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Report of main proceedings for 29 April 1999


At CSD-7, Drafting Groups I and III completed work on tourism, consumption and production, an expert group on energy and other draft decisions. Drafting Group II worked late into the evening on oceans and seas. Informals on SIDS resolved most outstanding issues.


TOURISM: Delegates completed negotiating the tourism decision. On sex tourism and the institutional mechanisms to deal with it, delegates developed two paragraphs. On sex-tourism, the text calls for strong and appropriate action, through the development and enforcement of specific legislation/measures, against any kind of illegal, abusive or exploitative tourist activity, including sexual exploitation/abuse, recognizing that such activities have particularly adverse impacts, pose significant social, health and cultural threats, and that all countries have a role to play in efforts to stamp them out. In regard to individual travel to tourist destinations, the text calls for support for appropriate measures to better inform tourists about cultural, ecological and other values and provision of accurate information on the safety of tourist destinations, enabling consumers to make informed choices. Delegates also adopted a freshly drafted paragraph urging governments to: participate in international and regional processes that address issues relevant to sustainable tourism development; consider the ratification or adoption, and promote the implementation and enforcement, as appropriate, of standards or guidelines relevant to the travel and tourism industry, such as in the labor and health fields; and support initiatives, especially through organizations like the ILO and WHO, which would make an early and positive contribution to sustainable tourism development.

CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: Negotiators met informally to resolve outstanding issues in the compilation text on changing consumption and production patterns. On paying special attention to unsustainable consumption patterns, negotiators agreed to reference "the richer segments in all countries, in particular in developed countries." On impacts of urbanization, negotiators agreed to delete a sentence on the role of industrialized country experiences and resources. On engaging the public and private industry and economic sectors, negotiators agreed to the objective of developing optimal strategies and programs including targets and timetables. On effective policy development and implementation, negotiators agreed to a new subparagraph on ensuring that implementation of measures takes fully into account the on-going deliberations in relevant fora. References to WTO Committees were dropped from a subparagraph on information on the environmental impact of products and services and encouraging voluntary and transparent use of eco-labelling. Drafting Group I reconvened to adopt text on changing consumption and production patterns with amendments agreed during informal negotiations.


On the establishment of a GPA clearing-house mechanism to provide decision-makers with information, experience and technical expertise, the G-77/CHINA suggested including agreed UNGASS language on the transfer of environmentally sound technologies. Variations were made by ICELAND, CANADA, the US and the EU on text emphasizing the role of the GPA as a means of revitalizing UNEP's regional seas programme. On scientific understanding of the marine environment, including marine living resources, ICELAND proposed including "assessment of the socio- economic effects of marine pollution." On encouraging GESAMP to undertake further actions as recommended by CSD's decision 4/15, the US noted GESAMP's lack of follow-up to CSD decisions. On collection of reliable oceanographic data through observation, monitoring and assessment systems, the G-77/CHINA, supported by CHINA and opposed by the US and AUSTRALIA, indicated there was no need to refer specifically to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

On inviting the FAO to strengthen its global monitoring of fish stocks in cooperation with regional fisheries organizations (RFOs), MEXICO noted this should be done in cooperation with member States and within RFOs' competencies. On environmental risks and potential damage associated with maritime transport, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas, the G-77/CHINA, supported by RUSSIA and opposed by TURKEY and CANADA, indicated they did not see added value in the text. CHINA sought clarification of the term "environmentally sensitive areas." Delegates agreed to recommend that States fully implement IMO regulations for the prevention of collisions at sea, in order to reduce the environmental risks and the potential damage associated with maritime transport, especially when transiting environmentally sensitive areas.

The EU, JAPAN, PANAMA, MEXICO, ICELAND, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, ARGENTINA, CANADA, and the US supported alternative text on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) that supports priority given by FAO to developing a global plan of action to deal effectively with any form of IUU. PANAMA, supported by MEXICO, the US, ICELAND, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and CANADA and opposed by AUSTRALIA and NORWAY, proposed replacing "fishing vessels flying flags of convenience" with "fishing vessels operating under flag states that do not fulfil their responsibilities, according to international law with respect to fishing vessels."

On schemes to improve the availability of information to consumers on the sustainability of fish harvesting, and on its impact on developing countries under whose jurisdiction fish are caught, AUSTRALIA, supported by the EU and MEXICO, proposed focusing on improving consumer information and its availability. The G-77/CHINA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and CHINA objected and suggested deleting this paragraph. The Chair suggested noting in the decision that the CSD discussed the issue but was unable to reach consensus. The G-77/CHINA, supported by the US, presented a proposal urging support from the international community to assist national efforts to access resource information and to develop appropriate policies for the exploitation of non-living resources within exclusive economic zones. MEXICO noted assistance should occur "upon request of the concerned State."

On other marine living resources, the G-77/CHINA called for RFOs and regional seas environmental protection organizations to cooperate in effective integration of fisheries management and environmental conservation measures. CHINA deleted a reference calling for this work to draw upon "development and application of an ecosystem approach." NORWAY, CANADA and AUSTRALIA supported an "ecosystem approach." The EU said he would reserve on the whole paper if the reference were deleted. The Chair said the decision would note that many delegations stressed the importance of the ecosystem approach in this context and many expressed their inability to accept this link.

JAPAN and RUSSIA objected to text on the movement of hazardous wastes. The EU supported including text on the Basel Convention. The US proposed additional references to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Irradiated Fuels Code. Delegates agreed to call on States to become Parties to Basel or applicable related regional instruments and to note that they discussed but did not agree on the right of States to prohibit movement, and additional related instruments. ICELAND presented the results of his consultations on subsidies calling for evaluating the positive and negative aspects of subsidies and for WTO members to fulfill their obligations. The G-77/CHINA objected. ICELAND asked that the decision record that the issue was discussed. AUSTRALIA stressed that subsidies lead to overfishing and unsustainablity and Agenda 21 could provide a way forward.

The Rio Group and the South Pacific Group (SOPEC) distributed a non-paper, based on informal consultations, suggesting that the CSD propose that an open-ended working group be established under the GA to facilitate consideration of oceans. EGYPT, JAPAN and CHINA said they were not prepared to work on the non-paper. The US, the EU, CANADA, MALTA, SOUTH AFRICA and others supported discussing the non-paper. The Chair reported that a lunchtime discussion of the non-paper identified "practicalities" regarding such a group's composition in terms of experts and States, timing, financing, openness to major groups, and participation of small States. Comments addressed the need for consistency in NGO access to the GA (EGYPT and CHINA), the importance of major group participation (CANADA and the EU), and the High-Level Segment's interest in the issue (the EU and PAPUA NEW GUINEA). Most speakers expressed concern at budgetary implications. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA suggested noting the practicalities and leaving the decision on creating a group to the GA. Based on the ISWG draft, EGYPT, supported by INDIA, proposed that, following the Secretary-General's report to the GA with suggestions for better coordination and work to improve the effectiveness of the ACC Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas, the GA consider ways and means to enhance effectiveness. Based on this discussion and further consultation, MEXICO presented a revised draft of the non-paper, recommending that the GA establish an open-ended informal consultative process and outlining overriding principles and practicalities. JAPAN and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported the proposal. EGYPT said it was still consulting on the issue. The EU suggested establishing an end point for the process, at which time it would be reviewed. Consultations continued up to and during the third reading of the draft decision on oceans and seas in a late night meeting.


The G-77/CHINA reported that informal consultations had resolved outstanding questions regarding a draft resolution on voluntary initiatives. The G-77/CHINA proposed amending an EU-sponsored decision on education, public awareness and training and requested time for informal consultations. On a decision on preparations for the review of Agenda 21 and the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the G-77/CHINA said he was not sure about beginning the preparatory process for the review at CSD-8 and suggested that preparations might begin at the ISWGs. He proposed an alternative to paragraphs addressed to the Secretary-General and to governments. The alternative paragraph requests the Secretary-General to present a preliminary report to be discussed at CSD-8 containing, inter alia, suggestions for the form, scope and the nature of the preparatory process for the review. The EU said she wanted ministers to give some time to the issue at CSD-8. The G-77/CHINA and MEXICO introduced a draft decision on information provided by governments and exchange of national experiences. The EU asked for time to consider the draft. The CSD Secretariat noted that the G- 77/China text might have budgetary implications.

Drafting Group III reconvened during the evening to adopt decisions on: preparations for CSD-9 on the issue of energy; education, public awareness and training; and preparations of the review of Agenda 21 and the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21. Negotiators also considered a decision on Information Provided by Governments and Exchange of National Experiences, proposed by G-77/China and Mexico. MEXICO amended the decision to request that the UNDP "consider assisting" developing countries in the elaboration, translation and dissemination of their national reports. EGYPT noted that an invitation to governments to support the work of the Secretariat on new "Country Profiles," through the provision of voluntary contributions, could create an undesirable linkage between implementation and the provision of voluntary contributions. He proposed a partial deletion. The US said he could not support the paragraph without the phrase on voluntary contributions. Negotiators agreed on a reformulation, further requesting the CSD Secretariat to undertake measures to prepare a new version of the "Country Profiles."


SIDS PREPARATORY BODY: Delegates are expected to convene as a preparatory body for the Special Session on SIDS during the morning.

CLOSING PLENARY: Delegates are expected to adopt the provisional agenda for CSD-8 and the CSD-7 report during the afternoon. Immediately following the closure of CSD-7, CSD-8 will convene to elect its Bureau.

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