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MULTI-YEAR THEMATIC PROGRAMME OF WORK

Egypt opened the discussion of Agenda Item 2 by asking a series of questions about the document, E/CN.17/1993/5: why was the Convention on Biodiversity or the negotiations on a biotechnology protocol not mentioned in the work programme; do related programmes and events include activities organized by specialized agencies; and can the Secretariat provide them with specific targets or implementation dates listed in Agenda 21? Nitin Desai responded that the Biodiversity Convention was not listed because it does not have a General Assembly resolution calling for a specific linkage with the CSD, like the Climate Change Convention. He said that UNEP would have to respond on the biotechnology protocol, the meetings were only UN conferences, not regularly scheduled meetings of the agencies and that he will try to provide a list of Agenda 21 target dates.

Most of the delegates who spoke on this agenda item supported the proposed programme of work. Denmark, on behalf of the EC, underlined that Agenda 21 is a dynamic programme that will evolve over time and said it might be useful to develop realistic, easily understandable indicators on the clusters. Norway, on behalf of the Nordic countries, suggested an economic sector approach. Chee Yoke Ling, an NGO representative from Malaysia, urged the importance of a strategic and efficient CSD. She expressed concern that time and resources were limited and the multi-year plan may be too crowded an agenda and not be the best use of resources. China stressed the need to coordinate the work of the CSD with other environment and development activities.

Hungary and the Russian Federation stressed the need to integrate environment in the process of economic reconstruction. Austria said it would be useful to take into account the Biodiversity Convention but warned that the workload of the CSD should be kept manageable. Japan, Canada and the Republic of Korea supported an integrated approach to sectoral and cross-sectoral issues, specifically the need to address financial issues within the context of the sectoral issues. Japan also said that genuine intergovernmental dialogue is only possible if governments provide information on the implementation of Agenda 21. India urged the need for flexibility in the programme of work and supported China in that the Rio Declaration provides policy guidance for the work at hand.

The US supported the programme of work but urged flexibility, efficiency and effective deliberations. Malaysia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and France all supported the programme of work. Indonesia said that the chapters on poverty and consumption take place in 1994 and also proposed rearranging the review of other clusters. Razali responded that in the course of earlier discussion, delegations have indicated support for the current arrangement and hoped that at the eleventh hour Indonesia was not suggesting the reordering of clusters.

The Philippines hoped that a close interface between GEF and CSD will be considered. Uruguay expressed concern that the programme of work is too analytical in nature and may lose focus on environmental problems. France stated that the programme of work was excellent but was concerned that the Secretariat may have problems getting the documentation out to governments early enough for their consideration.

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