Report of main proceedings for 15 April 2004
Preparatory Meeting for the International Meeting on the Ten-year Review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS
Delegates met throughout the day in informal consultations to consider the Strategy Document, concluding a first reading of sections on waste management, coastal and marine resources, freshwater resources, land resources, energy resources, tourism resources, biodiversity resources, transport and communication, graduation of SIDS LDCs, and trade: globalization and trade liberalization.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MEETING TO REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Throughout the informals, facilitated by Don MacKay (New Zealand), developed countries proposed alternative text on many paragraphs, some of which sought to balance the text by placing greater obligation on SIDS. Developed countries also raised concerns about the use of mandatory language giving directives to the international community, which developing countries agreed to address. A group of developed countries suggested modifying the chapeau of numerous paragraphs to recognize the commitment of SIDS in various areas, to which developing countries stressed the need for assistance, rather than restating existing commitments.
Waste management: On specifying actions to be taken by international bodies and processes, several developed countries expressed concern that the Document should not usurp the work of such bodies, and called for the deletion of these references. Objecting to these proposals, developing countries noted that in many cases SIDS are not adequately represented in some international bodies, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, and often lack the capacity to adequately participate in the decision making processes of those bodies. A developed country said it would provide a revised text of the section on waste management.
On transportation of radioactive wastes, developing countries objected to proposals to delete related text, saying this was agreed language from the BPOA and that the objective of the IM was not to renegotiate the BPOA. On the responsibility for addressing pollution and accepting liability for rehabilitation of World War II shipwrecks, some developed countries proposed deleting the associated subparagraph, with a developed country suggesting to deal with this issue bilaterally. Developing countries stressed the importance of recognizing this issue at the international level.
Coastal and marine resources: The establishment of a new financial mechanism to assist SIDS in the implementation of UNCLOS was opposed by developed countries, which stressed the need to make better use of existing mechanisms. Developing countries emphasized the need to address SIDS access to such mechanisms.
On fisheries management, developed countries proposed strengthening language to assist SIDS in addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and problems relating to flags of convenience. Noting that SIDS lack the capacity to control IUU fishing, developing countries welcomed this proposal.
Some developed countries opposed singling out distant fishing nations to provide support for sustainable fisheries management. Developing countries maintained that these nations should take responsibility for their part in depleting SIDS fisheries. Noting the difficulty of assessing equitable resource management, some developed countries suggested, and developing countries agreed, to replace the word equitable with effective.
On activities of SIDS in their economic exclusive zones, developed countries suggested adding reference to the relevant work of the CBD and international law. Developing countries said they would consider these proposals. A developed country proposed qualifying that management approaches be based on scientific information. Developing countries expressed concerns regarding SIDS access to this information.
Freshwater resources: Delegates agreed, without amendment, to the introductory paragraph outlining challenges faced by SIDS on this issue. Developing countries said they would consider proposed language referencing the 4th World Water Forum to be held in Mexico in 2006, but stressed that support for the implementation of the Joint Programme for Action for Water and Climate launched at the 3rd World Water Forum should be provided prior to 2006.
On providing assistance for appropriate technologies to meet the MDG on safe drinking water, a developed country proposed text recognizing SIDS commitment to the WSSD sanitation and integrated water resources management targets. Developing countries stressed the need for assistance in meeting these targets.
A developed country requested clarification on why a specific WMO programme was singled out to assist SIDS in a paragraph on strengthening national capacity on water quality. Developing countries stressed the importance of the particular programme in assisting SIDS in planning and forecasting. A developed country noted that the mechanisms and programmes specified are relevant for all developing countries and not just SIDS. Facilitator MacKay suggested modifying the language to reflect SIDS-specific needs.
Land resources: Developed countries proposed reformulating paragraphs related to land degradation and trade, which they said should emphasize that SIDS have primary responsibility for their land resources. Developing countries indicated the need to mention the GEF, CCD and CBD as mechanisms to address the issue of land degradation. Many developed countries suggested deleting specific language directing the GEF to facilitate SIDS access to financial and technical resources to address land degradation. Developing countries also said it would be difficult to emphasize quality control and product development in the Document unless capacity is built within SIDS. Developing countries stressed the need to retain references to sustainable forest management partnerships within the UN and the international community, since improved forest management is critically needed in SIDS.
Developed countries proposed deleting the paragraph on mining and suggested changing paragraphs related to minerals to include issues such as the need to build capacity through improved development of policy and legislation. Developing countries said they would consider the proposed changes to these paragraphs.
Energy resources: On forms of energy that should be listed as commercially feasible options of energy supply for SIDS, developed countries proposed adding geothermal, biomass and hydropower to the existing list, which includes wind, solar and ocean energy. One developed country said the section on energy resources focused too much on what other countries should do, but did not reflect what SIDS should do. Developing countries underscored that this section builds on language already agreed to in the JPOI. Delegates discussed the possibility of moving references to technology transfer to the section on implementation. Some developed countries indicated that they would propose new text for this section.
Tourism resources: On the balance between tourism development and other sectors of the economy, a developed country suggested, and developing countries agreed, to address environmental protection. On resources and tools to achieve sustainable tourism, some developed countries suggested adding references to the CBD guidelines on tourism and development, financial resources, and means of raising these resources at the national level. Developing countries said they would consider the proposed language. On national tourism development plans, some developed countries suggested referencing sustainable development strategies.
Biodiversity resources: On text related to international assistance, developed countries called for language on access and benefit sharing and updating text related to relevant conclusions of CBD COP-7. Developing countries noted that there was no reference to SIDS in the CBD Work Programme on Protected Areas, and requested specific text responding to the unique situation of SIDS in relation to the CBDs implementation.
Developed countries proposed changing language on the GEF, noting that it is just one of the mechanisms that provide technical and international assistance and that the Document cannot mandate the GEF to undertake specific actions. Developing countries indicated that the emphasis of the paragraph is on the simplification of the GEFs disbursement procedures, and underlined their need to have predictable, but not necessarily new, sources of funding.
Transport and communication: On the challenges faced by SIDS in transport and communications, a developed country suggested opening the section with an acknowledgement of recent developments that have reduced the isolation of SIDS. Developing countries stressed the need for support to access new communication technologies. On assistance for developing and managing airports and ports, developing countries highlighted, inter alia, costs involved in meeting new international security requirements. A developed country suggested expanding the language to include assistance for other forms of transport infrastructure.
On regional transportation arrangements, a developed country suggested operationalizing the language to state that SIDS should expand their participation in such arrangements, and requested clarification of the concept of rationalizing air services. Developing countries highlighted the challenges of developing air policies based on market forces, noting the need for intervention to ensure air service in some areas.
On liberalization of telecommunications, one developed country requested deleting language on cost reduction measures, and some developed countries said the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process is not an appropriate forum to address this issue. A developed country requested clarification on the reference to supporting non-State participation in the WSIS. Developing countries noted that this reference reflects the language of the WSIS, and could encompass NGOs, other stakeholders, and non-State SIDS.
Science and technology: On investment in science and technology capacity of SIDS, developed countries recommended deleting the paragraph calling for the creation of a clearinghouse mechanism. Developing countries explained that the mechanism envisaged was to identify SIDS-appropriate technology and help SIDS obtain access to these technologies. Regarding SIDSNet, a developed country reserved its position on language calling for adequate funding for its maintenance and strengthening, noting that the source of the funding has not been determined. Developing countries said they would consider this issue.
Graduation of SIDS LDCs: Developed countries indicated that ECOSOC was already conducting work on this issue and called for deleting this section. Developing countries noted that although ECOSOC is looking into LDC graduation issues, it is important to further discuss: the results of a countrys graduation from LDC status; the methodology used to determine LDC graduation; and the issue of graduation itself. Developing countries indicated that the IM needs to look at the environmental vulnerability of SIDS and come up with specific recommendations for the graduation of SIDS LDCs.
Trade: globalization and trade liberalization: A developed country proposed deleting this section, saying there was no mandate to address trade issues in this process and that the UN was not the appropriate body to address trade-related issues, as they are being addressed by the WTO. Welcoming the inclusion and relevance of this section in the Document, a group of developed countries raised concerns about some elements of the text, in particular the creation of new groups under the WTO. They said they would submit alternative language on the entire section. Developing countries noted that trade is an instrument of sustainable development and is recognized as such in the Doha Development Agreement, and highlighted that many trade issues are already addressed outside of the WTO. Developing countries emphasized that the BPOA+5 review, the JPOI and Monterrey Consensus all addressed trade-related concerns of SIDS and said the Document should build on these provisions. He also underscored the central role of the UN in addressing these concerns, noting that it is the only forum where all SIDS voices are represented.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Facilitator MacKay expressed general satisfaction with the pace of discussion and, with 18 paragraphs outstanding, was confident that delegates would conclude their first reading of the Document before the Friday Plenary. Although MacKay announced at the days end that he would provide a composite text on Friday morning, many delegates noted that divergences between country positions were overwhelming at this juncture and felt uncertain as to how negotiations would move forward. With numerous outstanding controversial issues and scores of proposals being tabled, several participants were surprised that night contact groups were not established to help reach compromise on specific issues. Several participants were speculating on the options for moving forward, with some raising the possibility of adopting the Document in its original form, as compilation text or a Facilitators paper.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: Delegates will meet in the morning and early afternoon in Conference Room 1 to conclude their first reading of the Strategy Document. Delegates will also consider a revised provisional agenda for the IM.
CSD-12 PLENARY: CSD-12 Plenary will convene in Conference Room 1 in the afternoon, where it is expected to hear a brief report of the informal consultations, adopt the provisional agenda for the IM, and discuss the way forward.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis report of the SIDS preparatory meeting will be available on Monday, 3 May 2004 at: http://enb.iisd.org/sids/bpoa10/sidsprep