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MULTI-YEAR THEMATIC PROGRAMME OF WORK

Colombia introduced the G-77's proposal on the programme of work. Most of their proposed changes to the Chair's draft were of form rather than substance. The title of cluster C was modified to read, "Education, transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity building." Cluster D was modified to include specific mention of the Rio Declaration. Cluster G contained specific mention of desertification and Cluster H included the full title of the Agenda 21 chapter on "oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas." None of these amendments changed the contents of the clusters.

Aside from reordering the last three paragraphs of the Chair's document, the only other major changes were to leave out the schedule for the treatment of the sectoral issues and to amend the list of international conferences on the UN calendar to be considered when formulating the programme of work. Colombia announced that the G-77 would later submit a document that would deal with the timetable for addressing each of the sectoral clusters.

The EC's paper stressed that the draft decision should be in the form of a recommendation to the substantive meeting of the Commission and that each paragraph should read "recommends" rather than "decides." The EC also suggested moving freshwater resources from cluster H to cluster F (health and human settlements). In paragraph 3, they stated that the programme of work should not only take into consideration the components of Agenda 21, but the Rio Declaration and the Forest Principles as well. Finally, they proposed that only the first three clusters (critical elements of sustainability, financial resources and education, science and technology) be considered every year and that clusters F and I (health and human settlements and toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes) be considered in 1994; clusters E and G (major groups and land, forests and biodiversity) in 1995; and clusters D and H (decision making structures and atmosphere and oceans) in 1996. They also stated that elements with these clusters could be considered more than once.

Japan expressed concern about reaching a decision on the clusters at this session. Both Japan and the US expressed preference for using the word "recommends" rather than "decides". The US also said that they were still unhappy about the consideration of the first five clusters on an annual basis and urged that consideration be given to spreading these over a longer period of time.

In response to the comments made by Japan, the US and the EC, Colombia said that they didn't think that the clusters should be reorganized, but that they could agree to use the word "recommends." Furthermore, the G-77 had no problem with the EC's proposal to take into account the Rio Declaration in paragraph 3, but they could not accept the reference to the forest principles at this time.

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