Report of main proceedings for 30 April 1996


All of the Drafting Groups, as well as several informal- informal groups, met to "finalize" the decisions of the fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-4). Drafting Group III completed its work, but Groups I and II left several texts unresolved. A panel on "The Day of the Workplace" also met.


Drafting Group I resumed discussions of the draft decision on SIDS. On climate change and sea level rise, the G- 77/CHINA proposed changing "expected" effects of climate change to "potential," and bracketed a paragraph addressing the IPCC report, pending review of the chapters on atmosphere. SAUDI ARABIA proposed bracketing the paragraph. On energy resources, the EU proposed a paragraph on the private sector. SAUDI ARABIA questioned specific references to petroleum products and commercial energy development. Under transport and communication, the EU proposed deleting a reference inviting the World Bank and regional development banks to finance assistance for telecommunications development. The G-77/CHINA proposed retaining the reference, but added, "where appropriate."

The CHAIR then invited general comments on the draft text on sectoral issues (atmosphere, oceans and seas). SAUDI ARABIA highlighted the principles of cost-effectiveness and common but differentiated responsibility, and suggested more moderate language. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION emphasized exchange of information and experience. ICELAND underlined: the second report of the IPCC, supported by TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, AUSTRALIA, the US and the G-77/CHINA; the use of renewable energy; and scientific knowledge for decisions.

COLOMBIA highlighted marine pollution in the section on interlinkages, especially the transboundary movement of toxic waste. SWEDEN added urban transport and energy. ARGENTINA, supported by TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO and AUSTRALIA, highlighted linkages between the IPCC, the FCCC and the Berlin Mandate.

BULGARIA emphasized countries with economies in transition. MEXICO called the text imbalanced in its approach to common but differentiated responsibility. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO highlighted environmentally friendly technology for implementing the FCCC. BRAZIL stated that reference to consumer patterns, especially of developed countries, was missing.

The CHAIR then called for specific amendments. AUSTRALIA stated that references to ozone protection should not duplicate Montreal Protocol decisions. He added "transboundary air pollution" to the paragraph calling for reduction in acidifying substances and volatile organic compounds. CANADA added "electricity use" and "hydrogen" as an alternative fuel to the paragraph on transport systems, and added "taking note of pollution affecting the Arctic, including POPs," to the paragraph on technology transfer for transboundary pollution.

SAUDI ARABIA added "socioeconomic assessment" to the paragraph on the scientific basis for response, and "improvement of land use management" to a list of measures for atmospheric protection. In the paragraph on energy and environment he added energy use, "which has been and will continue to be" fundamental for economic growth and social improvement, and energy development and use "among other sectors" linked to environmental problems. He inserted the use of "greenhouse gas sequestration technologies" and "without prejudice to socioeconomic developmental priorities" to the paragraph on energy technology, and deleted the reference to atmospheric protection regarding multilateral lending policies. The US emphasized using the exact language of the Rio Declaration in the paragraph on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, and replaced language calling upon multilateral financial institutions to finance the development of ESTs with the "diffusion" of ESTs.

The EU suggested: replacing much of the text with language from the report on atmosphere of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Sectoral Issues; adding environmental cost internalization and removal of subsidies to the paragraph on policy instruments; and mentioning the ECE protocol on transboundary air pollution as "effective" in the paragraph treating this topic generally. The G-77/CHINA emphasized the principle of common but differentiated responsibility for both developed and developing countries in the paragraph introducing atmosphere protection. BRAZIL called for "global" application of paragraph 4.3 of Agenda 21 and Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration.

SAUDI ARABIA, supported by COLOMBIA and VENEZUELA, then proposed developing a "very simple text" rather than the Chair’s draft. The MARSHALL ISLANDS objected. ICELAND, supported by the EU, the US, SWEDEN, NORWAY, DENMARK and SWITZERLAND, called for an extra negotiating session, which will meet Wednesday.

An informal-informal group on oceans discussed: the review of the sectoral cluster on oceans and seas; international cooperation and coordination; the Global Programme of Action (GPA) from the Washington Conference; and, the implementation of international fishery instruments. Delegates agreed to the text on the GPA, as amended. On international cooperation and coordination, debate centered on whether the CSD’s future work programme "should" or "will" engage in a periodic review of marine issues and other activities. Regarding the sectoral cluster, delegates considered proposals for, inter alia, new paragraphs on the Basel Convention, MARPOL, and the London Dumping Convention, and on international developments since Rio regarding oceans. On fisheries instruments, delegates agreed to language recognizing recent instruments, but disagreed over the level of specificity needed by the CSD.


Drafting Group II held informal-informals during the morning and afternoon. Regarding the transfer of ESTs, cooperation and capacity-building (Chapter 34), delegates considered amendments on: promoting, on preferential terms, EST transfers, taking into account the need to protect intellectual property rights; the role of ESTs in the "sustainable" development of developing countries; "appropriate" environmental legislation for EST market penetration; and a UNEP catalogue on EST related information systems.

At an informal-informal on the first revision of the draft decision on finance (Chapter 33), differences emerged over: the rights of holders of traditional technology; improving the effectiveness of ODA by, inter alia, leveraging private sector investments; and GEF replenishment. Agreement was reached on: improving the effectiveness of ODA; "environmental responsibility" and foreign investors’ policies; studies of the costs and benefits of economic instruments; enhancing and extending PAFs; financing ESTs; a study of EST rights banks; the responsiveness of MFIs to national priorities; and a study and debate on capital flow trends, especially towards developing countries. A paragraph on external debt, with new references to the Development Committee of the World Bank and IMF and a related UNGA resolution, was bracketed. References to "enhancing the rights" of indigenous technology holders, and "substantially" replenishing the GEF, were also bracketed.

On the draft decision on changing production and consumption "patterns" (Chapter 4), one delegate suggested adding a reference to the International Conference on Sustainable Industrial Development, and replaced "extended product responsibility" with "extended and shared producer responsibility."

The G-77/CHINA distributed a redraft of the "patterns" decision, on which several industrialized countries offered the following comments. The paragraph reiterating that environmental protection take into account the imbalances in global "patterns" and focus on the needs of the poor should be in line with Agenda 21 language. The reference to sustained economic growth should include "in the context of sustainable development," or some other modification. The paragraphs on technology transfer should be altered or moved to other decisions, and transfer on preferential and concessional terms was not acceptable to one delegation. Some called for balance in the paragraph recommending that governments, particularly in the industrialized countries, continue efforts at achieving sustainable "patterns," taking into account the needs of developing countries based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Delegates then reviewed and agreed to the second revision of the decision on transfer of ESTs, with a few changes.

A Contact group convened in the afternoon to consider the second revision of the draft decision on trade, environment and sustainable development (Chapter 2). A new footnote states that relevant recommendations should not prejudge the outcome of UNCTAD IX. Delegates considered: the balance between "positive measures" and trade measures to secure compliance with MEAs; the inclusion of "the relationship between TRIPS agreements and technology" among positive measures to help developing countries meet multilaterally agreed targets; environmental policies and competitiveness; the inappropriateness of relaxing environmental standards to encourage investment or promote exports; eco-labeling; and a proposal to examine the environmental effects on the importing countries of exports prohibited for sale in the exporting country on environmental grounds.


Delegates considered several first revisions of draft decisions during a morning meeting. Regarding international legal instruments (Chapter 39), the EU deleted the paragraph calling on the DPCSD to study the issues raised by the Report of the Expert Group. The US proposed that governments "consider, as appropriate," rather than "take into account," this report. Delegates retained a revised paragraph recognizing the burden of implementation of international agreements.

Regarding promoting education, public awareness and training (Chapter 36), CANADA added "particularly at the grassroots level" to the end of the paragraph promoting networks on education. Regarding national mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries (Chapter 37), the EU supported the G-77/CHINA’s amendments to enhance "coordinated" efforts in assisting developing countries in capacity-building.

Regarding information for decision-making (Chapter 40), delegates agreed to, "as appropriate," adopt indicators. Regarding information provided by Governments and organizations, the EU proposed deleting the sentence noting the intention of several donors to consider requests for assistance favorably, but the G-77/CHINA objected. BRAZIL suggested that proposals for reporting to future sessions take into account, "among other elements," the work on indicators.

Regarding integrating environment and development in decision-making (Chapter 8), BRAZIL suggested integrated "approaches" in the paragraph on responsibility of national governments. The EU, supported by the G-77/CHINA, presented a new paragraph encouraging integrated environmental and economic accounting for sustainable development.

Regarding international institutional arrangements (Chapter 38), the US, supported by the EU, the G-77/CHINA, and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, said that the participation of the regional commissions in implementing the results of major UN international conferences should be "strengthened, as appropriate." In the paragraph on the 1997 review, the EU supported BRAZIL’s modification giving "special attention also" to post-UNCED institutional arrangements.

In the second revision of the draft decision on major groups (Chapters 23 to 32), AUSTRALIA and the G-77/CHINA combined alternative text to encourage governments to involve major group representatives in preparations for the 1997 review process and in national delegations to the CSD-5 and, as appropriate, to the Special Session.


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The High-Level Segment will meet in the Trusteeship Council Chamber from 10:00 -1:00 and from 3:00 - 4:00.

PANEL: The Panel on Youth and Agenda 21 will meet from 4:00- 6:00 in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

DRAFTING GROUPS: Drafting Group I is expected to meet in Conference Room 2 during the morning to discuss the draft decision on atmosphere. Drafting Group II is expected to meet in Conference Room 2 during the afternoon. Informal- informal discussions are expected to continue for both Groups.

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