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Summary report, 23–27 June 1997

19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly to Review the Implementation of Agenda 21

The Nineteenth United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) to Reviewthe Implementation of Agenda 21 was held at United Nations Headquarters in New Yorkfrom 23-27 July 1997, five years after the United Nations Conference on Environmentand Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. Agenda 21 is the Programme of Actionfor Sustainable Development agreed at UNCED. 53 Heads of State and Government,along with ministers and other high-level officials, addressed the Assembly during theweek-long meeting. Negotiations held in a Committee of the Whole, as well as severalMinisterial groups, produced a Statement of Commitment and a Programme for theFurther Implementation of Agenda 21.

The “Earth Summit +5” proved to be a sobering reminder that little progress has beenmade over the past five years in implementing key components of Agenda 21 and movingtoward sustainable development. When the Special Session came to a close at 1:15 onSaturday morning, delegates, NGOs and other observers left UN Headquarters withmixed feelings. Some felt that the meeting had been a failure because governments hadshown a lack of political will to force more than convoluted compromises. Others,including United Nations General Assembly President Razali Ismail (Malaysia), felt thatthe meeting proved to be an “honest attempt to try and make an appraisal of the results,and of how far we have gone from Rio. There was little attempt to try to sweep thingsunder the carpet or put a gloss over something that’s not there.”


In 1992, the General Assembly endorsed Agenda 21 and decided to convene a specialsession to review and appraise Agenda 21 implementation in its resolution 47/190.Negotiations on the text to be adopted at the 19th Special Session of the UN GeneralAssembly began earlier this year during the Commission for Sustainable Development’s(CSD) Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group and continued at thefifth session of the CSD (CSD-5). Further progress was made at informal consultations inNew York during the week before UNGASS.

CSD AD HOC OPEN-ENDED INTERSESSIONAL WORKINGGROUP: The Intersessional Working Group met from 24 February-7 March 1997 inNew York and focused on the format and substantive content of the document to beconsidered at UNGASS. The main output was a draft “Proposed Outcome of the SpecialSession” prepared by Co-Chairs Derek Osborn (UK) and Amb. Celso Armorim (Brazil)after feedback from delegates on a first draft. The re-draft provided a basis for informalconsultations prior to CSD-5. Most delegates highlighted freshwater, energy andtransport, forests and oceans as issues of new or priority concern. Delegates also notedthe importance of the cross-sectoral issues of poverty and changing consumption andproduction patterns.

FIFTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLEDEVELOPMENT: The fifth session of the Commission on SustainableDevelopment (CSD-5) convened from 8-25 April 1997 at UN Headquarters in New Yorkto complete formal preparations for UNGASS. It began with a High-Level Segment and areview of reports from the Intersessional Working Group and the CSD IntergovernmentalPanel on Forests (IPF).

Delegations continued to identify and elaborate the emerging priority issues that they hadconsidered at the Intersessional Working Group. Voluminous amendments to the draft“Proposed Outcome of the Special Session” were considered. Intersessional Co-ChairsOsborn and Amorim chaired Drafting Groups I and II, respectively. Drafting Group Iconsidered text on “Sectors and Issues” and “Assessment of Progress Reached after Rio.”Drafting Group II considered text on “Integration of Economic, Social and EnvironmentalObjectives” and “Means of Implementation.” Informal groups negotiated text on forests,institutional arrangements and the CSD Programme of Work for 1998-2002.

CSD-5 Chair Mostafa Tolba (Egypt) and Vice-Chair Monika Linn-Locher (Switzerland)began consultations on a draft political statement to be adopted by the Heads of State andGovernment expected to attend the Special Session. Their informal modusoperandi was questioned by a number of G-77 delegations at the closing Plenary.Tolba and Linn-Locher invited governments to send amendments to a draft distributed atthe close of the Session and undertook to circulate a new version by early June.

At the conclusion of CSD-5, numerous brackets remained in the draft documents,including unnegotiated paragraphs dealing with international legal instruments andinformation tools to measure progress on sustainable development.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: CSD-5 Chair Tolba convened informalconsultations at UN Headquarters from 16-21 June 1997. Delegations used the Report ofthe CSD on Preparations for UNGASS, including the revised draft political statement(A/S-19/CRP.1) and the draft proposed outcome (A/S-19/14) as the basis for theirdeliberations. The draft political statement attracted extensive amendments, and somenoted that delegations were re-negotiating issues covered in greater detail in the draftproposed outcome. The consultations were adjourned until delegations had consideredrelated issues in the draft proposed outcome. A new draft was circulated Sunday, 22 June,immediately prior to UNGASS.

A number of cross-sectoral and sectoral issues in the draft proposed outcome wereresolved during the week. The exceptions covered those issues requiring high-levelpolitical input at UNGASS and/or related discussions at the 20-21 June G-8 Summit inDenver. Among the outstanding issues sent to UNGASS were: means of implementation(e.g., official development assistance, finance, mobilization of domestic resources); afinancial mechanism for the Convention to Combat Desertification; a reference tocommitments that should be made at the third Conference of the Parties to theFramework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Kyoto, Japan, in December1997; the follow-up to the work of the CSD’s Intergovernmental Panel on Forests; and aproposal to introduce an international tax on aviation fuel to fund sustainabledevelopment.


On Monday, 23 June 1997, UN General Assembly President Razali Ismail (Malaysia)introduced the two speakers for the informal opening ceremony: Brazilian PresidentFernando Henrique Cardoso and US Vice-President Al Gore. Cardoso noted the uniqueopportunity to renew the partnership formed in Rio and urged participants to use itwisely. Gore welcomed participants to New York and noted that private capital flows areskyrocketing, bringing with them the promise of development.

At the commencement of the opening Plenary, delegates to UNGASS were notified that17 members are in arrears of payments and, according to the Charter, those whose arrearsequal the amount of their assessed contributions for the preceding two years shall nothave a vote in the General Assembly. Amb. Razali Ismail was then elected President ofthe 19th Special Session of the General Assembly. He welcomed the representatives ofcivil society, who were participating for the first time in the GA. He also drew attentionto the recession of political will to catalyze change. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annanidentified several issues that require attention, including clean water, forests, fish stocks,atmosphere and desertification. He said his programme for reform will usher in renewalat the UN, but more remains to be done.

Dr. Mostafa Tolba presented the report of the Commission on Sustainable Development(A/S-19/14) and outlined the preparatory process leading up to UNGASS. He emphasizedthat genuine political will was required to deal with outstanding issues.

UNGASS President Razali then presented the organization of the Special Session. Tolba,Chair of CSD-5, was elected as Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole. ThePlenary also agreed to accord observer status to specialized agencies and, without settinga precedent for other special sessions, to invite major groups, including non-governmental organizations, to participate. The provisional agenda (A/S-19/1) wasadopted, and the general debate began.


The Plenary held two sessions each day during UNGASS, where approximately 197statements on review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21 were offered by53 Heads of State and Government or Vice Presidents, 75 Ministers, 6 Vice Ministers, 29Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, 5 observers, 17 heads of internationalorganizations and 12 representatives of major groups. Twenty representatives of international organizations that were not able to speak in Plenary offered statements inthe Committee of the Whole on Monday and Tuesday.

Speakers generally agreed that in the five years since UNCED, the concept of sustainabledevelopment has come to inform economic planning worldwide. The principles ofAgenda 21 are being codified into national legislation, and major new conventions onclimate change and biodiversity are being applied. Nearly all regions of the world arenow experiencing lower fertility and lower population growth. Nevertheless, there wasapparent consensus that much more needs to be done. Developing countries argued thattheir efforts to implement Agenda 21 have continued to be hampered by lack ofresources. Many countries stressed that implementation of Agenda 21 requires new andadditional financial resources and technology sharing. Several speakers pointed out thatwithout alleviating the extreme and increasing poverty that pervades the world,sustainable development is both unrealistic and impossible.

Despite commitments made at Rio, consumption and production patterns remainunsustainably high, official development assistance (ODA) has actually declined,deforestation continues and developing countries lack essential “green technologies.”Several speakers pointed out that one third of the world’s population did not have accessto clean drinking water. Speakers also emphasized the importance of action on forests,climate change, oceans, freshwater management, and unsustainable patterns of productionand consumption. The need to study the impacts of globalization and trade liberalizationon developing countries was emphasized by many speakers. Countries also noted theimportance of educating young people, promoting sustainable tourism and encouraginglocal initiatives and Local Agenda 21s. It was also stressed that peace and politicalstability were integral components of sustainable development.

Several speakers noted that, worldwide, foreign investment has replaced overseasdevelopment assistance in amount and frequency. Yet, foreign investment is not anappropriate replacement for ODA. Based on economic, rather than developmental,objectives, such investment necessarily yields selective benefits. For example, althoughseveral least developed countries are following liberal policies and have open economicsystems, business capital flow has not been forthcoming. Innovative ideas are needed toraise funds for environmental protection and sustainable development. <W0>Copies ofPlenary statements can be found on the Internet at<<gopher://>>.


The Committee of the Whole (COW), chaired by CSD-5 Chair, Dr. Mostafa Tolba,convened Monday afternoon to oversee negotiations on a draft Programme for FurtherImplementation of Agenda 21 and a draft political statement by Heads of State andGovernment. The Committee elected Bagher Asadi (Iran), John Ashe (Antigua andBarbuda), Idunn Eidheim (Norway), and Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland) as Vice-Chairs.Two working groups, one on cross-sectoral issues chaired by Amb. Celso Amorim(Brazil) and John Ashe, and one on sectoral issues chaired by Derek Osborn (UK), wereestablished. Wieckowski chaired a contact group on the CSD Programme of Work (1998-2002). A number of informal consultations were also convened to resolve particularlycontentious issues, including: forests, climate change and radioactive waste. A number ofministerial-level meetings on these issues also took place.

At its final meeting on Friday evening, the COW adopted the draft Programme for theFurther Implementation of Agenda 21. Having failed to reach agreement on a politicalstatement for the Heads of State and Government, the Committee adopted, in its place, aStatement of Commitment. The following is a summary of these documents, withemphasis on the negotiations that took place during the Special Session.


The Statement of Commitment contains six paragraphs. It notes that, at UNCED, Headsof States and Governments and other Heads of Delegations, together with internationalinstitutions and non-governmental organizations launched a new global partnership forsustainable development, a partnership that respects the indivisibility of environmentalprotection and the development process. It recalls that the focus of UNGASS has been toaccelerate the implementation of Agenda 21 in a comprehensive manner and not to re-negotiate its provisions or to be selective in its implementation. A number of positiveresults are acknowledged, but deep concern is expressed that the overall trends forsustainable development are worse today than they were in 1992. Participants commit toensure that the next comprehensive review of Agenda 21 in the year 2002 demonstratesgreater measurable progress in achieving sustainable development.

This section was, until the last day of UNGASS, envisioned to be a longer “politicalstatement.” Delegates to the CSD Intersessional Working Group anticipated that theywould develop a political statement, and suggested a number of elements that could beincluded in it. Bilateral consultations were undertaken by Vice-Chair Monika Linn-Locher (Switzerland) and Chair Mostafa Tolba (Egypt) during CSD-5. They issued apreliminary “Draft Political Statement” during the second week. A redraft incorporatedcomments from governments and was distributed during the final Plenary. An exchangeof comments in the intersessional period resulted in a new draft, which was firstdiscussed during the informal consultations prior to UNGASS. Voluminous amendmentswere offered, and incorporated into the text that was negotiated during UNGASS.Delegates completed their first reading of the twenty-six paragraph draft on Thursdayafternoon, and began a second reading during a late night session. Many debates duringthe week mirrored those taking place on similar issues in the Programme for the FurtherImplementation of Agenda 21 and progress was slow. Among the issues that generatedconsiderable debate were: the definition of sustainable development; incremental costs;time-bound commitments; commitments regarding ODA; domestic mobilization ofresources; listing the sectoral themes for the CSD’s focus in the next five years; and aninvitation to the Secretary-General to develop strategies for long-term sustainability. TheCo-Chairs of the finance ministers’ group drafted proposed text on financial resources tobe included in the political statement, but the US, India, Brazil, Belarus, Iran, SaudiArabia, Germany, Venezuela and Japan expressed serious difficulty with the text.

On Friday morning, the draft political statement was withdrawn from consideration.UNGASS President Razali Ismail conducted informal consultations on a “Statement ofCommitment,” which was issued on Friday afternoon as document A/S-19/AC.1/L.1/Add.1. Lebanon noted that he had worked hard on the longer document andregistered his concern that the Statement of Commitment did not reflect all issues thathad been discussed, but he joined the consensus in adopting the text.



This fifteen-paragraph section contained no outstanding text coming into UNGASS.It identifies changes and actions that have taken place since Rio. Acceleratedglobalization and interactions among countries in the areas of world trade, foreign directinvestment and capital markets has characterized the five years since UNCED.Globalization presents new opportunities and challenges, but only a limited number ofdeveloping countries have been able to take advantage of these trends. Income inequalityamong and within countries has increased.

The state of the global environment has continued to deteriorate, as noted in the UNEP’sGlobal Environment Outlook report. Some progress has been made in terms ofinstitutional development, international consensus-building, public participation andprivate sector actions and, as a result, a number of countries have succeeded in curbingpollution and slowing the rate of resource degradation. Population growth rates have beendeclining globally, largely as a result of expanded basic education and health care.Overall, however, trends are worsening. Increasing levels of pollution threaten to exceedthe capacity of the global environment to absorb them, increasing the potential obstaclesto economic and social development in developing countries.

Implementation of the commitments in the UNCED and post-UNCED agreements, aswell as others adopted before 1992, remains to be carried out and, in many cases, furtherstrengthening of their provisions, as well as the mechanisms for putting them into effect,are required. The establishment, restructuring, funding and replenishment of the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF) were major achievements, but its funding levels have notbeen sufficient to meet its objectives.

Efforts have been made by governments and international organizations to integrateenvironmental, economic and social objectives into decision-making by elaborating newor adapting existing policies. The major groups have demonstrated what can be achievedby taking committed action, sharing resources, building consensus and reflectinggrassroots concern and involvement.

A number of major UN conferences have advanced international commitment for theachievement of the long-term goals and objectives of sustainable development, andorganizations and programmes of the UN system have played an important role inmaking progress in the implementation of Agenda 21.

Much remains to be done, however, to activate the means of implementation set out inAgenda 21, in particular in the areas of finance and technology transfer, technicalassistance and capacity-building. There has been a sizeable expansion of private financialflows to a limited number of developing countries, but the debt situation remains a majorconstraint to achieving sustainable development. Finally, the technology gap betweendeveloped countries and, in particular, the least developed countries has widened.


In the introductory paragraph for this section, delegations agreed that, althoughprogress has been made in some areas, a major new effort will be required to achieve thegoals established at UNCED, particularly in areas of cross-sectoral matters whereimplementation has yet to be achieved.

1. Integration of economic, social and environmental objectives

Text in this section, agreed to during CSD-5, notes that achieving sustainabledevelopment is impossible without greater integration at all policy-making andoperational levels, including the lowest administrative levels possible. By 2002, theformulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development should becompleted, and efforts by developing countries to effectively implement nationalstrategies should be supported. A broad package of policy instruments should be workedout, in light of country-specific conditions, to ensure that integrated approaches areeffective and cost-efficient.

The bracketed text resolved at UNGASS included references to economic development,social development and environmental protection as interdependent and mutuallyreinforcing components of sustainable development and the need for: broad based growthto benefit all, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, transparent andaccountable governance and effective participation by civil society. The G-77/Chinaagreed to a US proposal to introduce language from the UN Agenda for Development.

Additional outstanding text proposed by Switzerland and supported by the EU noted thatthe implementation of policies aiming at sustainable development may enhance theopportunities for job creation — while protecting basic workers’ rights. The G-77/Chinaproposed its deletion. The final text includes a reference to Chapter 29 (strengthening therole of workers and their trade unions), but drops the reference to protecting basicworkers’ rights.

Enabling international economic framework: At CSD-5, delegates agreed to textnoting that, as a result of globalization, external factors have become critical indetermining the success or failure of developing countries in their national efforts atsustainable development. During informal consultations prior to UNGASS, the US andEU sought to establish that the Rio principle on common but differentiatedresponsibilities refers only to environmental issues. The G-77/China wanted to remove“in regard to environmental issues,” but later agreed to Agenda 21 language. The texttherefore notes that issues can be approached effectively only through a constructivedialogue and genuine partnership, “taking into account that in view of the differentcontributions to global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiatedresponsibilities.”

Eradicating poverty: This paragraph contained a number of bracketedsubparagraphs after CSD-5. It notes that the eradication of poverty is an overriding themeof sustainable development for the coming years and depends on the full integration ofpeople living in poverty into economic, social and political life. Priority actions include:improving access to sustainable livelihoods; providing universal access to basic socialservices; progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannotsupport themselves; and addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women. Inaddition, interested donors and recipients should work together to allocate increasedshares of ODA to poverty eradication. The 20/20 initiative is noted to be an importantprinciple in this regard.

A Bangladesh-proposed paragraph on access to micro-credit for people living in povertywas submitted late at CSD-5. The G-77/China said his Group had not had time to discussthe proposal at UNGASS. The proposal is to be referred to ECOSOC by the GeneralAssembly President Amb. Razali. Text regarding empowering people living in povertyand their organizations was resolved during the informal consultations prior to UNGASS,with the G-77/China’s agreement that they should be involved in “evaluation,formulation and implementation” and that programmes should reflect their priorities.

In the subparagraph on the disproportionate impact of poverty on women, delegatesdebated whether full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action should be“consistent with the report of the Fourth World Conference on Women” (FWCW).During the week prior to UNGASS, the EU and Canada called for full implementation ofthe Beijing Platform for Action and deleting “consistent with the report of the FourthWorld Conference on Women.” The G-77/China supported the reference to the FWCWreport to accommodate those countries who recorded reservations in the report. Syria,supported by Canada, proposed that a footnote accompany all references to UNConference outcomes, stating that all references to platforms or programmes for action inthe UNGASS report should be considered in a manner consistent with their reports. Thiswas agreed.

Changing consumption and production patterns: A number of portions remainedbracketed in this section after CSD-5. The agreed text notes that, consistent with Agenda21, the development and further elaboration of national policies and strategies,particularly in industrialized countries, are needed to encourage changes in unsustainableconsumption and production patterns. Actions should focus on:

  • identifying best practices through evaluations of policy measures with respect to environmental effectiveness, efficiency and implications for social equity;
  • taking into account the linkages between urbanization and the environmental and developmental effects of consumption and production patterns in cities;
  • improving the quality of information regarding the environmental impact of products and services;
  • encouraging educational programmes to promote sustainable consumption patterns;
  • encouraging business and industry to develop and apply environmentally sound technology and promoting the role of business in shaping consumption patterns; and
  • developing core indicators.

Brazil and India opposed text noting that to some extent unsustainable patterns are alsoemerging in higher income groups in some developing countries. Delegates agreed toreplace it with language based on Chapter Four of Agenda 21 (4.8 (a) (b) and (c); 4.9) andto insert a footnote referencing the report of a workshop on sustainable consumption andproduction to CSD-5. At the informal consultations preceding UNGASS, a reference toenvironmental and social audits was replaced with text on appropriate, voluntarypublication of assessments. An EU-proposed initiative on energy and material efficiencytargets of achieving a tenfold improvement in productivity in the long term and a possiblefactor-four increase in the next two or three decades was agreed to after the EU specifiedthat the targets were intended for industrialized countries. On eco-efficiency, the G-77/China agreed to US language on the need for developed countries to pay specialattention to avoiding negative impacts on export and market access opportunities fordeveloping countries.

Making trade and environment mutually supportive: Various sections in this textremained in brackets following CSD-5. The agreed text addresses the need toestablish favorable macroeconomic conditions to enable all countries to benefit fromglobalization, and greater responsiveness to sustainable development objectives at theUN, WTO and Bretton Woods institutions. It calls for timely and full implementation ofthe results of the Uruguay Round, promotion of the universality of the WTO, analysis ofthe environmental effects of international goods transport, and institutional cooperationbetween UNCTAD, WTO, and UNEP.

At UNGASS, brackets were removed from text introduced by the EU and the US in asubparagraph on the multilateral trading system. This US text was replaced with languagenoting that decisions on further liberalization of trade should take into account effects onsustainable development. A paragraph proposed by Australia calling for effectivedialogue with major groups (including NGOs), particularly in the WTO, UNCTAD andUNEP, is to be referred to ECOSOC by GA President Amb. Razali. An EU-sponsoredcall for the WTO, UNEP and UNCTAD to consider ways to make trade and environmentmutually supportive was accepted.

Population: This paragraph on the relationship between economic growth,poverty, employment, environment and sustainable development calls for recognition ofthe critical linkages between demographic trends and other factors. After a prolongeddebate about the formula to reference the outcome of the International Conference onPopulation and Development it was agreed to insert a standard footnote on UNConferences (see above).

Health: This paragraph, which was agreed to during the informal consultationsprior to UNGASS, states that an overriding goal for the future is to implement the“Health for All” strategy to enable all people to achieve a higher level of health and well-being, and to improve their economic productivity and social potential. Actions such asprovision of safe drinking water, and accelerated research and vaccine development, aresuggested. Delegates removed brackets from language regarding the effects of leadpoisoning, noting that it is important to accelerate the process of eliminating unsafe usesof lead, including the use of lead in gasoline worldwide, in the light of country-specificconditions and with enhanced international support and assistance to developingcountries through the timely provision of technical and financial assistance and thepromotion of endogenous capacity-building. The G-77/China agreed to remove bracketsfrom a call for strategies to make parents, families and communities aware of the adverseenvironmental health impacts of tobacco.

Sustainable human settlements: This paragraph, which was resolved at CSD-5,notes that global urbanization is a cross-sectoral phenomenon that has an impact on allaspects of sustainable development. Urgent action is needed to implement thecommitments made at the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) consistentwith its report, and in Agenda 21. New and additional financial resources are necessary toachieve the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlementsdevelopment. Global targets could be established by the CSD to promote Local Agenda21 campaigns and to deal with obstacles to Local Agenda 21 initiatives.

2. Sectors and issues

The opening paragraph to this section was agreed to at CSD-5. It notes that the needfor integration is important in all sectors, including the areas of energy and transport,agriculture and water use, and marine resources. The recommendations made in eachsector take into account the need for international cooperation in support of nationalefforts.

Freshwater: This text was agreed during CSD-5, although Turkey and Ethiopiareserved their positions with respect to a reference to “customary uses of water.” The textnotes that, in view of growing demands, water will become a major limiting factor insocio-economic development unless early action is taken. It identifies an urgent need to,inter alia:

  • formulate and implement policies and programmes for integrated watershed management;
  • strengthen regional and international cooperation for technology transfer and the financing of integrated water resources programmes and projects;
  • provide an environment that encourages investments from public and private sources to improve water supply and sanitation services;
  • recognize water as a social and economic good; and
  • call for a dialogue under the aegis of the CSD, beginning at its sixth session, aimed at building a consensus on the necessary actions, means of implementation and tangible results in order to consider initiating a strategic approach for the implementation of all aspects of the sustainable use of freshwater for social and economic purposes.

Oceans and seas: This text was agreed at CSD-5. It notes that there is a need tocontinue to improve decision-making in this area at the national, regional and globallevels. It identifies an urgent need for:

  • all governments to ratify or accede to the relevant agreements and to effectively implement such agreements as well as relevant voluntary instruments;
  • strengthening of institutional links to be established between the relevant intergovernmental mechanisms involved in the development and implementation of integrated coastal zone management;
  • better identification of priorities for action at the global level;
  • governments to prevent or eliminate overfishing and excess fishing capacity;
  • governments to consider the positive and negative impact of subsidies and to consider appropriate action; <M>and
  • governments to take actions to improve the quality and quantity of scientific data as a basis for effective decisions.

Forests: Three of the four paragraphs in this section were agreed to at CSD-5,with the critical paragraph outlining follow-up action to the Intergovernmental Panel onForests (IPF) remaining entirely in brackets. Text agreed to prior to UNGASS notes thatthe IPF’s proposals for action represent significant progress and consensus on a widerange of forest issues. To maintain momentum there is an urgent need for, interalia: countries and international organizations to implement the Panel’s proposals;countries to develop national forest programmes; further clarification of all issues arisingfrom the IPF process, in particular international cooperation in financial assistance andtechnology transfer, and trade and environment in relation to forest products and services;and international organizations to undertake further collaboration in the informal, high-level Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests.

The unresolved paragraph on follow-up contained a number of options, including callsfor the establishment of an ad hoc, open-ended intergovernmental forum onforests, which would consider the need for or build the necessary consensus for a legally-binding instrument, or an inter-governmental negotiating committee (INC) on a legally-binding instrument on all types of forests.

Countries began negotiations on forests by outlining their support for the various optionsfor follow-up. The EU, Canada, Russia, Romania, Costa Rica on behalf of CentralAmerica, and Papua New Guinea supported the immediate establishment of an INC,noting that while the two-year IPF process had been very useful in clarifying key issues, aclear political signal on forests and binding commitments on action were now needed.The G-77/China, the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand opposed the establishment ofan INC at this stage, noting that the need for a convention had not yet been established.Instead, they called for an intergovernmental forum on forests to help implement IPFproposals for action, and to continue discussions on issues left pending by the IPF, suchas trade and environment in relation to forest products, technology transfer and finance,as well as new and emerging issues. The forum could also examine the need for an INC,without prejudging the outcome, and could report to the CSD by 1999 (the US preferredthe year 2000).

The final consensus decision, arrived at after protracted debate, calls for the establishmentof the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests under the aegis of the CSD, to facilitateimplementation of IPF recommendations, review and monitor progress on sustainableforest management, and consider matters left pending by the IPF. The Forum will also“identify possible elements of and work towards a consensus for internationalarrangements and mechanisms, for example, a legally-binding instrument” and will reportto the CSD in 1999. Based on that report, and a decision by the CSD in the year 2000, theForum will “engage in further action on establishing an intergovernmental negotiationprocess on new arrangements and mechanisms or a legally binding instrument on alltypes of forests.”

Debate on this text prior to its adoption centered around the G-77/China’s insistence,supported by India, Brazil, Colombia, the US and New Zealand, on reformulating the lastsentence to read “will engage in further action on new arrangements and mechanisms orestablishing an intergovernmental negotiation process on a legally binding instrument . . .” instead of the compromise formulation, supported by the EU and the Association ofSoutheast Asian Nations (ASEAN) group. The G-77/China argued that placing the words“an intergovernmental negotiation process” before “new arrangements and mechanisms”seemed to suggest the inevitability of starting negotiations on a legally binding document.Agreement on this was achieved when the G-77/China withdrew their proposal after anexplanation from the Chair, supported by Denmark, that many negotiation processes arenot linked to legally binding commitments. Agreement also hinged on crucial trade-offswhereby the EU agreed to language calling for the Forum to “work towards consensus forinternational arrangements and mechanisms, for example, a legally binding document,”instead of “including a legally binding document.” The EU also agreed to postpone thedecision on follow-up until CSD-8 (the year 2000) rather than 1999.

It was agreed that the Forum should convene as soon as possible, and would be supportedby voluntary extra-budgetary contributions from governments and internationalorganizations.

On the last outstanding issue, delegates decided to remove reference to “traditional forest-related knowledge” (TFRK) as an IPF issue requiring further clarification. Instead, areference to TFRK was included in the opening paragraph, which highlighted theimportance of forests for indigenous people and other forest-dependent people.

Energy: Most of the paragraphs on energy were agreed or agreed adreferendum as a result of informal consultations <W0>prior to UNGASS. Theagreed text covers a number of issues, including: increased need for energy services indeveloping countries; the need for equity and adequate energy supplies; internationalcooperation for promoting energy conservation and improvement; and promotingresearch efforts on renewable energy.

During debate at UNGASS, Saudi Arabia proposed deletion of subparagraphs on energydiscussions to be held at CSD-9, cost internalization and coordination on energy issues atthe UN, which had been agreed ad referendum. Nigeria, supported by Libya,wanted to delete details of preparations for CSD-9. Canada, the US, Australia, Japan,Norway and the EU resisted the call to re-open negotiations on agreed text. These issueswere considered again in subsequent sessions. Saudi Arabia said that he and 22 othercountries wished to delete all but the first two sentences of the paragraph.

In the final COW, delegates accepted a paragraph on CSD-9 noting that preparationsshould use an open-ended intergovernmental group of experts, to be held in conjunctionwith the intersessionals for CSD-8 and CSD-9. Brackets were also removed from areference to “appropriate national action” in a paragraph on reducing the impacts of fossilfuels. In a paragraph on technology transfer, the EU and US agreed to consider acompromise formulation after prolonged discussion on the inclusion of “time bound”commitments for the transfer of relevant technology to developing countries. Agreed textreads: “evolving commitments for the transfer of relevant technology, including timebound commitments, as appropriate, to developing countries and economies intransition.” A paragraph calling for gradual promotion of cost internalization, minimizingimpact on developing countries and encouraging the reduction of subsidies was included.Coordination on energy issues within the UN system, including a coordinating role forECOSOC, is also mentioned.

Transport: This paragraph contained some brackets following CSD-5, includingan EU-proposed initiative to prepare, at the international level, a tax on aviation fuel. Thetext notes that current patterns of transportation with their dominant patterns of energyuse are not sustainable, and present trends may compound the environmental problemsthe world is facing. It notes a need for: the promotion of integrated transport policies; theintegration of land use and urban, peri-urban and rural transport planning; the adoptionand promotion, as appropriate, of measures to mitigate the negative impact oftransportation on the environment; and partnerships for strengthening transportinfrastructures and developing innovative mass transport schemes.

Delegates agreed at UNGASS to: accelerate the phase-out of leaded gasoline as soon aspossible; promote voluntary guidelines for environmentally friendly transport; and reducevehicle emissions of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulatematter and volatile organic compounds, as soon as possible. The EU altered its proposalfor an aviation fuel tax to call for the continuation of studies on the use of economicinstruments, “such as an aviation fuel tax,” which was bracketed by Argentina.

During a Friday afternoon meeting of the COW, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,Bahrain, Venezuela, Iran and Morocco called for the deletion of the entire paragraph. TheUS, Norway and Switzerland opposed deleting the paragraph. The EU expresseddisappointment at these proposals but declined to withdraw the reference. Osborn notedthat similar language was agreed at CSD-4. Delegates agreed to retain the paragraphwithout the reference to aviation fuel tax. At the end of the session, the EU delivered astatement to be included in the minutes, noting its assumption that the aviation fuel tax ispart of the economic instruments mentioned in the text.

Atmosphere: At CSD-5, delegates agreed to a paragraph noting that political willand effort are required to ensure that the global climate is not further damaged. It alsonotes that while some first steps have been taken, insufficient progress has been made bymany developed countries in meeting their aim to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. It also notes the importance of adopting aprotocol or other legal instrument later this year at the third Conference of the Parties tothe Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC COP-3) in Kyoto.

A ministerial group on climate change was held on Thursday, 26 June, chaired byministers from Argentina and Japan. Delegations who had made proposals in the textexplained their positions. Brazil and Switzerland noted that the public would measure thesuccess of UNGASS by its statement on climate change. Japan proposed using languagefrom the Denver G-8 Summit: At COP-3, the industrialized countries should commit tomeaningful, realistic and equitable targets that will result in reductions of greenhouse gasemissions by 2010. The agreement must ensure transparency and accountability, andflexibility in the manner in which Participants’ meet their targets. The EU proposed textcalling for: an agreement on a legally-binding commitment for the developed world atFCCC COP-3 for a significant reduction of the emissions of greenhouse gases below the1990 level by the years 2005 and 2010, as well as mandatory and recommended policiesand measures, including harmonized ones. Delegates proposing text met in a contactgroup to produce a combined text.

The combined text noted that at COP-3 the developed countries should seek legally-binding, meaningful, realistic and equitable targets that will result in significantreductions of greenhouse gas emissions within specified timeframes such as 2005, 2010and 2020. Japan objected to “significant” and Australia disapproved of “legally-binding.”The Co-Chairs reported the result back to the COW and delegates agreed to reconvenethe ministerial group.

On Friday, 27 June, the Co-Chairs reported to the COW that the ministerial group hadheld further discussions, but no consensus could be reached. Tolba said that withoutconsensus the paragraph would have to be deleted and delegates would have to besatisfied with the existing text on climate change.

Norway, Brazil, AOSIS, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago and the EU expressed strongregret that the UNGASS could not agree on recommendations and requested an additionalsession. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela were skeptical about resolving the issues in the timeremaining. The Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and Australia agreed to tryagain, but cautioned that the group must be open-ended, noting that the use of a smallgroup had led to problems before. The US also noted that difficulties arose because somepositions were “stepped on” during discussions. An open-ended group, chaired by DerekOsborn, was convened for a final attempt to reach consensus, after which Osborn reportedon the results. He had polled participants in the meeting for their positions and drafted anew paragraph.

Further consultations resulted in the following agreed text: at UNGASS, the internationalcommunity confirmed its recognition of the problem of climate change as one of thebiggest challenges facing the world in the next century. The leaders of many countriesunderlined the importance of this in their addresses to the Assembly and outlined theresponses they have in hand, both in their own countries and internationally.

The ultimate goal that all countries share is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gasconcentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenicinterference with the climate system. This requires efficient and cost-effective policiesand measures that will be sufficient to result in a significant reduction in emissions. Atthis meeting, countries reviewed the state of the preparations for COP-3 and all agreedthat it is vital that there should be a satisfactory result.

The positions of many countries for these negotiations are still evolving and it was agreedthat it would not be appropriate to seek to predetermine the results, although usefulinteractions on evolving positions took place.

There is already widespread but not universal agreement that it will be necessary toconsider legally-binding, meaningful, realistic and equitable targets for Annex I countriesthat will result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within specified timeframes, such as 2005, 2010 and 2020. In addition to establishing targets, there is alsowidespread agreement that it will be necessary to consider ways and means for achievingthem and to take into account the economic, adverse environmental and other effects ofsuch response measures on all countries, particularly developing countries.

Toxic chemicals: Agreement was reached on this paragraph at CSD-5. It notesthat environmentally sound management of chemicals should continue to be an importantissue well beyond 2000. Particular attention should be given to cooperation in thedevelopment and transfer of technology for safe substitutes and in the development ofcapacity for the production of such substitutes. UNEP’s 19th Governing Council’sdecision on sound management of chemicals should be implemented in accordance withthe agreed timetables for negotiations on the prior informed consent (PIC) and persistentorganic pollutants (POPs) conventions. The difference between the roles and behavior ofinorganic and organic chemicals is noted.

Hazardous wastes: This paragraph was also agreed at CSD-5. It takes note of theimportant initiatives aimed at promoting the environmentally sound management ofhazardous wastes under the Basel Convention and calls for their further development.Land contaminated by the disposal of hazardous wastes needs to be identified andremedial actions put in place, and integrated management solutions are also required tominimize urban and industrial waste generation and to promote recycling and reuse.

Radioactive wastes: Two of three paragraphs on this issue remained bracketedfollowing CSD-5, with the Russian Federation reserving its position on the entire section.Agreed text at UNGASS notes that radioactive wastes can have very seriousenvironmental and human health impacts over long periods of time. Following a G-77/China proposal, the text notes that storage, transportation, transboundary movementand disposal of radioactive wastes should be guided by all principles (rather thanonly principle 2) of the Rio Declaration. It also calls on States not to promote or allow thestorage or disposal of radioactive wastes near the marine environment, and forinternational efforts to prohibit the export of radioactive wastes to those countries that donot have appropriate treatment and storage sites. Following a G-77 proposal, it notes theneed to conduct, “as appropriate, health studies around sites affected by nuclear activitieswith a view to identifying where health treatment may be needed.” Following a Russianproposal, references to “nuclear waste” in the text are replaced with “radioactive wastes”and text reading “it is best for radioactive wastes to be disposed of” is replaced by“radioactive wastes should be disposed of” in the territory of the State in whichthey are produced.

Land and sustainable agriculture: The two paragraphs on this issue were largelyagreed to at CSD-5, and during informal consultations prior to UNGASS. Finalagreement was obtained when a reference to “indigenous people[s]” as replaced by“indigenous people(s)” in text noting the need for involvement of all interested parties insustainable management of land and soil resources. The agreed text notes that landdegradation threatens the livelihoods of millions, and calls on States to combat or reversethe worldwide trend of soil erosion, using an ecosystem approach. It also notes the needfor poverty eradication through, inter alia, capacity building to reinforce local foodsystems, and improving food security. It calls on States to continue or increaseinvestment in agricultural research, and to fully implement the WTO decision onMeasures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries. Finally, the text calls ongovernments to implement the Rome Declaration and Plan of Action on food security,adopted at the World Food Summit in 1996.

Desertification and drought: Delegates to CSD-5 agreed to urge governments toconclude and implement the Convention to Combat Desertifcation (CCD) as soon aspossible and to support and participate in the first session of the Conference of the Partiesto the Convention in September 1997. Text regarding the Global Mechanism andtechnology transfer remained bracketed for consideration during UNGASS. Informalconsultations and negotiations took place throughout the week.

On Friday, 27 June, Derek Osborn, Chair of the informal group on sectoral issues,reported a “stand-off” on the issue of desertification. The G-77/China proposed statingthat the international community, in particular developed countries, should provide newand additional financial resources to the Global Mechanism. The G-77/China expressedstrong concern that despite their cooperative spirit on other UNGASS issues, developedcountries have not been forthcoming on this issue.

Many developed countries preferred to “support the Global Mechanism that would indeedhave the capacity to promote actions leading to the mobilization and channeling ofsubstantial resources.” The US and the EU pointed out that at CSD-5 there was aformulation that did not prejudice the outcome of discussion on the global mechanismunder the CCD. Co-Chair Osborn proposed that the text reflect the position of bothgroups. The G-77/China insisted that developed countries commit themselves or registertheir unwillingness and clarify what they are prepared to do at this stage. Tolba remindedthe G-77/China spokesperson that he was requesting that the text reflect agreement wherethere was none. Following considerable discussion, delegates agreed to text reflectingboth positions. A reference to the transfer of technology on mutually agreed terms wasalso removed from brackets.

Biodiversity: This paragraph, with twelve subparagraphs, was agreed to at CSD-5. It notes the urgent need to, inter alia:

  • take decisive action to conserve and maintain genes, species and ecosystems;
  • ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity and implement it fully and effectively together with the decisions of the Conference of the Parties;
  • undertake concrete actions for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from use of genetic resources;
  • respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles;
  • complete rapidly the biosafety protocol, on the understanding that the UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology; and
  • stress the importance of the establishment of a clearinghouse mechanism by the Parties.

Sustainable tourism: The four paragraphs in this section were agreed to at CSD-5. They note the need to consider further the importance of tourism in the context ofAgenda 21. Of particular concern is the degradation of biodiversity and fragileecosystems, such as coral reefs, mountains, coastal areas and wetlands. The text calls onthe CSD to develop an action-oriented international programme of work on sustainabletourism. Finally, it notes that international cooperation is needed to facilitate tourismdevelopment in developing countries.

Small island developing States: The two paragraphs in this section were agreedto at CSD-5. They note the international community’s reaffirmation of its commitment tothe implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development ofSmall Island Developing States (SIDS). The text also notes that the CSD adopted adecision on the modalities for the full review of the Programme of Action, including theholding of a two-day special session of the General Assembly immediately preceding thefifty-fourth session of the Assembly. Efforts to implement the Programme of Action needto be supplemented by effective financial support from the international community, andthe SIDS information network and technical assistance programme should beoperationalized.

Natural disasters: This two paragraph section, which was agreed to at CSD-5,states that natural disasters have disproportionate consequences for developing countries,in particular SIDS, and that there is a special need to provide developing countries withassistance in:

  • strengthening mechanisms and policies designed to reduce the effects of natural disasters, improve preparedness and integrate natural disaster considerations in development planning;
  • improving access to relevant technology and training in hazard and risk assessment and early warning systems; and
  • providing and facilitating support in the context of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

Major technological and other disasters with an adverse impact on theenvironment: The paragraph in this section remained bracketed following CSD-5,with disagreement centering on the terminology to be used in the title and introductorysentence. Agreed text in the title reads “major technological and other disasters with anadverse impact on the environment” rather than “human-made disasters” or“technological and man-made disasters.” The paragraph notes that such disasters canbecome a substantial obstacle to achieving sustainable development in many countries,and calls on the international community to intensify cooperation in the prevention andreduction of such disasters, and in disaster relief and post-disaster rehabilitation.


This section contained a number of brackets going into negotiations at UNGASS. Itaffirms that financial resources and mechanisms play a key role in the implementation ofAgenda 21.

Financial resources and mechanisms: These paragraphs:

  • call for the urgent fulfillment of all financial commitments of Agenda 21, particularly those contained in Chapter 33, and the provisions on new and additional resources;
  • underline the complementary and catalytic role of ODA in promoting economic growth;
  • recognize that private capital flows are a major tool of economic growth in a growing number of developing countries;
  • call for the enhancement of UN activities through a substantial increase in funding;
  • call on the UN Secretariat, the World Bank and IMF to collaborate with UNCTAD to consider the interrelationship between indebtedness and sustainable development;
  • reaffirm that, in general, financing for Agenda 21 will come from countries’ own public and private sectors;
  • call for full consideration of specific conditions and different levels of development in the event of subsidy reductions; and
  • call for collection and sharing of information on the use of economic instruments.

At the informal consultations preceding UNGASS, the EU and US resisted a G-77/Chinaattempt to re-open agreed paragraphs, which note that financial resources for theimplementation of Agenda 21 will come from countries’ own resources. The US refusedto negotiate on bracketed text on terms of trade and competitiveness of developingcountries and deferred such discussion to trade fora. The G-77/China opposed linkingODA to country-driven policy reform efforts. Norway, New Zealand, the US and Japansupported a proposal for an intergovernmental process on finance to consider, interalia, policy responses to recommendations from the Expert Group Meeting onFinancial Issues in Agenda 21. The G-77/China wanted to delete the paragraph. Theproposal is to be referred to ECOSOC by General Assembly President Amb. Razali. In aparagraph on research on phasing out subsidies that have market distorting and sociallyand environmentally damaging impacts, the G-77/China agreed to the removal of areference to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” and itsreplacement with language noting that subsidy reductions should take full account ofdifferent levels of development, specifically those of developing countries.

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies: This section reaffirms that theavailability of scientific and technological information and access to and transfer ofenvironmentally sound technologies (ESTs) are essential requirements for sustainabledevelopment. All but two of the ten paragraphs arrived at the Special Session free ofbrackets.

This section:

  • calls for the urgent fulfillment of all the UNCED commitments concerning concrete measures for the transfer of ESTs to developing countries with a regular review as part of the CSD multi-year programme;
  • states the importance of identifying barriers and restrictions to the transfer of publicly and privately owned ESTs;
  • affirms governments’ role in providing research and development to promote and contribute to the development of institutional and human capacities;
  • calls for the creation of an enabling environment to help stimulate private sector investment and transfers of ESTs and public-private partnerships; and
  • identifies the need to further explore and enhance the use of information technology and communications.

At the informal consultations preceding UNGASS, delegations debated two sets ofbracketed references to “commitments” and “objectives” on ESTs — one in relation toChapter 34 of Agenda 21 and one in relation to Agenda 21 as a whole. The G-77/Chinaagreed to replace the bracketed text with language from the UN Agenda forDevelopment. They also agreed to replace the second pair of brackets with a call for aregular review of provisions in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21.

Capacity-building: The three paragraphs on this issue were agreed to at CSD-5.The text states that renewed commitment and support from the international communityis essential to support national efforts for capacity-building in developing countries andcountries with economies in transition. UNDP, through its Capacity 21 programme,should give priority to building capacity for the elaboration of sustainable developmentstrategies based on participatory approaches. In addition, attention should be given to theneeds of women and indigenous people, to the role of the private sector and to South-South cooperation in capacity-building.

Science: This text was agreed to during CSD-5. It states that public and privateinvestment in science, education and training, and research and development should beincreased significantly. Scientific cooperation and improved access to scientificinformation related to the environment and sustainable development are proposed, as iscollaboration to promote innovations in information and communication technologies forthe purpose of reducing adverse environmental impacts.

Education and awareness: These two paragraphs were agreed to at CSD-5. Thetext notes the fundamental prerequisite of an adequately financed and effectiveeducational system at all levels, and states that priority should be given to ensuringwomen’s and girls’ full and equal access to all levels of education and training. Educationfor a sustainable future should engage a wide spectrum of institutions and sectors.Finally, cooperation between universities and other academic centers, especially betweendeveloped and developing countries, is necessary.

International legal instruments and the Rio Declaration on Environment andDevelopment: All three paragraphs in the section were bracketed at the beginning ofUNGASS. One paragraph, the only one considered at CSD-5, called for the codificationof international law on sustainable development. Another on implementation andcompliance with treaties on sustainable development contained a number of bracketedproposals. The third paragraph, proposed by Norway, called for the development ofinternational law regarding liability and compensation.

On the codification of international law, delegations agreed on a reformulation based onproposals by the EU, Mexico and the G-77/China. The text notes that it is necessary tocontinue the progressive development and, as appropriate, codification of internationallaw related to sustainable development.

On implementation and compliance, the G-77/China proposed a reformulation noting,inter alia, that implementation of commitments under international treaties andother instruments in the field of environment hinge on secure, sustained and predictablefinancial support, sufficient institutional capacity, human resources and adequate accessto technology. China, Saudi Arabia and Colombia noted that implementation andfinancing must be linked because financial support is essential for successfulenvironmental protection.

The US expressed difficulty with linking implementation with financial support whenmaking a general statement about international treaties, which implies financial support isnecessary in all cases. The EU proposed that implementation “can be promoted by”instead of “hinge on” financial support. Norway appealed to the G-77/China to view thisparagraph as pertaining to strengthening instruments, rather than technology transfer.Switzerland questioned whether repeated references to financial obligations lessened theirimpact. China said that pressing for compliance obligations without making good onfinancial commitments is “tragic.”

The reformulated paragraph states that implementation of commitments made underinternational treaties in the field of environment remains a priority. Implementation canbe promoted by secure, sustained and predictable financial support, sufficient institutionalcapacity, human resources and adequate access to technology cooperation onimplementation between States on mutually agreed terms may reduce potential sources ofconflict.

Canada underscored the importance of science-based decision making. Switzerland, theUS, Canada, the EU and Norway proposed language noting the importance of improvingreporting and data collection systems and developing compliance regimes. The final textreads that it is also important to further improve reporting and data-collection systemsand to further develop appropriate compliance mechanisms and procedures, on a mutuallyagreed basis, to help and encourage States to fulfill all their obligations, including meansof implementation under multilateral environmental agreements. The bracketed paragraphon liability and compensation was deleted.

Information and tools to measure progress: All six paragraphs on this issuecontained bracketed sections, since delegates did not have time to consider them duringCSD-5. Agreed text on the first paragraph notes the urgent need for the furtherdevelopment of cost-effective tools to collect and disseminate information for decision-makers at all levels. A Canadian proposal for collection of “gender disaggregated data,”initially opposed by the G-77/China, is retained in the final text, preceded by the words“as appropriate.” A US reference to information that makes the unremunerated work ofwomen visible is also retained, as is a Peruvian reference to support for national andinternational scientific and technological data centers, with electronic communicationlinks between them.

The second paragraph of this text, originally a Japanese proposal calling for the need toenhance global awareness of environmental issues through use of high-tech info-communications infrastructure, contains reformulations proposed by the G-77/China,which emphasize the need for a supportive environment to be established to enhancenational capabilities for information collection, processing and dissemination, especiallyin developing countries. It notes the importance of international cooperation in thisregard.

The third paragraph notes the importance of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) asa tool for sustainable development. It includes an EU and US reference to Principle 17 ofthe Rio Declaration, as well as a G-77/China proposal calling for EIAs to be undertakenfor “activities likely to have significant adverse impacts on the environment.” ANorwegian proposal noting the importance of EIAs where environmental values may beat stake, as well as the need to undertake EIAs for national or international investmentprogrammes, was deleted.

A fourth paragraph notes that the CSD’s work on indicators for sustainable developmentshould result in a “practicable and agreed set of indicators”(EU), “suited to countryspecific conditions” (G-77/China), “to be used on a voluntary basis by the year 2000”(EU). A fifth paragraph referring to the importance of indicators for the greening ofnational budgets was deleted. The last paragraph in this section notes that national reportson implementation of Agenda 21 have proved valuable to the sharing of information, andcalls for their continuation.

INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: The text oninternational institutional arrangements was completely agreed to at CSD-5, with oneexception: a paragraph regarding replenishment by the donor community of theInternational Development Association (IDA) and the GEF. The opening paragraph statesthat the institutional framework outlined in Chapter 38 of Agenda 21 and determined byGeneral Assembly resolution 47/191 and other relevant resolutions, including the specificfunctions and roles of various organs, organizations and programmes within and outsidethe UN system, will continue to be fully relevant in the period after UNGASS.

1. Greater coherence in various intergovernmental organizations and processes

A need for better policy coordination at the intergovernmental level isacknowledged, and a strengthened role for ECOSOC in coordinating the activities of theUN system in the economic, social and related field is recommended. This section callsfor:

  • cooperation between the conferences of the parties to conventions related to sustainable development;
  • effective and efficient support arrangements for the convention secretariats;
  • strengthening the ACC Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development and its system of task managers; and
  • CSD promotion of increased regional implementation of Agenda 21 in cooperation with relevant regional and subregional organizations.

2. Role of relevant organizations and institutions of the UN system

This section states that all organizations and programmes of the UN system should,within their mandates, strengthen support for national efforts to implement Agenda 21.The role of UNEP, as the principal UN body in the field of environment, should befurther enhanced. A revitalized UNEP should be supported by adequate, stable andpredictable funding. UNDP and UNCTAD should also continue to play a role in Agenda21 implementation.

With regard to the bracketed text on IDA and GEF replenishment, delegates at UNGASSagreed that implementation of the commitment of the international financial institutionsto sustainable development should continue to be strengthened. The text also notes thatthe World Bank has a significant role to play, bearing in mind its expertise and the overallvolume of resources that it commands.

3. Future role and programme of work of the Commission on SustainableDevelopment

This section states that the CSD, within its mandate, will continue to provide acentral forum for reviewing progress and for urging further implementation of Agenda21. The CSD has a role to play in assessing the challenges of globalization as they relateto sustainable development, and should focus on issues that are crucial to achieving thegoals of sustainable development. The CSD should carry out its work in such a manner asto avoid unnecessary duplication and repetition of work undertaken by other relevantforums. Finally, it is recommended that the CSD adopt the multi-year programme ofwork for the period 1998-2002 contained in the annex (see below).

4. Methods of work of the Commission on Sustainable Development

The CSD is called on to, inter alia:

  • make concerted efforts to attract greater involvement in its work of ministers and high-level national policy makers responsible for specific economic and social sectors;
  • continue to provide a forum for the exchange of national experiences and best practices in the area of sustainable development;
  • provide a forum for the exchange of experiences on regional and subregional initiatives and regional collaboration for sustainable development;
  • establish closer interaction with international financial, development and trade institutions;
  • strengthen its interaction with representatives of major groups; and
  • organize the implementation of its next multi-year programme of work in the most effective and productive way.

In addition, the Secretary-General is invited to review the functioning of the High-LevelAdvisory Board on Sustainable Development. The work of the Committee on New andRenewable Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development and the Committee onNatural Resources should be more compatible with and supportive of the CSD’sprogramme of work. Finally, the next comprehensive review of progress achieved in theimplementation of Agenda 21 by the General Assembly will take place in the year 2002.


The CSD work programme identifies the sectoral, cross-sectoral and economicsector/major group themes for the next four sessions of the Commission. DuringUNGASS, delegates agreed that overriding issues for each year would be poverty, andconsumption and production patterns. They also decided that the sectoral theme for the1998 session would be “strategic approaches to freshwater management.” Additionalthemes and sectors for 1998 are transfer of technology, capacity-building, education,science, awareness-raising and industry. The outstanding chapters of the SIDSProgramme of Action will also be reviewed. In 1999, the CSD will consider: oceans andseas; consumption and production patterns; and tourism. In 2000, it will consider:integrated planning and management of land resources; financial resources, trade andinvestment and economic growth and agriculture. There will also be a “Day ofIndigenous People.” Delegates at UNGASS decided that atmosphere, energy andtransport will be the sectoral themes in 2001, and added international cooperation for anenabling environment, information for decision-making and participation as other cross-sectoral themes. The 2002 session will consist of a comprehensive review.


Friday, 27 June, began amid considerable confusion as delegates, many bleary-eyed fromprevious all-night sessions, tried to find out where and when negotiations would resume.Rumors were afoot that delegates had abandoned discussions on the draft politicalstatement. By mid-morning, informal groups were busily trying to resolve outstandingissues related to climate change, desertification and forests. Groups were also discussingsectoral issues, such as a transport and the proposed aviation fuel tax, and a number ofcross-sectoral issues, such as consumption and production patterns and trade. The groupswere to report their results to Tolba by early afternoon and the COW would resume soonafter.

The closing meeting of the COW was called to order at 5:10 pm. It continued, albeit withextensive breaks, until 12:10 am. The COW Chair noted that Idunn Eidheim (Norway)would serve as rapporteur. She presented the proposed UNGASS outcome, as containedin A/S-19/AC.1/L.1 and Add. 1-32. The Addenda reflect changes made to A/S-19/14-E/1997/60 during UNGASS. All documents were adopted, with a few reservations andcomments.

Tolba noted that the Statement of Commitment, Add.1, replaced the political statement,for which a large body of outstanding paragraphs remained after extensive negotiations.He said there was no time to dwell on the remaining paragraphs, so the President ofUNGASS presented a shorter text informally to various regional representatives, who, ashe understood it, did not object.

Following adoption of the second paragraph regarding atmosphere, Japan said that, ashost country for the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the FCCC, he appreciated thecommitment of all to this issue. Saudi Arabia thanked Derek Osborn for successfullymeeting the concerns of all delegations. He noted that his country cares about the impactof climate change, but added that it could also be the victim of the response measures thatthe Annex I countries will have to take to reduce emissions. He noted his country’swillingness to cooperate but unwillingness to be the loser from such a process. The EUexpressed appreciation to Japan and thanked Saudi Arabia for its constructive attitude.Norway, Samoa, Russia, the US and Australia spoke in favor of the text and thankedJapan and Chair Osborn for their work on the issue. The COW concluded its work at12:20 am.


The General Assembly was convened at 12:30 am by UN General Assembly PresidentRazali Ismail for adoption of the final documents. COW Chair Mostafa Tolba reportedthat in the complex and detailed review of Agenda 21 just completed, countries had triedto hold themselves accountable. Ministers were actively involved in politically significantissues and the meeting resulted in the Programme for Action for Further Implementationof Agenda 21. He noted that quite a few points could not be agreed to until the twenty-fourth hour. He noted that developing countries were concerned with the downward trendof ODA and said there is now a strong signal to developed countries to commit to targets.He noted that text on energy should provide the basis for useful international cooperation.Participants have accomplished much in a relatively short time.

Delegations then gave explanations for their reservations. Turkey made a reservation onthe initiative on freshwater. He said the text refers to “customary uses of water” as if theterm had legal value in the context of water resource use. In international law, even an“acquired right” has not been accepted as criteria in evaluating and determining therelevant uses of water resources. A number of African countries, including Uganda,Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan and Kenya, also expressed reservations on thefreshwater initiative, noting that “customary use of water,” which is not in Agenda 21,could preempt the outcome of any programme to favor certain users and uses. They couldnot accept it as a basis for the future work of the CSD. Malta took a reservation on aparagraph referring to reproductive health.

The G-77/China said that progress has been made at the national level in implementationof Agenda 21, but the missing element remains the implementation of Rio commitmentson finance and technology transfer. He said the Group did not get the significantmovement it expected at UNGASS and asked “Where do we go from here?” Whileglobalization is global it is not universal in benefits. The world is crying for answers andthis session did not provide them.

The EU said its high ambitions were not fulfilled, noting that progress was not made ondesertification or finance. Other discussions, however, revealed progress, such as those onclimate change, forests, eco-efficiency, freshwater and poverty eradication. She thankedPresident Razali for making possible NGO participation in this process.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, noting the late hour, offered a brief statement. Hesaid UNGASS had been successful in some areas, but others, particularly finance andtechnology transfer, would require more time and political will. He expressed hope thatdelegates would move beyond fixed negotiating positions to achieve cooperative results.

General Assembly President Razali Ismail thanked delegates for their hard work andnoted that for the first time NGOs stood alongside governments in the General Assembly.While agreement was not reached on all items, the exchange had at least been honest anddelegates had not “glossed over” the issues for media consumption. The results are“telling” and the UN must learn to deal with hard-core economic issues if it is to besuccessful. He adjourned the Nineteenth Special Session of the General Assembly atapproximately 1:15 am.


Five years ago, thousands gathered in Rio de Janeiro to participate in the creation of anelaborate programming tool that could set the planet on a new course towards sustainabledevelopment. After two years of preparations and two weeks of non-stop negotiations atRio, the UN Conference on Environment and Development adopted Agenda 21, the RioDeclaration on Environment and Development and the Statement on Forest Principles.Two conventions were also opened for signature: the Framework Convention on ClimateChange (FCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity. All in all, the Earth Summitwas considered to be “a great success.” While not everyone was satisfied with the results,Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration have served as a blueprint — “the Bible” — forsustainable development for the last five years.

Since Rio, many of the individual players and the venues have changed, but the problemsremain the same. The major outstanding issues upon arrival in Rio were atmosphere,biotechnology, institutions, legal instruments, finance, technology transfer, freshwaterresources and forests. Other areas where agreement proved elusive until the sun rose onthe last day of the Summit were the need for a desertification convention, the question ofstraddling and highly migratory fish stocks, changing consumption and productionpatterns, and trade and environment, among others.

The issues that proved most difficult to resolve in 1992 are still problematic today.Questions related to the provision of financial resources and the transfer ofenvironmentally sound technologies to developing countries have haunted conferencesfrom Barbados to Cairo, from desertification negotiations in Paris to climate changenegotiations in Berlin and biodiversity negotiations in Buenos Aires. Forests have beenthe subject of four meetings of the CSD’s Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF), yetheading into UNGASS there was no agreement on how to proceed. Setting targets andtimetables for greenhouse gas emissions reductions proved impossible during thenegotiations that resulted in the FCCC and are the subject of current negotiationsexpected to culminate in Kyoto in December. Regulating biotechnology safety almostderailed the biodiversity negotiations in 1992 and is now the subject of negotiations underthe Biodiversity Convention. So is this “dj vu all over again,” or has the internationalcommunity actually made progress over the past five years?

In some areas, the international community has taken small steps forward. TheConvention to Combat Desertification has entered into force. There are now agreementson land-based sources of marine pollution and straddling and highly migratory fishstocks. Negotiations on a prior informed consent mechanism for hazardous chemicals areunderway, and negotiations on persistent organic pollutants convention will begin nextyear. Governments are now actually discussing indicators for sustainable development,reproductive health care and production and consumption patterns — topics that werepractically taboo five years ago. And the list goes on. However, there are a number ofissues where agreement continues to be elusive and the debates of today bear a strikingresemblance to the debates at Rio.

FINANCE: The issue of how to finance sustainable development certainly is asbig today as it was five years ago. Yet rather than trying to forge ahead, delegates appearto be falling back on Agenda 21 language. One observer pointed out that Agenda 21should be the basis for discussion rather than “the Bible,” and there should be a readinessto move on, especially since Agenda 21 was written in a different political and economicenvironment. For example, negotiators in New York did not address the big issue ofeconomic globalization, which is not part of Agenda 21. The private sector has becomethe major agent of change even as negotiators at UNGASS are still tied down indiscussions heavily focused on ODA. Many G-77 participants take the attitude that ODAtrends are a benchmark to measure the success or failure of the Special Session — andAgenda 21 implementation. For their part, the Northern delegations did not come toUNGASS prepared to acknowledge concerns relating to private capital flows, includinghow to harness their potential for good, institutional challenges, and the UN’s capacity tomonitor and assess the rapid changes occurring in countries with large private sector-ledgrowth. The result is a politically frozen debate while the real world changes daily.Realistically, Agenda 21’s approach to finance needs to be expanded to embraceglobalization and issues like the relationship between trade and environment, corporateresponsibility, monitoring corporate activities, and identifying issues that private sectorgrowth will never solve.

The question of innovative financial mechanisms for sustainable development alsoappears to be moving slowly. A large number of intergovernmental and non-governmental symposia, workshops and working groups on innovative mechanisms havebeen held over the past five years and numerous proposals have surfaced. One suchproposal that made headlines at UNGASS was the international tax on airline fuel. At thebeginning of the Special Session, some NGOs suggested that acceptance of the EUproposal for an international tax on airline fuel would be one of the most importantindicators of political will for innovative action on sustainable development. Oneestimate is that such an initiative could raise upwards of $2-3 billion. The EU rationalewas primarily to use the tax to help establish a link in the public mind between transportoptions and sustainable development, notably environmental protection. In the end,governments took a conservative approach and the EU had to settle for a text calling forthe continuation of studies in the appropriate fora, including the International CivilAviation Organization, on the use of economic instruments for the mitigation of thenegative environmental impact of aviation. A reference to aviation fuel tax was relegatedto a footnote. The EU, however, is studying the possibility of implementing such a taxwithin its own borders.

CLIMATE CHANGE: The desire to open the Climate Change Convention forsignature at the Earth Summit in Rio gave governments the political will to push thenegotiations to a bittersweet closure in 1992. Likewise, some governments and NGOshad hoped to use the “Earth Summit +5” to raise the political profile of the currentnegotiations to strengthen the Convention and push industrialized countries to commit tospecific targets and timetables for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. UNGASS wasnot mandated to determine the outcome of COP-3, but given the level of attention inhigh-level statements, the fervor of informal discussions and the unmoving positions,delegates appeared keenly aware that the world was watching, closely.

Observers offered a host of comments, ranging from dismay to complacency as noremarkable changes in position emerged. The EU and AOSIS sought specific referencesto their proposed reduction targets and timetables. The US emphasized emissionsbudgets, the participation of all countries and, with frequent support from Australia, theneed for flexibility in implementation. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela insisted ontaking into account the economic effect of response measures on developing countries.

Some FCCC denizens were surprised that Japan, not the most outspoken of delegations,appeared to be blocking consensus on a strong statement. Others argued that in realitythere was no consensus to block and Japan, ever conscious of its host status, seemeddetermined to ensure that UNGASS did not prejudice the outcome of COP-3 and invitedisaster in Kyoto come December.

FORESTS: The consensus reached to establish an intergovernmental forum onforests was described by some participants as the “only positive outcome” of UNGASS.That a concrete decision was taken on forests is the result of the fact that, unlike for otherissues such as climate change or desertification, the Special Session constituted the mainforum for multilateral decision making in this area.

Forests were the subject of some of the most acrimonious negotiations during theUNCED process. Heading into Rio, some felt that the Statement of Forest Principles wasin such a state of disarray with 73 separate pairs of brackets that no agreement would beadopted. After an all-night session in Rio, consensus was achieved, yet all partiesinvolved left the Earth Summit deeply dissatisfied. In spite of agreement on language, theNorth-South dialogue on forests had suffered a potentially irreparable blow.

The first few years of post-Rio forest discussions were highly fragmented, withgovernmental, international organization and NGO forest-related initiatives proliferatingwith little coordination. Establishment of the IPF under the CSD in 1995 served to bringorder to the chaos, institutionally as well as conceptually, by concentrating multilateraldiscussion of a range of forest issues within one forum.

With the conclusion of the IPF, which generated reams of background information andover 100 recommendations for action, the question dominating debate at UNGASS was:where to go from here? While the “convention question” remained as intractable as ever,the forest debate was conducted in a much less hostile environment here than was thecase at Rio.

There was, first and foremost, a shared sense of relief when a consensus decision to set upthe Forum was reached, although views on the substantive content of this decision, andits consequences for the sustainable management of forests, remained deeply divided.Some in support of initiating a negotiation process right away expressed almost bitterdisappointment that an opportunity to send a clear signal to the world, and to commit tolegally-binding actions on sustainable management and use of forests, had been missed.Those not ready to discuss legally-binding commitments emphasized that there was noconceptual clarity regarding what a convention might contain, and that even those insupport of a convention had different views on the subject. Instead, it was noted that theIPF had only begun to discuss extremely complex issues, and that the learning processneeded to continue. The outcome for sustainable forest management hangs in the balance,dependent upon whether the Forum indeed galvanizes implementation of IPFrecommendations, or proves to be another three-year talk-shop that rehashes debatesolder than Rio.

POLITICAL STATEMENT: In the preparatory process for Rio, the “EarthCharter” was supposed to be the main political statement to emerge from the EarthSummit. Negotiations on the Earth Charter fell apart at PrepCom IV when the Chair ofWorking Group III introduced a draft text too early in the process, before delegates hadsufficiently expressed their positions. In the end, PrepCom Chair Tommy Koh salvagedthe process with extensive consultations and, occasionally, less than diplomatic behavior.The result was the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

In the preparatory process for UNGASS, however, the political statement was not sofortunate. The statement, in effect, died at UNGASS when a number of Ministersrequested GA President Razali Ismail to halt the proceedings chaired by COW ChairMostafa Tolba. The dilemma created by the preparation of the political statement wascaptured by one participant close to the Secretariat when he observed that if the statementwas to be merely a summary of positions agreed to in the Programme for the FurtherImplementation of Agenda 21, it would be superfluous. If it was to be a summary of thetext that went beyond the language in the main Programme it was always going to bedifficult to bring everyone on board. Some agreed that there were other factors thatcontributed to the demise of the political statement, including the way in which Tolba andVice-Chair Monika Linn-Locher conducted initial consultations and responded to seriousquestions of procedure at the end of CSD-5.

Tolba’s role was identified as a contributing factor to the collapse of the negotiations onthe political statement — although ultimately the lack of agreement derailed the process.One participant said that many of Tolba’s actions were viewed with mistrust from theoutset, especially by some within the G-77. Questions of ownership and timing of thenegotiations on the political statement also influenced the collapse. Perhaps had Tolbaallowed time for delegates to formally state their initial positions on the politicalstatement at CSD-5, before he and Linn-Locher submitted the first draft, then delegateswould have felt a greater sense of ownership of the document. Even though Tolba heldconsultations on the political statement at CSD-5 and during the intersessional period,delegates did not have the opportunity to formally comment on anything until thenegotiations during the week prior to UNGASS. By then it was too late. In contrast,countries who share the French language successfully concluded their own ministerialdeclaration. Observers praised its focus, content and brevity. There are notable referencesto the need for conclusive role for women at all levels of decision-making and on theinnovative contribution of NGOs and local implementation sustainable development.

ROLE OF MAJOR GROUPS: From the institutional point of view, there is onearea where there has been great progress since Rio. During the UNCED preparatoryprocess and in Rio, NGOs had limited access to delegates and the negotiations. UNCEDPrepCom IV was characterized by the placement of UN security officers at everyconference room door with instructions to keep NGOs out of informal consultations.Through the work of the CSD and the other conferences held since 1992, NGOs havemade great strides in achieving access to and influence on the proceedings. UNGASSmarked a major milestone. For the first time NGOs and other Major Groups stood side byside with Heads of State and Government to deliver speeches to a Special Session of theGeneral Assembly and were also allowed into ministerial-level consultations.

The extraordinary skills and quaint humor of UNED-UK chief, Derek Osborn, a formercivil servant and current NGO representative, spoke volumes about the contribution ofNGOs. Delegates paid tribute to Mr. Osborn’s skillful handling of the negotiations onmany of the difficult issues in the working group on sectoral issues. The profile andenergy behind some of the most practical and salient proposals — on a finance panel andan international tax on air fuel — were also due to NGO activity.

The key role of NGOs was acknowledged in a meeting between NGOs and British PrimeMinister Tony Blair. Responding to the strength of his commitments on climate changeas outlined in a speech Monday, Blair responded, “that was the easy part. Now you guyswill have to get in behind us.” This need to bring NGOs on board to keep up the pressureand help mobilize the public in readiness for far-reaching policy on climate change wasalso echoed in US President Bill Clinton’s speech, with his announcement of a WhiteHouse Conference and stated belief that “we must first convince the American people andthe Congress that the climate change problem is real and immense.”

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? As the 19th Special Session came to aclose, many delegates and observers were asking each other if the meeting had been asuccess. Perhaps General Assembly President Razali Ismail captured the truth of thesecond “Earth Summit” in his closing speech to the Plenary. He turned the collapse ofdelegates’ efforts to prepare a media-friendly “Political Statement” for Heads of Stateinto the message itself: this was not a time to paper over the cracks in the celebrated“global partnership” for sustainable development and pretend that things are better thanthey are. This was a time for sober assessment, honest acknowledgement that “progress tooperationalize sustainable development remains insufficient,” and acknowledgement ofthe enormous difficulties of overcoming short-term and vested interests that would enableconcrete commitments to specific targets and global programmes. As Amb. Razalicommented, such an honest appraisal was a result in itself and was perhaps the keyoutcome of the Special Session: the “lofty expectations” launched in Rio collided withthe street-wise realpolitik of New York diplomacy at UN Headquarters.

Nevertheless, UNGASS did raise the political profile of sustainable development and thework of the Commission on Sustainable Development to levels not seen since 1993. Nowthe real challenge is for governments and NGOs alike to capitalize on this exposure andtry to advance new initiatives at the international, national and local levels. The one areawhere there was immediate consensus was that much more still needs to be done to makesustainable development the “business as usual.”


FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: The next sessionsof the subsidiary bodies are scheduled to take place in Bonn from 28 July to 7 August1997 at the Hotel Maritim. SBSTA, SBI and AG-13 will meet from 28-30 July and arelikely to meet once more during the following week. The AGBM will begin on Thursday,31 July. The subsidiary bodies are scheduled to meet again from 20-31 October 1997 inBonn at a conference facility to be determined. At present, all subsidiary bodies exceptfor AG-13 are scheduled to meet in October.

The third Conference of the Parties is scheduled for 1-12 December 1997 in Kyoto,Japan. COP-3 will immediately allocate the completion of decisions of the BerlinMandate process to a sessional Committee of the Whole, open to all delegations. Thepolitical negotiations will be finalized in a ministerial segment, which will be convenedfrom 8-10 December and where the final text of a protocol or other legal instrument willbe adopted. For all meetings related to the FCCC, contact the secretariat in Bonn,Germany; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: try the FCCC home page at and UNEP’s Information Unit forConventions at

CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: SBSTTA-3 will be held inMontreal from 1-5 September 1997. The third meeting of the Ad Hoc Group onBiosafety (BSWG-3) is scheduled for 13-17 October 1997 in Montreal. Other CBD-related meetings include a Latin American and Caribbean regional meeting on theClearinghouse Mechanism, tentatively scheduled for July in Colombia, and a workshopon the implementation of Article 8(j) (traditional knowledge), tentatively scheduled from10-14 November 1997 in a venue to be determined. COP-4 is scheduled for 4-15 May1998 in Bratislava, Slovakia. For more information contact the CBD Secretariat, WorldTrade Centre, 413 St. Jacques Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: Also try

CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION: The resumed session ofINCD-10 is scheduled from 18-22 August 1997 in Geneva. COP-1 is currently scheduledfor 29 September - 1 October 1997 in Rome. For more information, contact the CCDSecretariat, Geneva Executive Center, 11/13 Chemin des Anemones, CH-1219Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland; tel: +41- 22-979-9419; fax: +41-22-979-9030/31; e-mail: Also see the INCD World Wide Web site at

MONTREAL PROTOCOL: The preparatory meeting for the Ninth Meeting ofthe Parties to the Montreal Protocol is scheduled from 9-12 September 1997 in Montreal,to be followed by the Ninth Meeting of the Parties from 15-17 September. Forinformation contact the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol,P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya; tel: +254-2-62-1234/62-3851; fax: +254-2-52-1930; e-mail: Also try

ELEVENTH WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS: The Congress, with the theme“Forestry for Sustainable Development: Towards the 21st Century,” is scheduled for 13-22 October 1997 in Antalya, Turkey. The technical programme has been structured intoseven main programme areas, which follow the seven basic criteria of sustainable forestmanagement (SFM) under consideration by the various processes (Montreal, Helsinki,Tarapoto, etc.). For information contact: Mesut Y. Kamiloglu, Ministry of Forestry,Ataturk Bulvari 153, Ankara, Turkey, tel: + 90-312-4177724, fax: + 90-312- 4179160, e-mail: or Luis Santiago Botero, FAO, Forestry Department; tel: +396/5225 5088, fax: +39 6/5225 5137, e-mail: Also try

PRIOR INFORMED CONSENT: The fourth session of the INC for thepreparation of an international legally-binding instrument for the application of a priorinformed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals in international trade (INC-4) will be held in Brussels from 20-24 October 1997. A diplomatic conference with ashort preparatory INC session is envisaged for December 1997 in Rotterdam, theNetherlands. The UNEP Governing Council, at its last meeting, adopted a decisioncalling for completion of negotiations on a legally-binding agreement by the end of 1997.For more information contact: UNEP Chemicals (IRPTC); tel: +41-22-979-9111; fax:+41-22-797-3460; e-mail:

BASEL CONVENTION: The Fourth Session of the Conference of the Parties tothe Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes is expected to be held in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia from 6 - 10 October 1997. For information contact I. Rummel-Bulska, BaselSecretariat; tel: +41-22-979-9213; fax: +41-22-797-3454, e-mail: Also tryUNEP’s Information Unit for Conventions at

UN CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA: The International SeabedAuthority (ISBA) will hold its resumed third session from 18-29 August 1997 inKingston, Jamaica. The resumed first session of the Commission on the Limits of theContinental Shelf will be held from 2-12 September 1997. The Eighth Meeting of Statesparties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will be heldfrom 18-22 May 1998. For information contact or try

INDEPENDENT WORLD COMMISSION ON THE OCEANS: TheIndependent Commission on Oceans will hold its fifth session in Cape Town, SouthAfrica from 11-14 November 1997 and its sixth session in Lisbon, Portugal in July 1998,in conjunction with EXPO’98. “The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future.” TheCommission seeks to draw attention to the issues of ocean development and encouragethe further development of the ocean regime evolving from UNCLOS. For informationcontact the Secretariat in Geneva; tel: + 41-22-710-0711; fax: +41-22-710-0722;

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