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PROVISIONAL AGENDA FOR THE FIRST SESSION OF THE CSD

Draft decision I was a reformulation of the provisional agenda for the first substantive session. The G-77 had a couple of problems with this draft, including: paragraph 3(a): they did not agree with the need to mention the creation of "subsidiary organs" at this time before there is even a decision on the programme of work; and paragraph 7: they wanted reference to the GEF in the discussion of initial financial commitments.

The EC responded that paragraph 3(a) should read that the Commission will decide at each session, on the basis of its agenda, how many informal negotiating groups and subsidiary organs should be established. The EC also proposed amending 3(b) to read: "the Commission will decide at its first substantive session on ways to consider reports from all relevant organs..." rather than making this decision at each session, as was originally written. They also proposed deleting the word "voluntary" from paragraph 4(a) which read, "guidelines on voluntary preparation and submission of national reports and national Agenda 21 action plans." Finally, they disagreed with the G-77's proposal to include mention of the GEF in paragraph 7.

The US had a major problem with paragraph 3 since it dealt with operational methods of work in 3(a) and the consideration of reports in 3(b). The US agreed with the G-77's amendment in 3(a), but proposed removing 3(b) and making it a separate item called "Other analytic contributions to the Commission." The US also disagreed with mention of the GEF in paragraph 7. Finally, the US said that even though they had already discussed the question of where the high level segment should be, since this year is the opening of the CSD, there should be some sort of ceremonial opening with the high level segment at the beginning for this year only. Japan was supportive of this suggestion. Razali responded that it would be possible for ministers to be present at the opening of the Commission and still be involved in the high-level segment at the conclusion of the session.

Canada proposed adding to paragraph 3(b) that the Commission will also hear reports from NGOs. The Secretariat responded that the rules of procedure provide for contributions from NGOs, but that the Secretariat is not responsible for producing that documentation. He added that there is nothing that prevents the Commission from discussing submissions from NGOs, but that there is a qualitative difference between NGO reports and the reports of other inter-governmental bodies. Benin later asked if the Secretariat could provide a solution to overcome the administrative difficulties in handling NGO reports. The Netherlands suggested that reference be made to the review of NGO reports in this draft decision.

India was concerned with paragraph 4(a) and suggested that it be deleted, as Agenda 21 has no provision for the CSD to develop guidelines for national reports. Australia disagreed since the establishment of guidelines would help the work of the Commission. A number of other countries, including China and Uganda, echoed India's sentiments. A group of concerned delegates gathered in the hallway in hope of reaching a compromise.

By the end of the morning's discussion it was apparent that there were only three major areas of difficulty: what to do with paragraph 3 (the G-77 proposed that it be removed and be put in a separate decision on the methods of work of the Commission), the guidelines for national reports in paragraph 4(a), and the mention of the GEF in paragraph 7.

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