A number of Major Groups representatives were suggesting that delegates might have to be more flexible and less inclined to "split hairs" if night sessions are to be avoided on Wednesday. Evidence of squabbles within the G-77/China were also causing some concerns.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: This working group will meet in Conference Room 2 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and in Conference Room 4 from 3:00-6:00 pm to continue negotiating sections of the Co-Chair’s compilation text on the future organization of work and the multi-year programme of work.
WORKING GROUP II: This working group will convene in Conference Room 6 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and from 3:00-6:00 pm 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.
INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON SIDS: An informal meeting will be held in Conference Room C from 10:00 am to finalize discussions on the draft decision on the preparations for the international meeting to review implementation of the BPOA.
PRESENTATION ON THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FRESHWATER : A presentation on the International Year of Freshwater will take place in Conference Room 4 from 10:00 am.