Daily report for 10 March 1994

Resumed Preparatory Committee for the SIDS Global Conference


The Chair opened the session and informed the delegates that theSecretariat had worked overnight to produce a "clean" version ofChapter XV that would be distributed during the course of the day.She indicated that the session would begin with a second reading ofthe preamble, to be followed by a re-examination of Chapters I-XIV.


Chapeau: The chapeau was reorganized. It was agreed that theproposal on the commitment of the international community would beexamined within the context of paragraph 10. The proposedamendments that remained in the chapeau are still in brackets, assome delegates asked for a chance to discuss them as a group beforetaking any decision.

Paragraph 1: An amendment to this paragraph on thecharacteristics of SIDS was accepted and incorporated in the text.A permanent observer attempted to add provisions on the importanceof the human individual, which remained in brackets. An observeralso submitted a proposal to emphasize the marine dimension ofSIDS, but it was agreed that this proposal should be includedelsewhere.

Paragraph 2: A technical amendment was submitted that moreprecisely defines the threat to freshwater resources of SIDS. Thisamendment remains in brackets.

Paragraph 3: This paragraph addresses the relationshipbetween environment and development in SIDS. It was requested thatreference to environmental destruction caused by externalinterventions be bracketed.

Paragraph 4: This paragraph was accepted.

Paragraph 5: Several amendments were proposed to thisparagraph on population growth. A permanent observer proposed anamendment to add language stating that despite population density,the small population size of SIDS inhibits them from generatingeconomies of scale. This amendment did not receive much support. Heproposed another formulation, which remains in brackets. Anotheramendment was proposed to the first sentence so that it would read"...the rate of population growth is high relative to bothecological sustainability and economic growth..." This isbracketed pending further consultations. Another amendment was madewith regard to the reference to women as heads of households. Theagreed phrase now reads "women in particular as heads ofhouseholds."

Paragraph 6: An amendment was introduced and accepted toindicate that the total production of SIDS is limited both inmanufacturing goods and in providing services. Another modificationthat restricted these difficulties to "some" SIDS remains inbrackets. The paragraph needs to be further amended to indicatethat the problem is with the lack of economies of scale rather thanthe search for such economies.

Paragraph 7: Several delegates were uncomfortable with thecurrent draft. An amendment was suggested that would restrict theapplication of these provisions to "some" SIDS and qualifiedinsurance and re-insurance problems as posing "difficulties". Thewhole paragraph is still in brackets.

Paragraph 8: A series of amendments were suggested to waterdown the language of this paragraph, but they remained in bracketswhile the authors consult. Man-made disasters were added to reflectthe vulnerability of SIDS to marine pollution.

Paragraph 9: A reference to a specific provision of Agenda21 that had been deleted in the draft was reintegrated in thisparagraph on human resources. It was felt by some that part of theprovision contained in the amendment had not been integrated in thenew draft. The amendment has been submitted to the delegates and isbeing negotiated. An additional reference to youth was alsosuggested, but no agreement was reached.

Paragraph 10: This paragraph was accepted with twoamendments. The first was to delete the last sentence mentioningthat this is the first global conference on the implementation ofAgenda 21. The second aimed to ensure that social, religious andcultural values are protected.

Paragraph 11: This paragraph mentions that priority must begiven to the economically vulnerable. Developed countries wanted toincorporate Principle 6 of the Rio Declaration into this paragraph.Others wanted to highlight the problems of SIDS, not of the leastdeveloped countries. No agreement was reached.

Paragraph 12: There was debate about mentioning the regionaltechnical meetings held in preparation for this Conference.Delegates agreed to further discuss this issue.

Paragraph 13: Three major amendments were proposed to thisparagraph, including adding the following sentence at thebeginning: "As recognized in Agenda 21, governments will beprimarily responsible for the implementation of the actionprogramme." The other amendments addressed financing and better useof existing resources. These amendments are bracketed until thequestion of financing as a whole is resolved.

Paragraphs 14 and 15: These paragraphs have been deleted asthey have been dealt with in Chapter XV.

A new paragraph was proposed noting that the internationalcommunity should pay special attention to the needs of the leastdeveloped SIDS. It remains in brackets.


The Chair opened the afternoon session with a reading of of thebracketed text in Chapters I-XIV of the Programme of Action.


Paragraphs 17 and 17 bis: One delegate noted that theseparagraphs were alternatives and paragraph 17 was deleted.Paragraph 17 bis was modified to reflect discussion in the ongoingclimate change negotiations. The brackets were removed.


Paragraph 21: The discussion centered on the reference tothe passage of ships carrying toxic and hazardous wastes andchemicals and radioactive materials through the seas of smallislands. This sentence remains in brackets.

Paragraph C(iv) and (v): Discussion focused on appropriatereference to conventions and other arrangements dealing with marinepollution, in particular land based sources. The two paragraphswere amended to embrace all processes dealing with these issues.


Paragraph C(v): A proposed new text merges the originaldraft with amendments that specify the outcomes of the 1993 WorldCoast Conference and make reference to other intergovernmentalactivities in order to help SIDS develop integrated coastalmanagement plans. Some developing country delegates, however,expressed their unease at taking into account meetings that are yetto take place. The paragraph remains in brackets.


Paragraph 26: This addresses safeguarding watersheds. Onedelegate proposed an amendment dealing with over-abstraction fromgroundwater resources. Although developing country delegates agreedto mention safeguarding groundwater resources, the delegateproposing the amendment insisted on maintaining the concept ofover-abstraction. Consultations will continue on this matter. Anamendment was proposed that would ensure waterways have a waterflow sufficient to maintain ecological processes. As the proposercould not explain what was meant by "waterways," this amendment wasdropped.


Chapeau: The term "renewable energy resources" was replacedwith "sources of renewable energy".

Paragraph A(ii): The proposed deletion of "appropriateeconomic instruments" gave rise to a long debate. Many developingcountries felt that this language is too specific and that economicinstruments are not necessarily the best approach for all SIDS. Theprovision is still in brackets.

Paragraph C(ii): The reference to the use of double-hulledtankers was accepted and the brackets were removed.

Paragraph C(iii): This paragraph on transfer of energytechnology was unacceptable to developed countries. One delegatesuggested adding "appropriate" before "the transfer of energytechnology." The paragraph remains in brackets.

Paragraph C(iv): Amendments were suggested to indicate thatinternational institutions can only be "encouraged" to take actionand that, in this respect, "ensure" is not realistic. Some thoughtthis weakened the provision too much. The paragraph remains inbrackets.


Paragraph 47: The brackets in this paragraph on regionalorganizations were retained at the request of one donor.

Paragraph B(vii): This paragraph had been incorporated byAOSIS/G-77 in Paragraph B(v). With one amendment that adds "with aview to ensuring a high degree of environmental protection,"paragraph B(v) was agreed upon and paragraph B(vii) deleted.


Paragraph 50: The brackets were removed.

Paragraph C(v): The brackets were retained.


Paragraph C(iii): The brackets were removed and the order ofreference to the CSD and the CSTD was reversed.


Paragraph 57: As expected, the formulation of this paragraphwas controversial and it was suggested that the reference toresponsible planning of family size be replaced with language drawnfrom paragraph 3.8(j) of Agenda 21. No agreement was reached andthe text is still in brackets.

Paragraph A(ii): Agreement was reached when it was decidedthat the term "demographic" could be deleted if the brackets wereremoved from "the dignity and fundamental rights of the humanperson and of the family."

Paragraph C(ix): This now reads, "Continue to support, andincrease where possible, scientific and technical training in orderto promote sustainable development."


At the beginning of the evening session, delegates discussed thesuggested modifications by AOSIS/G-77 to the agreed text ofChapters I-XIV of the Programme of Action.


Paragraph B(vii): This paragraph was incorporated with oneamendment suggesting the provision of "improved" rather than"necessary" access to financial resources.


The Chair noted that the Office of the United Nations DisasterRelief Coordinator no longer existed and that its functions nowfall under the auspices of the Department of Humanitarian Affairsand, consequently, the appropriate references should be changed.


Paragraph A(vii): This paragraph remained in brackets whilea group of delegates seek language that reflects the concerns ofSIDS to protect the rights of those whose indigenous knowledge andknow-how of biodiversity is overtaken by commercial exploitation ofthe resources.

All other suggested modifications were accepted.

BARBADOS DECLARATION: Amb. Besley Maycock from Barbadosintroduced A/CONF.167/PC/L.10, elements for discussion for theBarbados Declaration. A number of delegations made preliminaryremarks on this document. The reaction was generally positive. Someelements, such as the right to develop and people-centeredsustainable development, were highlighted as insufficientlycovered. It was agreed that the Declaration should remainaccessible to all, as short as possible and reflect wide consensus.As one delegate indicated, this should not be just another UNdocument. It was agreed that delegates would forward this documentto their capitals and that informal consultations would resume atthe end of the month.


INFORMAL SESSION: A "clean" text of the Preamble should beavailable this morning so that the Committee can discuss it and,hopefully, remove the remaining brackets when the informal sessionresumes at 10:00 am. After that, delegates will re-read thebracketed text in Chapters I-XIV, may have the opportunity tocomment on the elements of the Barbados Declaration, and mayre-read the "clean" copy of Chapter XV. The informal session isexpected to last all morning and possibly into the afternoon.

PLENARY: When the final Plenary begins this afternoon, theCommittee will have to discuss a number of issues related to theConference including: participation of associate members ofregional commissions; the rules of procedure; management of thehigh-level segment; the programme of work; the BarbadosDeclaration; and the Programme of Action. NGOs will have anopportunity to make a final statement.

IN THE CORRIDORS: Sweden has been charged by the Chair withthe task of finding agreement on language relating to intellectualproperty rights. Look for a possible informal-informal session ifbilateral consultations fail.