Work began on the first five paragraphs of L.5, the draft decision on financial commitments, flows and arrangements. During the discussion, the G-77 tabled its own draft text for paragraph 1-5. On paragraph 1, which expresses concern that funding falls short of expectations, Austria said that financial flows cannot be disassociated from projects. The US added that the paragraph should be better balanced. The G-77 proposed the word "requirements" to replace "expectations". Paragraph 2, addressing levels of funding, received comments that included: the text should not concentrate on commitments of donor countries and ignore national funding sources (Austria); the lack of financial resources is only one of the major restraints (US, Japan, EC, Russia); the need to acknowledge the high level of assistance from some countries (Norway); the word "reaffirm" should be used in relation to commitments for 0.7% of GNP for ODA (US); and mention that the CSD is "disappointed" that "commitments have not be fulfilled" (G-77).
In paragraph 3 on the international economic climate, the following suggestions were made: include reference to the quality and effectiveness of development assistance (US, Japan); emphasize the role of domestic resources (Japan, Denmark, Russia); recommend changes and more equity in the trading system, resolution of the GATT round and the negative impact of SAPs (G-77). Colombia, India, Cuba and China said the reference to trade was essential. The G-77 proposed paragraph 3 bis that welcomes debt relief. Suggestions to paragraph 4, which urges financial and other institutions to integrate sustainable development in their programmes included: the paragraph should be more precise in its criticism (Austria); UN agencies be included (Norway); and more resources, without conditionality, should be provided to developing countries to implement Agenda 21 (G-77). Russia recalled the Agenda 21 preambular paragraph on economies in transition. Pakistan transmitted NGO suggestions for amendments to L.5.
On Saturday, the group spent the afternoon discussing paragraph 6 of L.5 on the proposed CSD consultative process to review financial resources available for the implementation of Agenda 21. The Chair, Arthur Campeau, prefaced the day's discussion by acknowledging that consensus might not be reached on the important issue of finding the most effective form of a consultative process. He added that the Commission might have to seek guidance from ministers on this. Colombia, on behalf of the G-77 and China, proposed that the CSD establish an "intersessional intergovernmental ad-hoc open-ended working group" of experts to assist the CSD, coordinated by the Bureau, with financial and technical support from the Secretary-General. Austria expressed concern that the CSD should not give away its most important task of reviewing the adequacy of financial resources by decentralizing it into a permanent consultative process. The US, supported by Japan, Australia, Norway and Iceland, argued for flexibility to allow for innovation, effectiveness and a variety of approaches. The G-77 expressed concern that the consultative process should not be delegated to the Secretariat, fearing that they would lose contact with the process and be presented with surprises on the eve of the next session. The EC suggested the possibility of regional consultative processes. India responded that the trend is toward globalization of decision making related to sustainable development and there should not be regional consultations. Austria was concerned that the CSD would become superficial if it met once a year and supported the value of regional inputs.
One question brought up was whether the working group should be intergovernmental and, if so, would it take political decisions or be technically oriented. The US argued for procedural guidelines and timeframes within a non-exclusive intergovernmental process and asked about the need for additional resources for this process. The Secretariat will report back Tuesday on budgetary implications. The Philippines said that instead of amorphous consultations organized by the Secretary-General, an intergovernmental process could be more transparent.
The group took a short recess while governments held informal consultations in the room. After resuming, Campeau explained that there were concerns about the implications of the word "intergovernmental" in the G-77 proposal and that some were concerned that setting up a "second committee" of the CSD would leave little for the CSD to do. Denmark proposed removing "intergovernmental" from the G-77 text. Canada said that the proposed group should include agencies and other bodies that can provide information without circumventing governments. Colombia responded that the G-77 did not want the intergovernmental experts group to be political. He added that this paragraph should contain: 1) the mandate to set up the working group; and 2) the terms of reference and framework for the group.
[Return to start of article]