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COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:: YEAR-END UPDATE

Although the second meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will not take place until May 1994, many activities have taken place over the last six months. This special year-end issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin will review relevant activities that have taken place since the 1993 session of the CSD, summarize the results of the General Assembly's consideration of the CSD, and highlight upcoming events. This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is published as part of a series of year-end issues intended to summarize the current state of play in the various UNCED follow-up conferences and negotiations reported on by the Bulletin in 1993.

@HEAD2.5 = A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CSD

The idea for a Commission on Sustainable Development emerged during the fourth session of the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) as a means for ensuring institutional follow-up to UNCED. During UNCED, governments agreed to call for the establishment of a high-level Commission on Sustainable Development that would be a functional commission of ECOSOC. The Commission was called for to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to enhance international cooperation and rationalize the intergovernmental decision-making capacity for the integration of environment and development issues and to examine the progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the national, regional and international levels.

In 1992 the 47th session of the UN General Assembly set out the terms of reference for the Commission, its composition, guidelines for the participation of NGOs, the organization of work, the CSD's relationship with other UN bodies, the high-level advisory board and Secretariat-support arrangements in resolution 47/191.

The CSD held its organizational session from 24-26 February 1993 at UN Headquarters in New York where the 53 members elected the Chair and other members of the Bureau; discussed the provisional agenda and organization of work of the Commission at its first substantive session; and approved an outline of a multi-year thematic programme of work. Ambassador Razali Ismail (Malaysia) was elected the first Chair of the Commission.

The CSD held its first substantive session in New York from 14-25 June 1993. During the course of the session, the Commission addressed the following items: adoption of a multi-year thematic programme of work; issues relating to the future work of the Commission; exchange of information regarding the implementation of Agenda 21 at the national level; progress in the incorporation of recommendations of UNCED in the activities of international organizations and within the UN system; progress achieved in facilitating and promoting the transfer of environmentally-sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building; and initial financial commitments, financial flows and arrangements to give effect to UNCED decisions.

After initial discussion of these items in Plenary during the first week of the session, the Chair submitted six draft decisions to the two informal negotiating groups for consideration. Informal Negotiating Group I, chaired by Ghazi Jomaa (Tunisia), was responsible for adoption of a multi-year thematic programme of work for the Commission; issues relating to the future work of the Commission; and exchange of information regarding the implementation of Agenda 21 at the national level. Informal Negotiating Group II, chaired by Arthur Campeau (Canada), was responsible for progress in the incorporation of UNCED recommendations in the activities of international organizations; transfer of environmentally sound technology; and finance. On 23-24 June over 50 ministers gathered to participate in the high-level segment and address a number of issues related to the future work of the CSD and implementation of Agenda 21. (For more information, see Earth Negotiations Bulletin Vol. 5 No. 12.)

@HEAD2.5 = INTERSESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

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