Plenary resumed working its way through its lengthy speakers list. The most notable speech of the morning, delivered by Segolene Royal, French Minister for the Environment, set out France's commitments as follows: signing of both the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions; support for future forests and desertification conventions; acknowledgement of the special responsibilities of developed countries; commitment to meet the UN ODA target of 0.7% of GNP by 2000; contribution of approximately US$125 million to the GEF; a role for NGOs in the Sustainable Development Commission; and support for the Rio Declaration.
The Fourth Meeting of the Plenary opened yesterday afternoon with the election of the nine Vice-Presidents from the Asian States as the first item on the agenda. Due to the inability of the Asian Group to reach agreement earlier in the week on their nine nominees, a secret ballot was supposed to be held. This would have been the first vote to have ever been taken within the UNCED process. Pakistan, on behalf of the G-77, announced that both Pakistan and Japan had withdrawn themselves from the list of nominees, therefore, obviating the necessity for an election.
"General debate" resumed with Thorbj"rn Berntsen, Norwegian Environment Minister, who called on GATT to address the connection between trade and environment. He also called for the improvement of international standards for dealing with nuclear waste as well as replacement of the most dangerous nuclear plants with environmentally sound alternatives. He also mentioned that the participation of NGOs in the UNCED process "points the way towards a closer working relationship between the independent sector and Governments all over the world." Other interesting points from the afternoon's session include UNDP Administrator William H. Draper's commitment to the establishment of an international sustainable development center in Brazil, and, the pledge of UNDP's assistance for capacity building.
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