Daily report for 10 June 1992



FINANCIAL RESOURCES: The informal-informal meeting onfinancial resources worked through the night on Tuesday, finishingits discussions at 4:30 am Wednesday morning. After this marathoneighteen-hour session, the eight developing and eightindustrialized country negotiators emerged with a final "Chair'sdraft" that contained only four outstanding bracketed paragraphs.These will either have been dealt with last night by the MainCommittee or will be the subject of discussion today in meetings tobe held at the ministerial level.

This new text was the subject of discussions yesterday morning atmeetings of the regional groups and later in the G-77 meeting onfinance. Many observers commented that the likelihood of approvalfor the text by the Main Committee depends on whether the regionalgroup chairs will be able to maintain group "discipline", ie.whether they will succeed in securing adherence with the decisionstaken on the groups' behalf the night before. Participants inyesterday's G-77 meeting reported that there was general acceptanceof the text, as it appeared to be the best possible agreement,given the constraints.

By comparing Monday's draft text (including the proposed G-77amendments) with the results of Tuesday's closed-door all-nightsession, compromise appears to have been reached in the followingareas:

  • In the "basis for action" section, paragraph 4 in the new text now states, "The cost of inaction could outweigh the financial costs of implementing Agenda 21. Inaction will narrow the choices of future generations." This modified version of the "precautionary principle" was a G-77 amendment.
  • The phrases "free trade" and "access to markets" remain.
  • Wording that deals with implementation of Agenda 21 includes the phrase "will require the provision to developing countries of substantial new and additional financial resources on grant or concessional terms and according to sound and equitable criteria."
  • The costs of Agenda 21 are clearly stated to be estimates.
  • Developing countries will begin to prepare national plans for sustainable development.
  • There will be no "pledging" conference however governments will report back to the 47th session of UN General Assembly with their plans and commitments.

Bracketed text remained in the following areas:

  • ODA FOR AGENDA 21: Paragraph 15 (in the "Means of Implementation" section) deals with ODA as a source of funding for developing countries for the implementation of Agenda 21. The problem is over the target and timetable for developed countries to meet the UN target of 0.7 percent of GNP for ODA. Yesterday's draft text called for developed countries to "reaffirm their commitments" to reach this target. However, brackets remain around text that stipulates the timetable of the year 2000. Of the various formulations in brackets, G-77 members have suggested that the formulation that states that developed countries "agree to continue their efforts to achieve this level [by the year 2000 or as soon as possible thereafter]" would probably be acceptable to the group. Of course, this sentence does not apply to the US since it has never "affirmed" a commitment and, thus, cannot "reaffirm" either a target or timetable. A separate sentence covers the US, which states that "other developed countries in line with their support for reform efforts in developing countries, agree to make their best efforts to increase their level of ODA."
  • IDA REPLENISHMENT LEVELS: Paragraph 16(a)(i) deals with the replenishment of the IDA, one of the various existing funding sources and mechanisms used in particular for the poorest of developing countries. The ninth funding replenishment (IDA-9) was set at US$15.5 billion. In order to adjust for expansion of the world economy and inflation, it has been estimated that IDA-10 would have to be increased by approximately US$2 billion (although some observers have noted that this figure might be readjusted depending on whether funding to China is maintained at current figures). There is discussion regarding a possible increase to the IDA over and above the correction in real terms that would increase it by US$ 5 billion, otherwise known as the "Earth Increment". Of this money, US$ 1.5 billion would come from the World Bank's interest income with US$ 3.5 expected to come from developed country donors. Brackets in the Chair's draft text, as of yesterday afternoon, contained two versions: one that mentions the "Earth Increment" to the tenth replenishment; and one that mentions the "Earth Increment" in addition to maintenance of IDA-10 at IDA-9 levels corrected in real terms.
  • THE GEF AND CONDITIONALITY: The remaining brackets in the Chair's text, as of late yesterday afternoon, were related to the changes in governance in the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). These four sub-paragraphs deal with 1) transparent, democratic and balanced governance; 2) ensuring new and additional financial resources on grant and concessional terms; 3) predictability of flows; and finally, 4) access to and disbursement of the funds under mutually agreed criteria [without imposing conditionality]. The final bracketed phrase, as insisted on by the developing countries, is, according to several participants, the key that, if resolved, may lead to the removal of brackets around the other three paragraphs in the section.: Amb. Ricpero of Brazil has been charged by Tommy Koh with the responsibility of coordinating consultations at the ministerial level, in order to resolve all of these outstanding problems.

FOREST PRINCIPLES: Discussions on this document continuedinformally throughout the day yesterday. It was generally agreed bymost observers that three paragraphs would have to be negotiated atthe ministerial level: 1) paragraph (d) of the preamble that refersto the possible negotiation of a future legal instrument onforests; 2) paragraph 15 (b) that refers to the international tradein forest products [from sustainably managed forest resources],which is opposed by the Asian and African countries; and 3)paragraph 17 that [recognizes] or [takes into account] the role offorests as carbon sinks, which the G-77 would like to delete andthe Arabs would like to retain.

ATMOSPHERE: The contact group on Atmosphere completed itswork on Chapter 9 "Protection of the Atmosphere" on Wednesdayafternoon. However, the whole chapter remains in brackets becauseof the Saudi Arabian's insistence that the section on energy berevised to meet their concerns regarding the overemphasis on newand renewable energy throughout the text. Other contentious issuespertain to the phrase "safe and environmentally sound energysystems". With regard to the "chapeau" to the chapter, Northerngovernments were concerned that the measures to be carried out inaccordance with this chapter not only be cost effective butenvironmentally sound. As of last night, the Chair had preparedrevised text that had taken into account Wednesday morning'sdiscussions. This new text was transmitted to the Main Committeefor negotiation last night.


Editors' Note: The proceedings of the Main Committee meetingthat began at 8:00 pm last night will be reported in tomorrow'sissue of the Earth Summit Bulletin.

The Main Committee began its Wednesday afternoon session with aseries of announcements by the Chair, Tommy Koh, regarding thelimited time available to the Committee for completion of thenegotiations for all of Agenda 21. Remarking that Wednesday was thedeadline for the completion of the Main Committee's work, Kohimplored his colleagues in the room to refrain from extensivedebate. "If we continue to bargain here, the whole Conference is injeopardy," he said. "We must not let this Conference fail."

Koh began discussion on the Preamble and then proceeded to worksequentially through Agenda 21. The Committee approved theplacement of a paragraph in the Preamble on the special needs ofcountries with economies in transition (paragraph 1.4 bis), with aminor amendment to paragraph 1.4, ensuring that developingcountries are given priority in the allocation of new andadditional financial resources.

Chapters 2-8 required no further discussion, with the exception ofparagraph 7.51 in the Human Settlements chapter. This paragraphrelates to the chapters on atmosphere and forests and was deferreduntil further consultations could take place. Discussion onChapters 9 (atmosphere) and 10 (deforestation) was deferred untillater in the evening because the contact group's reports had notyet been made available.

Discussion then turned to Chapter 12 on desertification. Koh hadheld a series of consultations on the two paragraphs in thischapter that deal with a future legal instrument fordesertification. Based on these consultations, Koh presentedcompromise text on paragraph 12.40 that reads: "To request the UNGeneral Assembly at its 47th session to establish under the aegisof the General Assembly an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committeefor the elaboration of an international convention to combatdesertification in those countries experiencing serious droughtand/or desertification ... with the aim of completing it by June1994." However, when Koh asked if the Committee could adopt thistext, Portugal, on behalf of the European Community, announced thatit could not accept this text. This resulted in a flurry ofstatements from developing and developed countries alike offeringtheir support for Koh's compromise text and pleading with the EC toaccept it. During Koh's consultations, the EC had not, in fact,opposed the idea of a global desertification convention. At onepoint, Koh went so far as to say that he noted with pleasure therole reversal of the US and the EC on this issue. "The US is thegood guy and the EC is the bad guy," he said. Finally, at therequest of Mauritania, the Committee adjourned for 10 minutes sothat consultations could take place on this issue.

By the time Koh called the meeting to order, 45 minutes had passedduring which numerous consultations had been held among members ofthe EC and between the EC and the African Group. Portugal thentook the floor to announce that it would accept the wordingproposed by the Chair and will support the request for adesertification convention.

As Chapters 13 (mountains) and 14 (sustainable agriculture) wereclean texts, with the exception of the paragraphs on finance, Kohthen turned to Chapter 15 on biodiversity. The contact group,chaired by Amb. Vincente Sanchez of Chile, forwarded a clean textto the Main Committee for adoption. Ethiopia expressed reservationswith this "incomplete" text and attempted to make a rather lengthyamendment that addressed the needs of the countries and people whohave given up genetic wealth without adequate compensation. Kohresponded that it is not possible at this late date to reopen thetext. With a quick gavel and a muted round of applause, the chapterwas adopted. Ethiopia then requested the floor and gave animpassioned statement about the immense gaps in the both thebiodiversity convention and this chapter of Agenda 21. "Historywill be our judge," he said.

Discussion on Chapter 16 on biotechnology was postponed asconsultations were still underway. As Chapter 17 (oceans) was aclean text, Koh moved quickly to Chapter 18 on freshwaterresources. The contact group coordinator, Bukar Shaib of Nigeria,introduced the text and explained that after the introductory textwas adopted by the contact group, France had raised a point oforder to demand reinstatement of a paragraph that addresses theInternational Conference on Water and the Environment, which washeld in Dublin in January 1992. Shaib held additional consultationson this issue, however, France refused to support the compromisetext unless the Dublin Conference was mentioned. India, Colombiaand Argentina all urged for the introduction to be adopted as is.Koh also pleaded with France to adopt these paragraphs. France,however, maintained its position that this was an importantconference, held at the request of the UNCED PrepCom, and that itshould be mentioned in the introduction. Koh requested that theCommittee adopt the existing paragraphs and allow France theopportunity to consult with other delegations on the DublinConference.

Three other paragraphs in this chapter that set target dates forthe implementation of various activities remain bracketed untilChapter 33 on finance is resolved. Two paragraphs that include thephrase "people under occupation" remain bracketed at the US'srequest as they are the subject of consultations undertaken by Kohand were to be discussed later in the evening. Finally, theCommittee was able to adopt the new language for paragraphs18.22(p) and 18.95. The first paragraph, one of a list ofactivities to improve integrated water resources management, wasamended to read "Dissemination of information, includingoperational guidelines, and promotion of education for water users,including the consideration by the United Nations of a World WaterDay." The second paragraph, which addresses the impacts of climatechange on water resources, was amended to ensure consistency withthe Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Before Koh adjourned the meeting, the US asked what happened toparagraph 14.57(d) in the chapter on sustainable agriculture. Thisparagraph, which deals with plant genetic resources, had beenreferred to the contact group on biodiversity. Koh asked the chairof the contact group to report back on this paragraph after dinnerand then proceeded to adjourn the meeting. The meeting wasscheduled to resume at 8:00 pm.


If, as expected, the Main Committee worked through the night lastnight, there should be little activity at RioCentro today. ThePlenary will continue to meet. The first item on the agenda is thereport of the Credentials Committee, which met on Tuesday andapproved all of the credentials of representatives to theConference. The Plenary will then continue with the General Debate.Notable speeches may include: the Minister for Foreign Affairs ofPalestine, the Director-General of the General Agreement on Tariffsand Trade (GATT), and the Forum of Brazilian Non-GovernmentalOrganizations for UNCED '92.

If the Main Committee does not succeed in resolving all theoutstanding issues before it they will have to be taken to theMinisterial level for resolution. Although Tommy Koh pleaded withdelegates to reach consensus on all outstanding Agenda 21 chapters,he did not foreclose the possibility of referring remaining problemareas to the Plenary. If this is the case, the Plenary will have todiscuss these problems either today or on Sunday, since there willbe no time during the summit segment of the conference on Fridayand Saturday.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
African Group
Group of 77 and China