Daily report for 1 June 1992



UNCED Pre-Conference Consultations started yesterday morning inConference Room 4 of RioCentro. This was the first of two sessionswhere delegates are making important decisions regarding UNCED'sstructure and its procedural mechanisms. The recommendations thatwill emerge from these consultations today will be forwarded to thePlenary for adoption on 3 June.

UNCED Secretary-General Maurice Strong opened the morning sessionand quickly moved to the first substantive item on the agenda,which was the election of the presiding officer of thePre-Conference Consultations. The delegates easily electedBrazilian Foreign Minister Celso Lafer to the post, who, accordingto many delegates, was the pleasant surprise of the morning. Lafer,a former jurist and university professor from the University of S"oPaulo, proved linguistically adept and good humored during themorning's meeting. With an extensive background in internationalrelations, Lafer is also familiar with UN General Assembly's SecondCommittee and its politics, having served as Chair of the UnitedNations Commission for Science and Technical Development (anopen-ended commission that is now an expert body that reports toECOSOC).

The next item on the agenda consisted of a list of a number ofrecommendations to the Conference on the following proceduralmatters: adoption of the rules of procedure; election of officers;adoption of the agenda; organization of work, includingestablishment of the Main Committee of the Conference; signature ofConventions; concluding events; credentials of representatives ofthe Conference and appointment of the members of the CredentialsCommittee; and the report of the Conference. Due to a lack ofsubstantive logistical information and a long procedural debate onthe Summit portion of the Conference, the delegates were unable tocomplete discussion on most of the items on the agenda.

The next item, adoption of the rules of procedure, was dealt withquickly, with the rules of procedure for UNCED having been adoptedpursuant to decisions taken at PrepComs III and IV. The document,"Provisional Rules of Procedure," (A/CONF.151/2), sets out theprovisional rules of procedure that will be adopted as the thirdagenda item on Wednesday. These rules were developed at PrepCom IIIand forwarded to the Conference, after being endorsed by the 46thsession of the United Nations General Assembly in December 1991.PrepCom IV adopted three draft decisions, entitled "Observer statusin the work of the Preparatory Committee for the UNCED and of theUNCED for associate members of regional commissions", "Status ofthe European Economic Community at UNCED" and "Draft provisionalrules of procedure of the Conference". These decisions were adoptedby the UN General Assembly in April and the provisional rules asamended are reflected in A/CONF.151/2.

The next item on Monday's agenda dealt with recommendations for theelection of officers, including the President of the Conference, 39Vice-Presidents, an ex officio Vice-President from the hostcountry, a Rapporteur-General and a Chairman for the MainCommittee. As expected, Brazilian President Fernando Collor deMello was nominated as the President of the Conference and willpreside over the Plenary. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Laferwas nominated as the ex officio Vice-President and will presideover the Plenary in the absence of President Collor.

Nominations were then tabled for the 39 Vice-Presidents. The LatinAmerican group nominated Argentina, Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico,Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and Jamaica. The Western Europe and OthersGroup (WEOG) nominated Canada, Finland, France, Germany,Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. The EasternEuropean Group nominated Czechoslovakia, Poland, RussianFederation, and the Ukraine. Both the Asian and African groups,however, had greater difficulty in reaching agreement on theirnominees. The Asian group tabled 12 nominations for their eightseats. The nominees were China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan,Republic of Korea, Maldives, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, SriLanka, and Vanuatu. The Asian group met later in the day to reachfinal agreement on its eight nominees. The African group initiallytabled 11 nominations for their nine seats. After the Chair of theAfrican group announced the list of nominees, one of the Africancountries expressed his displeasure that his country had not beennominated and insisted that it be added to the list. Thus, the 12African nominees now include Tanzania, Kenya, Benin, Guinea Bissau,Senegal, Tunisia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Gabon, Zaire andMauritania. The African group met later in the day to reach finalagreement on its nine nominees.

Most of the morning's session was devoted to a discussion on theorganization of work for the Conference. The provisional schedulefor the Conference is as follows:

  • The Plenary will hold a general debate between 3 and 11 June;
  • The Main Committee will meet from 3 to 10 June;
  • Heads of State or Government will participate in the concluding events, including the "Summit segment" of the Conference, which will take place from 12 to 14 June.

The Summit portion of the Conference proved to be the mostproblematic of the morning's agenda items. The dates of 12 and 13June have been set aside for heads of State or Government who wishto address the Conference in the Plenary Hall. Only Heads of Stateor Government may take the floor during this period and the timeavailable allows for only one statement from each State. Since agrowing number of Heads of State or Government are indicating theirinterest in addressing the conference, their statements will haveto be limited. Monday morning's discussions addressed theappropriate time allotments for each speaker. The debate over thelogistics and time factors in accommodating the 96 Heads of Statescurrently on the Speakers List (which is open until 6:00 pm onWednesday) are proving to be quite contentious. Many delegatescould not accept a five minute time limit. Several requested moretime and even recommended extending the length of the meetings. Onedelegate recommended that if one Head of State were to speak onbehalf of a regional group, he or she could be given additionalspeaking time. Another delegate commented after the meeting thatthe participants were trying to decide whether the Heads of Statewould use the two days allotted to the Summit to talk to televisionaudiences at home or, rather, to each other here in Rio. Anotherdelegate made the point that since shorter speeches could betelevised in their entirety, it would be preferable to adhere tothe proposed five-minute time limit. The tension broke when onedelegate suggested the idea of tradeable talking permits.Discussion on the Summit schedule is expected to continue today.

Discussion on a number of agenda items, including the signature ofconventions and the concluding ceremonies, was postponed sincethere was a lack of logistical information. Due to time constraintsand the fact that regional groups had to meet to resolveoutstanding issues, the remaining items on the agenda are to bediscussed this morning.



The second session of these consultations will begin this morning.The delegates are expected to complete the remaining outstandingitems on the agenda. Issues to be resolved include the following:

  • Election of Officers: : Once the African and Asian groups submit their final list of nominees, the entire list of 39 Vice Presidents can then be forwarded to the Plenary for approval on Wednesday. The Rapporteur-General, who is expected to be Ahmad Djoghlaf of Algeria, and the Chairman of the Main Committee, who is expected to be Tommy Koh of Singapore, will also be nominated today.
  • Signature of Conventions: : One of the outstanding issues pertains to the registration process for the signing of the Biodiversity and Climate Change Conventions. Delegations want to be able to register in advance for specific time slots to ensure sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements for media coverage when their Heads of State, Government or Delegation sign the Conventions. Since this information was not available on Monday, discussion had to be postponed until today.
  • Concluding Events: : The delegates must decide the format for the closing ceremonies as well as the form of the final documents to be signed by the Heads of State or Government. The question is whether the Heads of State will sign a package containing Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration and the Statement of Forest Principles or, rather, a statement that simply refers to those documents.
  • Credentials Committee: : One of the rules of procedure provides that a Credentials Committee of nine members be appointed at the beginning of the Conference and that its composition be based on that of the Credentials Committee of the UN General Assembly. The current composition of the Committee consists of the following States: Belgium, Belize, Chile, China, Lesotho, Singapore, Togo, Russian Federation and the United States. At UNCED, the Credentials Committee is expected to deal with a number of issues including: the accreditation of Heads of State; whether ministers or vice presidents can speak on behalf of their Head of State during the Summit portion of the Conference, if their Head of State is not present; and potential problems regarding country representation at the Summit (i.e., where the geo-political nature of a country is in question, as in the case of Yugoslavia).


The governments of Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland haveprivately circulated separate "Like-Minded Country" declarationsthat would commit signatory countries to reduce emissions of CO2and other greenhouse gases that are not controlled by the MontrealProtocol at 1990 levels by the year 2000. These targets, combinedwith stronger reporting measures, are intended to show that somecountries intend to go beyond the Climate Change Convention thatwas agreed to in New York last month. These three declarations arecurrently being integrated into a single declaration that will befinalized at a luncheon on Wednesday. Although the exact mechanismshave not been worked out, this declaration will probably beavailable for signing by Heads of State alongside the ClimateChange Convention during the Conference. This initiative hassupport from the Small Island states.


During the closing days of PrepCom IV, while Conference Serviceswas overloaded with documents awaiting translation, one documentslipped into the system and only emerged one week after PrepCom IVconcluded. This document may play an important role in thefinancial resources negotiations to begin this week.A/CONF.151/PC/L.75 is the draft text on financial resourcessubmitted by Andr‚s Rosenthal, the issue coordinator from Mexico,during the final week at PrepCom IV. This document was the productof discussions that were carried out during the final week underPrepCom Chair Tommy Koh and Rosenthal. These discussions began withrepresentatives from some of the EC countries, the Nordics andJapan, who were later joined by representatives from the G-77. Asa result of disagreement between the G-77 and the EC over the GEF,talks broke down on the last Thursday evening of PrepCom IV. TheG-77 insisted that because discussions at PrepCom IV failed toproduce an agreement, negotiations on financial resources in Riowould have to resume with the original G-77 and China text,PC/L.41/Rev.1. This text was mired in seemingly intractablenegotiations during the third week of PrepCom IV. L.75 appeared atthe Japanese Eminent Persons meeting, to many people's surprise,and at the Kuala Lumpur meeting, to the disdain of many developingcountries. Many observers suggest that if the negotiations onfinancial resources are to proceed quickly at UNCED, thendiscussions will have to be based on some form of the L.75document. Many countries, including several members of the G-77,maintain that resuming negotiations on L.41/Rev.1 could underminethe advances made during the waning days of PrepCom IV.