Daily report for 8 June 1992



FOREST PRINCIPLES: Negotiations continued throughout theday, both in the contact group and in the sub-contact groups, onthe Forest Principles document. Agreement was reported to have beenreached on paragraph 8(a) that deals with efforts towards "greeningthe world". After the sub-contact group reported back, furtherdiscussions were still required on paragraph 7(b) that deals withfinancial arrangements for countries that set aside forest cover.This was eventually resolved. Problems with paragraph 8(d) onguidelines for forest management proved so intractable that it wasreferred to the Main Committee. Paragraph 8(h) has providedproblems for one delegation that will not accept agreement thatnational policies should ensure that environmental impactstatements be carried out where "private" actions might adverselyaffect forest resources. By the end of the afternoon only onesub-contact group had not reported progress back to the Chair. Thatgroup dealt with paragraphs 9(a) and 9(c) on the role ofindebtedness, transfer of resources, economic environment andmarket forces in relation to forest resources and policies, as wellas forest policy formulation. Several delegates reported tension inthe contact group as a result of several factors: new negotiatorswho lack the "institutional memory" of the debate as it has beenplayed out over the last year and a half; dissatisfaction with theamount of freedom given the delegates by the Chair; and tensionbetween some industrialized countries.

LEGAL INSTRUMENTS: The Instruments contact group met onMonday to resolve outstanding issues in Chapter 39 of Agenda 21.Discussion focused on paragraph 39.6(b), which calls for theimplementation of a nuclear safety convention. The G-77 called forthe deletion of this paragraph while several Northern states,including the EC, Sweden, and Japan, argued for its retention.Compromise language is being prepared by the Chair, Nabil el-Arabi.

It appears that the delicate consensus that had been reached on theenvironmental crimes paragraph has been lost. The language hadcalled for the consideration of measures for the prevention oflarge-scale environmental destruction in both times of war andpeace. Two delegations have now called for the restriction of thisprovision to times of war only.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISMS: The Chair's draft textof the Financial Resources and Mechanisms chapter of Agenda 21 wasthe object of discussion both in and outside of the meeting roomsyesterday. The G-77 met in the morning to review the document andprepare amendments to the text. One delegate, who was present atthe G-77 meeting, commented that with time running out, the groupwas making an effort to draft amendments so that the industrializedcountries would be able to meet them halfway.

The contact group convened at 3:00 pm and, after several generalstatements on the Chair's text, began workingparagraph-by-paragraph through the text. Problems emerged on thefirst paragraph to be negotiated, paragraph 2, and general debateensued. The G-77 then orally proposed a set of more than 40amendments to the text. These reportedly include the establishmentof the year 2000 as a target date to reach 0.7% of GNP for ODA, theremoval of the notion of "free trade" to be replaced by "equitableterms of trade" and removal of the notion of "growth". Writtencopies of the G-77 amendments were requested by severaldelegations. The mood of delegates leaving the closed meeting roomat 6:00 pm was far less optimistic than when they had entered.

One interesting note attached to the Chair's draft text suggests astandard way of resolving bracketed paragraphs in each Agenda 21chapter under "Means of Implementation." A "boiler-plate" paragraphwould be inserted that refers to the UNCED Secretariat's "estimate"of the cost of the programme, but would note that the exact costswill depend on the "specific strategies and programmes governmentsand institutions decide upon for implementation." The fate of thisparagraph as a replacement for almost all the bracketed textremaining in Agenda 21 depends on the resolution of the "Means ofImplementation" section in the Chair's draft text for this chapter.

ATMOSPHERE: A small drafting group met on Monday to developthe chapeau for Chapter 9 "Protection of the Atmosphere". Theprimary objective of the drafting group is to produce a chapeauthat not only builds on the draft prepared by the G-77 on Saturday,but that takes into account the concerns of all countries. Someprogress was achieved on the first paragraph of the G-77 draft thatstates "no state can be expected to take measures under thischapter which exceed the provision of" the Climate ChangeConvention. This paragraph will be balanced with a statement thatrecognizes the right of states not to be limited to the scope ofthe Convention. The drafting group met Monday evening to addressthe second paragraph which calls not only for recognition of theoverriding priorities of developing countries regarding economicand social development and poverty eradication, but recognitionthat measures "taken under this chapter should be cost-effectiveand economically feasible". The contact group on Atmosphere alsomet yesterday to continue negotiation of Chapter 9. The group spentall afternoon on Programme Area B, "Promoting sustainabledevelopment", and in particular, the section on energy development,efficiency and consumption. This is the most problematic programmearea of the entire chapter, having taken three hours to negotiatethree paragraphs. Despite the urging of the Swedish Chair, Amb. BoKjell‚n, to resolve outstanding issues, the Arab Group continued toreserve its right to retain the entire chapter in brackets untilthis programme area is resolved to their satisfaction. Given thatthe contact group has only one more meeting scheduled, it will takeconsiderable compromise on both sides in order for agreement to bereached.

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY: The contact group on transfer oftechnology met yesterday afternoon and progressed through most ofthe remaining bracketed text in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21. Althoughagreement is being reached on some of the contentious issues, somedelegates have expressed a certain degree of frustration with thelevel of detail of the negotiations. The contact group commencedits discussion at the beginning of the text to enable governmentsthat had reservations to paragraphs negotiated on Friday to reportback. The US was still unable to accept paragraph 13.14(b), theobjective that deals with the terms of transfer, until issues inother related bracketed paragraphs have been resolved.

One of the difficult issues of the afternoon was paragraph34.18(e), which deals with the access of developing countries toprivately owned technologies. Two sub-paragraphs were deferred toRio in brackets. The first, sub-paragraph (iv), deals with thecompulsory acquisition of such technologies and the second,sub-paragraph (v), deals with the provision of financial resourcesto acquire these technologies. A sub-contact group was set up todeal with the former. After a lengthy discussion, that paragraphwas expanded to identify conditions under which compulsoryacquisition and licensing (with the provision of equitable andadequate compensation) would apply and how to deal with abuses ofintellectual property rights.

INSTITUTIONS: The contact group was scheduled to meet Mondayevening to attempt to resolve outstanding concerns with theInstitutions chapter, and in particular, the sections that dealwith the Sustainable Development Commission. Yesterday afternoon,the Malaysian Chair, Amb. Ismail Razali, released another non-paperbased on informal consultations held on 6 June. Of particular noteis the redrafted paragraph 38.13(b) that further weakens thenational reporting requirement by providing states the option tosubmit information to the Commission "in the form of periodiccommunications or national reports". (emphasis added). Anearlier draft referred only to "periodic reports".


On Monday there were no meetings open to either press or NGOs,except the interminable speeches in Plenary. For everyone, the taskof following the frantic pace of negotiations taking place in thecontact groups, sub-contact groups, small offices and thecorridors, was frustrating. With perseverance, and a lot of luck,it was possible to glean news of what was actually happening behindclosed doors.

In the morning, consultations were held on the issue of storage anddisposal of radioactive waste near the marine environment. Thisparagraph remained bracketed at the end of PrepCom IV because onedelegation was unable to accept language implying thatinternational organizations, rather than states, would beresponsible for determining the risk of such practices. Compromisewas achieved yesterday, when it was clarified that states, incooperation with international organizations, would assess whetherscientific evidence indicates that storage or disposal ofradioactive waste near the marine environment poses anyunacceptable risk to people and the marine environment.

In other consultations, Main Committee Chair Tommy Koh met withinterested parties to discuss the issue of calling for a conventionon desertification. Some delegates are calling for a regionalconvention to address desertification solely in Africa, whereasothers prefer a global instrument. The issue was discussedthroughout the day in the corridors and by late afternoon,according to one delegate, compromise was close at hand. The natureof this compromise, however, has not yet been revealed.


FINANCIAL RESOURCES: As copies begin circulating of theproposed G-77 amendments to the Chair's draft text of the FinancialResources and Mechanisms chapter, the G-77's direction in thesenegotiations will become clearer. The contact group will convenethis morning at 10:00 am behind closed doors. Several diplomatshave commented that the timing of the Summit session actuallyhinders negotiations on financial resources since commitments ofmoney to "prime the pump" are needed now and not when the Heads ofState and Government arrive this weekend. It is possible thatsignals may be given that will indicate what financial commitmentsto Agenda 21 will be announced this weekend.

FOREST PRINCIPLES: Ambassador Liburd will continue to leadthis group through more bracketed text today. Meetings begin at10:00 am and will probably continue through the day and into theevening, possibly breaking up into more sub-contact groups to dealwith particularly intractable text. Look for long sessions and theinevitable "bust-up" over the "right to develop" phrase in thepreamble. Brackets still remain on paragraphs dealing with "lostopportunity costs", technology [transfer] [cooperation], as well astrade barriers and other impediments hindering free trade in forestproducts.

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY: When discussions resume today, thecontact group is expected to complete its negotiations of Chapter34 of Agenda 21 and to begin to address a number of bracketedparagraphs that deal with technology transfer in other chapters.These paragraphs have been referred to the contact group by theMain Committee. This afternoon's meeting is the last one scheduledfor this contact group, but it is uncertain whether the group canfinish its work today.

ATMOSPHERE: The Atmosphere contact group will meet for thelast time today. At this point, it appears unlikely that it willsucceed in resolving the debate surrounding Programme Area B"Promotion of Sustainable Development" since the Arab groupcontinues to reserve its right to retain the entire chapter inbrackets until the sections pertaining to energy efficiency andconservation are resolved to their satisfaction.

LEGAL INSTRUMENTS: A small drafting group will meet thismorning at 10:00 am to continue negotiations on the nuclear safetyconvention paragraph. The contact group will meet tonight toattempt to resolve outstanding issues such as compliance withinternational agreements and the environmental crimes provision.Watch for a very heated debate to unfold between those countrieswho support the broader language, such as the EC and the Nordics,and those countries, such as the US and several G-77 countries,which prefer to have the provision restricted to times of war only.

IN THE CORRIDORS: Look for movement today around the various"like-minded-countries" declarations calling for stronger targetsand timetables for reductions of CO2 emissions. There has been sometalk of an EC declaration being announced despite strong diplomaticpressure against such an initiative. Look for possible concessionsto be made by certain states in order to encourage severalindustrialized nations to sign the Biodiversity Convention.


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