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WORKING GROUP II

Working Group II completed its final reading of the remaining texts on human settlements, hazardous wastes, water and radioactive wastes. The texts were not controversial and most amendments were editorial, clarifying points and amending minor mistakes.

HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: The Secretariat had failed to include previously proposed and accepted text by Antigua and Barbuda, which referred to the Programme of Action adopted at the Barbados Conference. Seemingly unwilling to include it, the Chair was assured by others of its importance. It should appear in paragraph 10 of the final text. Paragraph 16(j) (joint programming between the international community and local authorities) caused concern among some developing countries. The EU's suggestion to add that such alliances would only be established "through the appropriate [national] authorities" was accepted. China was concerned that 16(k) (special attention to the status and role of local authorities) might imply legal status and consequently "status" was removed. Australia added a paragraph inviting the Task Manager to continue its work.

HAZARDOUS WASTES: Since the revised text was only distributed minutes before it was discussed, the lack of adequate time to fully appraise the text may have accounted for its easy adoption. Malaysia and Australia's newly drafted text on the illegal disposal of tanker sludge and ballast water appears as paragraph 8. Finland noted that 19(c) (assessment of soil and water contamination) was not strong enough and that governments should implement remedial action. Australia noted that governments do not undertake such work, but should require such action to be taken. Australia added a paragraph inviting UNEP to continue its monitoring role.

WATER: Paragraph 7(c) (management of river and lake basins) now answers Pakistan's concerns by referring to "national, international and all appropriate levels." Believing "penalization" of wasteful water consumption in 7(f) was too harsh, Japan requested it be replaced with "preventive measures for." Paragraph 14 (welcoming offers of assistance by France, Morocco, the Netherlands and Tunisia) caused problems again with some States repeating their query of what this assistance would be. A new paragraph 18 bis proposes that the CSD review the results of the work outlined in paragraphs 16, 17 and 18 in preparation for the 1997 special session of the CSD.

RADIOACTIVE WASTES: Paragraph 10 was expanded to include the inadmissibility of exports to countries without the technical, legal and administrative resources. Paragraph 13 now calls on governments to promptly begin developing an international convention on radioactive waste management. The French compromise text on 15(b) calls on the international community to "take all necessary steps to prohibit the export of radioactive wastes except to countries with appropriate treatment and storage facilities."

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