Summary report, 7–11 March 1994

Resumed Preparatory Committee for the SIDS Global Conference

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Global Conference onthe Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States metin a resumed session from 7-11 March 1994 at UN Headquarters in NewYork to complete preparations for the Conference. The Conference,which will be held in Barbados from 25 April - 6 May 1994, is oneof the outputs of the United Nation Conference on Environment andDevelopment (UNCED).

The Committee spent the majority of the week in informal sessionsnegotiating two sections of the Programme of Action for thesustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS)that remained in brackets at the conclusion of the Septembersession of the PrepCom: the preamble and Chapter XV,"Implementation, Monitoring and Review." The other 14 chapters hadbeen largely agreed upon in September. After a week of hard work,including night sessions, however, Chapter XV appeared to have morebrackets than when the meeting started. A number of crucial issues,including institutional follow-up to the Conference, still must beresolved. Since there are no more opportunities for the PrepCom tomeet, the responsibility for reaching agreement on the Programme ofAction will fall to the Main Committee at the Barbados Conference.


The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SmallIsland Developing States has its roots in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21.UN General Assembly resolution 47/189, which established theConference, set the following objectives: review current trends inthe socio-economic development of small island developing States(SIDS); examine the nature and magnitude of the specificvulnerabilities of SIDS; define a number of specific actions andpolicies relating to environmental and development planning to beundertaken by these States, with help from the internationalcommunity; identify elements that these States need to include inmedium- and long-term sustainable development plans; recommendmeasures for enhancing the endogenous capacity of these States; andreview whether institutional arrangements at the internationallevel enable these States to give effect to the relevant provisionsof Agenda 21.


The Preparatory Committee for the Conference held itsorganizational session in New York on 15-16 April 1993. PenelopeWensley, Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva andAmbassador for the Environment, was elected Chair of the PrepCom.The four Vice-Chairs are: Takao Shibata (Japan), Ioan Barac(Romania), John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Jos‚ Luis Jesus(Cape Verde). Barbados, as host country, is an ex officiomember of the Bureau. The PrepCom adopted guidelines suggestingthat its consideration of SIDS should include actions at the microlevel aimed at environment and development planning, measures forenhancing local skills and expertise, and medium- and long-termsustainable development planning.


As part of the preparatory process, two regional technical meetingswere held. The first meeting for the Indian and Pacific Oceans wascoordinated by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme(SPREP) and was held from 31 May - 4 June 1993 in Vanuatu. Thesecond meeting for the Atlantic/Caribbean/Mediterranean region washeld in Trinidad and Tobago from 28 June - 2 July 1993. The meetingwas coordinated by the Caribbean Community (Caricom), withassistance from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America andthe Caribbean (ECLAC).


The first session of the PrepCom was held in New York from 30August - 10 September 1993. By the conclusion of the two-weeksession, the PrepCom had set the process in motion for the adoptionof a programme of action for the sustainable development of SIDS.The draft Programme of Action contains chapters on the following:climate change and sea level rise; natural and environmentaldisasters; management of wastes; coastal and marine resources;freshwater resources; land resources; energy resources; tourismresources; biodiversity resources; national institutions andadministrative capacity; regional institutions and technicalcooperation; transport and communication; science and technology;human resource development; and implementation, monitoring andreview. While delegates were able to reach agreement on themajority of the chapters in the Programme of Action, the preambleand the chapter on implementation, monitoring and review remainedentirely in brackets. As a result, delegates called for anadditional session of the PrepCom to be convened so thatnegotiations could continue.


At its 48th session in the fall of 1993, the UN General Assemblydecided that the first session of the Preparatory Committee shouldbe resumed for a period of five working days to complete thepreparatory work assigned to it, including the draft Programme ofAction for the sustainable development of SIDS. General AssemblyResolution 48/193, adopted on 21 December 1993, also decided toconvene the first Global Conference on the Sustainable Developmentof Small Island Developing States in Barbados from 25 April to 6May 1994, including a high-level segment on 5-6 May. The resolutionurges that representation at the Conference be at the highestpossible level and decides to convene one day of pre-Conferenceconsultations at the venue of the Conference on 24 April 1994. Theresolution also: endorses the decisions of the PrepCom regardingthe participation of associate members of regional commissions andNGOs in the Conference and its preparatory process; endorses thePrepCom's decisions regarding the provisional rules of procedureand the provisional agenda for the Conference; requests theSecretary-General to ensure the timely submission of the report ofdonor activities requested in decision 11 of the PrepCom; requeststhe Secretary-General, through the Department of PublicInformation, to widely disseminate the goals and purposes of theConference; and invites all Member States and organizations in aposition to do so to contribute to the voluntary fund for theConference.


The resumed session of the PrepCom opened on Monday, 7 March 1994at UN Headquarters in New York. Representatives from more than 100countries participated in the meeting. The PrepCom also accreditedan additional 21 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to theConference, increasing the number of accredited NGOs to 89.


The Chair of the Preparatory Committee of the Global Conference onthe Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, Amb.Penelope Wensley (Australia), opened the resumed session of thePrepCom. She commented that in seven weeks the Secretary-Generalwill open the Conference in Barbados and, if this Conference is tobe a success, the PrepCom must finalize its work on the Programmeof Action. She expressed confidence that this week will beproductive mainly because of the efforts of the Alliance of SmallIsland States (AOSIS) during the intersessional period. She notedthat AOSIS is now under the chairmanship of Trinidad and Tobago andpaid tribute to Amb. Robert Van Lierop of Vanuatu, the previousChair, and said the success of the Conference will be due to hisinspiration, dedication and energy.


Miles Stoby of theSecretariat indicated that seven additional contributions orpledges have been made and that the amount of the voluntary fund isnow in excess of US$500,000. Other significant contributions havealso been made outside the voluntary fund. He added that it was notclear at present whether the fund would cover both transportationand per diems for developing country delegates. In any event, hesaid, the fund would be exhausted and that all monies would bespent. Another "trust fund" has been set up to enable participationof journalists and NGOs. So far, calls for contributions to thisfund have met with positive responses on the part of Japan, the UKand Canada. Substantial sums were also provided by Australia andCanada for an officer for the Secretariat.


The Honorable HarcourtLewis, Minister of the Environment, Housing and Lands of Barbados,informed the delegates of the status of the preparations for theConference. A national Conference Secretariat has been set up andarrangements have already been made for accommodations, groundtransportation, Conference facilities, entertainment andhospitality. Several events are planned including a NationalWelcoming Ceremony, receptions, cultural events and special tours.A Group of Eminent Persons has been invited to meet in Barbadosfrom 21-22 April 1994, to examine the concept of sustainabledevelopment with special reference to SIDS and to makerecommendations to the Conference. The Governor-General ofBarbados, Her Excellency Dame Nita Barrow, has agreed to be Patronand Convener of the Group. The names of the persons invited to bemembers will be announced when the arrangements have beenfinalized. The Minister also highlighted the importance of theHigh-Level Segment, scheduled to take place on 5-6 May. He saidthat this segment should be viewed as critical to the overallsuccess of the Conference. NGOs are also expected to play a majorrole in the Conference.

Next, Dr. E.A. Moore, a representative of the NGO Secretariat inBarbados, updated delegates on NGO preparations. The NGO IslandsForum '94 will begin its activities on 20 April and thereafter willrun concurrently with the Conference. There will be three mainelements: a series of workshops that will address the main issuesof the Conference and serve as a conduit to feed NGO ideas into theConference; the Village of Hope, which includes a theme park with28 ideas on sustainable development in SIDS; and SUSTECH '94, ashowplace and marketplace for sustainable development technologies.


Miles Stoby delivered somepreliminary remarks on the Report of the Secretary-General oncurrent donor activities in support of sustainable development inSIDS (A/CONF.167/PC/13). He noted that this was not an easy reportto prepare as it was the first of its kind, and unusual within theUN system. Using new methodology and cooperating closely withmultilateral institutions, donors and NGOs, the Secretariat createda database of current donor activities. Though the report did notgo into qualitative analysis, its authors attempted to put itwithin a broader context. This is illustrated by the data tablesthat include socio-economic indicators and touch upon theconcessionality and dispersement of overseas development assistance(ODA) to SIDS. Though the report is still a blunt instrument, itshould provide a useful working tool for the Conference.

After Stoby's introduction, a member of the Secretariat elaboratedon the preparation of this extensive report. The Secretariatdistributed a questionnaire to UN agencies, relevant IGOs and NGOsregarding their activities in SIDS. In the case of bilateraldonors, the Secretariat requested the Organization for EconomicCooperation and Development (OECD) to submit relevant information,thus the data was not received from individual donors. He notedthat 80% of the assistance comes from bilateral sources and thathuman resource development accounts for the highest level ofsupport -- 24%. Donor activity is concentrated in relatively few ofthe sectors contained in the Draft Programme of Action and, thus,this analysis suggests there is a need for greater emphasis onother sectors.

The US noted that data on some territories is contained in thisreport and said that the title of PC/13 should be amended to read"Current donor activities in support of sustainable development insmall island developing States and territories." Papua New Guineasupported this recommendation. Australia expressed its gratitude tothe Secretariat and all those who participated in the preparationof the report. The report highlights difficulties confronting SIDSand provides lessons for the future. A facility could be set up sothat additional information can be received and integrated withinthe report. It was agreed that an updated and revised report shouldbe presented to the Conference.


Delegates spent most of the week in informal sessions where theypainstakingly negotiated the remaining bracketed text in theProgramme of Action (A/48/36). For the most part, delegates basedtheir comments on a comprehensive informal paper prepared by AOSIS,"Suggested Amendments to the Draft Action Programme for theSustainable Development of Small Island Developing States." Thisdocument contained the AOSIS/G-77 amendments and facilitated thework of the Committee during the week. While delegates spent themost time on Chapter XV, "Implementation, Monitoring and Review,"and the preamble, they also managed to review and remove somebrackets in the other 14 chapters. The following is achapter-by-chapter summary of the status of the Programme of Actionand the sections that still remain in brackets.


At the beginning of the week the entire preamblewas in brackets since delegates did not have sufficient time toaddress it during the September PrepCom session. By the conclusionof the week, the brackets around the entire preamble were removedbut many of the paragraphs contained therein remain in brackets.

Two of the three paragraphs in the chapeau, which acknowledge thatthis Conference is the first global conference on sustainabledevelopment and the implementation of Agenda 21 and note thecontents of the Programme of Action, still remain bracketed. Othersections of the preamble that remain in brackets are as follows:

  • The first section of paragraph 1, which identifies human beings as the center of concerns for sustainable development;
  • Paragraph 3's reference to environmental destruction caused by external interventions;
  • Paragraph 5's statement that despite population density, the small population size of SIDS inhibits them from generating economies of scale;
  • Paragraph 8 on per capita income of SIDS still contains various formulations in brackets as to the vulnerability of the economic performance of SIDS;
  • An amendment to paragraph 9 that reaffirms women's critical contributions to sustainable development;
  • The reference in paragraph 11 to the special situation and needs of the least developed countries.
  • Reference to the regional technical meetings held in preparation for the PrepCom in paragraph 12; and
  • Paragraph 13's references to national governments as being primarily responsible for the implementation and financing of the action programme.


This chapterhighlights the possible impact that climate change and sea levelrise might have on SIDS. The only brackets were removed afterdelegates agreed on language addressing the need to strengthencommitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases within thecontext of the ongoing negotiations on the Framework Convention onClimate Change.


This chapteremphasizes the need for SIDS to increase their preparedness andresponse capacities to natural and environmental disasters. Thiscan best be achieved through the promotion of early warningsystems, strengthening broadcast capacity and telecommunicationslinks, sharing of experience, and integrating natural disasterconsiderations in development planning. The only change made inthis chapter was a reference to the Office of the UN DisasterRelief Coordinator. As this office no longer exists and itsfunctions now fall under the auspices of the Department ofHumanitarian Affairs, the references were changed.


The special vulnerability of SIDSto waste management problems was highlighted, particularly in viewof reduced land surface in these countries. Paragraph 21 on thetransboundary movement of toxic and hazardous wastes remainsbracketed. The problem is the reference to the passage of shipscarrying toxic and hazardous wastes and chemicals and radioactivematerials through the seas of small islands.

Paragraphs (iv) and (v) in the section on International Action wereamended to contain appropriate reference to conventions and otherarrangement dealing with marine pollution, in particular land-basedsources. The two paragraphs were also amended to support measuresto assist SIDS in improving their capacity for negotiation,follow-up and implementation of international conventions.


This chapter aims atdeveloping SIDS' management capacities both in the coastal area andin their exclusive economic zones (EEZs). This can best be achievedthrough the elaboration of an integrated coastal zone managementmethodology appropriate to SIDS, monitoring programmes for coastaland marine resources, developing capacities for sustainableharvesting and processing of fisheries resources and establishingclearinghouses for coastal and marine environmental information.The only paragraph that remains in brackets addresses the outcomesof the 1993 World Coast Conference and makes reference to otherupcoming intergovernmental activities, in order to help SIDSdevelop integrated coastal management plans. Some developingcountry delegates, however, were uneasy about taking into accountmeetings that are yet to take place.


The importance of freshwaterresources for SIDS and the limits they impose on sustainabledevelopment is highlighted in this chapter. The only paragraph thatstill contains brackets addresses the need to safeguard watershedareas. One delegate proposed an amendment dealing withover-abstraction from groundwater resources. Although developingcountry delegates agreed to mention safeguarding groundwaterresources, the delegate proposing the amendment insisted onmaintaining the concept of over-abstraction.


This chapter does not contain anybrackets and focuses on the need to elaborate land management plansin conjunction with other uses and policies. Appropriate forms ofland tenure as well as attention to physical planning in both urbanand rural environments are to be encouraged.


In view of SIDS dependency on energyimports, energy conservation and the development of renewablesources of energy need to be encouraged. This chapter stillcontains three sets of brackets. The first is in the section onnational action, which states that governments will promote theefficient use of energy and the development of environmentallysound energy resources and energy efficient technologies. Theproblem arose over the use of "appropriate economic instruments" tothis end. Many developing countries felt that this language is toospecific and that economic instruments are not necessarily the bestapproach for all SIDS.

The other two sets of brackets appear in the section oninternational action. Paragraph C(iii) on the transfer of energytechnology was unacceptable to developed countries. Paragraph C(iv)"ensures" that international institutions and agencies incorporateefficiency and conservation into energy-sector-related training andassistance. Developed countries preferred the term "encourage,"however, developing countries thought that this weakens theparagraph too much.


This chapter does not contain anybrackets and focuses on tourism as both an opportunity for SIDSdevelopment and an activity that must be integrated withenvironmental and cultural concerns.


This chapter emphasizes theimportance of biodiversity, particularly marine and coastalspecies, to SIDS. Paragraph A(vii) which mentions the concerns ofSIDS to protect the rights of those whose indigenous knowledge andknow-how of biodiversity is overtaken by commercial exploitation ofthe resources, remains in brackets.


Thischapter does not contain any brackets and addresses the need tointegrate environmental concerns into national institutions andadministrative arrangements, specifically in terms of economic anddevelopment planning.


Thischapter concentrates on the role that UN and non-UN regionalorganizations can play in assisting SIDS at the national level ininstituting and implementing regional programmes, and coordinatingprojects and assistance. One paragraph in this chapter remains inbrackets at the request of a donor country. This paragraph mentionsthat the programming, administrative and implementation capacitiesof regional organizations can be further improved with the supportof member nations and other donors.


The focus of this chapteris the lifeline provided to SIDS by transport and communication.Brackets remain in paragraph C(v) in the section on InternationalAction. This paragraph states: "Promote arrangements and measuresto lower the international telecommunications costs to SIDS."


As well as emphasizing theimportant role of science and technology in building SIDS' capacityfor sustainable development, this chapter examines the need toincrease the use of environmentally-friendly technologies and makethem available to SIDS. All brackets have been removed.


This chapter looks atmechanisms to improve the quality of life in SIDS. Paragraph 57,which addresses population issues, education and training, andhealth for human resource development, still contains bracketsaround the reference to family planning.


Delegates spentmost of the week negotiating this complex and crucial chapter. The"clean" text produced on 10 March 1994 was the basis for discussionon the final day as the Committee tried to clarify where there wasno agreement, so that each delegation understood what remained tobe negotiated in Barbados. The final review proved more arduousthan the Chair foresaw as the text had omitted many of theamendments made previously. The following is a summary of theremaining bracketed text.

Paragraph 61: Reference to the international community's commitmentto meeting Agenda 21 agreements on implementation remains inbrackets.

Paragraph 61 bis bis: A sentence to be inserted at the beginning ofthis paragraph, noting that wherever Agenda 21 is referred to itshould be considered in its entirety, remains in brackets.

Paragraph 63: One group made a proposal for language to be added atthe end of this paragraph that would clarify the role of the publicin decision making. The paragraph remains in brackets.

Paragraph 63 bis. 1. Finance: This paragraph containing twoalternative proposals remains bracketed. They refer to thereordering of economic priorities in the use of resources andincreased use of economic instruments.

2. Trade: The first half of this paragraph consisting of differentproposals had been collapsed into one. It will be bracketed to showthe differences between the two proposals on export production.

3. Technology: The language on the role of the private sector andon the rights of resources owners and intellectual property rightsremain bracketed.

4. Legislation: One proposal referring to traditional andindigenous understanding as well as western concepts of law remainsin brackets.

5. Institutional Development: After a heated discussion about whatan intergovernmental conference can tell national governments todo, this whole paragraph was placed in brackets.

6. Information and Participation: This paragraph on increasingpublic awareness and information dissemination remains in bracketspending a concrete proposal from a Permanent Observer.

7. Human Resource Development: This paragraph now reads "Increasenational capacity building at all levels through education, publicawareness and human resource development including training andskill development, in particular of technicians, scientists anddecision makers to better plan and implement sustainabledevelopment programmes."

Paragraph 64: This paragraph on regional implementation stillcontains a number of brackets. The first tiret of Paragraph 64B oncollaboration between appropriate institutions and organizationsremains in brackets. The second paragraph of the tiret now reads,"Relevant non-UN regional organizations should be encouraged totake the Programme of Action into account in the fulfillment oftheir respective functions." Paragraph 64C on reporting by SIDSremains bracketed as a whole.

Paragraph 64 bis: Despite attempts to resolve outstandingdifferences the paragraph remains in brackets with no agreement insight on the sharing of financing responsibilities for sustainabledevelopment in SIDS.

Paragraph 66: The chapeau of this paragraph on financial resourcesand mechanisms remains bracketed in several places, as do tirets b,c, d, and e, on different types of financial and technicalassistance, which were thought to be duplicative.

Paragraph 66 bis: This paragraph, which links financing of theProgramme of Action to the Ad-Hoc Working Group of the Commissionon Sustainable Development (CSD), remains bracketed.

Paragraph 67 bis: This paragraph dealing with the origins of inputsin manufacturing for exports remains bracketed.

Paragraph 68: After some confusion, a series of brackets remainsthroughout the body of the text dealing with commodity prices andmarkets.

Paragraph 69: This paragraph suggesting a study of the impact ofglobal trade liberalization on SIDS remains in brackets.

Paragraph 71: The references to intellectual property rights remainbracketed and will have to made consistent with similar referencesin Paragraph 63.

Paragraph 75: This remains bracketed, signaling a technical ratherthan a substantive problem of how to mandate a UN agency to act.

Paragraph 77 bis: This paragraph, which deals with the role of theCSD in monitoring implementation of the Programme of Action,remains in brackets.

Paragraph 78: Brackets remain around the words "endeavour to"marking developed country unease with the degree of support theyshould provide to the transfer of environmentally soundtechnologies to SIDS.

Paragraph 80: Different alternatives for funding mechanisms remainbracketed.

Paragraph 81: Argentina had been charged by the Chair withresolving some of the issues in this paragraph on institutionalfollow-up. While progress had been made in informal consultationsand a draft proposal had been circulated among delegates, nospecific language was agreed upon. The Chair ruled that the resultsof these informals would be carried in the minds of delegates, butthat the text would have to continue to reflect the originalbrackets. This was not disputed from the floor, but clearlyfrustrated many delegates. Paragraphs 81 bis and 81 ter on the roleof UNCTAD and the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development(IACSD) also remain bracketed.

Paragraph 83: This paragraph on better UN coordination remainsbracketed.

Paragraphs 83 bis and bis bis on the roles of UNEP and UNDP insupport of SIDS are bracketed.

Paragraph 85: The last sentence, referring to the development of avulnerability index, remains bracketed.

Paragraphs 86 and 86 bis: These paragraphs, dealing with theestablishment of a vulnerability index remain in brackets.

Paragraphs 88 and 88 bis: Language dealing with review andmonitoring of the Conference remains bracketed.

Some delegates asked for the previous paragraph 87 on institutionalfollow-up to be reinstated as amended as they had no recollectionof its deletion. This was overruled by the Chair and remainsdeleted.


The host country circulated a paper containing elements fordiscussion for the Barbados Declaration (A/CONF.167/PC/L.10). Thepaper stresses the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS whilerecognizing their place in an interconnected world and as part ofone global ecosystem. It highlights 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.

On Thursday night, Amb. Besley Maycock (Barbados) introduced thedocument and a number of delegations offered preliminary remarks.The reaction was generally positive. Some elements, such as theright to develop and people-centered sustainable development, weresaid to be insufficiently covered. It was agreed that theDeclaration should remain accessible to all, as short as possible,and reflect wide consensus. As one delegate indicated, this shouldnot be just another UN document. It was agreed that delegates wouldforward this document to their capitals and that informalconsultations would resume in New York at the end of the month.


At the closing plenary meeting, Nitin Desai, Under-SecretaryGeneral for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development,addressed the Committee and congratulated the delegates on the workdone so far. He stressed that this Conference is an importantexpression of the sense of global responsibility heralded by UNCED.SIDS are small and isolated and need international support. ThisConference is a test case and must distribute practicalresponsibility within the international community. A lot remains tobe done in Barbados, but it is possible.

The Chair then introduced draft decision documentsA/CONF.167/PC/L.12, 13 and 14 on the rules of procedure of theconference, the high-level segment, and the organization andprogramme of work, respectively, which were all adopted. The Chairthen introduced A/CONF.167/PC/L.11, a draft decision on theparticipation of associate members of regional commissions in theConference and its preparatory process, which was also adopted.Next the Chair introduced A/CONF.167/PC/L.16 on the draft Programmeof Action and A/CONF.167/PC/L.17 on the report of donor activities.With some clarification by the Commission of the European Unionregarding its funding to SIDS, the two decisions were adopted.Decision A/CONF.167/PC/L.15 on the proposal for the BarbadosDeclaration was introduced and adopted. Finally, the PrepComadopted its report (A/CONF.167/PC/L.9).

After all the reports were adopted, Gracie Fong of the Women andFisheries Network in Fiji made a statement on behalf of all NGOspresent at the PrepCom. With all delegates listening attentivelyshe spoke in stark terms of the realities faced by island peoples:the effects of sea level rise; pollution; radioactivecontamination; lack of training or education; exploitation ofresources and knowledge through commercialization of products; highunemployment; and a sense that SIDS and their people areexpendable.

At the conclusion of the speech, she apologized for the erroneousstatement made earlier in the week suggesting that Canada,Australia and Germany had opposed reference in Chapter III to atotal ban on exports and shipments of hazardous waste, includingthose designated for recycling, from OECD to non-OECD countries.She clarified that those countries had opposed such a ban at thefirst meeting of the parties of the Basel Convention in November1992 and then went on to name Japan, the Netherlands and the UK asthe only other known countries to oppose a total ban. The NGOstatement also forced Canada, Australia and Germany to clarifytheir positions for the record.

The Chair then brought the PrepCom to a close with a summary of thework completed and noted that there would be important work to bedone between now and Barbados as well as in Barbados itself. Shenoted that as the first concrete follow-up to UNCED this Conferencerepresented uncharted territory and that they had a jointresponsibility to mark the path for others.


With six weeks to go before the Global Conference on theSustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, there isstill no clear indication of what the practical implications of theConference and the Programme of Action will be. Although it wasintended that this resumed session of the PrepCom would hammer outissues related to implementation, monitoring and review of the 14substantive chapters of the action programme, contained in ChapterXV, this was not to be, due to a breakdown in the negotiatingprocess, a lack of concrete substantive recommendations, and anabsence of political will.

Chapter XV of the Programme of Action mentions the need tostrengthen the capacity of SIDS to participate effectively in thenegotiation of new or revised agreements or instruments. This needwas manifested throughout the week as AOSIS sought to coordinateits work, indicate clearly what it sought, and come forward withsubstantive compromise proposals. The size and competence of someof the AOSIS delegations made it difficult for small draftinggroups to meet and work out such compromises, as the handful ofpeople who had knowledge of both the subject matter and the processwere needed in the informal sessions. The negotiations were alsohampered by disarray within the European Union, which was unable tospeak through a single voice, and CANZ (Canada, Australia and NewZealand), which while often supporting each other's amendments, didnot always coordinate and, thus, strengthen their impact. The USwas often unable to propose compromise text due to lack of clearinstructions from Washington. To complicate matters even further,the Secretariat was unable to quickly and efficiently providedelegates with accurate, revised texts during the week. Finally,there was little substantive input from NGOs who, for the mostpart, have still not learned how best to influence the UNnegotiating process. It was not until the conclusion of the PrepComthat NGOs submitted written comments on the entire Programme ofAction. Although these comments are comprehensive, their timing mayprejudice their impact.

As the week wore on, delegates seemed unable to articulateconcrete, substantive recommendations. This lackadaisical attituderesulted in brackets around some of the critical issues such asfinancial resources and institutional follow-up with littleindication on how they might be resolved. AOSIS members did workhard during the intersessional period to produce a complilationtext in response to proposals put forth by donor countries at thelast PrepCom. However, there was little substantive dialoguebetween AOSIS and donors during the intersessional period and theresumed PrepCom that would enable them to move closer toconsensus. So, whereas the purpose of this PrepCom was to removethe brackets from Chapter XV, it appeared as though this chapterwill go to Barbados with more brackets than it started with.

Perhaps these other two problems could be overlooked had there beenthe necessary political will present in the Conference Room, butthis was not the case. Agenda 21 was adopted in 1992 as a frameworkfor the implementation of sustainable development by the year 2000with the understanding that its implementation and the means forits implementation would evolve. However, within the SIDSnegotiating process, some OECD countries have adopted an absolutistapproach to Agenda 21, preventing them from finding new andinnovative approaches within the political context of Rio. AOSISseemed taken aback by this lack of political will on the part ofthe donors and, as a result, was drawn into macro-arguments onmeans of implementation rather than coming forward with its ownspecific and detailed proposals on what could be achieved in thepresent political and economic climate. Furthermore, AOSIS receivedand/or accepted little, if any, support from the other members ofthe G-77. Most non-island G-77 members who attended the PrepComwere present at formal sessions only, leaving most of thesubstantive work to be carried out by AOSIS alone. Those who didattend the informal sessions occasionally tried to support theislands and even propose concrete, compromise text, but were notalways welcomed.

At this stage in the process the Global Conference on theSustainable Development of Small Island Developing States issimilar to the UNCED negotiations after PrepCom IV -- many crucialprovisions in the Programme of Action still remain in brackets withno agreement in sight. What made Agenda 21 and the Rio Declarationa reality during the Earth Summit was a combination of high-levelgovernment participation, mobilization of public pressure in theNorth, the efforts of the host Government, and a great deal ofshuttle diplomacy by the Secretariat and its emissaries. At thispoint, it does not appear as though these ingredients can be putinto place in time for the Barbados Conference. This places theonus on the Main Committee and the host Government to pull anendogenous, island rabbit out of a hat in Barbados.


Numerous brackets still remain in theProgramme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small IslandDeveloping States, especially in the preamble and Chapter XV. Ifthe Conference is to successfully adopt this action programme,delegates will need to consult informally during the next six weeksto see if they can find acceptable language for the paragraphs onfinancial resources, institutional arrangements, andimplementation. Look for members of AOSIS to meet among themselvesand with other delegates from both the OECD countries and the restof the G-77 to see if they can reach some provisional agreementsthat can be presented to the Conference in Barbados.


Numerous brackets still remain in theProgramme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small IslandDeveloping States, especially in the preamble and Chapter XV. Ifthe Conference is to successfully adopt this action programme,delegates will need to consult informally during the next six weeksto see if they can find acceptable language for the paragraphs onfinancial resources, institutional arrangements, andimplementation. Look for members of AOSIS to meet among themselvesand with other delegates from both the OECD countries and the restof the G-77 to see if they can reach some provisional agreementsthat can be presented to the Conference in Barbados.


The Barbados Mission will becoordinating the drafting of the Barbados Declaration during thenext six weeks. Governments reacted positively to the elementspaper circulated during the resumed PrepCom, however, many hadhoped to see an actual draft of the Declaration. Barbados and otherAOSIS members consulted with other governments in the preparationof the elements paper and are expected to continue theseconsultations while drafting the actual Declaration. Nevertheless,it is expected that negotiations on this document will continue atthe Conference itself.


A Group of Eminent Persons has beeninvited to meet in Barbados from 21-22 April 1994 to examine theconcept of sustainable development with special reference to SIDSand to make recommendations to the Conference. The Governor-Generalof Barbados, Her Excellency Dame Nita Barrow, has agreed to bePatron and Convener of the Group and the names of the personsinvited to be members will be announced when the arrangements havebeen finalized.


The Global Conference on the SustainableDevelopment of Small Island Developing States will open on Monday,25 April 1994 in Barbados. Pre-Conference consultations to considerorganizational and procedural matters will be held at theSherbourne Centre (the Conference site) on Sunday, 24 April at10:00 am.

The national welcoming ceremony will take place at the Sir GarfieldSobers Sports Complex, Wildey, St. Michael, on Monday, 25 April at9:30 am. The formal opening of the Conference will be held at 3:00pm at the Sherbourne Centre. After that, two meetings will takeplace simultaneously -- the Plenary will be in session to hearstatements from government delegates while the Main Committeecompletes negotiation of the Programme of Action and the BarbadosDeclaration. It is expected that Amb. Penelope Wensley (Australia)will be elected as Chair of the Main Committee.

A High-Level Segment is scheduled to take place on 5-6 May 1994, aspart of the Conference. The Segment will last for one and a halfdays, from the morning of Thursday, 5 May, through the morning ofFriday, 6 May. Thursday will be devoted to a debate on the theme,"Forging partnerships for sustainable development." The hostcountry intends to organize a roundtable for participants in theHigh-Level Segment on the morning of 6 May.


The NGO Islands Forum '94 will begin itsactivities on 20 April and thereafter will run concurrently withthe Conference. There will be three main elements:

  • The NGO Forum is a series of workshops and briefings that will address the main issues of the Conference and serve as a conduit to feed NGO ideas into the Conference;
  • The Village of Hope is a multi-pronged exposition of ideas, which will include a "theme park" with 28 ideas for sustainable development in SIDS; and
  • SUSTECH '94 is a showcase and marketplace for environmental and affordable technologies and services that can assist SIDS to achieve more sustainable patterns of development. For more information about the NGO Forum, contact the NGO Liaison Secretariat, Letchworth Complex, The Garrison, St. Michael, Barbados; Fax (809) 435-0994; Phone (809) 435-2995/2996. For more information about SUSTECH '94, contact the Barbados Manufacturing Association, Building #1, Pelican Ind. Pk, Barbados; Fax: (809) 436-5182; Phone: (809) 426-4474.