MAJOR GROUPS: Delegates referred to the Secretary- Generals report on the role of major groups (E/CN.17/1996/12) during general debate on this issue. The EU suggested that the CSD recommend that States take into account establishing programmes to reinforce awareness of sustainable development. CANADA urged the CSD to recommend confirmation of the roster status of the CSD NGOs and explicitly invite major groups to participate in the preparations for the 1997 Special Session. The IUCN proposed a strategic alliance between a number of UN agencies and NGOs.
During discussion of the draft decision, the EU proposed that ECOSOC be invited to ensure the continuation of the Rio arrangements regarding participation of major groups to CSD-5, and that the General Assembly be invited to ensure appropriate arrangements for the contribution of major groups to the 1997 Special Session and its follow-up. The US requested clarification of the Rio arrangements. The US and AUSTRALIA deleted the specification that governments support, through financial and other resources, the initiatives of major groups to make contributions to the 1997 review. The US specified that the contributions would be to the preparations for the 1997 review. AUSTRALIA and the G-77/CHINA combined text to encourage governments to involve major group representatives in preparations for the 1997 review process and on national delegations to CSD-5 and, as appropriate, to the Special Session.
The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.7): encourages governments and international organizations to actively support the initiatives of major groups aiming to make contributions to the 1997 review; recommends that ECOSOC keep those NGOs accredited to the CSD by Council decision 1993/220 on the Roster; invites the General Assembly to ensure appropriate arrangements for the most effective contribution to and involvement of major groups in the Special Session; and requests major groups to report to the CSD on innovative approaches to major group participation.
INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: Delegates referred to the Secretary- Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/16) during general debate on this decision. The EU suggested that the institutional implications for forging new alliances for sustainable development be examined during the preparations for the Special Session.
During the discussion of the draft decision, the EU proposed an additional paragraph noting that the CSD welcomes the proposed review by ECOSOC of the regional commissions with a view to strengthening their active participation in the implementation of major UN conference decisions. He also added text underlining the linkages between the various UN Commissions through their multi-year programmes of work. The G-77/CHINA stressed the need to review the CSDs structure. The US, supported by the EU, the G-77/CHINA and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, said that the participation of the regional commissions in implementing the results of major UN international conferences should be strengthened, as appropriate.
The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.8) encourages national governments to ensure that their institutional arrangements promote the implementation of Agenda 21 and ensure broad participation of all stakeholders. It recognizes the need for the CSD to continue providing guidance on key sustainable development issues and recommends: the establishment of closer links between the bureaux of the organizations concerned; that the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) continue to enhance coordination; and that the 1997 review also give special attention to post-UNCED institutional arrangements.
PROMOTING EDUCATION, PUBLIC AWARENESS AND TRAINING: Delegates referred to the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/14 and Add.1) during general debate on education. SWITZERLAND called delegates attention to the report, Passport to the Future, regarding education. The CZECH REPUBLIC outlined findings from the Prague Workshop on Education and Public Awareness for Sustainable Development. The EU supported international, preferably regional, mechanisms to exchange experiences in public awareness strategies, and proposed a CSD programme of work on education.
During discussion of the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA added text calling for assistance to promote education in developing countries. The EU, supported by CANADA, added text noting that traditional knowledge should be valued. The EU also proposed language to establish a work programme based on the operative paragraphs of the decision. CANADA added a paragraph encouraging governments to work in partnership with youth to prepare them for sustainable livelihoods.
The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.9) notes that the Commission agreed to initiate a programme of work on education. Within this context, the CSD: urges UNESCO, in partnership with other key institutions, to pursue international initiatives that lead towards an alliance for education for sustainable development; urges actors to implement the recommendations concerning education in the action plans of major UN conferences; and urges the Bretton Woods institutions to analyze their current investments in education.
NATIONAL MECHANISMS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR CAPACITY-BUILDING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: Delegates referred to the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/15 and Add.1) during general debate on this issue. During discussion of the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA noted the need to keep capacity building as one of the central objectives in the promotion of development projects. She suggested language calling on governments and international organizations to enhance their efforts on financial mobilization and technology transfer in order to assist developing countries.
The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.10) urges governments and international organizations to share experiences in capacity-building, and encourages further work in carrying out action- and problem-oriented research on capacity-building issues in priority areas.
INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT IN DECISION- MAKING: Delegates referred to the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/11 and Add.1) during general debate on this issue. The EU called for market-based instruments, environmental dimensions of law making, raising public awareness, and enhanced international action.
During discussion on the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA changed the paragraph calling for governments to continue efforts to establish mechanisms and develop strategies for sustainable development. Their proposal recognized that the responsibility for change lies with national governments and encourages efforts to establish national mechanisms and develop participatory strategies for economic growth and sustainable development. The US said that economic growth in the context of sustainable development would be acceptable. Delegates agreed to encourage development of strategies for sustainable development, including economic, social and environmental aspects of growth. SAUDI ARABIA bracketed NGOs in the paragraph calling for actors to support national activities to implement Agenda 21. The final text calls on UN bodies and, as appropriate, major group organizations, to place a high priority on actions aimed at implementing Agenda 21. The EU, supported by the G-77/CHINA, presented a new paragraph encouraging integrated environmental and economic accounting for sustainable development.
The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.11) notes that the responsibility for bringing about changes aimed at integrating environment and development in decision-making lies with national governments. It also: requests UN organizations to support governments efforts; calls on governments to review, as appropriate, their national legislation; and notes the work on integrated environmental and economic accounting being undertaken by the Statistics Division of the UN Secretariat.
INFORMATION FOR DECISION-MAKING: Delegates referred to the Secretary- Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/18 and Add.1) during general debate on this issue. JAPAN described a workshop on indicators of sustainable development (ISD). The Workshop identified gaps, including guidance on sub-national data, including institutional indicators for capacity building and key indicators for national decision-making. GERMANY presented the report of the Scientific Workshop on Indicators of Sustainable Development, held 15-17 November 1995 in Wuppertal, Germany. She stated that policy makers cannot wait for a perfect ISD system and called for testing of ISDs on a voluntary basis.
During discussion of the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA requested the ECOSOC working group on the need to harmonize and improve UN information systems to give particular attention to facilitating access by UN member States to environmental databases throughout the UN system. The US proposed noting that work be within existing resources. Delegates agreed to adopt indicators, as appropriate.
The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.12) takes note of the progress made in the implementation of the work programme on indicators of sustainable development, invites governments to test, develop and use the indicators, and requests the ECOSOC working group on informatics to give attention to facilitating access of member States.
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS: During discussion of the draft decision, which was based on the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/19), the EU proposed new paragraphs regarding consultation on reporting to future sessions of the CSD, taking account of ISDs, and streamlining reporting requirements. CANADA cautioned that a distinction must be drawn between CSD-related reporting and treaty-based obligations, including the Rio conventions. The EU proposed deleting the sentence noting the intention of several donors to consider requests for assistance favorably, but the G-77/CHINA objected. BRAZIL suggested that proposals for reporting to future sessions take into account, among other elements, the work on indicators.
The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.6) requests: organizations and donors to assist in providing technical and financial assistance to help developing countries with national strategies, Agenda 21 action plans and reports; and the Secretary-General and interested States to provide CSD-5 with proposals for streamlining national reporting on sustainable development, given the growing number of reporting requirements.
INTERNATIONAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AND MECHANISMS: Delegates referred to the Secretary-Generals report (E/CN.17/1996/17 and Add.1) and during general debate on this issue. During discussion on the draft decision, the US expressed reservations about references to principles of international law. The EU proposed paragraphs recognizing the administrative burden on developing countries and the importance of major group participation. CANADA introduced paragraphs on compliance and monitoring, and dispute resolution. The EU deleted a paragraph calling on the DPCSD to study the issues raised by the Report of the Expert Group on Identification of Principles of International Law for Sustainable Development. The US proposed that governments consider, as appropriate, rather than take into account, this report.
The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.13) notes that the Commission: considers flexible approaches as important in international law-making; emphasizes the necessity of further exploring mechanisms for dispute settlement or avoidance; urges the international community to continue to develop procedures and mechanisms that promote informed decisions; and recommends the exploration of more effective participation of major groups in the elaboration of international legal instruments.
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