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INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS BY THE CHAIR OF THE CSD

CSD Chair Tolba convened informal consultations at UN Headquarters from 16-21 June. Delegations used the Report of the CSD on Preparations for the UNGASS including the revised draft political statement (A/S-19/CRP.1) and the draft proposed outcome (A/S- 19/14) as the basis for their deliberations.

DRAFT POLITICAL STATEMENT: The draft circulated by Dr. Tolba and Ms. Linn-Locher attracted extensive amendments from delegations. The G-77/CHINA submitted an extensive set of amendments, including calls for acknowledgment that UNCED’s international commitments remain largely unfulfilled, and that the overall outlook for sustainable development is "worse" today than it was in 1992. The EU and US noted that delegations were re-negotiating issues in the draft proposed outcome. The consultations were adjourned until delegations had further considered related issues in the draft proposed outcome. A new draft was expected Sunday, June 22.

CROSS-SECTORAL ISSUES IN THE DRAFT PROPOSED OUTCOME: In paragraph 16 (implementing areas requiring urgent action), delegations agreed that a major new effort will be required on cross-sectoral matters. SWITZERLAND and the EU supported a reference to enhanced job opportunities from implementing sustainable development in paragraph 18(c). The G-77/CHINA objected. In paragraph 20, (enabling international economic environment), the US and EU re- stated the view that the UNCED principle on common but differentiated responsibilities refers only to global environmental issues. The EU agreed to consider a G-77/CHINA proposal to reference the "report of the Fourth World Conference on Women" in paragraph 21(e) (poverty, women and Beijing PFA). In paragraph 22(a), (consumption and production patterns), the EU agreed to consider JAPAN and the G-77/CHINA’s call for the deletion of text on pricing natural resources in a way that reflects full costs. In paragraph 22(f) (energy and material efficiency), the EU pressed for acceptance of clear time-bound goals. On paragraph 23(h) (the WTO and trade rules), the G-77/CHINA objected that the paragraph subordinated trade to environmental policies. On paragraph 24 (population), the EU objected to the bracketed formula referencing the "report" of the International Conference on Population and Development. On paragraph 25 (lead poisoning), delegations agreed to a call for accelerated elimination of unsafe uses. Brackets were also removed from a paragraph on the health impacts of tobacco.

On paragraph 74 (domestic financing for Agenda 21), the US refused to re- negotiate a G-77/CHINA proposal to change text agreed at CSD-5. On paragraph 75 (phasing out subsidies), the G-77/CHINA agreed to replace a reference to the "principle of common but differentiated responsibilities" with text on taking account of levels of development. On bracketed text on trade in paragraph 76 (economic instruments), the US said he was not prepared to discuss trade "in this forum." On paragraph 98 (access to information and right of complaint), the G-77/CHINA challenged its relevance to Agenda 21.

SECTORAL ISSUES: At the conclusion of informal discussions on sectoral issues, many of the key issues had been resolved, with the exception of those requiring high-level political input. A reference to customary use of water in the section on freshwater use has proved controversial and is likely to be debated further. The section on energy was agreed ad referendum. In paragraph 35 (reducing the impact of fossil fuels), brackets were removed from "appropriate national action." In paragraph 39(d) (technology transfer), the EU and US agreed to consider a compromise formulation after prolonged discussion on the inclusion of "time bound" commitments for the transfer of relevant technology to developing countries. Delegations also reformulated paragraph 39(g) on environmental cost internalization to achieve a more sustainable use of energy. On paragraph 39(h) (atmosphere), the G-77/CHINA agreed to accept a reformulation recognizing that the commitments under article 4, paragraph 2(a) and (b) of the FCCC as one critical element of the Berlin Mandate are inadequate and need to be strengthened.

Forests (paragraphs 31-34): Bagher Asadi (Iran) circulated a Chair’s text at the conclusion of informal-informal consultations on forests that will be the basis for negotiation at UNGASS. The text calls for continuation of the intergovernmental policy dialogue on forests through the establishment of an ad hoc open-ended Intergovernmental Forum on Forests under the aegis of the CSD, with a focused and time-limited mandate. Some delegations opposed a paragraph suggesting that the proposed Forum elaborate possible elements of and build the necessary consensus for a decision to initiate negotiations for a legally-binding instrument on forests, and to report on its work to the CSD in 1999 for appropriate action. The EU objected to the absence of a reference to an INC in this formulation.

Radioactive Waste (paragraphs 49-51): Chair Osborn produced a compromise text for further consideration at UNGASS. Key elements call for: radioactive wastes to be disposed of in the territory of the State in which they are generated as far as is compatible with safe management; international efforts to prohibit the export of radioactive wastes to countries that do not have appropriate waste treatment and storage facilities; States not to promote or allow the storage or disposal of radioactive wastes near the marine environment; the finalization, ratification and implementation of the IAEA Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management; and improved assistance for SIDS. RUSSIA and the UKRAINE reserved on elements of the text.

CSD WORK PROGRAMME (1998-2002): An informal-informal group, chaired by Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland), made some progress but did not take final decisions on bracketed text.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: The remaining issues for negotiation in the draft proposed outcome include: the chapter on Means of Implementation (trade, mobilization of domestic resources, the role of ODA); a financial mechanism for the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD); a reference to the third Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Kyoto, Japan, in December, 1997; the follow-up to the work and recommendations of the CSD’s Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, including consideration of a possible Convention on Forests; and a proposal to introduce an international tax on aviation fuel to fund sustainable development. A number of these issues could not be resolved ahead of related discussions at the G-7 Summit in Denver and high-level political input at the UNGASS.

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