Daily report for 8 March 1994

Resumed Preparatory Committee for the SIDS Global Conference


The PrepCom resumed its discussion of Chapter XV, Implementation,Monitoring and Review, of the Draft Programme of Action. Delegatesbegan with paragraph 63 bis, action at the national level, asdrafted by AOSIS/G-77 in response to comments made by the EuropeanUnion at the first session of the PrepCom.

Paragraph 63 bis.1 Finance: There was a clear difference ofapproach on this issue as some emphasized the re-prioritization orresource allocation at the national level, while others stressedthe inadequacy of financial resources. Consequently, part of thetext remained in brackets.

Paragraph 63 bis.2 Trade: Agreement could not be reached onthe degree of emphasis attached to the expansion of export capacityas opposed to the need for import substitution. These provisionsremained bracketed.

Paragraph 63 bis.3 Technology: This sub-paragraph proved tobe one of the most controversial particularly relating tointellectual property rights as they apply to indigenous knowledgeand natural resources. Some argued that property rights apply tothe resources themselves while others argued that they only applyto knowledge used to exploit them. It was added that technologiesshould also be developed by SIDS themselves.

Paragraph 63 bis.4 Legislation: It was agreed that newlegislation and enforcement measures would have to be adopted whereappropriate but that the specificity of SIDS would not always allowfor the direct transposition of traditional western concepts.

Paragraph 63 bis.5 Institutional Development: Amendmentsproposed by some developed countries were met with some hostilityby developing countries as references to the strengthening ofnational institutional capacity was construed as an interference ininternal affairs. The tripartite approach, -- national, regionaland international -- was reiterated. This was left in brackets.

Paragraph 63 bis.6 Information and Participation: Thispresented no problem other than a suggestion by a delegate to addreligious leaders to the list of groups that have to becomeinvolved in the sustainable development of SIDS.

Paragraph 63 bis.7 Human Resource Development: Stillunresolved is the issue of how holistic a definition of humanresource development should be used. Some delegates cautionedagainst language that would not place enough emphasis on training.


The Committee met in formal session Tuesday afternoon to hearstatements from governments and NGOS.

GERMANY: Klaus T”pfer, the German Minister of theEnvironment, highlighted activities illustrating Germany'scommitment to sustainable development, including hosting the firstConference of Parties for the Climate Change Convention in March1995. T”pfer mentioned his candidacy for the chairmanship of theCommission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and stressed theimportant role it should play in monitoring the implementation ofAgenda 21. To be successful, the CSD needs coordination,concentration and concrete results. This Conference is important asSIDS are, due to their size and location, vulnerable to all kindsof environmental changes.

PACIFIC NGOS: The representative from the Pacific ConcernsResource Center, on behalf of Pacific NGOs, stressed the need forthis Conference to address colonialism and militarism. The eightnon-self-governing territories in the Pacific are forced to sit onthe sidelines while this Conference decides what is appropriate forthem. Foreign military activities have a devastating impact on thebiodiversity of Pacific islands. The Programme of Action shouldurge halting of all foreign military activities. Chapter 9 shouldalso provide for the body of traditional knowledge of flora andfauna in SIDS.

CARIBBEAN AND ATLANTIC NGOS: The representative of theCaribbean Conservation Association, on behalf of Caribbean andAtlantic NGOs, mentioned that policies of the North result influctuations in foreign exchange, debt and replacement of foodself-sufficiency with food aid. A model for sustainable developmentin SIDS should be grounded on principles of equity, participation,holism, sustainability and self-reliance. He urged delegates toinclude the role of NGOs, women and youth in the preamble.

OECD NGOS: Greenpeace, on behalf of OECD NGOs, said thatthis Conference has an obligation to create a framework foraddressing both short and long term development issues for SIDSthat can be a model for the rest of the world. Northern NGOs aredisappointed that the industrialized countries are attempting toweaken various aspects of the Programme of Action. She called uponindustrialized countries to pledge to take action to develop,strengthen and implement relevant international conventions andcalled on SIDS to pledge to enforce environmental laws andguarantee citizen participation in decision-making.

NGOS AT THE PREPCOM: The representative of the CaribbeanPolicy Development Centre, on behalf of all NGOs present, expressedthe collective resolve of the international NGO community to worktogether on the vital issues facing SIDS -- debt relief, fairtrade, social and economic development and militarism. He urgedgovernments to examine the possibilities of assisting NGOsfinancially so that they are able to attend the BarbadosConference.

WOMEN'S CAUCUS: The representative from the CaribbeanConservation Association, on behalf of the Women's Caucus,expressed concern about the lack of reference to people, and womenin particular, in the Programme of Action. She urged delegates tomake provisions for a true involvement of women in the policy anddecision-making institutions; access to financial resources andcredit; access to quality, comprehensive health care; education;and increased training in science and technology.

ITALY: The Ambassador noted that Italy has identified thefollowing priority areas for possible cooperation with SIDS:drafting of comprehensive development plans for coastal zones;planning and construction of projects to defend the coasts fromerosion, storms and sea-level rise; protection and rehabilitationof at-risk coastal ecosystems; drafting of emergency plans fornatural and man-made disasters; and the appreciation andconservation of natural and cultural heritages. Italy hascontributed US$90,000 to the voluntary fund, is preparing anexhibition for the Barbados Conference, and is prepared to placeits technological know-how at the disposal of the SIDS.

FAO: The FAO representative informed the Committee that theMinisters of Agriculture of a number of SIDS met informally duringthe last FAO Conference and expressed concern that there has beeninadequate emphasis on food, agriculture and forestry in thepreparatory process.


Following the conclusion of the plenary, informal consultationsresumed.

Paragraph 64: The delegates tried to find a common approachunder which regional cooperation could be understood. Opinionsdiverged when some delegates referred to the role that the privatesector should play and a proposed amendment to this effect was leftin brackets.

Paragraph 64 bis: This paragraph lists a number of importantprogrammes and measures that are necessary at the regional level tosupport national priorities. The chapeau did not meet with anyobjection.

Paragraph 64 bis.1 Finance: The sub-paragraph was modifiedto read "Develop, to the extent possible, coordinated approaches tothe mobilization of financial resources for national and regionalefforts to implement sustainable development." The last phrase inthe sub-paragraph, "including improved access to financialresources," remains in brackets. Some delegates wanted to replacethis with the phrase "enhance transparency of their use andmanagement." As the meaning is entirely different, both phraseswere bracketed for further consideration.

Paragraph 64 bis.2 Technology: The amendments to thissub-paragraph were limited to a reference to the role regionalorganizations should play. It is in brackets.

Paragraph 64 bis.3 Legislation: AOSIS distributed a newformulation of this sub-paragraph formally called "EnvironmentalLegislation." The sub-paragraph, as amended, now reads "Promotenational efforts to develop comprehensive legislation in support ofsustainable development, and to ratify and implement internationalconventions. Support legal training and training manuals in areasof environmental impact assessment, cultural heritage, pollution,civil enforcement, mediation and prosecution, and encourage, whereappropriate, harmonization of environmental legislation andpolicies within and between small island developing States in orderto ensure high levels of environmental protection."

Paragraph 64 bis.4 Institutional Development: Thissub-paragraph was agreed to by all parties.

Paragraph 64 bis.5 Human Resource Development: Thissub-paragraph was agreed to by all parties.

At this point a series of new paragraphs proposed by Australia andamended by AOSIS/G-77 were discussed. These deal with themechanisms that should be used to coordinate and implement theProgramme of Action at the regional level. The debate revealeddifferent interpretations among delegations of what mechanismsshould coordinate with which bodies and for what purposes. Therewere concerns that the UN regional economic commissions are notmeeting the needs of SIDS and that coordination should take placeat the sub-regional level, which should be granted greaterautonomy. It was agreed that new mechanisms should only be createdwhere there is no existing mechanism. All proposals for regionalcoordination should be seen in the context of ongoing UNregionalization. These paragraphs were placed in square bracketsuntil delegates clarified what roles are being suggested for whichregional bodies. A separate paragraph was proposed and accepted onthe need to encourage non-UN regional organizations to integratethe Programme of Action in their work.

Paragraphs relating to reporting to the CSD remained in brackets.A number of delegations took issue with language suggesting annualreporting, commenting that SIDS will be reported on in 1996 withinthe context of the review of the implementation of Chapter 17 ofAgenda 21. Delegations also queried the concept of a time frame forimplementation of the Programme of Action and the necessity ofaddressing SIDS under a separate CSD agenda item. Some delegationsfelt strongly that this is the only way the depth and breadth ofthe Programme of Action can be discussed. These segments of theparagraph were placed in brackets together with the list of itemsto be included in the consolidated reports, pending negotiation ofwhich body within the UN system will prepare them.

Paragraph 65: This is the first paragraph under the heading"International Implementation" and reads, "This programme of actionis part of the process of the implementation of Agenda 21, inparticular, Chapter 17G."

Paragraph 66. Finance: As expected, this paragraph gave riseto a lengthy discussion. In the chapeau, a number of phrases remainbracketed. One country suggested mentioning the need to better useexisting financial resources in the chapeau. Other importantprovisions still remain in brackets.

Paragraph 66(a): Two parts of this sub-paragraph gave riseto debate. The first related to the meaning and the placement ofcommas in the phrase "concessional financial and technical andgrant assistance." This is a list of three different types ofassistance, but it is not clear to which types the adjective"concessional" applies. The second problem was the use of thephrase "in real terms." Some countries advocated its deletion, butothers argued for its retention, as it is General Assemblylanguage.


Whereas in many conferences, delegates do not listen carefully toNGO statements, Tuesday proved to be the exception to theunfortunate rule. Not only did the delegates listen to the NGOstatements, but some expressed discontent with the statement ofGreenpeace, on behalf of the OECD NGOs, and the Caribbean PolicyDevelopment Center, on behalf of all NGOs at this session. Theyalleged that Canada, Germany and Australia had rejected referencein Chapter III (Waste Management) to a total ban on exports andshipments of hazardous waste. However, this was not the case duringthe September meeting of the PrepCom when this chapter wasnegotiated. As all statements go into the UN archives, the wronglyaccused countries and the NGOs are considering options forcorrecting the record.


INFORMAL SESSION: The PrepCom will meet informally againtoday at 10:00 am in Conference Room 2. Discussions are expected tobegin with paragraph 66, "Finance." Informal sessions will continuethroughout the afternoon and, after a short dinner break, willreconvene in Conference Room 5 from 7:00-10:00 pm. Although theChair hopes to complete negotiation of Chapter XV this afternoonand work on the preamble this evening, at the current pace ofnegotiations this appears highly unlikely.