Daily report for 26 April 1994

Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS



GENERAL: Rafeeuddin Ahmed emphasized the need for appropriatepopulation policies that allow for the diversification of skillswithin the economy, without leading to unemployment. Emigration isa drain of social capital invested in training and skilldiversification.

ALGERIA: On behalf of the Group of 77, Amb. Ramtane Lamamranoted that along with other constraints, SIDS are heavily dependenton international trade. He stressed that while the draft Programmeof Action is a recipe for success, resolution of Chapter XV is anessential element and must be a priority for all countries.

GREECE: Speaking on behalf of the European Union, YannisSouliotis said the mid-term review of Lom‚ IV will pay attention toSIDS, while priority will continue to be given to the leastdeveloped SIDS. He stressed the benefits of regional integration.

CHINA: The representative stressed that while theinternational community had done much to implement Agenda 21, theagreements on financial resources and technology transfer areincomplete. The Programme of Action should be based on a balancebetween economic development and environmental protection.

MALAYSIA: The representative stated that Chapter XV is themost important and he called on developed countries to honor theirRio commitments. He stressed the need for South-South cooperationand urged the Conference to protect the rights of owners ofbiodiversity and to allow benefits to accrue to them.

UNDP: Administrator James Gustave Speth stressed sustainablehuman development, which is pro-poor, pro-women, pro-jobs andpro-environment. He urged governments to support the 20/20initiative for a commitment of 20% of national budgets to meetprimary needs in return for donor countries' allocation of 20% ofODA for these purposes.

BAHAMAS: Deputy Prime Minister Orville Turnquest stressedthat disaster preparedness is essential. Tourism and value addedfinancial services offer many SIDS the prospect of economicsuccess. He stressed the burden created by the drug trade.

WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: Secretary-General Obassipresented a case study on natural disasters and sustainabledevelopment of small island developing states (A/CONF.167/CRP/4).

JAPAN: The representative called attention to the essentialelements of the Programme of Action on human resource developmentand institutional and administrative capacity and called forcoordinated national, regional and international action.

UNEP: Elizabeth Dowdeswell, UN Under-Secretary- General forUNEP and Habitat, said that even if recommendations of thisConference are modest in scope they must demonstrate a capacity totranslate words into action. Efficient management of environmentaland human resources is necessary.

GRENADA: Phinsley St. Louis, the Minister of Health andEnvironment, said that low commodity prices have broughtinstability to the island. Because of limited land size,agriculture diversification is not an option. The internationalcommunity must help SIDS in their economic restructuring.

CARICOM: Edwin Carrington, Secretary-General of theCaribbean Community, stressed the need for timely implementation ofthe results of this Conference at the national, regional andinternational levels. International assistance should not be seenas aid, but rather as a contribution to sustainable development.

ICELAND: Th"rir Ibsen, on behalf of the Nordic Group, saidthat the Programme of Action should meet specific objectives andfocus on practical actions at national, regional and internationallevels. The Barbados Declaration should be easy to understand,accessible and concise.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Tom D. Kijiner, Minister for Health andEnvironment, supported establishment of a permanent mechanism tomonitor sustainable development in SIDS and facilitatecommunication and information exchange.

VENEZUELA: Amb. Amry Touron Lugo said that Agenda 21 is thegreatest programme of action adopted by the UN, but it does nothave the necessary support to make it a reality. To implement thisprogramme of action for SIDS, new funds and the transfer ofenvironmentally sound technology are important.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Minister of Consumer Affairs CamilleRobinson-Regis called for new and additional financial resourcesand added that existing levels of funding would be better utilizedif fewer projects are funded more effectively, the funding processis more transparent, and programmes of donor agencies avoidduplication.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Don Wook Kim said it is not possible forSIDS to achieve sustainable development without external assistanceand cooperation. He supported the need for new and innovativefunding. The CSD should monitor the implementation of the Programmeof Action.

PHILIPPINES: Amb. Jose Guerrero said this Conference shouldachieve greater respect for the strengths of the islands andinternational support to develop the national capacities of theislands. The right to development, adequate financing, andtechnology transfer are all linked to the most important resource-- human beings.

MAURITANIA: Amb. Mohamedou Ould Mohamed said theinternational economic system is the source of numerous problems,including terms of trade and debt. The fate of youth also lies inthe balance. There needs to be an urgent response to poverty,including partnership mechanisms.

UNIFEM: Marjorie Thorpe, Acting Director, said that there isa need to strengthen human capacity. SIDS must reach out aspartners, not as paupers, to create a true partnership betweenNorth and South. Women must be fully engaged in the process. Whatis at stake is equity, human dignity, self reliance and sustainablehuman development.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: Demetrio Alverodescribed a partnership initiative launched by the Government ofJamaica, the EU and the IOM aimed at facilitating the return ofqualified Jamaican nationals residing in industrialized countriesto fill priority positions of development in Jamaica.

REGIONAL UNION OF GUADELOUPE ASSOCIATIONS FOR HERITAGE ANDENVIRONMENT: Fred Lee stressed the importance of wastemanagement in the Caribbean and urged recycling and rational andeffective waste management.

WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE: Joy Hyvarinen hoped that thisConference can bring about some real progress towardsecologically-sound and socially-just development. Unlesscross-sectoral issues (finance, trade, technology transfer andinstitutions) are resolved, agreement on sectoral issues willmatter little in the long run.


The Main Committee met briefly Tuesday morning to discuss a numberof procedural matters, including the election of officers and theprogramme of work. The Chair, Amb. Penelope Wensley (Australia),said it is the job of the Main Committee to finish what the PrepCombegan. While there is agreement on six of the 15 chapters, thereare still a number of square brackets in the preamble and eightchapters, including Chapter XV, which contains the vital issues offinance, technology transfer and institutional follow-up to theConference.

The Committee then elected the following Vice-Chairs: Takao Shibata(Japan); Ioan Barac (Romania); and John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda).Later, the African Group nominated Amb. Marc Marengo (Seychelles).Shibata was also nominated to serve as rapporteur. Wensley thenannounced that the Chair of AOSIS had asked her to conclude thework of the Main Committee by 1:00 pm on Wednesday, 4 May, to allowtime for an AOSIS Summit to precede the High-Level Segment. Afterconsultations, it was agreed that the Main Committee would beginits work by considering Chapter XV of A/CONF.167/L.1, which will bethe basis of the Committee's work. She urged delegates with newproposals to share these texts as widely as possible.

Greece, on behalf of the EU, suggested that the text of thepreamble be condensed. On finance, the EU wants to see better useof existing plans and resources, and use of innovative financingmechanisms. On institutional development, there is a need tostrengthen national institutional capacities and improvecoordination at the sub-regional level. Trinidad and Tobago, onbehalf of the G-77, China and AOSIS, insisted that the draftProgramme of Action should be looked at in its entirety. TheCommittee should not only concentrate on removing brackets andrubber-stamping the rest. She requested that the meeting adjourn sothat the G-77 and AOSIS, could prepare themselves for thediscussion on Chapter XV.


In the afternoon, Wensley announced that after furtherconsultations it was suggested that the Committee focus initiallyon Section D of Chapter XV, Implementation, Monitoring and Review,using a non-paper prepared by AOSIS/G-77 as the basis fordiscussion. The Chair of AOSIS introduced the non-paper, stressingthat it is based on the informal negotiations held during theresumed session of the PrepCom. The Committee began its firstreading with the first sub-section on intergovernmental follow-up.The authors suggested mechanisms for review in the context of theCSD, the Second Committee of the General Assembly and the GAitself. The Chair suggested that with some consultations, agreementcould be reached on all points. On the issue of reporting, onedelegation asked for greater specificity on what reports areexpected when and for what purpose. Another asked that sub-regionalas well as regional bodies be included in such reports. Under thesub-section on interagency coordination, it was clarified thatAgenda 21 is the basis for action and not a framework, which mayimply legal onus. The discussions on the secretariat supportstructure led to differences between those resisting the creationof new secretariat posts to carry out the follow-up functions, andthose advocating them. These differences will be resolved ininformal informals, facilitated by Vice-Chair Ioan Barac. While theGeneral Assembly will consider the recommendations together with astatement of the programme budget implications, it was stressedthat the recommendations of the Conference could not be tooopen-ended. It was noted that in preparing appropriate reports,non-UN bodies should be included.

In the sub-section on organs, programmes and organizations, themutual roles of UNDP and UNEP were clarified and it was agreed tocite their references in Agenda 21. There was considerablediscussion on the reference to UNCTAD. Some were concerned thatthis Programme of Action should only refer to UNCTAD's workregarding SIDS and not its entire mandate. It was agreed thatSweden should coordinate informal consultations on this issue.Under the sub-section on regional and sub-regional cooperation andimplementation, one delegation asked for stronger reference tolocal participation in decision making, and to references to thepublic and private sectors. Further consultation will take place onthese points. One delegation, breaking ranks with his group, askedthat indigenous people be referred to separately.


NGOs have been fuming around the Sherbourne Center as they bouncefrom room to room, ejected by the Secretariat's priority to housegovernment group meetings. To rub salt into the wound, the NGOlounge has no computers or office facilities. Asked to mix businessand pleasure at the opening ceremony, NGOs wonder what business theConference organizers really want from them.


Representatives of the UN International Drug Control Programme andsome NGOs have been lobbying delegates in the corridors on theimportance of drug abuse control. Drugs are only mentioned once inthe draft Programme of Action and only the Bahamas has evenmentioned the effects of the drug trade and drug abuse during theGeneral Debate.


PLENARY: The Plenary will continue the general debate today inConference Room 1 with a full complement of speakers. Look intoday's journal for the speakers' list, however, if yesterday wasany indication, there will be many changes during the course of theday.

MAIN COMMITTEE: The Main Committee will continueconsideration of the AOSIS/G-77 non-paper on a new Section D ofChapter XV, beginning with paragraph 16. Look for a number ofinformal-informal consultations in the corridors and smallconference rooms on some of the critical issues in this non-paper.

BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE FORUM: The Foundation forInternational Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) and theInterim Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity willhost a workshop on "Obtaining Benefits from Marine and GeneticResources Opportunities for SIDS under the Convention on Biological Diversity," at 1:00 pm in Conference Room 3.