Report of main proceedings for 25 April 2001
Delegates continued discussing draft decisions in three Drafting Groups. Drafting Group I met in an afternoon session to consider energy issues. Drafting Group II met in morning and afternoon sessions to address revised draft decisions on transport and on atmosphere, and Drafting Group III met in a morning session to continue a first reading of the draft decision on international cooperation for an enabling environment, and in an evening session to begin the first reading of the revised draft decision on information for decision making and participation.
DRAFTING GROUP I
This Drafting Group, chaired by Alison Drayton (Guyana), completed a second reading of the negotiating text. Delegates agreed on text encouraging governments to develop "domestic programmes" on renewable energies. On advanced fossil fuel technologies, there was no agreement on whether to increase the "proportionate" or "relative" use of lower carbon fuels, or to promote carbon dioxide emission reductions. Text on indicators in the rural energy situation, and on energy and transport issues, remains bracketed. Regarding nuclear energy technologies, Chair Drayton proposed establishing a contact group, chaired by Gustavo Ainchil (Argentina), with delegates from the energy and transport drafting groups. INDIA and PAKISTAN objected to the CSD addressing nuclear proliferation.
On making markets work better, the EU proposed text on creating open and competitive energy markets underpinned by appropriate regulations. The G-77/CHINA added text on restructuring developed country energy taxes to take into account environmental pollution, and included language from UNGASS-19 on developing country capabilities. On international cooperation, delegates agreed to include: SWITZERLAND’s reference to education; the G-77/CHINA’s amendments on "the critical role" of international cooperation and its text on the mobilization of resources, "including financial resources"; and the EU’s proposal to refer "particularly" to developing countries. The EU, opposed by ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA and SAUDI ARABIA, proposed text on strengthening the coordination of existing UN bodies. This text was bracketed.
On areas for international cooperation, delegates approved, inter alia, the EU’s reference to bilateral and multilateral development cooperation programmes, and text on promoting "affordable and energy efficient advanced" technologies. Various proposals were bracketed, including text on: ODA being "the bedrock of external funding"; debt "cancellation" or "relief"; an EU proposal on the development of energy policy in poverty reduction strategy papers; and a G-77/CHINA proposal on enhanced use of international mechanisms. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA urged reference to promoting opportunities for women through credit facilities.
DRAFTING GROUP II
This Group, chaired by Drayton, continued discussion on the revised draft decision on international cooperation for an enabling environment, addressing the section on international cooperation. They also completed the first reading of the revised draft decision on information for decision making and participation. New revised text was distributed for the sections on general considerations and international cooperation of the draft decision on international cooperation for an enabling environment.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT: Regarding international cooperation, the Group considered text on: finding a lasting solution to highly indebted poor country debt, market access; trade barriers and obstacles; investments in developing countries; technology transfer; and support to developing country implementation of national sustainable development strategies. Much of the text remains bracketed. Two new G-77/ CHINA proposals on the need to resolve the debt of middle-income developing countries and to transfer finances and environmentally sustainable technologies relating to the implementation of national sustainable development programmes and strategies remain bracketed.
Delegates agreed to: delete the subparagraphs welcoming UNEP’s work on methodologies for environmental impact assessment on trade policies, and referring to the Nairobi initiative of the Fifth Expert Group Meeting on Finance for Sustainable Development; and to refer to poverty "eradication," and "investment for sustainable development," instead of "mechanisms to facilitate environmentally-sound technologies." Participants agreed to work on the basis of JAPAN’s proposal based on a CSD-8 draft decision on the issue of trade liberalization. However, the EU objected to a G-77/CHINA proposal to add references to trade-distorting subsidies and disguised trade barriers as examples of trade barriers, stating that the two measures are conceptually different and that trade subsidies are not a form of trade barrier. Regarding free market access by least developed countries, AUSTRALIA preferred the Millennium Declaration language.
INFORMATION FOR DECISION MAKING AND PARTICIPATION: Delegates agreed to text on: dissemination and use of satellite data; multilateral actions by countries "with the cooperation of relevant international organizations, as appropriate"; achieving accurate, long-term, reliable and consistent data; national-level actions by governments, "with the support of the international community, as appropriate"; incorporation of data and findings from research and monitoring activities into the decision-making process; and encouragement and provision of necessary technological infrastructure, in particular to developing countries.
Delegates were unable to agree on text relating to: harmonization of methodologies, data standards and indicators; accessibility guidelines for people with disabilities; development of information systems that make the sharing of valuable data possible, including earth observation data among scientists; development "and wider use by developing countries" of innovative technologies; incorporation of sustainable development performance information produced by major groups into decision making, planning, monitoring and reporting processes; and the importance of an effective role for the media.
Delegates deleted language on development and application of pollutant inventories and registers. The EU offered to withdraw its proposals on assessment and evaluation of international instruments as an input to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and on legal instruments such as the Århus Convention, provided its proposed text on ensuring access to environmental information, public participation in decision making and access to judicial and administrative proceedings was accepted. The G-77/China opposed this, and all proposals remain bracketed.
Text on global observing systems was not discussed, as it remains under consideration in the Drafting Group that is addressing atmosphere. In addition, the section on indicators was not discussed, as it is under consideration in informal consultations.
DRAFTING GROUP III
This Group, chaired by David Stuart (Australia), began discussing the revised text of a draft decision on transport and also resumed consideration of the draft decision on atmosphere, starting with the section on international cooperation.
TRANSPORT: Delegates discussed procedural matters, particularly with regard to amendments proposed by the EU. The EU said these proposals reflect matters emanating from the multi-stakeholder dialogue. The G-77/CHINA, supported by JAPAN, questioned whether the EU’s proposals were appropriate at this stage in the process. SAUDI ARABIA highlighted time constraints for considering new proposals. BRAZIL, supported by CANADA and CHINA, said the EU’s text contains prescriptive directives, not proposals. SWITZERLAND called for a cooperative spirit in discussing the document.
Delegates then considered the revised draft decision on transport. On the contribution of transport to development, the EU, supported by CANADA, suggested adding "safety and access" to alternative text on "sustainable transport services and systems," while the G-77/CHINA opposed reference to sustainable transport in general. Regarding environmental impacts of transport-related activities, SWITZERLAND, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, suggested retaining a reference to climate change. JAPAN called for the deletion of a paragraph on the transboundary movement of hazardous substances. Chair Stuart noted that the Bureau was considering whether this Group and the Group on energy should consider this matter jointly.
On international cooperation, CANADA expressed concern at the level of detail of the EU’s proposals. The EU outlined several of its proposals that it would be prepared to amend or omit, including removal of text supporting benchmarking environmental performance. However, she preferred retaining a reference to strategic environmental and health assessments in major transportation investment plans and programmes, as well as text on the International Civil Aviation Organization. AUSTRALIA opposed both references.
ATMOSPHERE: Delegates resumed discussion on the draft decision. On regional cooperation, the G-77/CHINA indicated a preference for using the original text, but noted that some of the new proposals had merit. The EU preferred retaining its proposals. On recommendations at the national level, the EU, supported by SWITZERLAND and opposed by the G-77/CHINA, CANADA and AUSTRALIA, proposed that text on air quality management include specific reference to quality standards and emission limits. Regarding a reference to indoor air pollution, the G-77/CHINA proposed deleting text on using "short term plans" in urban areas. CANADA stated that some proposed text relates more to habitat than atmosphere. He questioned the need for text on "converting to non-ozone depleting substances or alternative technologies with the lowest contribution to global warming." JAPAN and the US said other bodies have greater competence to address these issues, while SWITZERLAND said it was appropriate for the CSD to take a position.
Chair Stuart then asked delegates to consider bracketed text where agreement appeared close. On international cooperation, the EU and the G-77/CHINA indicated general support for the Chair’s compromise text on assistance in capacity building, research, education and training, and institutional strengthening in preventing and combating air pollution.
Regarding text on the Montreal Protocol, delegates were unable to agree on whether to refer to "adequate replenishment," "substantial replenishment" or "new and additional resources" in relation to the Multilateral Fund. In addition, delegates could not reach consensus over whether to "encourage" or "urge" countries to ratify or accede to the Protocol and its Amendments as soon as possible. On efforts under the Protocol to further examine ways of promoting alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, the G-77/CHINA and the US said they could support an EU proposal to refer to "cost-effective and affordable" alternatives. Chair Stuart said informal consultations would be required to resolve some outstanding issues.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The North-South NGO network, operating under the umbrella of the CSD NGO Steering Committee, ended its decade-long relationship yesterday, following a withdrawal of the Northern caucus, as well as a number of its issues caucuses. The Women’s caucus was considering its future involvement on Wednesday evening. While the Southern caucus has indicated it will continue working on CSD issues along the same lines it had previously, the Northern caucus hopes to transform into an open-ended coalition. Some NGO participants indicated that the break-up stemmed from a lack of trust, differences in working styles among the members and, as one participant noted, obstacles to "injecting new life" into the process. Some observers lamented that the break-up was unfortunate, coming so soon after concerted efforts to consolidate institutional arrangements in the lead up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
DRAFTING GROUP I: The Group will reconvene to negotiate the draft decision on energy from 8:00-11:00 pm in Conference Room 5. The meeting will be preceded by informal/informal consultations on nuclear energy technologies from 3:00-6:00 pm in Conference Room 9.
DRAFTING GROUP II: The Group will reconvene from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 3 to complete the second reading of the draft decision on international cooperation for an enabling environment, starting with the section on recommendations at the national level. The Group will meet from 3:00-6:00 pm at the same venue to consider information for decision making and participation.
DRAFTING GROUP III: This Group will meet from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 7 to discuss transport, and from 3:00-6:00 pm in Conference Room 2 to discuss atmosphere.