Daily report for 9 March 1994

Resumed Preparatory Committee for the SIDS Global Conference


PrepCom Chair Penelope Wensley opened Wednesday morning's informalsession by noting that this is the mid-point of the meeting andthere are 40 paragraphs left in Chapter XV and the preamble stillto be discussed. Unless the Committee speeds up its examination ofthe text, it will be impossible to have a second reading of theProgramme of Action, discuss the Barbados Declaration and discussother matters related to the Conference itself. She warneddelegates that they may have to schedule a meeting Friday night tocomplete their work. Discussion then resumed on Chapter XV,Implementation, Monitoring and Review.


Paragraph 66: A developed country delegate noted that the fivesub-paragraphs are repetitive and supported the consolidatedparagraph put forth by the US at the first session of the PrepCom.Others supported the AOSIS/G-77 sub-paragraphs. The first sentenceof the US proposal, "The international community should seek tosupplement national efforts for the implementation of Agenda 21..."was seen by some as rewriting the important Agenda 21 principlethat international financial support is a prerequisite fordeveloping countries to implement Agenda 21. The Chair askedinterested delegates to work out compromise language.

Paragraph 66.bis: This new paragraph was proposed by adeveloped country and links the implementation of the Programme ofAction to the "success" of the Commission on SustainableDevelopment (CSD) ad hoc working group on finance. Whilesome supported assigning the CSD a role in monitoring the resultsof this Conference, they commented that a government-adoptedProgramme of Action cannot be dependent on the work of an expertgroup. The phrase "innovative mechanisms" also drew comment as somedeveloping countries expressed skepticism that any new ideas oninnovative mechanisms can be implemented immediately to theirbenefit.


Paragraph 67: There was disagreement on the reference tosustainable economic growth or sustainable development and acompromise was reached under which both concepts were retained.Some delegates attempted to add provisions to encourage exports of"sustainably produced" goods, but these were not retained. Aprovision on the international trading climate now includes areference to the completion of the Uruguay Round.

Paragraph 67 bis: This paragraph remained in brackets assome delegates felt that preferential trade agreements cannot berecommended in all circumstances.

Paragraph 68: Alternative drafts were submitted and a numberof delegates requested that references to a macro-theory approachbe deleted. Australia later circulated a revised version ofthis paragraph, but it was not discussed as some delegates neededmore time to study it.

Paragraph 69: It was agreed that a study on the effects oftrade liberalization should be initiated but it remained unclearhow this could be requested of UNDP. This provision remains inbrackets.


Paragraph 70: This paragraph, which stresses the importance oftechnology transfer, cooperation and capacity-building, wasaccepted with one amendment referencing technical cooperation amongdeveloping countries, including SIDS.

Paragraph 71: The need to protect the intellectual propertyrights of resource owners is bracketed pending the outcome ofdiscussions on this issue in paragraph 63 bis. Some developedcountries wanted to ensure that all technology transferred onconcessional and preferential terms be "mutually agreed." Thisphrase is bracketed in the text pending further discussion.

Paragraph 71 bis: A new paragraph was proposed recognizingthe important role of the CSD in monitoring measures to promote thetransfer of environmentally sound technologies. Although there wasgeneral support for the proposal, there was some question as to thelocation of this paragraph. It was later proposed to make thisparagraph 77 bis. The placement is pending the review of the finaltext of Chapter XV.

Paragraph 72: The AOSIS/G-77 text was accepted.

Paragraph 73: This paragraph was accepted with an amendmentthat mentions the use of existing collaborative networks tofacilitate access to information.

Paragraph 74: The AOSIS/G-77 text was accepted.

Paragraph 75: The reformulation of this paragraph statesthat UNDP should be charged with coordinating a feasibility studyfor the implementation of SIDS/NET. The idea was acceptablealthough some redrafting still needs to be done.

Paragraph 75 bis: This new paragraph on the development ofa small island developing States technical assistance programme(SIDS/TAP) was acceptable.

Paragraph 75 ter: This paragraph was circulated by AOSIS buthas not yet been discussed.

Paragraph 76: A new sentence was added to this paragraph oncapacity building that mentions training and skills development,especially for young people, women and indigenous people. This isacceptable if it is redrafted in accordance with Agenda 21 languageon major groups.

Paragraph 77: The AOSIS/G-77 text was accepted.

Paragraph 78: A bracketed phrase was inserted in thisparagraph so that it now reads "...donors should [endeavor to]increase their financial support..."


Paragraph 79: After discussion of the applicability ofinternational environmental law to national law, the chapeau wasagreed upon, now stressing the need to integrate the two. It wasagreed that the second tiret should read "assist" SIDS inparticipating in negotiations, rather than "enable".


One delegation suggested that before discussing the text, theChair allow for an exchange of opinions in order to clarifydifferent views. In this exchange, the need to address both policyand operational cooperation was stressed. It was suggested that thePrepCom agree on follow-up mechanisms before suggesting appropriateSecretariat arrangements. Coordination and monitoring functionswere also delineated and the CSD was identified as an ideal body tomonitor implementation of the Programme of Action.

Paragraph 80: A number of donor countries challenged theconcept of a specific funding mechanism, stressing that fundingsources would be many and varied and that this Conference shouldnot create any new financial institutions. Some developingcountries expressed concern that funds would not be made availableunless a single source was identified. The international nature ofsuch a funding mechanism was also queried as so much action hadbeen identified at the regional level. The paragraph is inbrackets.

Paragraph 81: Discussion focused on reordering the wordingand allowing the Secretary-General to make appropriate Secretariatarrangements. Some developing countries expressed concern that theexisting focal point for SIDS within the DPCSD would disappearafter the Conference. A small focal point is needed. Duringdiscussion of the tirets, it became clear that delegates did notagree on the role and mission for this focal point. Some wanted todefine it in strict terms and to make sure that the Inter-AgencyCommittee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) and the CSD playsubstantial roles. The paragraph remained in brackets pending theoutcome of consultations.

Paragraph 81 bis: Once again a number of delegates cautionedagainst being too specific in mandating UN agencies, in this caseUNCTAD. The drafters explained that the General Assembly during its48th session had called for UNCTAD to support SIDS. The paragraphwas left to be reformulated to accommodate these concerns.

Paragraph 81 ter: One delegation suggested that the IACSDalso play a coordinating role with regard to UN agencies at theregional level. Others felt that coordination at the regional levelhad already been discussed and that coordination roles should notbecome muddled. Other delegations suggested that rather thanrecommending creation of a sub-committee of the IACSD, it be leftto the IACSD to decide on an appropriate programme of work, perhapsadding SIDS as an item on its agenda. The Secretariat asked fortime to consult and the series of proposed amendments was noted forfurther consideration.

Paragraph 82: This paragraph was deleted after it wasdetermined that its content was included in the new paragraph 64.

Paragraph 83: Three proposed additional paragraphs werecirculated as an amendment to this paragraph. The new paragraphswere bracketed to allow time for reflection. The purpose of thesuggested amendments is to reflect the coordination roles given toUNEP and UNDP within their programme areas.

Paragraph 84: The original formulation of this paragraph inthe AOSIS/G-77 text was deleted and the Australian paragraph,"Donors should utilize appropriate international coordinationmechanisms to focus attention on the special needs of small islanddeveloping States," was accepted.


Paragraph 85: A number of countries requested clarificationon the nature of the vulnerability index and how it could be usedto supplement GNP per capita statistics. It was explained that theindex attempts to classify countries on the basis of theirvulnerability to outside forces beyond their control, such asinternational trade, transport costs and proneness to naturaldisasters. The first sentence was amended to read,"Small islanddeveloping States, in cooperation with relevant national,regional and international organizations..." The second sentenceabout the use of the index to supplement GNP per capita statisticswas placed in brackets pending further consultations.

Paragraph 86: This paragraph was placed in brackets. Therewas some concern about the need for, the nature of and theappointment of an expert group to annually update the index. Analternative formulation removing the idea of an expert group wasproposed and is also bracketed.


The review of this section led to great confusion and touched uponthe roles that should be ascribed to the CSD, the IACSD, as well asthe Secretariat role in support of these two bodies. While somecountries recommended a review of the Programme of Action thatwould fit within the CSD's multi-year thematic approach, theAOSIS/G-77 base document calls for an integrated annual review. Anew proposal was put forward for benchmarks to be adopted tomeasure the success of the implementation of the Programme ofAction. Draft language will be added in brackets and circulated inthe revised text to be prepared by the Secretariat overnight.

Paragraph 87: After some discussion, this paragraph wasplaced on the table with amendments from one delegation for furtherconsultation.

Paragraph 88: This paragraph remains bracketed.

Paragraph 88 bis: While this paragraph remains bracketed,1999 was put forward as the time frame for the full review of theimplementation of the Conference outcomes.


At the conclusion of the afternoon session the host countryinformally circulated elements of the Barbados Declaration. Theelements paper stresses the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS whilerecognizing their place in an interconnected world and as part ofone global ecosystem. It stresses the stewardship by SIDS of theworld's oceans and other resources, and catalogues the humanresource and economic constraints SIDS face -- "Life on SIDS isthus both an alluring experience and a profound challenge." Itconcludes with the commitments of SIDS themselves, theinternational community and NGOs, and notes that the BarbadosConference is an example to the world of how to work together tocoordinate action.


INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: The PrepCom will meet informallyagain today and will begin with a reading of the preamble. Lastnight the Chair urged delegates to read the elements of theBarbados Declaration in preparation for this morning's session. Atthe previous session of the PrepCom, a number of delegations wereconcerned about the link between the Declaration and the Programmeof Action and how to avoid possible duplication. After reading thepreamble, the PrepCom will begin a second reading of the entireProgramme of Action. Look for a revised draft of Chapter XV today.

AOSIS MEETING: AOSIS will meet at 9:00 am this morning todraft new language on those paragraphs in Chapter XV that remain onthe table or in brackets.

NGO BRIEFING: AOSIS Chair Amb. Annette des Iles of Trinidadand Tobago will meet with NGOs at 6:00 pm in Conference Room D.