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CHAPTER 40: INFORMATION FOR DECISION MAKING

This chapter of Agenda 21 addresses the issues of collecting and using information for sustainable development and monitoring the implementation of Agenda 21. This chapter was completed at PrepCom IV and no further discussion was needed at the Conference. The two programme areas in this chapter are: Bridging the data gap; and Improving information availability.

PART II: AUTHORITATIVE STATEMENT OF FOREST PRINCIPLES

The Forest Principles document, (officially, the "Non-legally binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests) arrived in Rio in a state of disarray with 73 separate pairs of brackets surrounding text in more than a dozen individual problem areas. Some observers spoke of its intractablity and the chances that UNCED would drop this document or defer discussion of forest principles to another fora. The greatest problem facing the Chair of the Main Committee, Tommy Koh, was the selection of the issue coordinator who would lead negotiations in the contact group. Despite initial hesitation, PrepCom coordinator Charles Liburd of Guyana, was reappointed.

Negotiations began on Thursday, 4 June and continued until Friday, 12 June at 3:00 am when agreement was finally reached. While many believed that the negotiations here were more productive than at PrepCom IV, the debate was still acrimonious. It was only when the debate reached impasse and the responsibility for negotiations at the ministerial level was passed to Klaus T”pfer, the German Federal Minister for the Environment, that success was achieved.

During the first week sub-contact groups were formed to deal with individual paragraphs, while the contact group dealt with the less problematic areas. Some participants reported that while consensus text might emerge from these smaller sub-contact negotiating groups, the compromise language was often lost when they reported back to the contact group and discussion was re-opened. When Liburd reported back to Koh at the last all-night session of the Main Committee, consensus had not been reached on four paragraphs in the preamble with a further nine paragraphs bracketed and subject to reservation.

T”pfer assumed responsibility for the ministerial level negotiations on Thursday, 11 June. In a open-ended meeting that began at 10:00 pm, 18 countries, represented by no less than 11 ministers, finally agreed after modifications to an eight-paragraph package proposed by Klaus T”pfer. This agreement includes the following points (italicized text reflects new language):

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