Report of main proceedings for 1 May 1996


Delegates to the fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-4)continued negotiating draft decisions, heard statements from ministers during the High-Level Segment, and attended a panel on “Youth and Agenda 21.” (Due to space constraints,the latter will be summarized in the ENB summary edition only).


CSD Chair Rumen Gechev suggested that delegates discuss the role of the private sector insustainable development, and that the CSD focus on implementing sustainable developmentin economic sectors, such as agriculture and forestry. Nitin Desai, Under Secretary-General of the DPCSD, said that a real challenge is bringing sustainability into decisionsmade by finance ministries. Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of the GEF, noted that, in 1997, theGEF assembly will review its operations and policies. Negotiations on the nextreplenishment also will begin.

ZIMBABWE: Chen Chimutengwende, Minister of Environment and Tourism,supported a dialogue regarding the role of international trade in the promotion ofsustainable development, and noted that the question of resources polarizes debates.

EU: Paolo Barbatta, Minister of Environment and Public Works, Italy, said that themandate for the Special Session should be to maintain the CSD as a strategic forum forpolicy dialogue and coordination.

POLAND: Stanislaw Zelichowski, Minister of the Conservation of Nature, NaturalResources and Forests, proposed that the Special Session discuss national reports,strengthening institutional processes, education and technology transfer.

BOLIVIA: Moises Jarmusz-Levy, Minister of Sustainable Development, notednational activities, including giving decision making authority to the people. He called forpractical decisions and commitment at the highest level.

REPUBLIC of KOREA: Jong-Taeck Chung, Minister of Environment, notednational efforts to become a model environmental nation in the 21st century, and calledattention to the transboundary air pollution situation in Northeast Asia.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Victor Danilov-Danilyan, Minister for EnvironmentalProtection, called for working out flexible sustainable development indicators before the1997 Special Session.

AUSTRIA: Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister for Environment, Youth andFamily Affairs, said that Austria attributes high priority to the role that international lawshould play in an integrated approach to environment and development.

IRAN: Hadi Manafi, Vice-President, identified issues the Special Session shouldaddress, including: provision of financial resources and EST transfer; the eradication ofpoverty; internal migration and refugees; and the impacts of violence and aggression.

FRANCE: Corinne Lepage, Minister of Environment, stated that the process of Rioshould not be allowed to slip into a comfortable regime. The CSD should be a place wherewe challenge our ideas.

COLOMBIA: Jose Mogelan, Minister of Environment, stressed the need to findconstructive ways to relate trade to sustainable development.

NETHERLANDS: D.K.J. Tommel, State Secretary for Housing, Spatial Planningand Environment, recommended that the CSD establish a special task force to formulaterecommendations and guidelines for sustainable industrial development.

HUNGARY: Katalin Szili, Vice-Chair of the Hungarian CSD, stated that they areintegrating environmental considerations into all relevant sectoral policies.

PHILIPPINES: Cielito Habito, Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning, stated thatthey have developed a multi-stakeholder council, and proposed establishing anintergovernmental task force on the transfer and exchange of ESTs.

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIVE IN SUPPORT OF FISHWORKERS: SebastianMathew, speaking on behalf of 25 NGOs, urged governments to ensure that artisanalfisheries and dependent coastal communities are not adversely affected by aquaculturedevelopment or operations.

CHINA: Qin Huasun, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, stated that theSpecial Session should push for an early fulfillment of the commitments made at UNCED.

GERMANY: Angela Merkel, Federal Minister for the Environment, NatureConservation and Nuclear Safety, called for recognition that environmental securitycontributes to stability and peace, and for reinforcing the partnership initiated in Rio at thehighest political level.

CANADA: Sergio Marchi, Minister for Environment, asked how the CSD’s workcould be strengthened and whether the CSD is sustainable. He proposed a youth co-Chairat CSD-5 and a UN-sponsored award for local level initiatives, called “New Futures 21.”

FINLAND: Sirkka Hautojarvi, Secretary-General, Ministry of Environment, calledfor the Special Session to: assess successes and failures; agree on future politicalpriorities and a new five-year work programme; and strengthen public visibility of theCSD and participation of major groups.

GHANA: Christina Amoako-Nuama, Minister for Environment, Science andTechnology, noted that a fundamental component of Ghana’s approach to environmentalmanagement is establishing inter-sectoral bodies to promote implementation in variouseconomic sectors.

ICELAND: Gudmundur Bjarnason, Minister for the Environment, suggested that theSpecial Session identify a few issues of major international concern, such as consumptionpatterns and the relationship between sustainable development and the eradication ofpoverty.

THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY: Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner for theEnvironment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection, noted the importance of the SecondAssessment Report of the IPCC, called on the CSD to raise international awarenessregarding unsustainable use of the sea, and identified EC activities regarding SIDS, aid andtrade.


A meeting of Drafting Group I (oceans) convened in the morning to consider draftdecisions on Chapters 9 (atmosphere) and 17 (oceans). On a paragraph concerningatmosphere-related problems, delegates agreed to note the “risk” of exacerbating otherenvironmental problems through actions to address an individual atmosphere-related issue.Delegates debated a proposal to refer to “reduction of emissions particularly of developedcountries,” which was supported by a number of developing-country delegations. TheChair proposed inserting a reference to “common but differentiated responsibility” at thelevel of international action to protect the atmosphere.

COLOMBIA proposed a reference to deforestation, forest degradation and all landdegradation. NORWAY, supported by INDIA, said the paragraph covers generalatmospheric pollution and should not address climate change. The EU proposed areference to the “precautionary principle approach.” SAUDI ARABIA proposed referringto Article 3 of the UNFCCC, but AOSIS, supported by AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALANDand the MARSHALL ISLANDS, said the article is specific to climate change and refersonly to “measures.” The MARSHALL ISLANDS proposed including Principle 15 of theRio Declaration.

The paragraph on the scientific basis for response was amended to include reference to theprecautionary principle and to text from the Ad Hoc Working Group’s intersessionalreport “welcoming” the second assessment report of the IPCC as “the most important andreliable to date.” Delegates added a footnote referring to uncertainties in the IPCC report.The paragraph linking energy use to economic growth and environment was amended tostate that energy “has been and will continue to be” a fundamental requirement foreconomic growth.

A sentence stressing the need for a “holistic and coordinated approach” to energy issueswas deleted at the request of SAUDI ARABIA in the paragraph calling for an inventory ofenergy programs in the UN system. The paragraph on policy instruments was amended toinclude “environmental cost internalization and removal of environmentally damagingsubsidies” and the “use of energy sources with lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inall sectors.” The paragraph referring to increasing energy efficiency through education wasamended to read “energy and other natural resources.”

The paragraph referring to the role of MFIs in promoting ESTs was amended to “developand diffuse ESTs provided that such considerations do not constitute barriers” to accessingfinancial resources. The paragraph urging governments and the private sector to addressEST research and technology transfer was amended to include: “improved GHGsequestration technologies;” “countries with economies in transition;” and environmentallysound and “cost-effective” technologies. The Group adjourned, and met in an informal-informal session to consider the remainder of the revised decision.

Drafting Group I resumed consideration of the Programme of Action (POA) on SIDS. Onoverall considerations, delegates deleted a reference to the adverse impacts of decliningODA on sustainable development. On climate change and sea level rise, delegates deleteda paragraph on the second assessment report of the IPCC pending a decision on “Protectionof the Atmosphere.” On energy resources, delegates replaced “imported petroleumproducts” with “conventional sources of energy” and accepted a new paragraph on the roleof the private sector. The Group also considered draft decisions on oceans (Chapter 17).Delegates adopted a decision on international cooperation and the Global Plan of Actionfrom the Washington Conference. The Group accepted amended text on protection of theoceans, including new paragraphs on support for addressing POPs and radioactivecontaminants.


By the end of the day, the Group had agreed to all texts. A contact group negotiatedoutstanding issues in the draft decision on changing production and consumption patterns(Chapter 4) and outstanding issues in the draft decisions on finance (Chapter 33) and trade,environment and sustainable development (Chapter 2). Delegates debated: a proposal tonote that the 1997 review would provide an opportunity for a “more action orientedapproach” to the programme of work. Also debated were the balance between the supplyand demand approaches to changing unsustainable consumption and production andemphasizing the need to change consumption patterns and unsustainable lifestyles inindustrialized countries.

In the draft decision on finance, delegates debated: a reference to sustained economicgrowth and sustainable development in the context of external debt and debt servicing; areference to the “rights” of indigenous holders and developers of technology in the contextof the matrix approach; and replenishment of the GEF.

The Chair of the contact group, Geir Sjoberg (Norway), presented compromise texts to anafternoon meeting of Drafting Group II. In a paragraph on external debt and debt servicingin the finance draft, the Commission recognizes that solutions can contribute to the effortsof developing countries aimed at achieving economic and social development andenvironmental protection, and that these are interdependent and mutually reinforcingcomponents of sustainable development. In a paragraph on the matrix approach, theCommission recommends that coverage include benefits to traditional holders ofindigenous knowledge. A paragraph on innovative mechanisms includes “adequatereplenishment” of the GEF. On the decision on consumption and production, the EU saidparts of the document are not perfectly tuned with other decisions taken at the CSD.MEXICO said the decision on trade and sustainable development does not prejudge relateddiscussions at the WTO.


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The High-Level Segment will continue in theTrusteeship Council Chamber from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and 3:00 - 4:00 pm.

PANEL: A Panel on the 1997 Special Session will meet in the Trusteeship CouncilChamber from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

DRAFTING GROUP I: The Drafting Group is expected to discuss the secondrevision of the decision on atmosphere at 10:00 am in Conference Room 2.