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At the beginning of the Conference a number of the paragraphs in the Preamble were still in brackets, including such concepts as: acknowledgement that this Conference is the first global conference on sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21; identification of human beings as the center of concerns for sustainable development; environmental destruction caused by external interventions; the small population size of SIDS inhibits them from generating economies of scale; the vulnerability of the economic performance of SIDS; reaffirmation of women's critical contributions to sustainable development; the special situation and needs of the least developed countries; and references to national governments as being primarily responsible for the implementation and financing of the Programme of Action.

The issue of reference to Agenda 21 was resolved in the first two paragraphs by adding the following phrase: "Agenda 21 represents a comprehensive document and wherever referred to in this document should be referred to as a whole." Paragraph 3 states that "The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development identifies human beings as being at the center of concerns for sustainable development. Development initiatives in small island developing States should be seen in relation to the needs and aspirations of human beings, and their responsibility towards present and future generations."

The fourth paragraph emphasizes SIDS vulnerabilities due to their small size. Reference to environmental destruction caused by external interventions in the fifth paragraph, now reads: "Recent human history contains examples of entire islands rendered uninhabitable through environmental destruction owing to external causes."

Reference to the concept of SIDS' custodianship over a large part of the world's marine environment was deleted in a demonstration of flexibility by AOSIS.

In paragraph 7, the reference to linking population and economies of scale was resolved as follows: "Although their population density may be high, many small island developing States have small populations in absolute terms, insufficient to generate economies of scale in several areas, and thus limited scope for the full utilization of certain types of highly specialized expertise."

Paragraph 10 references the fact that since per capita income of many SIDS tends to be higher than that of developing countries as a group, they often have limited access to concessionary resources. AOSIS was successful in incorporating a reference to the instability of SIDS incomes over time into this paragraph. Paragraph 12 references the critical contribution that women and youth make to the long term success of Agenda 21 in SIDS.

Paragraph 14 notes that States have acknowledged their common, but differentiated, responsibilities for global environmental degradation, as stated in Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration. The paragraph also notes that in Principle 6 it was stated that the special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, should be given special priority.

Paragraphs 16 and 17 introduce the substantive chapters of the Programme of Action and specify national, regional and international responsibilities for its implementation. [Return to start of article]