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WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I completed its first reading of the draft texts on information provided by governments and changing consumption patterns. By the time it completed its work, it had adopted texts on finance, major groups, decision- making structures and information provided by governments and organizations. The Chair notified the delegates of the Bureau's decision that the "Indicators for sustainable development" draft text would not be considered, although it is on the agenda for the High-Level Segment.

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENTS: The G-77 suggested that the title be changed to: "Information provided by Governments and Organizations." In paragraph 1 (receipt of reports), the Czech Republic, supported by Finland and the US, suggested that reports include information on indicators, since the draft text on indicators would not be discussed. The G-77 said that many delegations had advised the Chair not to take up this issue. Austria offered language to recognize the purpose of the information that is reported, and the G-77 followed with a complementary amendment.

Several of the interventions on paragraph 2 (format for reporting) contained details on follow-up actions. Japan suggested that the Secretariat's format be developed by August 1994. Switzerland called for information to be comparable. In paragraph 3 (assistance for report preparation), the G-77 requested that the donors mentioned be identified. The Netherlands corrected the reference to "donors" with "more experienced countries." The Chair suggested a footnote to list countries that have offered to assist others. The G-77 then expressed its real desire that the paragraph be deleted. Austria and the EU expressed their interest in retaining the paragraph.

CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS: The discussion was able to achieve consensus on one point -- the text was too long. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, suggested that the Working Group use their position paper on patterns of consumption. Greece, on behalf of the EU, disagreed, arguing that the G-77 text was too procedural. After hearing general comments, the Chair decided that delegates should indicate the paragraphs they feel are redundant as well as the important elements that should remain. The EU noted that: unsustainable production patterns should also be considered; the need to change production and consumption patterns detrimental to the environment must be reaffirmed; and the responsibility of developed countries is important. The EU also suggested deleting 10 of the 25 paragraphs. The G-77 proposed deleting 17 paragraphs, 6 of which were the same as the EU's proposed deletions. Saudi Arabia thought the text should be more general and not prejudge certain issues. Austria mentioned some basic elements to be included: the role of governments; strategies available for pricing; the question of economic instruments; and the Commission's recommendations. The US was the only delegation that was willing to work from the Chair's text.

FINANCE: Several paragraphs into the text, the EU entertained the G-77's proposal to accept the draft text without changes. However, they wanted to retain changes that had already been made. Poland and Saudi Arabia wanted to amend certain paragraphs, so the revised draft was considered paragraph-by-paragraph. In paragraph 8 (trade liberalization), the EU requested that the call for an open trading system be within the context of making trade and environmental policies mutually supportive and favorable to sustainable development. Morocco disagreed. The US, India, Norway and Korea expressed their preference for the existing text. Agenda 21 language was used to reach a compromise.

On paragraph 9 (debt), the Philippines proposed debt cancellation in meritorious cases. Paragraph 10 (policy reforms) generated much disagreement. Saudi Arabia suggested deleting specific references to economic instruments such as environmental taxes and user charges. The G-77 called for policy reforms and changes in production and consumption patterns in developed countries. Building upon the EU revised text and G-77 comments, the Secretariat proposed that the reference to developed countries be moved from after "policy reforms" to after "sustainable development."

Poland, supported by the Russian Federation, noted the importance of paragraph 12, the only reference to countries with economies in transition. The G-77 suggested a complementary paragraph referring to the difficult task developing countries face in achieving accelerated growth. The US added a paragraph that referenced the value of national sustainable development strategies.

Considerable disagreement also existed over paragraph 14 (innovative financing mechanisms). Saudi Arabia, supported by Venezuela, requested deletion of the examples -- emission charges, tradeable permits, etc. Egypt, Brazil and the EU objected. A compromise was finally reached to refer to the innovative financial mechanisms in the intersessional working group on finance's report and call for further study.

In paragraph 17 (goal of sustainable development) the G-77 added a sentence noting that a role could be played by FDI and private capital flows in diversification of production in developing countries. The US and Norway noted that this sentence might be better placed elsewhere, but at the insistence of Benin paragraph 17 was adopted as amended.

MAJOR GROUPS: Only two paragraphs of the revised draft text on major groups gave rise to comment. Tunisia revised paragraph 2 (children and youth) so that the CSD encourages "the participation of children, youth and their organizations." China reminded delegates of its call for the deletion of paragraph 8 (international organizations and major groups), but offered a possible reformation that limits the role of international organizations to support major groups within their respective mandates and in compliance with laws, sustainable development strategies and priorities of countries concerned. After consultations, the EU "reluctantly" accepted the Chinese amendments.

DECISION-MAKING STRUCTURES: The G-77 proposed moving the request for UNEP to further study the concepts, requirements and implications of sustainable development and international law from paragraph 8 to paragraph 2 (international law in support of the goals of Agenda 21). This was accepted and, as a result, paragraph 8 was deleted. India made a small amendment to paragraph 4 (high-level advisory board) and China and Morocco amended paragraph 6 bis (strengthening capacity in developing countries).

TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGY, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING: In paragraph 11 (recommendations of the intersessional working group), Poland pointed out that reference to countries with economies in transition had been omitted. After a lengthy discussion, delegates agreed to add the phrase "such measures could also be considered for countries with economies in transition." All references to the intersessional ad hoc working group on technology transfer and cooperation in this text remain bracketed, pending the results of the informal group on intersessional activities.

In sub-paragraph 14(4) (innovative technology transfer mechanisms), Colombia wanted to delete reference to the High-Level Advisory Board. Egypt wanted the text to remain as is. A compromise was reached and the last sentence now refers to the expertise of both the Board and eminent technical experts. In sub-paragraph 14(10) (establishment of a consultative group on environmental technology centers), the EU proposed an amendment, which was not accepted by the G-77. Egypt's proposed compromise was accepted: invite appropriate organizations of the UN system to examine the feasibility of establishing such centers. Sub-paragraph 16(3), on the involvement of experts, the private sector and NGOs in intersessional work, remains bracketed.

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENTS: Paragraphs 1 (receipt of reports) and 2 (work of the Secretariat) were adopted with minor changes. China objected to the second and third sentences of paragraph 3, which refer to the development of indicators on sustainable development. After much discussion about the appropriateness of referring to indicators in this chapter, the Chair obtained a consensus to delete the second and third sentences, as suggested by China, and to add a sentence that refers to last year's decisions regarding indicators. Paragraph 4 (aid in preparing reports) was adopted after a discussion on the level of commitment of aid.

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