Daily report for 29 April 1994

Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS


CAMBODIA: Amb. Ouch Borith said that SIDS have beenspokespersons for the adoption of ocean conservation measures atthe global level. Cambodia has emerged from twenty years of war andis not indifferent to SIDS.

ISRAEL: Valerie Brachya said that regional and internationalefforts have focused recently on coastal zone management, inrecognition of the need to formulate guidelines for sustainabledevelopment in coastal areas.

FIJI: Amb. Ratu Manasa K. Seniloli said that SIDS are amongthe most fragile ecosystems. Sea-level rise will have profoundeffects on the economy of these islands, even though they generatevery little of the greenhouse gases.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Parry M. Zeipi, Minister for Environmentand Conservation, called on the international community to supportthe inclusion of SIDS, especially those of the South Pacific, onthe GEF Board.

MALTA: Amb. Joseph Cassar stressed the cultural heritage ofthe island peoples. He reminded delegates that the use or ill-useof resources under SIDS' jurisdiction impacts the world as a whole.

NEW ZEALAND: Priscilla Williams conveyed a message from thepeople of the island community of Tokelau, one of the smallest SIDSin the world, at a time when the responsibility for the affairs ofTokelau is transferred from New Zealand to the people of Tokelau.

CHILE: Miguel A. Gonzalez said that in recent years a densenetwork of interests that goes beyond national borders hasdeveloped and States now have a duty to show solidarity.

HOLY SEE: Archbishop Renato R. Martino said that humanbeings are at the center of concerns for sustainable developmentand that development initiatives must respect the full dignity andfreedom of those affected by them.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION: Dr. GunnarKullenberg proposed that SIDS prepare an integrated, jointlysponsored intergovernmental cooperative programme to ensuresustainable use of their adjacent ocean resources and coastal areasfor development.

NIGER: Adamou Seydou said that although they are separatedby seas and oceans, Niger and SIDS share a common cradle, thecontinent of Africa. With growing solidarity, developing countriescan rid their lives of poverty, hunger and lack of housing.

UNITED STATES: Elinor Constable said that all countries ofthe world are interconnected. While problems of SIDS may bedifferent, the risk is the same if we do not take care of ourenvironment. She also raised the issues of integrated coastal zonemanagement, coral reefs and climate change.

MONTSERRAT: Terrence Daniel highlighted Montserrat'sexperience in waste management, natural disaster preparedness, andcoastal and marine resources management. He also stressed theimportance of human resources and the role that the UN can play.

INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ADULT EDUCATION: Ijahnya Christiansaid that NGOs engaged in education at the grassroots levelrecognize a relationship between what has gone wrong on this planetand educational processes that may not have focused on learning forsustainability.

COMMONWEALTH HUMAN ECOLOGY COUNCIL: Zena Daysh said that thenew Commonwealth is a model that should be followed and she drewattention to the meeting her organization will hold in the UK thisyear.


The Plenary met in an informal session on Friday afternoon toconsider the Barbados Declaration. Two documents formed the basisfor discussions: the proposal for the Barbados Declaration tabledduring the resumed PrepCom in March (A/CONF.167/L.2) and an updateddraft proposal that was tabled on Friday morning (A/CONF.167/ L.4).The Chair of the informal session, Amb. Besley Maycock (Barbados)welcomed comments from delegates. He proposed the establishment ofa contact group that will meet to hammer out the Declaration.Another informal session of the Plenary will be convened on Tuesdayafternoon or evening to consider the work of the contact group.

Delegates made both general and specific comments about the draftDeclaration, which were repetitious of debate at the resumedPrepcom.They included:

  • Correct the imbalance between the preamble and the operative paragraphs (L.4 contains 20 preambular and 7 operative paragraphs).
  • The Declaration must be written in such a way as to ensure that it is accessible and understandable by all people in the world. Its current formulation, which resembles a UN resolution, may not be appropriate.
  • The Declaration should be relevant to SIDS.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Maycock announced the members ofthe contact group, which will hold its first meeting on Mondaymorning. Members include, but are not limited to: Algeria, Egypt,Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, India, China, US, Netherlands,Germany, Canada, Australia, Afghanistan, Cape Verde, Seychelles,Micronesia, Samoa, Tanzania, Jamaica, the Philippines and Cuba.


The Main Committee initially convened in a formal session to hearan NGO statement. Jocelyn Dow, on behalf of the Women's Environmentand Development Organization (WEDO) and Development Alternativesfor Women for a New Era (DAWN), stressed the need for partnershipbetween governments and NGOs, adding that if all South Africa canvote in our lifetime, everything is possible. She added that if nonew financial resources are available, the debt burden should beremoved, which would allow SIDS to fund their own development.

The Chair then convened an informal session to consider thebracketed sections of the Preamble (A/CONF.167/L.1).

Paragraph 1: It was agreed that brackets around the reference tothe relationship of this Conference to the agreements reached inRio would be removed and the text moved to the end of the Preamblewith the addition of the following: "Agenda 21 represents acomprehensive document and wherever referred to in this documentshould be referred to as a whole." The third section also to bemoved will now read: "The Programme of Action identifies priorityareas with specific actions necessary to address the specialchallenges faced by SIDS. In fulfilling these actions several crosssectoral issues are identified, for example, capacity building,including human resource development, institutional development atnational, regional and international levels, cooperation on theintroduction of environmentally sound technologies, trade andeconomic diversification, and finance."

Paragraph 2: After much debate, the text now refers to the needsand aspirations of human beings and their responsibility towardspresent and future generations.

Paragraph 4: Brackets were removed and the second sentence nowreads: "Recent human history contains examples of entire islandsrendered uninhabitable through environmental destruction owing toexternal causes...."

Paragraph 6: It was agreed that this paragraph could be deleted ifthe concept of SIDS' custodianship over a large part of the world'smarine environment is added to paragraph 5. Consultations will beheld.

Paragraph 7: The brackets were removed after the text was amendedto link population and economies of scale as follows: "Althoughtheir population density may be high, many SIDS have smallpopulations in absolute terms, insufficient to generate economiesof scale in several areas...."

Paragraph 10: The brackets were removed with amendments that notethat SIDS tend to have limited access to concessionary resourcesand that their incomes have been unstable over time.

Paragraph 11: Brackets were removed and the amended text encouragesyouth to contribute to the decision-making process and calls forthe elimination of obstacles to women's participation in thatprocess.

Paragraph 13: The brackets were removed with agreement on thefollowing at the beginning of the paragraph: "In establishing thebasis for a new global partnership for sustainable development,States have acknowledged their common but differentiatedresponsibilities in respect of global environmental degradation asstated at Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration. At Principle 6 it wasstated that the special situation and needs of developingcountries, particularly the least developed and those mostenvironmentally vulnerable should be given special priority."

Paragraph 14: Agreement was reached on the last sentence: "Thereports of the Regional Technical Meetings, held in preparation forthis Conference, remain an important point of reference since theycontain a broad collection of recommended actions for the pursuitof sustainable development in SIDS."

Paragraph 15: Despite some amendments, it was agreed to return tothis paragraph on finance once agreement is reached on the financeissues in Chapter XV. It remains in brackets.

Paragraph 16: This paragraph remains in brackets pending furtherconsultation as one group felt that the specific needs of some SIDSand the least developed SIDS needed to be specifically mentioned.

In the afternoon, the Chair asked for progress reports on variousconsultations taking place on Chapter XV. Paragraph 93 was agreedas follows: "Taking into account the relevant work of internationaleconomic and trade organizations, study should be undertaken on theeffects of trade liberalization and globalization on thesustainable development of SIDS, including relevantrecommendations."

Agreement was also reached on paragraphs 117 and 118 on thevulnerability index. The last sentence of 117 reads "Considerationshould be given to how such an index, and studies undertaken onsmall island developing States by other international institutions,might be used in addition to other statistical measures asquantitative indicators of fragility." Paragraph 118 now reads:"Appropriate expertise should continue to be utilized in thedevelopment, compilation and updating of the vulnerability index.Such expertise could include scholars and representatives ofinternational organizations which have at their disposal the datarequired to compile the vulnerability index. Relevant internationalorganizations are invited to contribute to the development of theindex. In addition, it is recommended that the work currentlyunderway in the United Nations system on the elaboration ofsustainable development indicators should take into accountproposals on the vulnerability index."

The Chair went on to remove brackets in Chapters III-XIV. Inparagraph 22 (transportation of wastes), there was disagreement onwho should bear the burden of the impact of passage of ships withtoxic and radioactive wastes through oceans and seas. It was agreedto take the issue back into the corridors, if not to the depths ofthe seabed.

In paragraph 25 (the World Coast Conference), it was agreed thatthe brackets could be removed from C(v) and the final section,pending editorial changes by the Secretariat. There will be furtherconsultations on paragraph 27 (groundwater resources).

Paragraph 35A(ii), (incentives for efficient energy technologies),will be the subject of further consultations. Agreement was reachedon 35C(iii) (mechanisms for transfer of energy technology).Brackets were lifted on 35C(iv), after it was agreed to encourageinstitutions to incorporate energy efficiency principles.

Brackets remain around paragraph 42A(vii) (intellectual propertyrights). Brackets were removed around 48 (assistance offered SIDSby regional commissions). Paragraph 52C(v) remains in brackets asdelegates disagree on the costs of telecommunications. In paragraph58, the discussion on the all too familiar argument on the meritsof "family planning" as opposed to "responsible planning of familysize" saw many of the same arguments rehashed. It will be resolvedin the corridors.


Despite the dark predictions in recent months that this Conferencewould not attract large numbers of delegations, this is not thecase. Over 100 governments are represented in Barbados by more than400 delegates. Furthermore, over 70 Heads of State or Governmentand ministers are expected for the High-Level Segment. Among thoseexpected to arrive during the week are Jean-Bertrand Aristide andFidel Castro.


PLENARY: Today should be the last day of the general debate.Check today's Journal for the speakers' list. Look for a possible"political" statement from the Pacific NGOs.

MAIN COMMITTEE: The Main Committee will resume at 10:00 thismorning. The agenda for the day will be shaped by progress made inthe various consultations held over the weekend. The Chair,Penelope Wensley, held an extended bureau meeting on Saturdaymorning to discuss the paragraphs on finance and other delegateswere supposed to coordinate consultations on other bracketedparagraphs in the text. Look for consultations to continue today.The Chair has requested services until 9:00 this evening.

CONTACT GROUP ON THE BARBADOS DECLARATION: Amb. BesleyMaycock will conduct the first meeting of his contact group on theBarbados Declaration at 10:00 am.