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INFORMAL NEGOTIATING GROUP I

Negotiating Group I began discussion on the chapeau of paragraph 8 of document L.3, guidelines to the Secretariat for organizing information provided by government. The word "analytical" was added after "reports" that would be prepared by the Secretary-General for future CSD sessions. In sub-paragraph (h) on trade, as presented by Venezuela, Canada thought a reference to "trade restrictions and distortive policies and measures" should be removed. Australia said this could raise considerable difficulties. Canada withdrew her request, resulting in completion of the draft decision.

The group then addressed Agenda Item 5 concerning incorporation of the UNCED recommendations in the activities of international organizations. Mexico, supported by Brazil, said the heading should mention the Rio agreements or Agenda 21, instead of the principles of sustainable development. The Chair and France said that this title was agreed to during the organizational session. A lengthy debate ensued on paragraphs 1 (taking note of UN actions) and 2 (on the ACC). The Netherlands said the CSD should know how the Secretary-General would make the IACSD's work effective. Colombia, speaking for itself, said the Netherlands' idea should be looked at in light of paragraphs 6 and 9. France asked if language should be added on the Statement of Forest Principles. Brazil and Cuba wanted to mention the Rio Declaration. India raised concerns about the conventions. The US proposed that the Commission request ECOSOC to recommend that the ACC develop a UN system-wide strategy for effective implementation of Agenda 21. India said the CSD should request the Secretary-General to continue reporting on how the IACSD carries out the task formulated in paragraph 1. Iceland spoke of the need for enhanced coordination.

In paragraph 3, on the need for further measures to incorporate sustainable development principles in the UN system, Uruguay, supported by Austria and the Netherlands, favored a flexible system so as not to create new bodies. The US cautioned against creating a new reform study process. France said complementarity should be stressed and overlap avoided. Colombia thought the target specified was intergovernmental machinery, not the UN system. In paragraph 4, on harmonization of governing body policies, Brazil felt that the text should be streamlined as it went beyond section 38.20 of Agenda 21. The Chair said the language should be more open than that of Agenda 21.

Iceland called for enhanced cooperation with NGOs and other major groups in a new paragraph 5. Cuba wanted more information about the proposal's scope. Australia, supported by Canada, agreed with the intention, feeling strongly that mechanisms are needed for improving coordination with NGOs. The US urged deletion of the original paragraph 5 due to difficulty with estimated costs by UN organs. India thought that there must be an evaluation of resources. The Chair offered a compromise, taking into account the discussions on finance and organizational budget cycles. India brought up new and additional financial resources. The US objected. The Chair offered compromise language dealing with Chapter 33 of Agenda 21.

Iceland offered six sub-paragraphs on Secretariat guidelines to amend paragraph 6 on agency reporting. The US, backed by India and Brazil, thought that reference to environmental conventions should be deleted. Paragraphs 7 and 8 were easily adopted. In paragraph 9, Iceland favored language to focus on the clusters. Negotiating Group I thus completed its work.

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