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ADOPTION OF THE REPORT AND CLOSING REMARKS

Co-Chair Amorim left New York on 5 March due to a prior commitment, so Co-Chair Osborn presided over the closing Plenary. Delegates received the revised Co-Chairs’ draft of the "Proposed Outcome of the Special Session." Co-Chair Osborn noted that it was not a negotiated text, but that it would provide a basis for consultations prior to CSD-5 and would serve as the starting point for discussion at the CSD’s High-Level Segment.

The EU asked how many working groups would be used at CSD-5. Joke Waller-Hunter, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, responded that the Bureau had not yet decided, but it could be appropriate to have three working groups, with never more than two meetings at once. Delegates adopted the report of the Working Group, as contained in E/CN.17/1997/WG/L.1, with some changes to the list of documentation available at the session. The EU read a statement noting that the EU countries had transferred powers in agriculture, fisheries and trade to the European Community (EC) and proposed that the EC be allowed to participate at UNGASS as an observer and to subscribe to the obligations and commitments adopted there.

Co-Chair Osborn then offered some concluding remarks. He noted that delegates have to face the fact that progress on the ground is limited and on many matters trends are moving in the wrong direction. He said the review process should be used to "galvanize the world and ourselves into more vigorous action" at all levels. Osborn reminded delegates of the Co-Chairs’ appeal that they consider the possibilities for action rather than note reasons not to take action. He underlined a number of areas where additional creativity is necessary. On poverty, he suggested that the text is not yet strong or clear enough and may need some new initiatives and resources. On freshwater, oceans and energy, an integrated policy approach could be used, but national and international activity will be needed to develop policies and programmes to reinforce real action on the ground. Both increased ODA and private sector financial flows are needed. Developed and developing countries need to cooperate in a renewed effort to create the conditions in which resources and technology can be mobilized to a greater extent. The work of major groups should be fostered and sustained at all levels. Finally, the Statement of Commitment should be a resonant statement of political commitment that will revitalize the Rio enterprise and show a clear path towards fuller implementation. Osborn said his Co-Chair wished to be associated with his remarks.

In its closing statement, the EU looked forward to CSD-5 with a sense of the need to focus on concrete implementation of existing objectives and to reinforce international, regional and national actions. He said the EU would respond to the Co- Chairs’ exhortations for creativity during the preparations for UNGASS.

The G-77/CHINA acknowledged the Co-Chairs’ recognition of the most pressing issue of financial resources. He said the structure of the Co-Chairs’ text did not reflect the seriousness of the issue and discussion would continue at CSD-5 and even at UNGASS. He signalled his intention to cooperate with all delegations to develop concrete suggestions for a mechanism to transfer ESTs to developing countries. Poverty eradication had received a great deal of support at the Intersessional Working Group, even from many Northern partners. On trade and sustainable development he called for greater international cooperation to create a conducive economic climate to mobilize resources. Finally, he insisted that a revised draft provide for a review of international cooperation and commitments in the post-UNGASS period.

Co-Chair Osborn closed the session at 5:20 pm, after describing the Co-Chairs’ role as that of a sometimes "distorting" mirror of delegations’ ideas, but sometimes "magic" mirror capable of reflecting their ideas more beautifully than before.

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