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Summary report, 19–30 April 1999


The seventh session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-7) met at UN Headquarters in New York from 19- 30 April 1999. Participants considered the economic theme of tourism, the sectoral theme of oceans and seas and the cross- sectoral theme of consumption and production patterns. They also prepared for the UN General Assembly's Special Session to review the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Deliberations began with a four-session "Tourism Segment," during which representatives from local authorities, trade unions, industry and NGOs engaged in dialogue with government representatives on industry initiatives, consumer behavior, sustainable development and coastal impacts related to tourism. Participants then moved into a two-and-a-half day High-Level Segment, during which 89 ministers and high-level government officials offered statements and engaged in a dialogue led by CSD-7 Chair Simon Upton (New Zealand). Delegates deliberated on 13 draft decisions during the second week of the session, adopting 12 of them on 30 April. A motion of no action was carried on a draft resolution introduced by the Russian Federation on the crisis in the Balkans.

Delegates highlighted several aspects of their decision on oceans and seas as positive outcomes of their deliberations, particularly their decision recommending that the General Assembly establish an open-ended informal consultative process as a means to broaden and deepen its consideration of oceans and seas issues. Other decisions addressed reversing the downward trend in ODA, preparation for CSD-9’s work on energy, and integrating consumption and production policies into the CSD’s programme of work more effectively. On tourism, delegates identified the decisions on economic measures, sex tourism and the role of the tourism and travel industry as very useful for developed and developing countries.


The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was envisioned in Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted by the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Agenda 21 called for the creation of the CSD to: ensure effective follow-up of UNCED; enhance international cooperation and rationalize intergovernmental decision-making capacity; and examine progress in Agenda 21 implementation at the local, national, regional and international levels. The Commission, which was formally established in 1992 by UN General Assembly Resolution 47/191, held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has met annually since then. During its first five years, the CSD reviewed progress on each chapter in Agenda 21.

In June 1997, five years after UNCED, the General Assembly (GA) held a Special Session (UNGASS) to review implementation of Agenda 21. Negotiations produced a Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. Among the decisions adopted at UNGASS was the CSD work programme, which identifies sectoral, cross-sectoral and economic sector/major group themes for the subsequent four sessions of the Commission. Overriding issues for CSD-6 through CSD-10 are poverty together with changing consumption and production patterns.

The sixth session of the CSD met from 20 April to 1 May 1998. Participants considered the economic theme of industry and the sectoral theme of strategic approaches to freshwater management. They also began to review implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS and discussed the cross-sectoral themes of technology transfer, capacity-building, education, science and awareness raising.


CSD-7 Chair Simon Upton (New Zealand) gaveled the Plenary open at 10:00 am on Monday, 19 April. He noted that his fellow ministers indicate that the CSD risks losing their interest if it does not produce something substantive. He said the CSD's job is not to negotiate but to illuminate and called for delegates to develop practical, achievable and modest outcomes. Upton also noted that he was the first CSD Chair to benefit from the decision to elect the Bureau immediately following the previous session in 1998. He noted that the Bureau members elected at the conclusion of CSD-6, including himself, were Tibor Farago (Hungary) and George Talbot (Guyana). Additional Bureau members elected on 27 July 1998 were Largaton Ouattara (Cte d'Ivoire) and Navid Hanif (Pakistan). Sandor Mozes (Hungary) had since replaced Farago. Ouattara served as Rapporteur.

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the importance of the issues on the CSD’s agenda. The Commission would take the first look at tourism from a sustainability perspective and he highlighted the need for an appropriate framework in this context. He also noted the expectation that the session would contribute to more sustainable use of oceans and stressed the importance of CSD preparations for the Special Session on SIDS.

With these opening remarks, reports on intersessional meetings, adoption of the agenda (E/CN.17/1999/1) and an invitation to three additional intergovernmental organizations to attend CSD-7 with observer status (E/CN.17/1999/L.2), the meeting got down to business. Delegates spent much of the first week in dialogue sessions on tourism with major groups and on all CSD-7 agenda items with ministers and high-level government officials. The second week focused on negotiating the session's decisions. The following report summarizes the discussions during the first week in the Tourism and High-Level Segments and then identifies specific debates that shaped the CSD's decisions, as well as elements contained in the decisions themselves.


The multi-stakeholder dialogue on tourism commenced on Monday afternoon, 19 April. Representatives from industry, NGOs, trade unions, local authorities and governments offered opening statements on each of four dialogue themes, following which Upton led participants in a dialogue. The four half-day themes were: industry initiatives for sustainable development; changing consumer behavior; promoting broad-based sustainable development through tourism while safeguarding the integrity of local cultures and protecting the environment; and the coastal impact of tourism. During the dialogue sessions, Chair Upton called for focused interventions with emphasis on major group initiatives and involvement. He underscored baseline information against which progress can be measured and noted its importance in assessing carrying capacity, especially for countries like SIDS. He underscored that information for benchmarking and indicators had to be generated by all stakeholders.

Industry emphasized that with proper policy, management and operational frameworks, the travel and tourism industry can be the positive change agent for sustainable development. Trade unions highlighted the possibilities of “Workers-Tourist Interface” through which workers in the tourist industry can help shape visitors’ perceptions and practice more sustainable tourism themselves. Local authorities noted the role they can play as facilitators between different interests, stressed that environmental impacts must be assessed prior to decisions for all major activities, and emphasized the need for tourism plans to be integrated into local and regional development planning. NGOs stressed that sustainable tourism must support development at the local level. The US recommended surveying the implementation and effectiveness of existing guidelines on sustainable tourism and said the CSD should decide in 2002 whether international guidelines are needed.

On baseline setting, benchmarking and carrying capacity, NGOs stressed that industry must employ these measures and put them into comprehensive programmes that ensure transparency. The US underscored that sectoral benchmarks should be created by governments. SAMOA indicated that setting international standards modifies behavior and said the issue would be best discussed at the regional or sub-regional levels. Local authorities highlighted problems related to growth-based tourism economies and recommended shifting to steady-state models where the number of hotels and tourists are limited. Industry noted that locations differ in their requirements, and proposed processes to determine carrying-capacity driven by local-level actors.

On regulatory reform and voluntary initiatives, trade unions called for further action. Local authorities highlighted the need to balance voluntary and regulatory control at the local level. NGOs emphasized that voluntary initiatives and regulations should be country-specific and highlighted the need to draw lessons from the negative effects of the globalization of tourism. Trade unions suggested forging connections between the OECD’s review of regulatory reform and the multi-stakeholder review of voluntary agreements.

On promoting broad-based sustainable development through tourism while safeguarding the integrity of local cultures and protecting the environment, industry highlighted tourism as the industry best able to increase employment and income in many regions and said tourism must take into account environmental and socio-cultural considerations to be sustainable. Trade unions stressed the importance of involving all stakeholders, particularly workers, in promoting sustainable tourism and noted that control of tourism is limited because decisions are often made by elites in distant areas. UGANDA highlighted the over- reliance on market mechanisms to guide tourism development and consumption decisions as a major barrier to sustainable development. NGOs recommended establishing three multi- stakeholder working groups to assess financial leakages in tourism, to develop a plan to ensure indigenous peoples’ land, water and resource rights, and to design a plan for international trade and investment frameworks that would enable new economic opportunities for local communities. GREECE noted that the main goal of tourism policy should be to preserve natural resources in order to achieve sustainable tourism development. Trade unions stressed the need to leave revenue in the community to pay for damage caused by tourism.

On cultural tourism, NGOs underscored the uniqueness of indigenous peoples' spirituality and noted that tourism practices often disregard religious beliefs and values. Industry indicated that benchmarks for hotels are being developed, including regard for cultural heritage. BOLIVIA noted an increase in trade of cultural goods in some developing countries and stressed the need for control methods. Local authorities highlighted their role in preserving local culture and suggested that the industry focus on the local workforce before bringing workers from outside. Trade unions noted the importance of cultural heritage that tourists enjoy and proposed developing a “music network” to encourage awareness of Agenda 21.

On the coastal impact of tourism, industry proposed that the CSD sponsor and seek funding by international agencies and governments to integrate Agenda 21 for Travel and Tourism with Local Agenda 21s. Trade unions called for comprehensive impact studies to be prepared for coastal development projects and application of the preventive and precautionary principles in planning and management. Local authorities pointed to negative impacts of waterfront vacationing, such as inadequate wastewater treatment, over-fishing and depriving access by local communities to traditional fishing grounds and recreational areas. NGOs said tourism must be carefully planned according to compatible land uses and water and coastal zone management. AUSTRALIA stressed the need to devote attention to strategic planning and zoning. Trade unions highlighted negative consequences from failing to apply integrated coastal zone management and planning. NGOs called for further support from multi-stakeholder projects that use integrated tools to support integrated coastal management.

On infrastructure and subsidies, local authorities said tourism developers should bear the full cost of necessary infrastructure and pay for maintenance of tourist sites. Industry noted that some countries and institutions offer incentives to cover these expenses. Local authorities said they, not industry, should decide what share of expenses industry will assume.

In summary, all major groups supported pilot projects on sustainable tourism in coastal areas. Industry said tourism is crucial for coastal development and should be accorded a high profile in the context of integrated coastal zone management. Trade unions said voluntary initiatives should be supplemental to regulatory frameworks and local authorities noted the usefulness of setting environmentally or culturally sensitive sites aside from tourism development. Participants underscored the impacts of cruise ships on coastal areas and discussed their use of flags of convenience, surmising that such flags should not be used to avoid international regulations on marine pollution and that the CSD should advise relevant international organizations to investigate enforcement of these regulations and address loopholes.

Upon conclusion of the dialogue, Upton produced a summary highlighting main aspects including industry initiatives, voluntary initiatives, working partnerships for the pursuit of sustainable development, undertaking capacity building with local communities, biophysical limits to development taking into account the importance of cultural integrity, interagency coordination, a multi-stakeholder working group on tourism, and developing a Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

The Chair also produced a summary of the dialogue, which was included in the CSD-7 report (E/CN.17/1999/L.4/Add.2).


The CSD High-Level Segment took place from Wednesday afternoon, 21 April, to Friday afternoon, 23 April. Eighty-nine ministers and heads of delegation made statements during the two-and-a-half day Segment. Over half of the statements were delivered by ministers. Delegates also engaged in interactive dialogues. Upton attempted to direct the dialogues towards action proposals that the ministers could instruct delegates to consider during the subsequent week's negotiations on CSD decisions. The following summary of the High-Level Segment highlights the issues raised in various government statements and the focus points that Chair Upton distilled from discussions for his summary of the segment.

TOURISM AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Delegates discussed tourism and sustainable development on Wednesday afternoon, 21 April. Many speakers proposed various approaches and actions to achieve sustainable tourism. SLOVENIA suggested that, when setting frameworks for tourism development, carrying capacity be defined, instruments of spatial and land-use planning be applied, and environmental impact assessments be conducted. GREECE urged international policy coordination. INDONESIA highlighted the need for environments conducive to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Industry said Agenda 21 for Travel and Tourism provides a framework for action. Local authorities suggested that local governments, working with all stakeholders, should identify the carrying capacity for their communities. Several speakers stressed the benefits of developing indicators, adopting core labor standards and eliminating sex tourism. CHINA advised against attempting to develop global criteria and indicators. GUYANA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, noted that some members would have problems with references to child labor and core labor standards.

Recommendations related to the tourism industry included the EU's support for a comprehensive survey and assessment of existing voluntary initiatives related to sustainable tourism and call on the tourism industry to work towards a global code of conduct for sustainable tourism. ZIMBABWE and INDONESIA stressed that local communities should benefit from tourism development. Education and community awareness efforts were also proposed. MOLDOVA emphasized environmental awareness and education in promoting sustainable tourism. SPAIN highlighted the importance of citizen awareness and international cooperation. Trade unions recommended educating workers on how to organize their holidays.

Focus points in the Chair's summary of the High-Level Segment highlight the need for a focused work programme identifying what actions are required, by whom and when. The text also notes the need to reflect industry and local authorities' role in achieving sustainable development in the tourism sector, and the need for capacity building, including industry-led initiatives. It notes the importance of tourism management and planning activities, such as promotion of best practices, development of an interagency study on carrying capacity, and efforts to minimize packaging waste associated with tourism. It also notes the need to address coastal issues effectively, to include relevant direction on research activities, and to provide direction for stronger action on the exploitation of women and children, especially through sex tourism.

OCEANS AND SEAS: The High-Level Segment discussed oceans and seas during morning and afternoon meetings on Thursday, 22 April. Several speakers stressed the importance of accelerating the implementation of the Global Programme of Action on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA). CHINA noted that a lack of financial resources and management expertise constrains developing countries' capacity to implement the GPA and NIGERIA called for multilateral agencies, including the GEF, to prioritize GPA activity. Three key problems identified by speakers were by-catch and destructive fishing practices, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and subsidies. The EU emphasized measures to enforce sustainable limits on exploitation and develop international instruments such as plans for by-catch reduction. NIGERIA and FRANCE called on the CSD and other UN bodies to prioritize IUU fishing, especially by vessels flying flags of convenience. INDONESIA and MADAGASCAR noted that small- scale fishermen's subsistence is often affected by industrialized fishing fleets and by IUU fishing. JAPAN said that, in certain cases, subsidies help realize socio-economic policy goals and contribute to the reduction of excessive fishing capacity. NORWAY, DENMARK and others stressed the need to address the impacts of chemicals on oceans. The NETHERLANDS called for a convention on international environmental crime, with compliance instruments.

Many speakers proposed means through which the General Assembly's annual discussion of oceans and seas could be broadened and deepened. The EU underscored the need for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach and to make use of existing arrangements and mechanisms. CANADA proposed holding senior-level meetings under the GA to identify gaps and establishing a panel of experts on oceans and fisheries. FRANCE, AUSTRALIA, the SOUTH PACIFIC GROUP, MEXICO and others called for an open-ended working group to meet annually and make recommendations to the General Assembly. BRAZIL said the gaps and overlaps should be identified and then the GA should decide how to proceed. Speakers also highlighted regional cooperation efforts. NORWAY, MADAGASCAR, ALGERIA and others called for revitalizing and strengthening UNEP's Regional Seas Programme. SOUTH AFRICA stressed the need to move from client-donor relationships to identifying partnerships and noted African efforts in this regard.

The Chair's summary of the discussion highlights calls for early ratification and entry into force of existing agreements and implementation of existing agreements and instruments. It notes the potential for regional efforts, including partnership conferences at the regional level and regional fishing organizations. The problems associated with IUU fishing, by- catch and persistent organic pollutants are noted and action to address them is suggested. Additional focus points identify the need for means by which the CSD can review implementation of its recommendations and to identify present gaps and areas where coordination and cooperation should be enhanced.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION ON SIDS: The High-Level Segment served as a preparatory committee for the Special Session on SIDS during its meeting on Friday morning, 23 April. The Special Session, which is scheduled to take place on 27-28 September 1999, will review implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (POA) 1994. SAMOA, on behalf of Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), highlighted SIDS' sense of ownership and responsibility for implementing the Barbados POA and, with many other speakers, underscored the need for renewed partnership and international support. BARBADOS, on behalf of CARICOM, highlighted declining ODA as a serious constraint on implementation. Several speakers highlighted the challenges presented by globalization and trade liberalization. FIJI, MAURITIUS, NEW ZEALAND, ST. LUCIA and others said SIDS' special circumstances should be taken into account in the international trading system. MAURITIUS and others stressed the importance of a vulnerability index. NEW ZEALAND called on the UN to recognize vulnerability as a least developed country criterion to enable SIDS to benefit from concessional funding. Additional comments included the US statement that the development and sustainable financing of renewable energy is a key issue for SIDS. SAUDI ARABIA objected to text calling for efforts related to energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency. Regarding proposed text on SIDS' right to prohibit transboundary movement of hazardous wastes within their jurisdiction, the US, EU and CHINA preferred to continue discussing related text in the document for the Special Session.

The Chair's summary highlights the importance of the continuing validity of the Barbados POA as a blueprint for the sustainable development of SIDS. It notes the vulnerability of SIDS and concern over declining ODA levels. It highlights the importance of taking the special circumstances of SIDS into account at upcoming WTO negotiations and that donor coordination and partnerships be strengthened. It also stresses the opportunity provided by the Special Session for all countries to reaffirm their commitments made at the Barbados Conference.

CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: Delegates discussed consumption and production patterns during the final meeting of the High- Level Segment on Friday afternoon, 23 April. BRAZIL emphasized that the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should guide changing consumption and production patterns. FINLAND, on behalf of the EU, noted industrialized countries' responsibility for the increase in consumption worldwide and stressed the need to establish sustainable consumption patterns in all countries while increasing the welfare of the poor. Among the policies and projects delegates proposed to address this issue were cleaner production strategies, eco-efficiency, transfer of environmentally sound technologies and consumer education. SWITZERLAND, the EU and POLAND noted the usefulness of voluntary eco-labeling. BELARUS objected to the use of ecological standards to protect trade. Regarding the proposed expansion of the Consumer Protection Guidelines, NGOs expressed regret that some earlier proposals were not in the draft under CSD-7 consideration, but they encouraged delegates to accept the proposals. An industry representative said industry does not believe sustainable consumption and production should be included in the Guidelines. Additional comments included PAKISTAN's suggestion that guidelines be developed for the media and advertising industry.

The Chair's summary notes the need to focus future work through the development of strategies to achieve: integrated resource management, cleaner production and eco-efficiency; better understanding of globalization and its impact on consumption and production patterns; and progress in addressing problems related to urbanization. The Chair's focus points also note the need to promote investment in capacity building, technology development and transfer, and to achieve greater efficiency in production, recognizing the roles of governments, international organizations, industry and other stakeholders. The final focus point calls for increased and improved international cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries, with requisite financial support.


On Monday, 26 April, CSD-7 delegates heard presentations on cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, national fishing policy in Iceland, tourism in Kenya, control of the Panama Canal, and ocean and coastal management in Mexico.

Poland and several other Baltic States discussed their efforts to cooperate on Baltic Sea marine issues. Key elements of a 1992 Convention include the prevention of pollution based on the polluter pays and precautionary principles. Speakers highlighted: the use of spatial planning to conserve and protect natural and cultural heritage through harmonious settlement of differences arising from conflicting land use patterns; “Strings,” the mobility and infrastructure network between the cities of the region; and Baltic 21, which is the Agenda 21 for the region.

A panel from Iceland described that country's science and knowledge-based approach to the sustainable management of living marine resources. Iceland has developed a stringent management regime, including the allocation of fishing rights, surveillance and enforcement. The panel said the UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks requires coordination and cooperation to help protect stocks beyond Iceland's exclusive economic zone.

Representatives from Kenya discussed their efforts related to tourism and sustainable development. The government is focusing on making a transition to low volume, high yield tourism in the coming decade. Government initiatives include: improving the quality of life of the people of Kenya; ensuring equitable distribution of benefits derived from tourism to the local communities; inculcating respect for local customs, religion and culture; and initiating active partnership with all stakeholders in the tourism sector.

A representative of Panama spoke about the management of the Panama Canal, which returns to Panamanian control at the end of the year. Several developments are aimed at guaranteeing an orderly transition including laws for the new entity governing and managing the canal and its marine life. Panama will increase its participation in managing the aquatic life.

A representative of Mexico addressed the national institutional and legal framework for sustainability in the oceans. Related measures include: the creation of a Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries; coastal and marine integrated management; sustainable use and living marine resources conservation; and international and regional cooperation strengthening. He called for improved international coordination in a regional context and between financial organizations and intergovernmental organizations.


CSD-7 delegates spent the second week of the session in three drafting groups and numerous informal meetings negotiating 13 decisions. Drafting Group I, chaired by Navid Hanif (Pakistan), considered tourism and consumption and production patterns. Drafting Group II, chaired by Sandor Mozes (Hungary), broke into two sub-groups. One considered oceans and seas and was chaired by Alan Simcock (UK). The other considered preparations for the Special Session on SIDS and was chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda). Drafting Group III, chaired by George Talbot (Guyana), considered preparations for CSD-9 on the issue of energy and other matters. Delegates' deliberations were based on the possible elements that the Intersessional Working Groups identified for draft CSD outcomes. Delegates were also encouraged to refer to the focal points that Chair Upton highlighted from the High-Level segment and his summary of the Tourism Segment. The following section summarizes the issues discussed and decisions taken by CSD-7.


The CSD developed a work programme on sustainable tourism development that will begin to be implemented, with appropriate means and resources, especially for developing countries. The decision specifies that the work programme should be reviewed in 2002. Delegates' deliberations were based on the draft elements for a CSD decision on tourism, as contained in E/CN.17/1999/17. The Secretary-General's report on tourism and sustainable development (E/CN.17/1999/5 and Add.1) provided further background.

Negotiations were conducted in informal and informal-informal sessions. On sex tourism the developed countries proposed text that many developing countries found unacceptable because it sensationalized the issue and would bring negative publicity to some countries. New Zealand facilitated the consultations to arrive at a draft that was acceptable to both groups by de- linking sex-tourism from other tourism issues. On standards relevant to the travel and tourism industry there were differing views within developed countries on the nature and scope of the guidelines and the timing of their implementation. A number of groups arrived at a consensus that it would be premature for a global code of ethics and agreed on text to enforce, as appropriate, standards relevant to the tourism industry. On the role of international organizations, delegates differed in their proposals on the role of the ILO and WHO in setting labor and health standards. The issue was resolved through identifying the latter’s role as positive and necessary to areas of labor and health. Delegates did not achieve a consensus definition on the concepts of sustainable tourism and ecotourism and called for further clarification of the concepts. Developed countries proposed tax instruments and various economic measures, while developing countries preferred a “mix” of instruments, as appropriate.

The CSD-7 decision on tourism and sustainable development (E/CN.17/1999/L.6) urges governments: to consult and work in partnership with all major groups, local and indigenous communities to facilitate their active participation at all levels of the tourism development process; to promote a favorable framework for small and medium-sized enterprises in recognition of the employment potential of sustainable tourism; and to maximize the potential of tourism for eradicating poverty.

The Commission urges the tourism industry to: develop environmentally, socially and culturally compatible forms of tourism; continue development and implementation of voluntary initiatives; take effective steps to reduce the volume of waste associated with travel and tourism activities; provide information to tourists on ecological and cultural values in destination regions; and distance itself publicly from illegal, abusive or exploitative forms of tourism.

The UN system and its agencies, major groups and governments are called upon: to promote sustainable tourism development in order to increase the benefits from the tourism resources for the population in the host communities and maintain the cultural and environmental integrity of the host community, and to recognize the potential for integration of Local Agenda 21s with Agenda 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry.

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is invited to consider international guidelines for activities related to sustainable tourism development in vulnerable terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems and habitats of major importance for biological diversity, protected areas and mountain systems.


This decision calls on all countries to pursue the principle of changing consumption and production patterns, with developed countries taking the lead. It recognizes that approaches suited to country-specific conditions can lead to reduced costs and improved competitiveness as well as reduced environmental impacts. Negotiations were based on the outcome from the Intersessional Working Group (ISWG) (E/CN.17/1999/16) and the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1999/2 and L.1).

Early in the negotiations the G-77/CHINA and a number of developed countries, including Switzerland and Norway, clashed over the introduction of text on the pursuit of sustainable consumption and production “by all countries” and the EU’s attempt to draw attention to the unsustainable patterns of consumption of “richer segments” in all countries. The G- 77/CHINA signaled a strong preference for framing the debate within the terms of Agenda 21 and the UNGASS outcome. BRAZIL told delegations that the Commission did not have a mandate to amend Agenda 21. NORWAY insisted that delegates were not at the Commission to apportion blame or shuffle around old text. He pointed out that there were benefits for the poor in striving for more efficient consumption, whatever the country. The G- 77/CHINA introduced language on lessening the burden of external debt. The EU echoed the poverty linkage and sought to achieve greater understanding for its intentions, introducing language that noted that poverty eradication is a priority for developing countries. Taking up the EU Ministerial statement during the first week, the EU negotiators also inserted a call for a reversal in downward ODA trends and the fulfillment of commitments undertaken by developed countries to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA. In an attempt to concretize the debate, CANADA linked the programme to specific themes in the CSD’s upcoming work programme.

The introduction to the decision calls on governments to strengthen cooperation and reaffirms a role for IOs, the private sector and major groups. Special attention is to be given to unsustainable consumption among richer segments in all countries, in particular developed countries. It is recognized that developing country priorities focus on poverty eradication. Developed countries are urged to meet commitments to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA, which would require a reversal in the downward trend in ODA. Future work priorities include integration of poverty eradication and consumption and production into the CSD work programme. Attention is to be given to these issues in other intergovernmental bodies and at Rio+10. Implementation of the programme adopted at CSD-3 is to incorporate effective policy development and implementation, natural resource management and cleaner production, globalization, and urbanization.

Effective policy development and implementation by governments, in cooperation with IOs and major groups is to include work on: a policy mix to promote eco-efficient consumption and production; internalizing environmental costs and benefits in pricing; increased understanding of advertising, the media and marketing; public awareness and teaching curricula; improved information on environmental impacts; indicators; disguised barriers to trade; ongoing deliberations in relevant international fora; and transfer of know-how and ESTs.

The section on natural resource management and cleaner production addresses public and private investment, best practices, demand- and supply-side management, cleaner production and eco-efficiency policy approaches, support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and recognition of the potential for reduced costs and improved competitiveness for business and industry. The section on globalization calls for studies on: trade and investment; the media and advertising; the role of the financial sector; and traditional values. On urbanization, the decision addresses fresh water and sanitation in developing countries, calls for in-depth studies on the key determinants of quality of life and urges cooperation on waste programmes.

EXPANSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GUIDELINES ON CONSUMER PROTECTION TO INCLUDE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION: Following a recommendation at CSD-3, the Economic and Social Council (resolution 1997/53) requested the CSD to provide recommendations on the expansion of the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection to include sustainable consumption. Taking note of the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1998/5) and the recommendations of the Interregional Expert Group Meeting on Consumer Protection and Sustainable Consumption in So Paulo, the CSD-7 Bureau organized open-ended consultations among member States. In a resolution adopted at the closing Plenary (E/CN.17/1999/L.1), CSD-7 recommended adoption of the expanded guidelines to ECOSOC.


The decision on oceans and seas highlights major challenges and areas of particular concern, including marine resources, land-based activities and international coordination and cooperation. The Secretary-General's report on oceans and seas (E/CN.17/1999/4 and Add.1) and the Intersessional Working Group’s draft elements for a CSD outcome (E/CN.17/1999/17) served as background to the deliberations on this issue.

Discussions on the general considerations under which the decision would be implemented included G-77/CHINA proposals to insert references to eradication of poverty, food security, economic prosperity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The US proposed referencing the precautionary approach, the polluter-pays principle and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as well as an eco-systems approach and action based on the best scientific knowledge.

Regarding areas of particular concern, the US and AUSTRALIA highlighted sustainable aquaculture in relation to marine resources. Delegates also deliberated whether to welcome the FAO Committee on Fisheries’ plans of action for reducing the incidental catch of seabirds, conservation and management of sharks, and management of fishing capacity, and whether to highlight particular elements within these plans of action. One such element was subsidies, on which the US, AUSTRALIA and ICELAND supported additional text, but the G-77/CHINA objected. Several proposals for actions by regional fisheries organizations were also discussed, including their role in improving the application of principles contained in relevant agreements and collaboration with regional seas arrangements. NORWAY, CANADA, AUSTRALIA and the EU said such collaboration should be in the context of an "ecosystems approach," but CHINA objected to this methodology.

On other marine activities, some delegations proposed options to deal with IUU fishing, including actions regarding the use of "flags of convenience." NGOs, supported by RUSSIA, presented one such proposal inviting the IMO to develop a legal mechanism to ensure that all Flag States ensure that vessels flying their flags meet international standards. The G-77/CHINA added text reiterating a State's right to prohibit the transboundary movement of hazardous waste within its jurisdiction. The US offered a reformulation calling for the safe and secure transfer of wastes, implementation of the Basel Convention, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, and considering making the Irradiated Fuels Code a mandatory instrument.

On international coordination and cooperation, many delegates noted the High-Level Segment's expression of interest in "broadening and deepening" the General Assembly's consideration of oceans and seas issues. The RIO GROUP and SOUTH PACIFIC GROUP conducted informal consultations on how to achieve this objective, and presented delegates with a proposal that the CSD recommend that the GA establish an open-ended informal consultative process. Many delegates expressed concern with the budgetary implications of such action. CANADA and the EU stressed the importance of major group participation in such a process. EGYPT and CHINA stressed the need for consistency in NGO access to the GA.

The CSD-7 decision on oceans and seas notes that they constitute the major part of the planet that supports life and provide vital resources to ensure economic prosperity and food security and eradicate poverty. The text further notes as general considerations that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and the Programme of Action for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 set out the framework, programme of action and needs for action with respect to oceans and seas, and action should be taken on the basis of the principles set out in the Rio Declaration. Through the decision the Commission recommends giving priority to the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources, the prevention of pollution from land-based activities, better scientific understanding of oceans and seas and their resources, and encouraging the effective and coordinated implementation of the provisions of UNCLOS and Agenda 21.

Regarding marine resources, the Commission notes that, when managed sustainably, fisheries and aquaculture can contribute to global food security and income generation. States are encouraged to consider becoming Parties to international agreements regarding conservation and management measures of fishing vessels, straddling fish stocks and responsible fisheries, among others. The Commission urges early formal adoption of the International Plans of Action that the FAO Committee on Fisheries recently approved. It supports the declaration of the FAO fisheries ministerial conference that FAO will prioritize development of a global plan to deal effectively with IUU fishing. The Commission calls on regional fisheries organizations and regional seas organizations to cooperate in integrating sustainable fisheries management and environmental conservation measures and notes the importance of ecosystems and the need for further study of approaches in this context.

On land-based activities, the Commission expresses grave concern at the slow rate of implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA). It also notes that partnership meetings contribute to building capacities and mobilizing resources and welcomes activities on persistent organic pollutants (POPs). On marine science, the Commission welcomes the intention of the IMO, working in partnership with other sponsoring organizations, to improve the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), invites regional fisheries organizations to cooperate with each other and consider strengthening catch surveillance, and requests the Secretary-General to gather information on all aspects of the El Nio Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The Commission also decided to consider the impacts of ENSO at CSD-8 as part of its examination of the integrated planning and management of land resources.

On other marine activities, the Commission invited the IMO to develop measures, in a binding form where the members of the IMO consider it appropriate, to ensure that ships of all flag States meet international rules and standards. States that have not yet done so are encouraged to become Parties to the Basel Convention. Additional text recommends the development of controls on anti-fouling paints within the framework of the IMO, welcomes the International Seabed Authority's activities on a draft mining code, including marine environmental protection, and calls on the IMO to look into the issue of the scrapping of ships.

On international coordination and cooperation, the Commission notes that a more integrated approach is required for all aspects of oceans and seas and invites the Secretary-General to take measures to ensure collaboration between relevant parts of the UN Secretariat, to improve the effectiveness of the work of the ACC Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas, and to suggest initiatives that could improve coordination. The Commission further recommends that the General Assembly establish an open- ended informal consultative process to facilitate the effective consideration of matters within the GA's existing mandate. The Commission suggests that participation in this exercise by member States and observers be broad and universal, that it be carried out within the annual budgetary resources of the Secretariat, that panels be organized to ensure appropriate input from major groups, and that the effectiveness of the process be reviewed four years after its establishment. The decision also notes that delegates did not reach consensus on three issues: subsidies, schemes for improving information available to consumers of fish, and the prohibition of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes.


CSD-7 convened on 23 and 30 April as a preparatory body for the 27-28 September 1999 UN General Assembly Special Session to review implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (POA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). CSD-7 delegates also met in numerous informal consultations to prepare the draft document for that meeting. The CSD worked on the basis of an Intersessional Working Group draft document on the “State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA." The Secretary-General's reports on Progress in the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (E/CN.17/1999/17) and the report of the meeting of representatives of donors and SIDS in February (E/CN.17/1999/18) also served as background documents.

As summarized above, on 23 April, the High-Level Segment discussed the POA’s implementation, difficulties met, lessons learned and suggested elements for the Special Session's outcome. CSD-7 delegates again convened Friday morning, 30 April, as a preparatory body for the Special Session. Chair Upton introduced the draft provisional agenda and organizational matters for the Special Session (E/CN.17/1999/PC/CRP.1). The MARSHALL ISLANDS proposed adding text to allow Tokelau and Wallis and Futuna to participate in the Special Session and delegates agreed. SAMOA proposed that the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) also be allowed to participate. Delegates added text noting that the President of the Special Session may invite intergovernmental organizations who have a clear and relevant interest in SIDS to make statements. The EU added text noting that, within available time, NGOs designated by their constituencies may make statements and those who cannot be accommodated may make statements in the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole.

The US opposed text recommending that the GA call for a two- day resumed session of the CSD as a preparatory body for the Special Session to review the POA, in September 1999. AOSIS and the G-77/CHINA, supported by SUDAN, ST. LUCIA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA and MAURITIUS, inquired about the standing of the draft compilation text if it were not to be considered by the CSD as a preparatory body before the Special Session and expressed their strong preference to hold a resumed CSD session. The US noted technical difficulties with a resumed session in September, including overlap with the ministerial debate during the ordinary GA session and over budgetary implications. The Chair said costs would be absorbed by the ordinary budget and noted the CSD-7 Bureau would operate. CUBA objected to a paragraph waiving coverage of travel expenses for developing country representatives. The US requested that the CSD-7 report state that the resumed session would not have budgetary implications.

A report of CSD-7’s work as a preparatory body for the review and appraisal of the POA was adopted (E/CN.17/1999/L.2)

A revised draft of the Chair’s compilation document on the CSD’s Contribution to the Special Session as well as a Draft Declaration resulted from informal consultations during CSD-7. The compilation document entitled, “State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the POA,” is divided into four sections: an introduction, sectoral areas requiring urgent action, means of implementation, and international cooperation and partnership. The introduction reaffirms the commitment of the international community to the continued implementation of the POA and identifies the following areas for priority action, including the means for their implementation: climate change, including climate variability and sea level rise; natural disasters; freshwater resources; coastal and marine resources; energy; and tourism. The strong sense of commitment and ownership of the POA by SIDS is underscored and is noted for contributing to enriching the partnership between SIDS and the international community. Their small size and remoteness, ecological fragility, vulnerability to climate change, narrow resource base and small domestic markets are highlighted as specific constraints faced by SIDS.

The pace of globalization and trade liberalization are noted as affecting SIDS’ economies by presenting new problems and opportunities. Trade impacts are highlighted as critical to determine the success or failure of SIDS in their national efforts to implement the POA. Bracketed text refers to SIDS’ particular concern that their disadvantaged situation will result in their marginalization in the emerging global economic order in the areas of trade, investment, commodities and capital markets

The document recognizes that further successful implementation of the POA will require action by all partners in fostering an enabling environment for investment and external assistance, resource mobilization and financing, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies, capacity-building and institutional development. Poverty is noted as being a major problem affecting the capacity of many SIDS to achieve sustainable development. SIDS vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters is highlighted and a committed partnership between SIDS and the international community is called for to, inter alia, improve the capacity of SIDS to adequately respond to and adapt to climate change and to improve capability for climate prediction, scientific understanding of severe weather events and early warning systems.

The health, protection and preservation of coastal and marine resources are noted as fundamental to the livelihood and sustainable development of SIDS. Actions to address these issues include: strengthening of programmes within the GPA; enhanced conservation, sustainable management and utilization of coastal zone ecosystems and resources; and the urgent need to address illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in marine areas under SIDS jurisdiction. Bracketed alternatives appear on the right of SIDS to regulate, restrict and/or ban the importation of products containing hazardous substances and to prohibit the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes and materials within their jurisdiction, consistent with international law.

Bracketed text appears on the inclusion of CSD-7’s decision on tourism as an integral part of the POA’s review. The section on means of implementation includes: sustainable development strategies; capacity-building; resource mobilization and finance; globalization and trade liberalization; transfer of environmentally sound technology; a vulnerability index; and information management. The section on means of implementation includes: sustainable development strategies; capacity-building; resource mobilization and finance; globalization and trade liberalization; transfer of environmentally sound technology; a vulnerability index; and information management.

The draft compilation document states that SIDS face new challenges and opportunities from globalization and have a limited capacity to adapt. Among others, bracketed text refers to: SIDS benefiting from globalization; assistance to SIDS to adapt to globalization and trade liberalization and facilitating SIDS economies’ integration into the world economy through enhanced market access for their exports; enhancing SIDS’ effective participation in multilateral trade negotiations and activities including the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism; and recognition of the adverse consequences for SIDS derived from the erosion of trade preferences.

The need for a vulnerability index for SIDS on socio-economic and environmental parameters is noted. Bracketed text refers to the potential of the vulnerability index to supplement other criteria for access by SIDS to concessional “treatment/financing.” The draft compilation document notes that effective implementation of the POA will require the UN system to make more effective use of existing resources, to seek possibilities for mobilizing new resources and to improve coordination mechanisms for the focused and harmonized delivery of support for priorities relevant to SIDS.

The Draft Declaration reaffirms the principles of and commitments to sustainable development embodied in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 and reaffirms that the Global Conference on Sustainable Development of SIDS translates Agenda 21 into specific policies and measures. Bracketed text appears regarding enabling SIDS to address constraints and on specific physical circumstances as creating difficulties for SIDS in benefiting from global economic development and achieving sustainable development. Accelerated progress in the implementation of the POA through strengthened capacity- building, financing and technology transfer is called for. A reference to creating an enabling environment to address overarching issues, such as poverty, is bracketed.


This resolution (E/CN.17/1999/L.3) is the outcome of the interactive dialogue between governments, industry, trade unions, NGOs and IOs in the industry segment at CSD-6 and the Commission’s decision (6/2) regarding the “potential value of a review of voluntary initiatives and agreements.” The resolution also notes the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1999/12) on a subsequent stakeholder dialogue convened in Toronto in March 1999 aimed at identifying elements of a review of voluntary initiatives and agreements.

Representatives of CANADA said they would “deeply regret” a move by IRAN to delete references to the stakeholder dialogue in Toronto on voluntary initiatives and agreements. The G-77/CHINA proposed replacing references to “multi-stakeholder” throughout the text with “major groups.” Again CANADA, with support from the EU, objected and argued that the stakeholder approach was a methodology, which should not be limited by the use of UN language. Objecting to the “multi-stakeholder” references, CHINA explained that it had fears about the emergence of “unwelcome participants.” A compromise agreement to refer to “major groups and other stakeholders” was reached during informal consultations. The G-77/CHINA introduced an amendment on more participation by developing country representatives in the dialogue process.

The resolution recognizes that voluntary initiatives and agreements should complement regulatory frameworks and notes the potential value of processes involving governments and all relevant major groups in such work. It encourages major groups, in cooperation with UN bodies, to continue generating information, including the most appropriate means to conduct reviews. The Secretariat is asked to facilitate the dissemination of information. The resolution stresses the need for better understanding of the possible impact of voluntary initiatives on developing countries and requests major groups to report on progress in assisting developing countries to understand and make use of the lessons learned. The resolution also notes the key elements of a review, as discussed by participants in the Toronto dialogue, and encourages further exchange. The Secretariat is to report on progress to CSD-8.


During negotiations in Drafting Group III, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed a draft resolution on sustainable development in the Balkans. This resolution noted the unfolding environmental crisis in the Balkans as a result of the destruction of chemical, oil and other industries in Yugoslavia. The resolution was referred to Plenary after failure to reach agreement in Drafting Group III. The US urged RUSSIA to withdraw the resolution and avoid forcing the CSD to conduct its first vote. The EU was joined by JAPAN, TURKEY, CANADA, COSTA RICA, NORWAY, the CZECH REPUBLIC and SWITZERLAND in arguing that the CSD was an inappropriate forum for the draft resolution. RUSSIA responded, saying he would definitely not withdraw the resolution. At the closing Plenary, the EU introduced a successful motion that no action be taken on the draft resolution.

The draft resolution noted destruction of chemical, oil and other industries in Yugoslavia together with the humanitarian and economic consequences. It called on parties to stop all actions, urged the UN system to address Yugoslavia’s sustainable development problems and those of neighboring countries, and called on UNEP to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the environmental consequences.


This decision follows up an UNGASS decision that preparations for CSD-9 on the issue of energy should involve an open-ended intergovernmental group of experts on energy and sustainable development, to meet in conjunction with the Intersessional Working Groups for CSD-8 and CSD-9.

NORWAY called for clarification on the budget for the Group of Experts and arrangements for adequate participation by developing country experts. Supported by the G-77/CHINA and the EU, NORWAY proposed that the open-ended Group of Experts be “Ad Hoc” to underline the limited duration of the Group’s work. A number of countries, including NORWAY and SWITZERLAND, pressed for membership to be open to all member States of the UN and its specialized agencies. ECUADOR inquired whether non-members of the CSD could be represented on the Bureau. The latter issue occupied delegations at a series of informal-informal consultations because two non-member States, Austria and Norway, have possible candidates for positions on the Bureau. The EU had pressed for speeding up considerations in order to facilitate nominations for the Bureau at CSD-7. The final decision on Bureau membership was referred to ECOSOC and the Office of Legal Affairs. At the closing Plenary, the G-77/CHINA nominated Iran to occupy the developing country Co-Chair position.

The decision (E/CN.17/1999/L.3) provides for the establishment of an Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development, to meet in conjunction with Intersessional Working Groups before CSD-8 and CSD-9 to contribute to preparations for CSD-9’s work on energy. At its first meeting during the first quarter of 2000, the Group will elect officers, adopt an agenda, discuss preparations for CSD-9, and decide on a provisional agenda for its second session. The Group’s Bureau will consist of five members, one from each of the five regional groups of the UN and include Co- Chairs from a developed and developing country. The Group will submit a progress report to CSD-8. The first session of the UN Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for Development is to transmit its report to CSD-8 and to the first session of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts. The Secretary-General is invited to prepare analytical reports for consideration by the Group of Experts. The decision also calls for government input and encourages participation by civil society and other major groups. Participation by NGOs will be in accordance with the rules of procedure of functional Commissions of ECOSOC. Funding for participation in meetings of the Group of Experts, particularly by developing countries, is regarded as essential and is to be provided for in accordance with ECOSOC decision 1993/207. Voluntary contributions for the participation of non- members of the CSD are urged. ECOSOC is also invited to consider, on an exceptional basis and without creating a precedent, the possibility of States not members of the CSD holding office in the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts. The Office of Legal Affairs is requested to submit a legal opinion on this matter to the CSD Chair for transmission to the President of the Council.


This decision requests ECOSOC’s committees responsible for programming and budgeting to take the relevant outcomes of the Special Session of the General Assembly on SIDS into account during their deliberations on the programme budget for the biennium 2000-2002. During deliberations in Drafting Group III, the G-77/CHINA introduced one amendment to the draft decision. He preferred to invite the ECOSOC committees to take the SIDS outcomes into account “inter alia.”

The decision (E/CN.17/1999/L.3) notes the proposed programme of work in the area of sustainable development for the biennium 2000-2001 and requests ECOSOC to invite the Committee for Programme and Coordination, the Advisory Committee for Administrative Budgetary Questions and the Fifth Committee to take into account, inter alia, as appropriate, relevant outcomes of the Special Session of UNGA on the Barbados Programme of Action for SIDS.


The decision on matters related to the intersessional work of the Commission (E/CN.17/1999/L.3) sets out the issues for the Intersessional Working Groups in the year 2000. These are: integrated planning and management of land resources; agriculture; and financial resources/trade and investment and economic growth. The decision also notes that the CSD Bureau will continue to conduct transparent and open-ended consultations on matters related to preparations for CSD-8 and the Intersessional Working Groups. The decision reiterates that consideration should be given to providing financial support, through extra-budgetary contributions, to members of the Bureau, particularly those from developing countries.


This decision, proposed by the G-77/CHINA and MEXICO, addresses the importance of continuing to take full advantage of the information provided by governments and recognizes that a lack of human, technical or financial resources at the national level could hinder the submission of voluntary national reports or other relevant information. The CSD encourages governments to continue providing reports and, inter alia, calls on the international community to continue to support reporting activity.

During negotiations, EGYPT noted that an invitation to governments to support the work of the Secretariat on new “Country Profiles," through the provision of voluntary contributions, could create an undesirable linkage between the implementation and the provision of voluntary contributions and proposed its deletion. The US said he could not support the paragraph without the phrase "voluntary contributions." Negotiators agreed on a reformulation, further requesting the CSD Secretariat to undertake measures to prepare a new version of the “Country Profiles.”

The decision notes with satisfaction the Report of the Secretary-General on “Oceans and Seas: Trends in National Implementation” (E/CN.17/1999/4/Add.1) and background documents prepared by the National Information Analysis Unit. The decision: welcomes the continued interest of governments in making voluntary national presentations; stresses the importance of using information provided by governments to the Commission; recognizes the lack of resources to make submissions and improve guidelines for national reports; and recognizes that the UN National Information Website could include reports in languages other than those currently available. The Commission: encourages governments to continue voluntary national reporting and invites governments to submit national reports; calls on the international community to support reporting capacity; requests UNDP to consider assisting developing countries; requests sector task managers to make more use of information; requests the inclusion of new languages on the National Information Website; requests the CSD Secretariat to invite proposals on improving national reporting guidelines and prepare a report on this for the comprehensive review of the implementation of Agenda 21; and further requests the CSD Secretariat to undertake measures to prepare a new version of the “County Profiles.”


During informal ministerial consultations during the first week, DENMARK presented a draft proposal for preparations for the Review of Agenda 21 and the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21. The draft contained several elements from an NGO draft, including calls for early attention to the form of the review, its scope, the nature of the preparatory process and the terms of reference.

Through its decision, the CSD requests the Secretary-General to present a preliminary report for discussion at CSD-8, including suggestions on the nature and scope of the preparatory process for the next comprehensive review of the implementation of Agenda 21, with a view to providing the Secretary-General with guidance for preparation of his report to the 55th session of the GA.


Based on a proposal introduced by the EU, the CSD adopted a decision calling on all key actors to intensify their collaborative efforts in the implementation of the Work Programme on Education for Sustainable Development; encouraging governments, relevant UN bodies and NGOs to give priority to the integration of aspects of sustainable development in their policies; and requesting the Secretary-General to report to CSD- 8 on the progress made in the implementation of the work programme.


CSD-7 Chair Simon Upton called the closing Plenary to order on Friday morning at 11:30 am. Alan Simcock (UK), Chair of Drafting Group II's sub-group on oceans and seas, introduced an informal paper on the decision on oceans and seas. He reported that delegates completed their third reading of the text at 12:30 am that morning and reported a number of amendments had been proposed since then. On the draft paragraph noting that many delegates stressed the importance of the ecosystem approach in the context of fisheries management and many other delegates expressed their inability to accept this link, Simcock announced that consultations had resulted in consensus language: "the Commission notes the importance of ecosystems and the need for further study of approaches in this context." To text on international coordination and cooperation, Simcock noted that one delegate had requested further consultation and, with some amendments, could now join the consensus. These amendments included noting that the Commission should recommend that the General Assembly establish an open-ended informal consultative process "or other process which the GA may decide" and specifying that participation in this process "by member States and observers" should be broad and universal. MEXICO reported further amendments, including a note that this exercise should take into account the Rio agreements, "particularly Chapter 17 of Agenda 21." Simcock noted that the sub-group failed to reach agreement on the issues of subsidies, schemes for improving information available to consumers of fish, and the right of States to prohibit the movement of hazardous wastes within their jurisdictions.

Upton highlighted that the identification of areas of non- agreement adds reality and an accurate record to the CSD's deliberations rather than watering it down. On the compromise text on ecosystems, the EU expressed appreciation to China for working in a spirit of compromise to reach agreement. EGYPT thanked Simcock and said that, with the amendments to the international cooperation text, he was prepared to go along with the consensus. He also stressed that the GA is the appropriate body to provide coordination on this issue, but this does not mean that it coordinates the other specialized agencies. At the suggestion of the US, delegates applauded Alan Simcock's work as chair of the oceans discussions. Upton took this to indicate that the decision was adopted by acclamation.

Navid Hanif (Pakistan), Chair of Drafting Group I, introduced the informal paper on changing consumption and production patterns. He also invited the CSD to adopt a recommendation that ECOSOC adopt a draft resolution on the expansion of the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection to include sustainable consumption (E/CN.17/1999/L.1). He said the expanded Guidelines had been agreed during informal consultations in December 1998. Parties adopted both documents. Hanif also introduced the draft decision on tourism and sustainable development (E/CN.17/1999/L.6), which was adopted.

The Chair of Drafting Group III, George Talbot (Guyana), introduced a number of draft decisions and resolutions negotiated by his group. Delegates adopted decisions on preparations for the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development on the issue of energy, the proposed programme of work in the area of sustainable development for the biennium 2000-2001, matters related to the intersessional work of the Commission, and a draft resolution on voluntary initiatives and agreements, all of which were contained in E/CN.17/1999/L.3.

On a draft resolution introduced by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION in Drafting Group III, regarding sustainable development in the region of the Balkans (E/CN.17/1999/L.5), the EU said he was highly concerned about environmental issues and that it was with regret that he had to resort to a motion of no action on the Russian-sponsored resolution. Chair Upton explained that the EU’s motion to take no action would take precedence. The EU said the Russian resolution dealt with issues of peace and security and the CSD should not set a precedent by entering into such a debate. Upton invited two speeches for and two against the EU motion to take no action on the Russian resolution. The EU called on delegations who shared his view that the CSD was not an appropriate forum for the discussion to support his motion. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said his delegation had tried to avoid the politicization of his resolution and avoid confrontation. POLAND and CANADA expressed support for no action. CHINA opposed the motion for no action, stating that environmental deterioration in the Balkans should not be ignored due to political considerations. Upton invited delegations to vote on the EU motion. The result of the first ever vote in the CSD was: 33 in favor of the EU motion for no action; 4 against; and 8 abstentions.

Upton declared that the EU motion carried. INDIA, who abstained, said he had sympathy for the people of Yugoslavia but did not think their interests nor those of the Commission would be best served by the Russian resolution. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION expressed profound regret that the CSD was unable to adopt its resolution. The EU and US called on the Chair to halt substantive discussion. INDONESIA said he had abstained in the vote because his country had long recognized that every State has the right to raise any issue it deems necessary at the UN. THAILAND said the CSD was not an appropriate forum for the Russian resolution. GUYANA said she had supported the motion for no action but had great sympathy for the concerns reflected in the Russian resolution. BRAZIL said he voted in favor of the EU motion because the CSD was not supposed to deal with specific environmental crises. EGYPT said he abstained to avoid politicizing the work of the CSD. SUDAN said he abstained because the Russian resolution was not general or global. He expressed solidarity with the humanitarian drama in the Balkans.

George Talbot then introduced informal papers outlining draft decisions on Preparations of the Review of Agenda 21 and Programme of Further Implementation of Agenda 21, Information provided by governments and exchange of national experiences, and Education, Public Awareness and Training, which delegates adopted.

Delegates then approved the provisional agenda for CSD-8 and adopted the report of CSD-7 (E/CN.17/1999/L.4; Adds. 1 and 2; L.4, L.5 and L.6). introduced by the Rapporteur, Largaton Ouattara (Cte d’Ivoire). They also noted that several informal papers would be incorporated.

In closing statements, the G-77/CHINA paid tribute to the CSD-7 Chair for the leadership and dynamism he brought to the session. She expressed hope that a spirit of innovation would continue in future sessions. PANAMA invited delegations to applaud the Chair. Chair Upton thanked the Bureau and noted that the introduction of video conferencing for Bureau meetings had saved money and time. He said the session had been a real advance due to a willingness to take a new approach and be a little daring. He said a decision by delegations to record disagreement on three points made the areas of agreement all the more credible. He offered New Zealand’s assistance to the incoming CSD Bureau. CSD-7 thus adjourned at 1:40 PM.


Delegates briefly convened Friday afternoon, 30 April, to elect the Bureau for CSD-8. George Talbot (Guyana) announced that Juan Mayr (Colombia) had been nominated to chair CSD-8 and Patrick McDonnell (Ireland), Zvetolyub Basmajev (Bulgaria) and Choi Seok Young (Republic of Korea) had been nominated to serve as Vice-Chairs. Delegates elected them by acclamation. The G- 77/CHINA announced that her Group had selected Mohammad Reza Salamat (Iran) to serve as Co-Chair of the Expert Group on Energy.


There was an unfamiliar air of accomplishment at the close of CSD-7, with near universal agreement that the first Bureau to be elected with an entire year to prepare the session had seized the opportunity to demonstrate that a culture shift in negotiations is possible, given the time, the insight and the political will. CSD-7 Chair Simon Upton (New Zealand) was one of the many people who came away from the 19th Special Session of the UNGA having detected that the future of the CSD may well be on the line if a “revolution” in procedure and product was not achieved. Upton attributed a dangerous loss of ministerial interest, in part, to the anaesthetizing annual routine of inviting them to deliver a stream of ten-minute speeches. Privately, Upton would like to see the CSD do away with the ministerial speeches altogether and have them engage only in the kind of “spirited dialogue” that emerged occasionally at CSD-7 on issues such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The corresponding text in the decision on oceans and seas was later described by a Greenpeace participant as “historic” and potentially groundbreaking if the CSD’s calls for effective implementation of the relevant UNCLOS provisions are taken up.

CSD-7 attracted more high-level representation than ever before and even inspired ministers attending an informal meeting on climate change to consider adopting the interactive approach for the High-Level Segment at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Bonn. CSD-7 may in the end be viewed as "historic" in more than one viewer's eyes. This brief analysis of CSD-7 reviews the important contribution of Chair Upton to the negotiating process and, as a result, to the quality of the outcomes from the session. The analysis will also provide an issue by issue review of some of the notable achievements reflected in the negotiated texts.

SIMON’S WAYS: Upton used the year after his election as Chair of CSD-7 in 1998 to introduce a number of innovations including video conferencing for Bureau meetings. At the heart of the Bureau’s strategy to achieve a more relevant and focused debate at CSD-7 was a determination to establish important “one-on-one” relationships with ministers prior to the session. The Chair conducted a series of visits to capitals and prepared the ground for procedural changes at the Intersessional Working Groups and at CSD-7 itself. At the Intersessional Working Groups, the Co- Chairs played a proactive role in selecting out the key elements for decisions from the overall discussions and steering the outcomes away from rehearsals of agreed positions. Later, at the CSD, there was a concerted attempt led by Upton to ensure that important points raised during the High-Level Segment, including contributions from major groups, informed decisions taken by negotiators during the second week. A consistent element in Upton’s strategy was the relationships he established with ministers and a backup plan to continue circumventing any attempt by delegates from the New York missions to return to the old ways, by working the phones behind the scenes, making use of a list of direct telephone numbers collected during his ministerial tte--ttes.

In another break with the past, negotiators were encouraged to place their failure to agree on important issues (fishing subsidies, information for consumers and the transport of hazardous waste) on record in the CSD-7 text on Oceans and Seas. Upton preferred to celebrate this frankness rather than support the Commission’s tradition of protracted negotiations leading to a lowest common denominator agreement. Given that the CSD enjoys little formal decision-making authority, Upton sees little point in such an approach. “Let’s admit we don’t agree instead,” he said, convinced that such an approach can enhance the credibility and authority of those areas where negotiators have genuinely found agreement.

SIMON SAYS "THE PRODUCT IS YOU" — CHANGING CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS: There is movement on effective policy development for changing production and consumption patterns. In the words of one senior participant: “we will not be discussing the issue in a vacuum now.” This promises a more substantive debate on this overriding issue in the context of upcoming negotiations on agriculture and transport. For the first time the issue was also addressed within the important context of globalization trends – a significant factor in terms of economic patterns but also in the spread of media and advertising influences and the subsequent creation of global consumer classes. Negotiators will increasingly have to come to an understanding that vast numbers of the world’s people – as they become locked into the manufactured dreams of the advertising and media industry – reside in virtual global mediascapes as well as national territories.

Perhaps the most far-reaching outcome on changing consumption and production patterns was completed before the CSD-7 session, namely the review of the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection. This decision will have near term consequences for domestic regulation and national consumers' rights organizations. The International Chamber of Commerce is reported to be continuing its efforts to influence the outcome and was unhappy with the informal review procedures leading up to CSD-7. Industry representatives are nervous about the creeping introduction of an "education" agenda in the Guidelines as opposed to mere information provision.

Some observers commented that debate on this issue suffers from a "reality gap" because the concerns and approaches voiced at the CSD tend not to reflect priorities articulated on the ground, notably in exchanges between developed and developing country industry representatives and governments. Industrialized country representatives are keen to update the debate at the CSD, which seldom does justice to the potential economic and efficiency gains available to developing countries prepared to "leap frog" outdated, fuel intensive, technologies and production methods and leap forward to more competitive approaches to sustainable production.

SIMON SAYS "WATCH YOUR IN-FLIGHT VIDEO" —SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: The issue of sustainable tourism development was on the CSD’s agenda for the first time. As some delegates observed, “candid and discursive negotiating” and not “parallel talk” made a convergence from diverse points on the tourist compass possible. To cite the most intensely negotiated issues – sex-tourism, a global code of ethics, the role of the ILO and WHO in developing and implementing labor and health standards, the design and use of fiscal tools and economic measures – are all addressed to some degree of satisfaction. NGO observers remarked that while the outcomes “were not something to crow about” there were elements that were definitely there to stay. The need to combat the exploitation of vulnerable groups has definitely worked its way onto the agenda. Delegates from the North felt that while more needs to be done, delegates from the South were satisfied that the issue was being addressed in an appropriate manner while avoiding sensationalism. A few delegates and representatives of major groups felt that the action points could have been more focused if the issue of voluntary initiatives had been addressed by linking them to a normative code/ethic. Delegates from both the developed and developing countries, for very different reasons, expressed satisfaction with the “realistic” and “practical” approach adopted by the CSD in not trying to “run before it could walk” on the issue of adopting a global code of conduct. The tourism issue benefited from the interactive dialogues at CSD-7, with one of the most concrete proposals, a call for the production of in-flight environmental education videos about the tourist destination, reflected in the outcome, to Upton's satisfaction.

SIMON SAYS "COORDINATE ON OCEANS AND SEAS": The CSD-7 decision on oceans and seas represented a microcosm of what was good and bad about the seventh session. All agreed that the decision to move forward on "broadening and deepening" the UN General Assembly's debate on these issues was one of the clear benefits of the Bureau’s election a full year prior to the session. The idea to improve coordination was not new. CSD-4, for example, discussed alternatives to the present arrangements but did not find a consensus to move forward. Ministerial will, as evidenced in statement after statement during the CSD-7 High- Level Segment, has moved ahead. This point was not lost on negotiators once their ministers left New York and they turned to drafting the decision text. Observers anticipate that this new political determination will carry over to ECOSOC and finally to the GA. Although NGOs may be disappointed that the decision does not ensure that they will have access to the "open-ended informal consultative process" – participation by "member States and observers" should be broad and universal but the question of NGO access was left to the ongoing discussions regarding NGO access to the GA – supporters of the text note that the fact that governments will be taking steps to facilitate the effective consideration of matters on oceans and seas within the GA's mandate is important in and of itself. In addition, the decision provides for the organization of discussion panels to ensure "appropriate input from representatives of major groups," which, if implemented in a systematic manner, could provide NGOs with inroads to the process.

Illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing was another issue on which ministers signaled a priority area of concern. Negotiators at CSD-7 recognized their cue and called for action. The CSD supported the declaration by the FAO fisheries ministerial conference that it would prioritize development of a global plan of action to deal effectively with any forms of IUU fishing and then identified related issues that this work should encompass, including an invitation to the IMO to develop measures to ensure that ships of all flag States meet international rules and standards. NGOs particularly highlighted this invitation to the IMO as an important step forward, although their desire for a binding measure was qualified as an option "where the members of the IMO consider it appropriate." On this issue, the CSD recognized an ongoing process and recommended further directions it could take. Other issues did not receive this same treatment.

On some oceans and seas issues, delegates did not move beyond calls for the full implementation of existing instruments, if even that. Subsidies and trade-related issues – eco-labeling – suffered this fate. Delegates did not reach consensus language on either – a more honest outcome than the traditional watered down consensus, but still disappointing to many. Observers argue that these issues can be in the interest of both North and South. Attention to eco-labeling efforts as they are developed, for example, may ensure that such schemes are acceptable to all. On these and other issues where the CSD stopped at recognition of other processes, some expressed disappointment that delegates failed to exercise the CSD's potential to create ways to coordinate and catalyze implementation of Agenda 21. Perhaps the discussions at CSD-8 on trade and finance issues will bring in negotiators with briefs to address these issues more effectively.

SIMON SAYS "REAFFIRM YOUR COMMITMENTS" —SIDS: SIDS provide an ideal test case for the global partnership for sustainable development set out in Agenda 21 given their role as custodians of a significant portion of the world’s oceans and seas and resources, their environmental and economic vulnerability, and their dependency on sustainable tourism and fisheries. CSD-7 recognized that while much remains to be done to achieve the Barbados POA’s objectives, a great deal has already been accomplished by SIDS both locally and regionally despite economic and institutional constraints.

No specific pledges were made at a donors/SIDS meeting in New York in February and doubt remains about the possibility of agreement on acceptance of a vulnerability index as a criterion for concessional and preferential financing. A running area of contention at the CSD-7 negotiations centered on globalization and the liberalization of trade and how these would continue to have an impact on SIDS. There is a recognition that some assistance for the integration of SIDS economies into the global economy may be required. Another matter of contention is the right of SIDS to regulate, restrict and/or ban the importation of products and substances and to prohibit the transboundary movement of hazardous and radioactive wastes within their jurisdiction. These are perceived by SIDS to be an emerging threat and there are calls to declare certain regions, such as the Caribbean, environmentally safe zones and restrict transboundary movements of this kind.

CONCLUSION: In his final comments to the CSD-7 Plenary on Friday, Chair Upton sent a strong signal to the incoming CSD-8 Bureau that he and his team of New Zealand advisors would be happy to share their experience. His offer raises an important question for any process that apparently depends – to a significant degree – on the personalities who happen to occupy the executive positions. The bottom line is: can the CSD sustain its "renaissance" after CSD-7 in the absence of a Chair who brims with a penchant to see to it that what Simon says, goes.


UN CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA: The States Parties to UNCLOS will meet from 19-28 May 1999. For more information, contact: the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet:

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND GLOBALIZATION IN THE 21st CENTURY: REALITIES AND PROSPECTS: The Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment of the Republic of Cuba and the Havana International Conference Center will convene the 2nd International Convention on Environment and Development, in Havana, from 14-18 June 1999. For information contact: Dr. Gisela Alonso Dominguez; e-mail: [email protected]; tel: +(537) 57-0615/0598; fax: +(537) 33-8054.

COASTAL ZONE 99: Coastal Zone 99 - The People, the Coast, the Ocean: Vision 2020 - will be held in San Diego, California, from 24-30 July 1999. For information, contact: Urban Harbors Institute, University of Massachusetts at Boston; tel: +1-617- 287-5570; fax +1-617-287-5575; e-mail: [email protected].

SECOND INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETING OF EXPERTS ON THE EL NIO PHENOMENON: This meeting will take place in Lima, Peru, in September 1999. For more information, contact: Dr. Rudolf Slooff, OCHA/IDNDR Secretariat; tel: +41-22-798-6894; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet:

UNGA SPECIAL SESSION TO REVIEW IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS: A two-day Special Session of the UN General Assembly to review and appraise implementation of the POA for the Sustainable Development of SIDS will convene in New York from 27-28 September 1999. A resumed two-day session of CSD-7 will be held prior to the Special Session, at a date to be announced. For more information, contact: Deonanan Oodit; tel: +1-212-963-4671; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet:

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CONSUMPTION: This meeting, "Down to Earth – Sustainable Consumption in the 21st Century," will meet in Hampshire, UK, from 22-24 September 1999. It will be hosted by Project Integra and supported by UNED-UK, Onyx Aurora -Integrated Waste Management, and Hampshire County Council. For more information, contact: Index Communications Meeting Services; tel: +44-1794-511331/2; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet:

THE ROLE OF NGOS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: The 1999 Seoul International Conference on NGOs will meet in Seoul, Korea, from 10-16 October 1999. For more information, contact: Tripartite Steering Committee; tel: +82-346-570-7160; fax: +82-346-570- 7156; e-mail: [email protected]; or tel: +1-212-986-8557; fax: +1-212-986-0821.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS: The International Business Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns will take place in Berlin, Germany, from 11-13 October 1999. The Forum is organized by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in conjunction with UNEP. For more information, contact: Dr. Luiz Ramalho, Bernhard Adam, and Maria de la Paz de Azevedo of the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft; tel: +49-30-254-82-257; fax: +49-30-254-82-103; e-mail: [email protected].

DESERTIFICATION AND THE EL NIO PHENOMENON: This meeting will be held in La Serena, Chile, from 12-15 October 1999. For information, contact: Dr. Rudolf Slooff, OCHA/IDNDR Secretariat; tel: +41-22-798-6894; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet:

PROPERTY RIGHTS AND FISHERIES: The Government of Western Australia, in cooperation with the FAO, is sponsoring the Conference on the Use of Property Rights in Fisheries Management in Perth, from 15-17 November 1999. For information, contact: e- mail: [email protected]; Internet:

3RD MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE OF THE WTO: The World Trade Organization will hold its third Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Washington, 30 November-3 December 1999. For more information contact: tel: +206-770-3150; fax: 206-770-0106; Internet:

EIGHTH SESSION OF THE CSD: CSD-8 is expected to meet in Spring 2000 to consider integrated planning and management of land resources, agriculture, and financial resources/trade and investment/economic growth. Intersessionals are expected prior to the session to consider the same topics. For information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet: For major group information, contact Zehra Aydin-Sidos, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963- 1267; e-mail: [email protected].

SECOND WATER FORUM AND MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE: The World Water Council’s second world water forum, hosted by the Netherlands in The Hague, will meet from 16-22 March 2000. For information contact: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.O Box 20061, 2500 EB The Hague, the Netherlands; tel: +31-70-348-5402; fax: +31-70-348-6792; e-mail: [email protected].

ADDITIONAL MEETINGS: Check IISD’s Linkages WorldWide Web site for additional upcoming meetings:

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