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NEGOTIATING GROUP II:

Negotiation of the draft decision on financial commitments, flows and arrangements (E/CN.17/1993/L.5) got off to a slow start in Negotiating Group II, led by CSD Vice-Chair Arthur Campeau. The first draft of the document, which was circulated on Thursday of the first week, had not been seen by all delegates in time for the first meeting of the group, and the Chair decided to adjourn early to allow the regional groups to discuss the document. The following day, Friday, the G-77 had not prepared a response to the entire text and the session was spent debating the first five paragraphs. Halfway through this session, the G-77 tabled its own draft of paragraphs 1-5, based on L.5, and the delegates referred to both drafts in their discussion. Finally on Saturday, the G-77 presented its complete draft and prolonged discussion took place on paragraph 6, which establishes intersessional working groups.

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, 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 Governments 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 only once a year and supported the value of regional inputs.

One question raised 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 time-frames within a non-exclusive intergovernmental process and asked about the need for additional resources for this process. The Philippines said that instead of amorphous consultations organized by the Secretary-General, an intergovernmental process would be more transparent.

On Monday, 21 June, discussion of finance moved back into the Plenary under Amb. Razali. He resumed discussion of paragraph 6 of the G-77's draft and said there was a proposal that might allow resolution on intersessional meetings if the term "intergovernmental" was deleted. Colombia responded that the G-77 has some difficulties removing the word "intergovernmental." He added that no one was suggesting that this ad hoc committee become a decision-making body, yet countries must have a way to speak on the elements to be discussed. Colombia added that nominations should be made by CSD members and the Bureau can invite other experts to make contributions. Egypt proposed inserting a phrase to ensure that the working group reports back to the Commission. Pakistan suggested: "The Commission decides to establish an intersessional ad hoc open-ended working group composed of experts nominated by Governments of the Commission to undertake the following tasks:..." Denmark, Australia, Norway, the US and the Russian Federation were able to support both of these proposals.

The final formulation agreed to in paragraph 7 of L.5/Rev.1 states that the Commission decided to establish an "intersessional ad hoc, open-ended working group composed of Governments", which would nominate experts in order to assist the Commission in the following tasks: (a) monitor and review the requirements, availability and adequacy of financial resources for the implementation of different clusters of Agenda 21; (b) monitor and analyze various factors that influence the flow of financial and economic resources, such as debt relief, terms of trade, commodity prices, market access and private foreign investment; and (c) develop a policy framework for the mobilization of financial resources towards a balanced implementation of all aspects of Agenda 21. Paragraph 8 requests the Bureau to coordinate the work of the open-ended ad hoc working group and Paragraph 9 states that the Commission will decide on the agenda and procedures for the working group, which will report its findings to the Commission. Paragraph 10 ensures that the working group will interact with NGOs and major groups.

One problem that persisted in both the negotiations on finance and technology was the treatment of countries with economies in transition. Consensus was finally reached between the G-77 and the Russian Federation on paragraph 2 of L.5 on finance, which deals with ensuring a supportive international economic climate, now concludes, "The Commission highlighted in this context the importance of making further progress in areas such as debt relief, in particular for developing countries, as well as encouraging free trade and access to markets.... particularly for developing countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy."

The other paragraphs in the final document are as follows: Paragraph 1 stresses the need for effective and early implementation of all commitments contained in Chapter 33 of Agenda 21. Paragraph 3 stresses the importance of promoting sustainable development through trade liberalization and mutually supportive trade and environment policies. It also mentions that structural adjustment should not have a negative impact on the environment and the social and economic situation of developing countries. Paragraph 4 welcomes the initiatives of some donor countries with respect to debt relief. Paragraph 5 urges international financial institutions, regional and sub-regional banks and UN and other international institutions to play an increased and more effective role in the provision of new and additional financial resources for Agenda 21 implementation. Paragraph 6 requests the Secretary-General to use OECD data on resource flows to fulfill its responsibilities in reviewing and monitoring financial flows. Paragraphs 11 and 12 address reporting by Governments and international organizations. Paragraph 13 stresses the importance of several aspects of GEF replenishment and paragraph 14 addresses the need to ensure that the programme budgets of international organizations dealing with environment and development receive adequate financial support.

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