Daily report for 12 June 1992



FORESTS: The Forest Principles document was finalized Fridaymorning at 3:00 am and was scheduled to be sent to the PlenaryFriday night at 11:00 pm. In a open-ended ministerial level meetingthat began Thursday night at 10:00 pm, 18 countries, represented byno less than 11 ministers, finally agreed after modifications to aneight-paragraph package proposed by Klaus T”pfer, the GermanFederal Minister for the Environment. This agreement includes thefollowing points (italicized text reflects new language):

  • Paragraph (a) of the preamble was modified to read as follows: "The subject of forests is related to the entire range of environmental and development issues and opportunities including the right to socio-economic development on a sustainable basis."
  • Paragraph (d) of the preamble that dealt with a possible future legal instrument for forests was replaced with language that commits the governments to a prompt implementation of the principles and that they decide to keep them "under assessment for their adequacy with regard to further international cooperation on forest issues."
  • In paragraph (f) of the preamble, the phrase "are of value to the global environment" was replaced by "and are of value to local communities and to the environment as a whole."
  • Preamble paragraph (g) was replaced with the sentence, "Forests are essential to economic development and the maintenance of all forms of life." This replaces a complicated set of competing formulations including some phrases surrounded by three sets of brackets.
  • Paragraph 17 (carbon sinks) was deleted and elements placed into paragraph 2(b) that deals with the needs and uses of forests. The terms "photosynthesis" and "carbon fixation" were replaced with "carbon sinks and reservoirs".
  • Paragraph 8(d) was re-written to read "Sustainable forest management and use should be carried out in accordance with national development policies and priorities and on the basis of environmentally sound national guidelines. In the formulation of such guidelines, account should be taken, as appropriate and if applicable, of relevant agreed methodologies and criteria."
  • Paragraph 8(g), that addresses the sharing of biotechnology (from the North) in exchange for access to biodiversity (from the South), was reformulated to allow access to biological resources in trade for the sharing of technology and profits from biotechnology "on mutually agreed terms."
  • Paragraph 8(h), dealing with environmental impact statements was amended to read "and where such actions are subject to a decision of a competent national authority."
  • Paragraph 12 (transfer of technology) was adopted, as suggested in T”pfer's "package", to include the phrase, "access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies and corresponding know-how on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, in accordance with the relevant provisions of Agenda 21, should be promoted, facilitated and financed, as appropriate."
  • The "trade policies" paragraph was amended with the phrase, "adequate policies, aimed at management, conservation and sustainable development of forests, including where appropriate incentives, should be encouraged."
  • Paragraph 15(b), which dealt with international trade in sustainably managed forest resources, was deleted.

The only other outstanding issue was paragraph 11.14(e) from theAgenda 21 chapter on combatting deforestation that addresses theprinciples and the possibility of future international agreementson forests. This was amended to read as follows: governments would"consider the need for and the feasibility of all kinds ofappropriate internationally agreed arrangements to promoteinternational cooperation on forest management, conservation andsustainable development of all types of forests includingafforestation, reforestation, and rehabilitation."

FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Final negotiations on financialresources appeared to be drawing to a successful close as of lateFriday afternoon. In his progress report to the General Committee(members of the Bureaus of both the Plenary and the Main Committee)at noon Friday, Amb. Rubens Ricpero announced that consensus hadbeen reached on several paragraphs:

  • In paragraph 10, the sentence that deals with the provision of new and additional resources, and includes the word "including", was broken into two parts. The first sentence now only deals with the fact that the implementation of Agenda 21 requires new and additional resources. The second sentence now deals with the terms on which these resources will be provided.
  • In paragraph 16(a)(iii), on the GEF, the problem pertained to the word "conditionality." The compromise now reads, "Ensure access to and disbursement of the funds under mutually agreed criteria without introducing new forms of conditionality."

Jan Pronk, Minister of Development Cooperation from theNetherlands, has been assigned responsibility for conductingbilateral consultations on paragraph 15, which deals with targetsand timetables for ODA. As of late Friday afternoon, consultationswere still underway.

As of Friday afternoon, Ambassador Ricpero was still holdingconsultations on paragraph 16(a)(i), that deals with IDA and the"Earth Increment". The present round of IDA replenishment, IDA-10,is underway and will conclude in December 1992. Current textualoptions call for IDA-10 to be maintained at IDA-9 levels, correctedin real terms, plus an increase of approximately US$5 billion inthe form of the Earth Increment. Some governments are concernedthat if UNCED commits to levels for the IDA-10 replenishment itwill limit or foreclose options within the ongoing negotiations inother fora. Others believe that it is unrealistic to set fundinglevels before reviewing the projects that IDA-10 would fund.Delegates within the negotiations believed that compromise languagewould be found before the 11:00 pm deadline.

Finally, paragraph 16(e), which deals with debt relief, is nowunder review. Particularly problematic, for some developedcountries, is the phrase "further measures and eligible countriesshould be kept under review." Some countries feel that this mightexpand the list of countries available for special debt reliefconsideration beyond the list of the poorest heavily indebtedcountries under an expanded definition of the Trinidad agreement ofDecember 1991. By late Friday afternoon, text was being circulatedprivately among governments. This text was reported to replace thisphrase with: "debt problems of the poorest and low and middleincome countries will be kept under review." Negotiators wereconfident that this would be resolved in time for the 11:00 pmPlenary.

ATMOSPHERE: Informal consultations continued at theministerial level to resolve the one outstanding issue in theAtmosphere chapter, the phrase "safe and" wherever the reference toenergy systems occurs in the chapter. The Saudis continue to pressfor the retention of the phrase, despite the opposition of manycountries who maintain that the phrase connotes an anti-nuclearbias. In an effort to broker compromise, Amb. Bo Kjell‚n, chair ofthe Atmosphere contact group that met over the last two weeks,presented a generic solution whereby the reference to "safe and"would be deleted from the chapter and a reference would be insertedin the chapeau to Agenda 21 to state that wherever technology isreferred to in the document, it should be assumed that suchreference implies environmentally safe and sound technology.Besides the Chair's proposal, the only other viable solution wouldbe to delete, against the Saudis' will, the reference to "safeand". However, in so doing, the Saudis would retain the right tomake formal reservations to the section. In yesterday's ministerial consultations, it appeared that the Saudis would not accept theso-called "chapeau" solution, thus presenting the group with thelatter option. By 6:00 pm it appeared that this issue would have to be resolved in Plenary.


58 Heads of State or Government gave speeches in the Fridaysession of the Summit. Some of the key points of several of thosespeeches are summarized below:

Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's speech focused on thekey development concerns of the G-77. He referred poignantly to thefact that we inhabit a single planet but several worlds, and thatsuch a fragmented planet cannot survive in harmony with Nature andthe environment. Narasimha called for recognition of the realitythat the resources of the planet can sustain a given populationwithin a certain range of exploitation, subject to a given rate ofregeneration and maintenance. Any imbalance in the equation is sureto cut short the life of the planet.

UK Prime Minister John Major referred to the fact that muchenvironmental degradation has been inflicted, not out of greed ormalice, but out of ignorance. Major expressed disappointment withsome of the Conference's results, especially the lack of a bindingagreement on forests, and called for effective follow-up to boththe Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. Specificcommitments announced include: hosting of a Global TechnologyPartnership Conference; commitment to new and additional resourcesthrough the GEF (although no amount was indicated); support for theEarth Increment; and hosting a major NGO global forum on the NGOrole in the implementation of Agenda 21.

On behalf of the EC and its member states, Portuguese PrimeMinister Anibal Cavaco Silva praised the Rio Declaration as a basisfor the establishment of new relations between all parties thatwill have to provide answers appropriate to the challenge at hand.Although he did express disappointment with the BiodiversityConvention for having fallen short of initial expectations, Silvaappealed for the greatest number of States to sign and ratify theConvention. Commitments were also made to allocate US$4 billion,including new and additional resources, for specific projects andkey programmes in Agenda 21.

Cuban President Fidel Castro's speech, while shortest in length,aroused the greatest volume of applause. Castro called for a moreequitable distribution of wealth and technologies to spare humanityfrom mass destruction; repayment of the ecological debt in lieu ofthe foreign debt; science working for sustainable developmentwithout contamination; and the elimination of hunger instead ofmankind. He urged that "less luxury and wastage in a few countrieswould amount to less poverty and hunger in a large part of theEarth".

Justice D.F. Annan, Vice-President of Ghana, articulated the majorconcerns of the G-77 that will hinder implementation of Agenda 21and that were inadequately addressed at UNCED: lack of attentionregarding the existent adverse international economic environment;inequities within the world trade regime; restricted access toworld markets; unfair commodity pricing; unsustainable consumptionin the North; debt relief; separate funding mechanisms beyond theGEF; and favorable access to private-sector held technologies fordeveloping countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney proposed a five-point planfor implementation of UNCED outcomes. Most noteworthy were thefinancial commitments: Cdn$115 million to developing countries forforest management; elimination of Cdn$145 million ODA debt of LatinAmerican countries in exchange for sustainable developmentprojects; replenishment to the GEF (although no amount specified);and Cdn$50 million in humanitarian assistance to drought-strickennations.

US President George Bush stressed the strong environmental recordof the US, which he called "second to none". Recognizing thecriticism that the US has faced, he said, "I didn't come here toapologize." Bush announced that he had just signed the ClimateChange Convention and called for a meeting to be held before 1January 1993 to discuss means of implementing the Convention. Hestated that US initiatives to protect biodiversity will exceed theprovisions of the Convention but that he will not sign it.

Latvian President Anatolijs Gorbunovs stressed the difficulty inovercoming the crisis left behind by a century of totalitarianrule. He appealed for support of the demand of the withdrawal ofSoviet troops from the Baltic Republics and called for a"Disarmament for Environment" summit meeting early next summer.

L. Erskine Sandiford, Prime Minister of Barbados, said that theClimate Change Convention is not perfect, but provides a basis forfuture negotiations. He urged that the first protocol addressstabilization and reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Heclosed with a poem, "Ode to the Environment," that he wrote on theoccasion of this conference.

Dutch Prime Minister R.F.M. Lubbers announced that Dutch ODA levelsexceed the 0.7% target. "My government is willing to provide newand additional financial resources up to a maximum of 0.1% GNP forthe implementation of global environmental agreements, providedthat other countries take a similar course in generating resourcesfor such an earth increment," he said. He also stated that theNetherlands will continue to call for the involvement of NGOs inthe UN decision-making process.

Colombian President Cesar Gaviria Trujillo said that UNCED hasfallen short on the issue of financing and that funding fromdeveloped countries are not only inadequate but they focus on theenvironment not development. "Sooner or later the planet will sendall of us the bill, rich and poor alike."

Croatian Prime Minister Franjo Greguric said that internationalrecognition has not brought peace to Croatia. Croatia must firstrestore peace and only then can it address the massiveenvironmental destruction that the war has brought. He concluded byreading from a letter from a nine-year-old girl: "The earth suffersbecause so few people love it."

Russian Vice President A.V. Rutskoy announced that the RussianFederation is setting up new environmental structures and haslearned lessons from a history of environmental disasters, theworst of which was Chernobyl. Since ecological catastrophes know nointernational boundaries, there must be environmental monitoringand an ecological early warning system.


PLENARY: The Plenary resumes this morning to hear speeches from 28 Heads of State or Government in the morning and anadditional 21 in the afternoon. Speakers include NicaraguanPresident Violeta Barrios de Chamorro and Norwegian Prime MinisterGro Harlem Brundtland, the only women out of 107 Heads of State orGovernment that will have addressed the Plenary by the end of theday.

MEETING OF HEADS OF STATE OR GOVERNMENT: This meeting willcommence after the conclusion of the final meeting of the Summitthis afternoon. Although it is scheduled for 5:00 pm, it will notstart until the last of the 49 speakers has concluded his speech.Only one Head of State or Government and one aide will be able toattend. There will be only eight speakers in the one-hour session:President Collor, the President of the Conference, UNSecretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali, UNCED Secretary-GeneralMaurice Strong and representatives from the five regional groups.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions