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STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT

The Statement of Commitment contains six paragraphs. It notes that, at UNCED, Heads of States and Governments and other Heads of Delegations, together with international institutions and non-governmental organizations launched a new global partnership for sustainable development, a partnership that respects the indivisibility of environmental protection and the development process. It recalls that the focus of UNGASS has been to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 21 in a comprehensive manner and not to re- negotiate its provisions or to be selective in its implementation. A number of positive results are acknowledged, but deep concern is expressed that the overall trends for sustainable development are worse today than they were in 1992. Participants commit to ensure that the next comprehensive review of Agenda 21 in the year 2002 demonstrates greater measurable progress in achieving sustainable development.

This section was, until the last day of UNGASS, envisioned to be a longer “political statement.” Delegates to the CSD Intersessional Working Group anticipated that they would develop a political statement, and suggested a number of elements that could be included in it. Bilateral consultations were undertaken by Vice-Chair Monika Linn- Locher (Switzerland) and Chair Mostafa Tolba (Egypt) during CSD-5. They issued a preliminary “Draft Political Statement” during the second week. A redraft incorporated comments from governments and was distributed during the final Plenary. An exchange of comments in the intersessional period resulted in a new draft, which was first discussed during the informal consultations prior to UNGASS. Voluminous amendments were offered, and incorporated into the text that was negotiated during UNGASS. Delegates completed their first reading of the twenty-six paragraph draft on Thursday afternoon, and began a second reading during a late night session. Many debates during the week mirrored those taking place on similar issues in the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and progress was slow. Among the issues that generated considerable debate were: the definition of sustainable development; incremental costs; time-bound commitments; commitments regarding ODA; domestic mobilization of resources; listing the sectoral themes for the CSD’s focus in the next five years; and an invitation to the Secretary-General to develop strategies for long-term sustainability. The Co-Chairs of the finance ministers’ group drafted proposed text on financial resources to be included in the political statement, but the US, India, Brazil, Belarus, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Venezuela and Japan expressed serious difficulty with the text.

On Friday morning, the draft political statement was withdrawn from consideration. UNGASS President Razali Ismail conducted informal consultations on a “Statement of Commitment,” which was issued on Friday afternoon as document A/S- 19/AC.1/L.1/Add.1. Lebanon noted that he had worked hard on the longer document and registered his concern that the Statement of Commitment did not reflect all issues that had been discussed, but he joined the consensus in adopting the text.

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