The third substantive session of the Razali Group began by returning to the Endorsing Resolution and the outstanding problems with paragraph 5, on the need to implement agreements and commitments made in Rio. The Chair circulated a new formulation incorporating the interests expressed at the previous two sessions. Despite agreement on this new language by the US and the G-77 and support from the EC, provisional on a small addition, Japan was not satisfied by the new formulation. Razali requested that the G-77 rewrite the paragraph taking into account the Japanese concerns and the UK amendments.
The draft resolution on the convening of a global conference on the sustainable development of small island developing States was issued as A/C.2/47/WG.I/CRP.9 with a correcting note from the Chair modifying two of the preambular paragraphs. Razali began moving paragraph-by-paragraph through the text. Japan proposed two new preambular paragraphs recalling resolution 45/202 and acknowledging the special role of UNCTAD in the development of small island States.
In the main text, the UK, speaking on behalf of the EC, proposed an amendment to paragraph 5, which deals with the objectives and scope of the conference. The amendment requests the conference to look at existing global and regional plans of action and institutional financial support (such as World Bank programmes) to determine whether their combined effects are consistent with Agenda 21; and to make recommendations for changes to be made to these programs to bring them in line with Agenda 21. The interested parties were requested to re-work the paragraph.
Paragraph 9 on the work of the preparatory committee was the next paragraph that led to lengthy discussion. The argument was whether the preparatory committee or the Secretariat should be responsible for setting the conference agenda. Compromise text proposed by Tunisia states that the preparatory committee will set the agenda based on recommendations submitted by the Secretary-General. There were also lengthy discussions on paragraph 11 about the need for a "full-time" Secretariat.
Paragraph 15 requests NGOs in and eligible for consultative status with ECOSOC to contribute to the Conference, as appropriate. The UK, on behalf of the EC, reminded the delegates of the role NGOs played in the success at Rio and felt that in the post-UNCED era it would be important not to revert to old practices. They noted that many NGOs, especially those from small island States, are not in consultative status with ECOSOC nor is there time for them to get this status before the Conference. They proposed new language that would base participation on UNCED rules. Pakistan proposed new language that would, in effect, encourage participation of NGOs from small islands and other developing countries that do not have ECOSOC status. The US called into question the need for consistency on NGO participation in post-UNCED activities, specifically in the CSD. Norway proposed new text based on language in Agenda 21 (38.44) and Sweden said that NGO participation in this Conference must be reviewed in light of upcoming changes in rules for ECOSOC consultative status but that the general framework for upcoming conferences must have the same rules for NGOs. Pakistan reformulated its amendment so as to invite relevant NGOs to make contributions to the negotiating process, as appropriate, but that it be clear that they not take a role in the negotiating and that participation be based on UNCED rules. Razali resisted linking the process of resolution of this paragraph to the negotiations of the other documents and closed discussion. It is believed that the interested parties will meet to resolve this matter.
The group quickly finished the first reading of the Small Island States resolution and turned their attention to the "Draft resolution on the establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating committee for the elaboration of an international convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa" (A/C.2/47/WG.I/CRP.9). The US circulated a list of informal suggestions to the draft. After several comments on preambular paragraphs, Tunisia pleaded with the delegates not to overload this resolution, since it was intended to be procedural in character, leaving the substantive matters to be decided by the process itself. The EC, Norway and the US proposed new preambular paragraphs or changes to those that exist. Pakistan, on behalf of the G-77, said that they would scrutinize the proposals of the US and others and return with their comments on Wednesday.
[Return to start of article]