The programme area of Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 on the sustainable development of small island developing States requests that the UNGA convene a conference to address this issue. Within the G-77, the members of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) took it upon themselves to draft a resolution that would establish this global conference. The first version of the draft resolution called on the UNGA to convene this conference in June 1993 in Barbados, with the objectives of adopting and implementing plans and programmes to support the sustainable development of small island developing States and utilization of their marine and coastal resources, including meeting essential human needs, maintaining biodiversity and improving the quality of life for island people; and to adopt measures which will enable small island developing States to cope effectively, creatively and sustainably with environmental changes and to mitigate impacts and reduce the threats posed to marine and coastal resources.
Although few countries had problems with the objectives of the conference, a number of countries privately expressed concern about the timetable. After consultations, it was decided to change the proposed date of the conference to April 1994, in order to allow sufficient time for preparations. As discussions were set to begin in the Razali Group, it appeared as though the draft resolution had considerable support, but there still might be some differences of opinion on the roles of the ad hoc Secretariat and the preparatory process. Another potential area of contention is the limitation of NGO participation to those organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC.