Report of main proceedings for 19 April 2005
On Tuesday, delegates focused on CSD-13’s outcome document. In the morning, participants consulted informally and convened briefly in plenary to discuss how to proceed in negotiating the Chair’s draft elements for CSD-13’s outcome. As a result of these discussions, a revised Chair’s negotiating text was distributed in the early afternoon, and delegates consulted within their groups to discuss the text. Parallel sessions began later in the afternoon to negotiate different sections of the text, with talks continuing in small informal groups late into the evening.
NEGOTIATIONS ON THE CHAIR’S REVISED TEXT
Delegates convened in a plenary session late Tuesday morning following lengthy informal consultations on how to proceed in negotiating CSD-13’s outcome document. Chair Ashe observed that delegates had received a 26-page compilation text late on Monday night, which incorporated countries’ amendments. Noting that it can take several hours to discuss just one paragraph, he indicated that it was extremely unlikely that the entire compilation text could be negotiated in the limited time available. He therefore proposed that he prepare a revised Chair’s text based on the suggestions contained in the compilation. He explained that this text would be available by early afternoon, and would be considerably shorter than the compilation text.
Delegates agreed to this suggestion. The EU indicated that, while it would have preferred to negotiate the compilation text, it could accept the Chair’s proposal. The US thanked Chair Ashe for suggesting this solution. Noting that the high-level segment is due to begin on Wednesday, and that ministers and their discussions should be the focus of CSD-13 from that time on, the US urged that a deadline for ending these negotiations be set and that talks should not be allowed to continue through the entire week. The G-77/CHINA said it could support any arrangements that resulted in a “quality document.” AUSTRALIA supported text that would regain the “clarity and economy” in the Chair’s original document.
The Chair’s revised text was distributed at 1:20 pm, and delegates convened informally in their respective negotiating groups to consider it. At 4:20 pm, delegates reconvened in parallel sessions to discuss the revised text. One session addressed the sections on CSD-13’s thematic issues, while the other dealt with the remainder of the text, which included the preamble, and sections on interlinkages and cross-cutting issues, and on international institutional arrangements for monitoring and follow-up of CSD-13 decisions.
PREAMBLE AND NON-THEMATIC SECTIONS: In the parallel session on the preamble and the non-thematic sections, which was chaired by CSD Vice-Chairs Elbakly and Mammadova, delegates were asked to negotiate on all parts of the text not contained in the three sections covering the thematic issues. The EU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA, JAPAN, MEXICO and others expressed their general satisfaction with the text.
On the preambular section, JAPAN proposed reinstating a direct reference to the Hyogo Declaration, and REPUBLIC OF KOREA suggested adding text underscoring the role of Regional Commissions in reaching the goals set under the JPOI and the MDGs. The G-77/CHINA expressed concern about references to the Paris Declaration and the matrix and, opposed by the US, suggested inserting some language from the compilation document issued on Monday evening. The EU proposed reinstating a reference to future generations. KAZAKHSTAN suggested inserting text on Landlocked Developing States and Small Island Developing States. SWITZERLAND, opposed by the US, suggested referencing the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report. Delegates agreed to change the references to the “Millennium Review Summit” to the “High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly 2005.”
On the first operative paragraph, which relates CSD-13’s policy decisions to the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, the text was modified so as not to prejudge the process followed at the High-level Plenary Meeting. However, disagreement persisted between the G-77/CHINA and the EU on how the CSD-13 outcome should be recommended to the High-level Plenary Meeting, with the EU preferring to note that it represents a “significant” contribution.
On the second operative paragraph, which emphasizes a range of policy approaches relevant to CSD-13’s three themes, CANADA proposed changes to the text, rearranging the subparagraphs, and rationalizing language on ODA. The US and NORWAY supported this approach, and the EU said it could accommodate it. The G-77/CHINA cautioned against losing important text in the process, and called for greater focus on ODA.
The EU then tabled a paragraph on the complementarity of JPOI goals and the MDGs. This was supported by SWITZERLAND and NORWAY, but the US expressed a preference for referring to “internationally-agreed development goals” instead. The EU’s text supported a reference to the need to begin implementing National Sustainable Development Strategies by 2005. The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting a reference to good governance, and the EU, CANADA, AUSTRALIA and the US asked for its retention. The G-77/CHINA agreed to it, with the addition of the words “at all levels.” The RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested dropping the reference to “decentralization” pertaining to regulatory frameworks, and the G-77/CHINA qualified the term by adding a reference to the circumstances of individual countries.
The G-77/CHINA then made amendments to the paragraph on ODA, including language on speeding up the Doha round of trade negotiations and debt cancellation. He also proposed adding a provision that donors should coordinate country-level support in consultation with recipient countries. The EU added language on education for sustainable development. In addition, the G-77/CHINA suggested text, to be placed after the second operational paragraph, stating that countries should adopt policy options and measures in accordance with national priorities, circumstances and regulations.
On the third operative paragraph, which identifies all stakeholders that should take action on CSD-13’s three themes, the G-77/CHINA suggested deletion of the reference to “within existing resources.”
Discussion resumed on Tuesday evening in a small-group setting, with delegates addressing the section on institutional arrangements for monitoring and follow-up of CSD-13 decisions. By 9:00 pm, some progress had been made on this section, including on specific measures contained in the boxed sections of the text. Discussion focused on the exact role the CSD should play, the specific needs, conditions and priorities of countries, and “enhancing” versus “ensuring” comparability of data. However, by 10:00 pm, progress had reportedly slowed down over disagreements on the sub-section on follow-up on water and sanitation.
THEMATIC ISSUES: In the parallel session on the thematic issues, Vice-Chair Berbalk urged delegates to proceed in a “spirit of compromise and action,” and many delegates responded by noting that the Chair’s revised text was a useful starting point for negotiations.
Delegates then started detailing their proposals for the revised section on water. In the sub-section on access to basic water services, the G-77/CHINA requested language noting that resource transfers are financial, while the EU suggested deleting text on resource transfers and ODA. The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting a reference to cost recovery and a sentence that included reference to a rights-based approach. The US and TURKEY supported removing language on a rights-based approach. The EU suggested that “equal rights to basic services” replace language on a rights-based approach. The US sought text noting that action facilitates, rather than ensures, capacity building and access to water. SENEGAL proposed a reference to the Dakar Roadmap.
On IWRM, the G-77/CHINA proposed adding text noting that resources are needed for sub-national initiatives and that traditional knowledge should be taken into account. With PAKISTAN, she also requested deletion of a reference to MEAs. The EU proposed replacing language noting that the 2005 IWRM target will not be met, with language stating that it “should be met by all countries,” and also suggested language on water quality. MEXICO and the EU proposed references to an ecosystem approach, with MEXICO also noting water’s economic, environmental and sociocultural values, and the need to focus on integrated river basin, watershed, and groundwater management. SWITZERLAND sought to reference rainfed agriculture. JAPAN urged language clarifying that early warning systems are only one component of disaster mitigation, and CANADA suggested moving the IWRM sub-section to the front of the water section.
In the section on sanitation, the G-77/CHINA called for an amendment to the sub-section on access to basic sanitation by deleting reference to covering “operating and maintenance costs by user charges and budget allocations.” The EU asked to replace text on ODA with “tapping both national and international financial resources” and a reference to “specific and increasing budget allocations for sanitation.”
Regarding the section on human settlements, delegates discussed the sub-section on integrated planning and management, with the G-77/CHINA asking for language on the prevention of slum formation and on elimination of illegal settlements resulting from foreign occupation, and for removal of a reference to “participation of all stakeholders, in particular women and youth, in decision making.” The RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested deleting language on decentralization and local authorities.
In the sub-section on land, housing and access to basic services, the US sought to remove text from the title referring to the provision of “affordable” land, housing and basic services, and also to delete a reference to such services being “for all.” The G-77/CHINA suggested replacing a reference to financial assistance for “refugee-stricken” countries with “refugee-host” countries.
In the evening, after informal discussions within some regional groups, informal consultations commenced after 8:00 pm.
IN THE CORRIDORS
“Dazed and confused” was how one delegate summed up the mood on Tuesday afternoon, as frustrations grew about the slow pace of talks on the negotiated outcome. Although few people realistically expected the official 6:00 pm Tuesday deadline for completing negotiations to be met, some participants were questioning whether the process and organization of work were exacerbating the already difficult situation. With such a range of expectations about the length and level of detail of the negotiated outcome, different frustrations were apparent among the various groups. The US, Australia and others appeared concerned that negotiations should not intrude too much on the high-level discussions scheduled for the next three days. On the other hand, the G-77/China and some others seemed more concerned that the text not lack detail and specifics simply to meet an “arbitrary” deadline.
Many seemed placated by the Chair’s revised text when it was distributed on Tuesday afternoon, noting that it reflected many of the amendments suggested by delegates, and some progress was made in negotiations later in the afternoon. However, even this step forward was marred by organizational problems, as the negotiations scheduled for 3:00 pm did not finally get underway until after 4:15 pm. The delay apparently occurred because some participants were waiting for Chair Ashe to appear. However, Chair Ashe, who was involved in a Commonwealth Ministers’ meeting at that time, had asked participants at the end of the morning session to meet under his Vice-Chairs at 3:00 pm, and seemed surprised by the confusion.
By Tuesday evening the mood had improved, and a number of delegates seemed optimistic that outstanding issues could finally be addressed, and that the Chair’s revised text provided the basis they needed. Some were even hoping for an agreement by Wednesday morning. As of 9:00 pm Tuesday, though, most observers felt that such dramatic progress was highly unlikely.