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Report of main proceedings for 26 February 1999

CSD-7 Ad Hoc Working Groups

Delegates met briefly during the morning to receive revised drafts of the Co-Chairs' summaries and possible elements for CSD decisions on consumption and production patterns and tourism. Co-Chair Hanif (Pakistan) noted that the documents outlining elements for a draft CSD decision were now titled "possible" elements. He said he believed that the CSD-7 discussions should lead to a lively debate. During an afternoon meeting, CSD-7 Chair Simon Upton addressed the AHWG, following which delegates offered comments on the revised draft documents, adopted the report of the AHWG and closed the intersessional meeting.


CSD-7 Chair Simon Upton expressed pleasure at the constructive and cooperative atmosphere that marked the discussions of the AHWG, which he said was very encouraging for a successful outcome for CSD-7. He noted that the CSD is trying to revitalize its decisions and make them action-oriented. He said the long and fruitless negotiations of the past need to be avoided. With this goal in mind, the Bureau adopted the dual approach of preparing non-negotiated Co-Chairs' summaries and documents identifying elements for a draft decision by the CSD. He noted that this process was endorsed by all. He said the CSD must focus its energies on implementation and avoid producing a document that is replete with generalities and few focused priorities. He hoped that many of the points in the draft elements will result in constructive agreements and highlight issues that require further debate. Upton said the High-Level Segment will attract ministerial attendance only if it goes beyond prepared statements and is more in the nature of an interactive dialogue. To achieve the objective of a real dialogue, he intends to allot half-day sessions to each CSD theme and divide the time equally between country statements and interactive dialogue. He is sending a letter addressed to all ministers and missions asking them to identify the theme on which they wish to speak and those areas in which they wish to participate in a dialogue.


POSSIBLE ELEMENTS FOR A DRAFT CSD DECISION ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS: Co-Chair Hanif invited comments on the Co- Chairs' text on possible elements for a draft decision on Changing Consumption and Production Patterns. The text contains sections entitled: introduction, priorities for future work, effective policy development and implementation, natural resource management and cleaner production, and urbanization and its impacts on consumption and production patterns.

The G-77/CHINA indicated that since this was not a negotiating group, it would not make specific comments on the text, but did not want its silence to be construed incorrectly. The EU suggested noting that sustainable consumption and production patterns needed to be implemented by "all" countries and adding a reference to the role of the affluent consumer. On effective policy development and implementation, she said sustainable consumption and production patterns should be integrated into teaching curricula at all levels, and noted that text on the development of indicators should be reinserted. On globalization and its impacts, she welcomed the inclusion of aspects on trade and environment and underlined that these should be fully integrated at forthcoming discussions at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The US proposed strengthening references to consumer information and education. MEXICO said more emphasis on the impact of developed country consumption and production patterns on developing countries should be made, and expressed concern about specific changes to UNGASS language.

CO-CHAIRS' SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSIONS ON CHANGING CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS: This text contains sections on: 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.

On a paragraph on the collective challenge of promoting a transition to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption, the G-77/CHINA offered alternative text, noting that many countries had stated that achieving sustainable development requires a transition to sustainable patterns of production and consumption, particularly in industrialized countries, and that governments face a collective challenge to strengthen cooperation and increased efforts to take into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. In paragraphs drawing on G-77/CHINA proposals, she asked that the document record that "many" delegations gave their support. In a paragraph on fossil fuel consumption and SIDS, she proposed additional text, noting that some delegations said that fossil fuel consumption was not the conclusive cause of climate change. On a paragraph stating that "one delegation" noted that economic and social development in oil exporting countries could be adversely affected by measures such as energy taxes, the G-77/CHINA said "many delegations" had supported this view. Co-Chair Hanif said his draft text on adverse affects was a faithful reflection of what had been said in the Conference Room. He also queried the G-77/CHINA's request to record that delegations had said that fossil fuel consumption was not the conclusive cause of climate change. LIBYA said the views conveyed to the Co-Chair by the G-77/CHINA were the views of the Group, although only one delegation from the Group had made the point about adverse affects on the floor of the Conference Room. IRAN recalled that delegations had been given until 9:00 pm Thursday evening to submit inputs to the Co-Chairs and such input should be taken on board. VENEZUELA supported the G- 77/CHINA-proposed amendment to the paragraph on adverse affects. On a paragraph recording the view that economic instruments might constitute a trade restriction, AUSTRALIA said there was no intention to imply that such instruments should be "avoided." The Co-Chair said the point had been received in writing.

POSSIBLE ELEMENTS FOR A DRAFT CSD DECISION ON TOURISM AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This text contains three preambular paragraphs and six operative paragraphs. The latter identify actions for government, the tourism industry and the international community. The EU reiterated the need to distinguish between actions to be taken by different key players, including governments, the private sector and the UN system. She circulated a list of proposed elements that should be taken into account. This list included actions that governments at all levels should be urged to take, such as creating an enabling framework, involving all stakeholders, making use of economic instruments, and developing and applying an appropriate mix of instruments. The tourism industry should continue the development and use of voluntary initiatives, develop new forms of socially, culturally and environmentally compatible forms of tourism, and undertake efforts to better educate tourists, among others. The G-77/CHINA reiterated her understanding that the format should not set a precedent. The US noted that the call for "financial and technical assistance with regard to all aspects of tourism" did not specify that it be "within existing resources." MEXICO stressed the need for a revised structure and proposed that the text first identify concepts and then outline actions to be taken.

Co-Chair Hanif said that the drafters of the document believed four things were missing from the discussion thus far: how the work programme will be developed, who will implement it, who will do what, and where the resources will come from. He expressed hope that delegates would come to CSD-7 with answers to these questions.

CO-CHAIRS' SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSIONS ON TOURISM AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This text contains sections entitled: introduction, general considerations, challenges, action by governments, action by the private sector, and action by the international community. The G-77/CHINA indicated that "many" delegations and not "some" had attempted to define sustainable tourism. The US pointed to the need to clarify that "one delegation" had noted that "eco-tourism is the economic activity that minimizes environmental impacts, valuing and contributing to the conservation of ecosystems and, at the same time, generates incomes for local communities." She said that benefits from tourism to local communities should not only be "transferred" but also "increased." JAPAN noted that an international network on tourism should not only promote an exchange of "views" but also of "information," and indicated the need to refer to "sustainable" tourism throughout the text. Co-Chair Hanif responded that "sustainable tourism" could not be used throughout the text since no definition of the term had been reached.


Co-Chair Hanif invited comments on a draft outline of the report of the AHWG, which had been circulated to delegations as an informal document. SUDAN sought clarification of a sentence in the report, stating that the Co-Chairs' summaries of the discussion "will not be further modified and will be included as such in the report of the CSD as reference material on a given issue." Co-Chair Hanif said there would be no further modifications but rectifications were possible. SUDAN asked whether the Co-Chairs' summaries would be a reference for the CSD or the AHWG. NEW ZEALAND said he would prefer that a paragraph in the draft report read that the possible elements for draft CSD decisions "will" rather than "could" serve as a starting point for negotiations at CSD-7. INDIA and LIBYA said the paragraph should remain unchanged. CHINA, supported by INDIA and SUDAN, proposed that the reference to the Co-Chairs' summaries record that they will be included as such in the report "to" the CSD rather than "of" the CSD. In the interests of brevity, GUYANA said the reference to elements for draft CSD decisions should remain unchanged. Delegations adopted the Report of the Working Group (E/CN.17/ISWG.1/1999/L.1) and the Co-Chairs' outline of the report of the AHWG with the amendment by CHINA.

Co-Chair Hanif thanked delegations for their cooperation and commented that they had just started the process of moving towards decisions and actions. All would have to learn to realize that reiteration of Agenda 21 would not lead to implementation. He said all shared the same planet and there could be no shifting of responsibilities, even with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. He urged delegations to face problems with the hope of resolution, and to adopt operative paragraphs that are falsifiable.


There was disappointment and frustration in NGO ranks at the close of Friday afternoon's meeting of the AHWG. Despite coordination efforts with the CSD Secretariat, NGO representatives were not invited to address the closing session with, for example, reminders to governments of their Rio commitments to "overall integrative frameworks" for dealing with issues such as sustainable production and consumption. Expressions of disappointment were said to be all the more acute in the wake of public assurances from Co-Chair Hanif about the value governments place on NGO contributions.


AHWG: The Ad Hoc Working Group on Oceans and Seas and on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States is expected to begin at 10:00 am in Conference Room 4. Initial agenda items include the election of officers, opening statements by the Co-Chairs, the introduction of the report of the Secretary-General and other documentation on oceans and seas issues. Delegates are then expected to discuss the issue of oceans and seas and to conclude their discussion during an afternoon meeting.

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