On Friday afternoon and evening the Working Group worked through the draft report paragraph-by-paragraph until the entire text was adopted at 9:30 pm. The following is a summary of the draft report, highlighting those paragraphs where lengthy debate ensued.
Introduction: This paragraph notes that the report of the Working Group is not a negotiated text, although its contents have been thoroughly discussed
II. COMMON ELEMENTS AND INTERLINKAGES
Paragraph 2 notes that Chapter 10 on an integrated approach to planning and management of land resources provides the overall framework for the implementation of the cluster.
Approaches: Paragraphs 3-6 note the following: respect for national sovereignty; the need for a comprehensive approach to the implementation of the Rio commitments; a people-oriented approach is central to sustainable development; any approach to the planning, development and management of land resources needs to address an array of cross-sectoral issues, including employment, poverty eradication, changing demographic patterns and unsustainable consumption and production; and governments, local communities and organizations and the private sector are all stakeholders in the development, use and management of land resources.
Tools: Paragraphs 7 and 8 note the importance of land assessment and evaluation methodologies and the need for human resource development for capacity building, awareness raising and empowering people.
Finance: Paragraph 9 notes that national efforts in developing countries to mobilize financial resources for full and effective implementation of Agenda 21 have to be supported by the international community. The US wanted to refer to the importance of implementing the financial "provisions" of Agenda 21, while the G-77 and China preferred mentioning the financial "commitments." The compromise text reads that it is imperative that all "financial recommendations and commitments of Agenda 21" are implemented.
Technology Transfer, Cooperation and Capacity Building: Paragraph 10 notes that technology transfer, as set out in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21, is a key element in the attainment of sustainable development. Paragraph 11 adds that the sharing of scientific knowledge and the transfer of environmentally sound technology, including on concessional and preferential terms in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 34 of Agenda 21, are crucial instruments for achieving the objectives of Agenda 21. Paragraph 12, which references safeguarding farmers rights led to a lengthy discussion. The US wanted the sentence to read "Matters related to farmers rights and indigenous knowledge were discussed." The G-77 and China insisted that the sentence refer to safeguarding farmers rights and mention that all of these issues were considered important. The final compromise was: "Matters related to safeguarding farmers rights, indigenous knowledge, innovation, and intellectual property rights were discussed and their importance was emphasized."
Relationship between existing conventions and other related processes: Paragraph 13 calls upon the CSD: to support the actions the COPs have planned to undertake; to urge governments to sign, ratify, accede and implement the conventions; to look into the relationship between the Convention and other on-going work on sustainable development; and to promote a coordinated approach towards implementation at all levels for efficient resource use.
PART III: RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE PROPOSALS CONTAINED IN THE SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REPORTS
Paragraph 14 takes note of the proposals contained in the Secretary-General's reports, some of which are welcomed, and recommends that the CSD determine future action based on the reports' recommendations as well as the views expressed at the intersessional meeting.
Chapter 10 Integrated Approach to the Planning and Management of Land Resources: Paragraph 15 acknowledges land and resource management as a matter for "national and subregional action," although the G-77 and China had wanted it to be recognized as "a national prerogative calling for national action." The results of the Wagenigen meeting, as well as those of the Commission on Science and Technology, were considered worthy of the CSD's consideration. Paragraph 16 underscores the necessity for an exchange of information and methodology, but the cost of data collection calls for a focus on priority topics. Paragraph 17 states that the proposals for a covenant on good land use and an international working group were not supported.
Chapter 11 Forests: The proposals in this section were the results of negotiations within a Contact Group chaired by Amb. Bo Kjell�n (Sweden). Paragraph 18 recognizes the need for the CSD to promote the efforts of Chapter 11and the Forest Principles, within the work of other UN agencies. If further options are to be considered, the preference is for an intergovernmental process. Paragraph 19 recognizes that addressing forest issues will require discussing cross-sectoral issues such as poverty, population growth, consumption and production patterns, and trade issues, as well as unsustainable policies related to agriculture, energy and trade. Paragraph 20 welcomes the progress by countries, and calls for further concrete action, some of which are outlined in the Secretary-General's report. In this connection, it requests the CSD to consider an intergovernmental panel on forests, under its aegis, which is open, transparent and has a participatory approach, to assess work already done and to propose further action, while drawing upon the expertise of relevant agencies and organizations. Paragraph 22 states that the CSD will determine the mandate and operational modalities for the proposed panel, and suggested that the terms of reference be drawn from elements in the Forest Principles, Agenda 21, other forest-related international initiatives, some of which are contained in Annex I. The panel will provide a progress report to the fourth session of the CSD and its conclusions to the fifth session.
Chapter 12 Combating Desertification and Drought: The proposals in this section were largely accepted, the only contention being whether to limit its context to the Convention on Desertification. The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, stated that the Convention to Combat Desertification was limited to action in the drylands, while discussions within the CSD, the GEF and the General Assembly dealt with land degradation in a broader sense, covering the sub-humid and humid tropics. Hence "action on drought," and not just "mitigation of the effects on drought," was preferred. There was a lengthy debate on the reference to financial resources for the implementation of the Convention. After consultations, delegates called for "the mobilization of financial resources, inter alia, as called for by the relevant provisions of the Convention (Articles 6, 20 and 21) and needed for its implementation, particularly with regard to the Resolution on Urgent Action in Africa."
Paragraphs 23-26 urge the CSD to: give strong political support to the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention as well as the Convention process; continue its catalytic role; take action on drought and recognize land degradation in the sub-humid and humid regions. In addition the CSD should promote: the observation of the international day for desertification; awareness raising among policy makers; an integrated approach to combating desertification; and the mobilization of finances and resources.
Chapter 13 Sustainable Mountain Development: The only issue in this section that led to discussion was the need for an international meeting on sustainable mountain development. While most delegates agreed that they did not want a world UN conference, there was still the question about under whose aegis the meeting should be and if it would involve UN agencies.
Agreement was reached to say "A wider international meeting, possibly involving appropriate UN bodies, could facilitate the exchange of objectives, results and experience of sustainable development in different mountain regions." Paragraphs 27-31 also note: the active role played by NGOs and the academic communities in the follow-up to Chapter 13 of Agenda 21; the need for action at the local, national, subregional and regional levels to reduce poverty, diversify mountain economies and create new livelihood opportunities; the need to encourage countries to prepare and implement national mountain development programmes; and the CSD should support efforts to coordinate the preparation and negotiation of subregional international agreements on mountains.
Chapter 14 Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development: The only problem in this section was the reference, in paragraph 33, to intergovernmental processes on trade and the environment, including the WTO, the Final Act of the Uruguay Round and the Cairn's Group initiative. After protracted debate, numerous proposals and the Chair's patient reconstruction of text, agreement was reached. Paragraph 32 recognizes the need for SARD to improve and maintain food security as well as protect physical and biological resources. Paragraph 33 underlines the value of undistorted sectoral and economy-wide policy framework with environmental considerations. In this context it noted the work of intergovernmental fora directed towards reforms to reduce market distortions. It recommends that the impacts of trade liberalization in the agricultural sector, especially in the least developing countries, are monitored and evaluated. To this end, paragraph 34 calls for the need to develop internationally agreed agri-environmental criteria and indicators to monitor the status and progress towards SARD. Paragraph 35 outlines the strategies towards achieving SARD: adopting a systems approach; addressing attitude change; and developing policies and practices in line with SARD, while building the necessary capacity to establish and maintain them. Paragraph 36 recognizes energy as a prerequisite for SARD and urged the CSD to give consideration to the proposals by the Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development.
Chapter 15 Conservation of Biological Diversity: Although a number of amendments were made to this section, they were adopted with little debate. Paragraph 37 takes note of the Secretary-General's report. Paragraph 38 stresses the cross-sectoral nature of biodiversity and notes that biodiversity relates to issues of food security, the eradication of poverty and the traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous people. Paragraph 39 recommends that the CSD should: urge governments to ratify the Convention; encourage the Convention to take the lead in exploring means for coordinating relevant global and regional agreements related to biodiversity; urge Governments to integrate actions geared to conserving biodiversity; promote the fair and equitable sharing of benefits accruing from the utilization of biological resources; and encourage the mobilization of the means of implementation. Paragraphs 40 and 41 promote human resource development and capacity building, and recommend the systematic consideration of biodiversity issues in all other relevant sectors.
PART IV: KEY PROPOSALS FOR ACTION
Paragraph 42 contains eight proposals for the CSD's consideration. Sub-paragraph (a) encourages the exchange of views by governments on integrated land management. Sub-paragraph (b) encourages the development of tools for integrated land management. Sub-paragraph (c), which necessitated additional informal consultations, urges the CSD to accord high priority to technology related issues, including taking action on capacity and institutional building and the establishment of inventories on eco-technologies in the sectors under consideration, particularly through the establishment of eco-environmental technology centers.
Sub-paragraph (d) urges States to sign, ratify, accede to and implement the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. Sub-paragraph (e) calls on the CSD to establish an open-ended intergovernmental panel on forests. Sub-paragraph (f) encourages action by Governments for the sustainable development of mountain areas. Sub-paragraph (g) encourages Governments to integrate action on energy into their efforts for sustainable agriculture and rural development.
After lengthy consultations, sub-paragraph (h) was redrafted so that it: welcomes the decision of the COP to the Convention on Biological Diversity to include in its medium term programme consideration of knowledge, innovation and practices of indigenous and local communities; takes note of the statement of the COP that it would also be desirable that future work on the protection of traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous and local communities relevant to conservation and sustainable use should be coordinated with relevant bodies; and welcomes the progress made in revising the international undertaking on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, which relates to outstanding matters concerning plant genetic resources, including access to ex situ collections and the question of farmers rights.
The Annex provides a list of proposals from which the CSD could draw the terms of reference for the intergovernmental panel on forests. Delegates agreed not to negotiate the contents of this annex, but that any additional proposals would be added to the list. The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, then proceeded to read out a laundry list of proposals suggested by members of his group. All of these proposals will be included in the final text of the report, which will be submitted to the CSD.
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