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WSSD PREPCOM III HIGHLIGHTS: WEDNESDAY, 18 JANUARY 1995

Before commencing work, all delegates expressed their condolences about the earthquake tragedy in Japan.

WORKING GROUP I

PART I-C: COMMITMENTS

Commitment 1(b): (means and capacities) The G-77 and China deleted "fully" after "participate." Canada, opposed by the Holy See, deleted "decentralization." In 1(c) (markets), Australia noted the need to intervene to counteract market failure and promote stability and social development. The US proposed "promoting sustainable, broadly based economic growth based on open competitive markets" with non-discriminatory and rule-based access. The G-77 and China added "free," deleted "open," replaced "equal" with "equitable," and added a reference to special supplemental programmes for the poor. The EU preferred the original text. The new sub-paragraph proposed by Switzerland, "reinforce peace, by promoting tolerance, non- violence and promoting diversity and strive to solve conflicts by peaceful means," was accepted. Belize offered minor amendments to the Russian Federation"s restriction of propaganda supporting violence in the media. Azerbaijan"s reference to the return of displaced persons and refugees to their places of permanent residence was moved to Paragraph 20. Dr. Utete (Zimbabwe) took over as Chair. In 1(c) (bis), the G- 77 and China referred to the right of the poor to education, food, shelter and employment. It was agreed that "rights of the poor" would be replaced with "the rights of all to shelter, education and employment." Algeria suggested "rights of all, in particular the poor," which was accepted by the EU. India proposed that the commitments should be stated in both international and national terms. The US objected to this. In 1(d) (international cooperation), delegates agreed to the G-77 and China"s suggestion to replace "promote" with "strengthen" and replace "as an integral component of overall" with "for achieving." Iran added "which enables developing countries to gain a more equitable access to the global market opportunities, resources and technologies" after "cooperation." Delegates agreed to move Iran"s proposal to 1(e). In 1(e) (macroeconomic policies), the G-77 suggested deleting the first three lines and replacing them with "promote and implement a supportive external economic environment, inter alia, through coordination of macroeconomic policies, trade liberalization, provision of adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources for sustainable development." The EU accepted the amendment with two reservations. They objected to references to coordination and to new and additional resources, noting that resources are addressed in Commitment 8. Benin noted that the ideas underlying the G-77 amendment are very different from those in Commitment 8. The US supported the EU and suggested a reference to developing countries, as well as countries with economies in transition. India, supported by Algeria and others, questioned how the EU could support the G- 77 proposal with reservations that deleted the most important component. Pakistan said that the Summit will be pointless unless the international community is prepared to demonstrate real support. In 1(f) (support for LDCs and SIDS), Armenia, supported by the Russian Federation, proposed reference to countries with economies in transition. The Marshall Islands, supported by Fiji, New Zealand and others, wanted to retain the specificity of the sub-paragraph, in particular the position of SIDS. The US suggested deletion of "SIDS", which was strongly opposed by Fiji and Jamaica, and the reference remains. Algeria suggested that the needs of economies in transition be dealt with separately. The Chair recommended a separate sub-paragraph: "The efforts of countries with economies in transition to achieve rapid, broadly-based sustainable development also deserves attention." The US added "support particularly through appropriate international cooperation," and "given the particular economic problems they face." Benin opposed the latter addition, which was later dropped. India, supported by Bangladesh, recommended a reference to the low-income countries of South Asia in Commitment 2.

COMMITMENT 2: (poverty eradication) The Chair underlined the importance of this segment. Switzerland replaced "moral" with "ethical and social." In 2(a) (national strategies), the G-77 and China recommended eliminating all forms of poverty and establishing specific time-bound commitments to eradicate poverty no later than 2010. Australia proposed that 1996 (International Year of Poverty) should mark the commencement of comprehensive national strategies to implement the WSSD commitments on poverty, including extreme poverty eradication by 2010. The US supported integrating both proposals. The EU supported the G-77 and China proposal, objecting only to the date. They also referred to a multi- dimensional and integrated approach to combating poverty. Norway, opposed by the US, referred to the removal of political, legal, economic and social structures and cultural values that create and maintain inequality. India, supported by Algeria, opposed inclusion of "cultural," and added a reference to the social mobilization and empowerment of the poor.

The Chair noted that the underlying concept in the text is poverty eradication. He noted that the progression of measures involves reducing poverty, and within that goal, eradicating extreme or absolute poverty. India said that absolute poverty cannot be eliminated immediately because two sets of actions are needed: income guarantee measures and the provision of basic human needs. He preferred the term "absolute" to "extreme" poverty, since there is a definition for the former. The EU accepted reduction of all forms of poverty as a first stage, and also indicated acceptance of the word "absolute". On the formulation of the progression, there was disagreement between the EU and the G-77 whether all forms of poverty should be reduced or eliminated. The EU indicated that poverty elimination represented an unrealistic goal to which their heads of state could not commit and preferred poverty reduction as an overall goal. Benin questioned why commitments agreed to in Rio could not be undertaken here.

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