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Report of main proceedings for 24 February 1999

CSD-7 Ad Hoc Working Groups

Delegates to the Ad Hoc Working Group (AHWG) on Consumption and Production Patterns and Tourism met during morning and afternoon sessions to discuss and give specific comments on the Co-Chairs' summary of monday's discussion and text outlining elements for a draft CSD decision on consumption and production patterns.


Co-Chair Hanif (Pakistan) stated that the discussion on the text outlining proposed elements for a CSD draft decision should enrich and guide the document and bring it into harmony with the thinking of the delegates. Delegates' general comments included the EU's indication of agreement with the document's main thrust of integrating consumption and production patterns as overriding issues.He also commented on the different sections, including on the need to achieve sustainable consumption by all countries, the role of the affluent consumer and awareness raising. He emphasized the importance of the impact of urbanization and suggested that the CSD seek close cooperation with the Habitat Agenda on these issues.

SAUDI ARABIA expressed reservations regarding text on targets, indicators and standards,which he said were cited incompletely or out of context from UNGASS documents. He indicated these omissions should be corrected. CANADA suggested shortening the text to provide a better basis for an action-oriented decision. She said some elements needed to be included, such as shared responsibilities within societies, public awareness and the role of information to enable consumers to make informed decisions. She also proposed expanding text on consideration of how consumption and production patterns in developed countries influence developing countries.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION welcomed inclusion of references to education, information sharing, awareness raising, youth and economies in transition. The US noted the desire of delegations to overcome time consuming negotiations to produce results that have little meaning beyond the United Nations. He said the Co- Chairs' paper did not appear to be consistent with the concise approach anticipated by delegations, with too many priorities identified for future work. He said the AHWG would have to shrink the document to reach the kind of outcome anticipated by CSD Chair Upton (New Zealand). He supported Canada's proposal to reformulate the paper. JAPAN, SWITZERLAND, NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA also called for a short, concise and action-oriented text. Delegates then offered amendments section-by-section.

INTRODUCTION: Guyana, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, proposed changing the calls for cooperation in the spirit of UNCED and reiteration of the conclusions of UNGASS to note that changing consumption and production patterns should: be with respect to Agenda 21 and paragraph 28 of UNGASS; be in the context of sustained economic growth and sustainable development; and take into account the situation of developing countries adversely affected by the process. The PHILIPPINES said all G-77/CHINA countries may not agree with the proposal. BRAZIL and INDIA associated their positions with the G-77/CHINA and stressed the importance of this section in establishing the agreement's context. BRAZIL highlighted Agenda 21 and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in this context. CANADA proposed incorporating the notion of shared responsibility. NEW ZEALAND suggested combining the G-77/CHINA proposal with references to Agenda 21, other international agreements, and the Canadian proposal. The US agreed and added the UNGASS agreement and the goal of eradicating poverty.

SWITZERLAND said the avoidance of "costs" of environmental damage and social inequity should be broadened to include tackling the environmental damage and social inequality. AUSTRALIA suggested that developing countries' priority to "increase consumption" should read "increase living standards."

PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE WORK: The US suggested that the Commission address consumption and production patterns in the context of each sectoral issue considered at future CSD sessions.

EFFECTIVE POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION: The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting references to involvement by "all levels" of government and suggested adding references to the transfer of "appropriate" technologies to "developing countries." The UKRAINE suggested including "economies in transition" as beneficiaries of technology transfer and the provision of financial resources. The G-77/CHINA, the EU and other delegations suggested deleting paragraphs on: the implementation of non-discriminatory environmental taxes on luxury and disposable goods that have negative environmental impacts; the internalization of environmental and social costs into market prices and the phasing out of subsidies with negative social or environmental effects. SWITZERLAND proposed including references to labels and labeling and ecological tax reform. The US suggested using agreed UNGASS text on transfer of technology and provision of financial resources. He also stressed the importance of public awareness, participation and education, and suggested including means for effective policy, such as economic instruments. CANADA proposed gathering references to technology transfer, information, public awareness, education, involvement of women and youth, informed decisions by consumers, economic instruments and improvement of environmental management in this section. MEXICO and NEW ZEALAND proposed amalgamating paragraphs on governmental involvement and cooperation with international organizations, businesses, NGOs, youth organizations and other stakeholders. The PHILIPPINES suggested including reference to avoiding potentially negative effects on developing countries' access to markets.

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND CLEANER PRODUCTION: The G- 77/CHINA sought deletion of references to "cleaner production," "eco-efficiency," "codes of conduct" and "target setting." The US and AUSTRALIA supported an emphasis on the key themes of eco- efficiency, best practices, lifecycle management, cleaner production and transfer of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs). The RUSSIAN FEDERATION and UKRAINE added references to economies in transition in the context of the transfer of ESTs and capacity building. CANADA sought an introductory sentence on the importance of greater efficiency in consumption and production for increasing the quality of life. NORWAY cautioned against deleting too much and suggested using bullet points to highlight key themes including cleaner production, lifecycle management, reporting, demand side management and eco- efficiency. NEW ZEALAND also called for a shorter text.

In a paragraph on the dissemination of best practices in cleaner production and environmental management, the G-77/CHINA suggested deleting the qualifier "where appropriate" before a reference to the transfer of practices in developing countries and added "required technologies and know how." The EU sought specific references to the role of business and industry in facilitating transfers.

AUSTRALIA suggested deleting a paragraph calling for studies of cleaner production, eco-efficiency and demand-side management because such work is already being undertaken by UN agencies.

The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting eco-efficiency and codes of conduct. TURKEY suggested amending a reference to sharing experience to include evaluation of the impact of environmental management on the competitiveness of developing countries, in particular their SMEs. CHILE said a reference to the lifecycle of products should not go beyond references in the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection.

In a paragraph calling on governments to engage industry in the debate on sustainable consumption and production, the EU added the theme of "integrated product policies" and a reference to government responsibility for eco-labeling.

GLOBALIZATION AND ITS IMPACTS ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS: The G-77/CHINA suggested that the proposed studies examine the ways and means to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns. The EU suggested that the scope be widened to include environmental issues. A further proposal that studies on the impact of globalization should include developed countries was supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION. AUSTRALIA proposed that assessments of transfer of consumption patterns refer to unsustainable consumption patterns. The US proposed that studies undertaken on impacts of globalization cover both the positive and negative aspects and suggested deletion of references to assessments on the transfer of consumption patterns from industrialized countries to developing countries. He proposed that the document refer to Governments alone and not to international organizations so as to increase efforts to make policies on trade and sustainable production and consumption mutually supportive.

SWITZERLAND suggested calling for studies on the role of the financial sector and of investments on environment issues and improved coherence between multilateral trade standards and multilateral agreements. NEW ZEALAND suggested that references to trade and sustainable consumption include a reference to non- creation of artificial trade barriers. CHINA expressed strong reservation on references to universal environmental standards, stating that the issue is best addressed in trade fora.

URBANIZATION AND ITS IMPACTS ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS: The G-77/CHINA said local authorities are subsumed in references to government, and proposed deleting all references to local authorities. To text calling for "developed country expertise and financial resources," she suggested deleting "developed country expertise." She also said "in-depth studies" should be conducted at the national level. The US proposed retaining "developing country expertise" and replacing "financial resources" with developed country "experience." The EU suggested adding references to the Habitat Agenda and the UN Centre on Human Settlements. The EU, supported by AUSTRALIA, proposed expanding the reference to waste collection systems and disposal facilities to reference the "prevention, minimization and recycling of wastes." The UKRAINE added "energy" to a list of environmental and social impacts of urbanization. The US said the text on "Earth Summit+10" should refer to the comprehensive review to be conducted by CSD-10. He also suggested adding text on consumer information and education.


The Co-Chairs' Summary contains six sections entitled: introduction, general considerations, natural resource management and cleaner production, the impact of globalization on consumption and production patterns, urbanization, and consumer information and education and social values.

The EU said the text was factually correct and reflected the AHWG's discussion. The US proposed adding qualifying language to indicate that the text was not consensus language. BRAZIL also cautioned that the draft gave the impression that the text was based on a consensus. The G-77/CHINA proposed giving more attention to the national activities that delegates discussed and said the text failed to indicate that developed countries should take the lead on the issue. AUSTRALIA sought to clarify that a number of references to consumption standards should refer, instead and inter alia, to living standards, income and quality of life. JAPAN recalled its proposal for "social systems" approaches to bringing about sustainable consumption and production.


Budgetary implications (in both New York and Washington) will compete with a desire to put the "Earth Summits" back on the global media agenda in an emerging discussion on the possibility of holding CSD/Earth Summit+10 outside New York. India, one potential host country, is actively considering a suggestion that Earth Summit+10 go to New Delhi. Bangkok and Manila are also said to be possible venues. One observer suggested that a final decision is unlikely this side of a presidential election in the United States.


DISCUSSION OF DRAFT DOCUMENTS: The AHWG is expected to convene in Conference Room 4 at 3:00 pm to discuss the Co-Chairs' summary and elements for a draft CSD decision on tourism and sustainable development.

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION INTO THE 21ST CENTURY: This Down to Earth side-event will present perspectives on core issues for sustainable consumption and production and implementation by stakeholders. It will meet at 1:30 pm in Conference Room D.

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