Daily report for 9 June 1992



FRESHWATER RESOURCES: The contact group on freshwaterresources held its last meeting on Monday night to discuss thecoordinator's draft of the introduction and the three bracketedparagraphs that remain in this chapter of Agenda 21. Although mostdelegates were satisfied with the draft of the introduction, therewas some concern about the mention of the International Conferenceon Water and the Environment that was held in Dublin in January1992. A number of delegations believed that reference should not bemade to the Dublin Conference because: (1) not all of therecommendations of the Dublin Conference were incorporated intoAgenda 21; (2) this was a conference of experts, not governments;and (3) the recommendations were agreed to by vote and notconsensus. Only a few delegates argued for retention of thisparagraph. The coordinator hoped that he could meet with thosedelegates who wanted to keep the paragraph and reach a compromise.

The other bracketed paragraphs address targets and timetables forthe implementation of various activities in the chapter. Members ofthe G-77 recognize the importance of setting such targets, but wantto ensure that there are new and additional resources available tohelp them meet these targets, otherwise the targets will beunrealistic. However, one developed country delegation insisted onbracketing the mention of "new and additional financial resources"in each of these paragraphs. Thus, it was agreed that theseparagraphs will be sent to the Main Committee for final resolution.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISMS: Negotiations onfinancial resources and mechanisms resumed yesterday and continuedthrough the day and into the night. As of early evening, delegateswere still huddled together drafting text and many felt that theywould work until they had completed a consensus text.

The meeting of the contact group, originally scheduled for 10:00am, was cancelled. Instead, a smaller group met in Conference RoomA for a very informal-informal session. Originally designed to bea drafting group of eight industrialized and eight developingcountry representatives, the group grew during the day as delegatesdrifted in and out of the room.

It was reported that a new Chair's draft text was delivered in themorning for consideration, although by the end of the day delegatessaid that they were no longer working from that text but draftingparagraphs one-by-one. The meeting was chaired by the Braziliancontact group coordinator, Amb. Ricpero, and attended by MainCommittee Chair Tommy Koh. Information coming out of the room waslimited and most diplomats said that the situation was in too muchof a state of flux to report. Some were certain that resolutionwould be achieved during the evening. All indications are that ifthe draft text is completed by this informal-informal group, itwill be transmitted to the regional groups early this morning.

ATMOSPHERE: The contact group met Tuesday morning and wasscheduled to continue Tuesday evening. Discussions resumed in themorning session on the problematic Programme Area B, "PromotingSustainable Development". The most difficult section of thisprogramme area remains the section on energy development,efficiency and consumption, with certain Arab delegationscontinuing to reserve their right to retain the entire chapter inbrackets until this section is resolved to their satisfaction.Anticipating a difficult debate, the Chair decided to focus firston the latter sections of this programme area (ie., the sections ontransportation; industrial development; and terrestrial and marineresource development and land use) in hope that agreement on thesesections would facilitate agreement on the energy section. Byearly Tuesday evening, the contact group had managed to workthrough most of these latter sections. The contact group wasscheduled to meet Tuesday evening to attempt to resolve the energysection as well as the second unresolved paragraph of theG-77-proposed chapeau. The second paragraph calls for measurestaken under this chapter to be cost-effective and economicallyfeasible, in light of the fact that developing countries have astheir overriding priorities, economic and social development andpoverty eradication.

BIODIVERSITY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY: The contact group metTuesday afternoon to complete its work on the Biodiversity andBiotechnology chapters. The group was able to remove squarebrackets or agree on compromise language for all the outstandingparagraphs, with the exception of paragraph 15.4(j), which pertainsto the rights of countries of origin to benefit from thebiotechnological development and the commercial utilization ofproducts derived from such resources. This paragraph will bedeferred to the Main Committee for final resolution. Thus, thefollowing issues have now been resolved: fair and equitable sharingof benefits derived from research and development and use ofbiological and genetic resources; promotion of nationalregistration related to biological resources; and technologytransfer. The success of the contact group in removing most of thechapter's square brackets was particularly noteworthy in light ofthe fact that only days earlier, the group appeared unable to reachconsensus with several countries calling for the re-opening ofseveral provisions of the Biodiversity Convention.

The contact group was also successful in removing all of the squarebrackets in the biotechnology text, but for the paragraphs thatdeal with liability and compensation. Both of these paragraphs willbe deferred to the Main Committee

LEGAL INSTRUMENTS: The Legal Instruments contact group wasable to resolve bracketed paragraphs related to the nuclear safetyconvention; the trade issue; compliance; and dispute prevention. Onthe matter of the nuclear safety convention, compromise languagenow states "in view of the vital necessity to ensure safe andenvironmentally-sound nuclear power, and in order to strengtheninternational cooperation in this field, efforts should be made toconclude the negotiation of a nuclear safety convention within theframework of the International Atomic Energy Agency." Thisparagraph differs from the original paragraph, which referred tothe necessity of "continuing to promote the highest level of safeand environmentally-sound management of nuclear powerworldwide...". On the question of compliance with internationalagreements, compromise language resulted in the deletion of theword "compliance" throughout the chapter and replacement with thephrase "effective, full and prompt implementation". The programmearea on "Dispute prevention and settlement" is now referred to as"Dispute avoidance and settlement", thus representing weakerlanguage. By the end of Tuesday morning, it appeared that theenvironmental crimes paragraph was indeed going to be restricted totimes of war. However, by the end of Tuesday afternoon, there wassome optimism that it would be restored to its former state andthus apply in both times of war and peace. This matter should beresolved by this morning.

FOREST PRINCIPLES: The Forest Principles contact groupresumed negotiations yesterday morning. Many observers predictedearly in the day that since this document was far from completion,there was little chance of successful negotiation in time fortransmission to the Main Committee. Progress was made during theday and the contact group officially ended its work, although manyparagraphs were sent in brackets to other contact groups and theMain Committee. While the morning session was the last scheduledmeeting of the contact group, the Chair was able to arrange a roomto work in and held an additional session from 4:00 until 6:30 pm.

Paragraph 8(d), dealing with guidelines for sustainable forestmanagement, was sent to the Main Committee for resolution.Paragraph 8(h) on national policies and environmental impactstatements was brought back unresolved from a sub-contact group andeventually sent on to the Main Committee as well. The paragraphdealing with historical compensation and lost opportunity cost(paragraph 10) has been deleted. A separate sub-contact group wasestablished to work on all the "trade" references (tariff barriersfor forest products and unilateral trade bans) and compromise textwas reported at the end of the day. Paragraph 8(g) on the linkagesbetween biodiversity and biotechnology was sent to the contactgroup on biodiversity for resolution. Paragraph 11 (financialresources for sustainable forest development) was sent to theFinance contact group and paragraph 12 (transfer of technology toenable developing countries to manage their forest resources) wassent to the Transfer of Technology contact group. Paragraph 15(b)on trade in forest products and paragraph 17 on forests as carbonsinks were sent to the Main Committee. Paragraphs (a), (d), (f) and(g) from the preamble, including the "right to develop" and "futurelegal instruments", were sent on to the Main Committee in brackets.

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY: The contact group on transfer oftechnology finished removing brackets from Chapter 34 of Agenda 21as well as all of the paragraphs from other chapters that deal withtechnology transfer. Early in the afternoon it was agreed that thethree most difficult paragraphs in the chapter would be worked onas a single package in a sub-contact group. These paragraphs were:34.14(b) on terms of transfer; 34.11 on international business asan important vehicle for technology transfer; and 34.18(e)(iv) onthe abuse of intellectual property rights in the case of privatelyowned technologies.

After careful negotiation, the sub-group agreed on compromise textfor paragraphs 34.11 and 34.18(e)(iv). Since this text wasacceptable to the US, it agreed to release its reservations onparagraph 13.14. The compromise text in 34.11, which addressed theavailability of proprietary technology through commercial channels,states that while "concepts and modalities for assured access toenvironmentally [safe and] sound technologies... continue to beexplored, enhanced access" to such technologies should be"promoted, facilitated and financed as appropriate." The compromisetext in paragraph 34.18(e)(iv) reads, "In compliance with and underthe specific circumstances recognized by the relevant internationalconventions adhered to by states," states should undertake"measures to prevent the abuse of intellectual property rights,including rules with respect to their acquisition throughcompulsory licensing, with the provision of equitable and adequatecompensation;".

The only outstanding issue remaining in Chapter 34 is the questionof the transfer of environmentally [safe and] sound technology. Allreferences to "safe and" in the text remain bracketed, pending theoutcome of a blanket decision on this issue, which is beingaddressed in the contact group on atmosphere, where Saudi Arabiafirst proposed the phrase. Agreement has even been reached on thetitle, one of the most contentious issues at PrepCom IV. The titleof the chapter now reads, "Transfer of Environmentally [Safe and]Sound Technology, Cooperation and Capacity Building." Finally, thecontact group addressed all of the bracketed paragraphs in Agenda21 that were referred to it by the Main Committee. The final textfor these paragraphs is expected to be distributed in the MainCommittee today.


Tommy Koh continued to hold informal consultations on the issue ofa desertification convention. It appears as though the US haschanged its position, now accepting the idea of an internationaldesertification convention to be convened by 1994 aimed atbenefitting those countries facing serious drought anddesertification. Previously, the US had supported a regionalconvention for Africa. A number of other developed countries,however, are still unwilling to support a "global" desertificationconvention, insisting on a regional treaty.


Members of the European Community met Tuesday morning and emergedwith text of a statement regarding the Climate Change Convention.This statement will be made by Anibal Cavaco Silva, the PortuguesePrime Minister, when the EC signs the Convention, reportedly on 12June. In this statement, the Community and its Member States willmake four major points: (1) the early ratification of theConvention; (2) a reaffirmation of the objective of stabilizationof CO2 emissions by 2000 at 1990 levels in the Community as awhole, and confirmation that they "are working on a CommunityStrategy to limit carbon dioxide emissions and to improve energyefficiency" (carbon tax); (3) early preparation of protocols; and(4) the call for "other industrialised countries to take steps andcommitments similar to those adopted or foreseen by the Communityand its Member States."


MAIN COMMITTEE: The Main Committee will convene this morningto address all outstanding phrases, paragraphs and chapters ofAgenda 21. Since this is the last day that the Main Committee isscheduled to meet, it is possible that the Committee will meet allday and well into the night. Among the issues still to be agreedupon (and not discussed by the contact groups) are the call for ainternational convention on desertification; the phrase "peopleunder occupation" in Agenda 21; the military establishment andhazardous waste; environmentally [safe and] sound technology" andthe Rio Declaration.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISMS: If the negotiations anddrafting last night proceeded as had been hoped in theinformal-informal sessions, a new text should be transmitted to theregional groups this morning. This text would then be forwarded tothe Financial Resources contact group scheduled (as of last night)for this morning and then to the Main Committee later in the day.

FOREST PRINCIPLES: Although this contact group has finishedits work, bracketed portions of the forest principles document maystill have to be resolved in other contact groups as well as in theMain Committee. When this document reaches the Main Committeetoday, look for some tough chairing by Tommy Koh and some equallystrong diplomatic sparring from the key delegations such as India,Malaysia, the US and several others.

ATMOSPHERE: The contact group was expected to have completedits work last night on the Atmosphere chapter, and in particular,the energy section of Programme Area B "Promoting sustainabledevelopment". If the group has not succeeded in resolving theoutstanding issues, they may choose to continue their work in thecontact group or defer bracketed text to the Main Committee.

BIODIVERSITY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY: The Main Committee willaddress the outstanding issues from these two chapters. The onebracketed paragraph from the biodiversity chapter pertains to therights of countries of origin, and the two bracketed paragraphsfrom the biotechnology text refer to liability and compensation.

LEGAL INSTRUMENTS: If Tuesday's informal consultations havesucceeded in resolving the environmental crimes paragraph, thecontact group will be able to send clean text to the Main Committeefor ratification.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China