Editors' Note: This is the first of three issues of the "Earth Negotiations Bulletin" that will be published during the course of the UN General Assembly's negotiations on UNCED-related issues and follow-up. The second issue will be published in mid-November and the final issue will be published at the conclusion of the 47th General Assembly in December.
Five months after the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, the UN General Assembly met this week to review the accomplishments of the Conference and to embark on the follow-up process. Initially, only two days were scheduled for formal discussions on this issue, however, as the speakers' list continued to grow it soon became apparent that the debate would last through the week. Following the conclusion of the general debate, an open-ended working group under the chairmanship of Malaysian Ambassador Razali Ismail will begin the challenging task of negotiating a number of resolutions on UNCED follow-up. These include the resolutions establishing the high-level Commission on Sustainable Development, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to elaborate a framework convention to combat desertification and drought, a conference on the sustainable development of small island states and a conference on high seas fisheries.
The following is a summary of the highlights of the General Assembly debate.