Published by the International
Institute for Sustainable Development
Vol. 05 No. 120
05 March 1999
CSD INTERSESSIONAL WORKING GROUP
THURSDAY, 4 MARCH 1999
Delegates at the ISWG on Oceans and Seas and the Sustainable
Development of SIDS met in the morning to complete their
consideration of elements for a draft CSD decision on oceans and
seas and to comment on the Co-Chairs summary of discussion on
oceans and seas. Delegates gave general comments on the draft
Co-Chairs proposals on CSDs contribution to the Special
Session on SIDS in the morning and conducted a paragraph-by-
paragraph read-through in informal consultations in the
ELEMENTS FOR A DRAFT CSD DECISION ON OCEANS AND SEAS
AREAS OF CONCERN: Marine Science and Climate Change: The RIO
GROUP proposed changing the section title to marine science and
linkages and adding subparagraphs on El Niño. OCHA/IDNDR
supported giving special attention to El Niño and emphasizing
the need for disaster reduction based on extensive monitoring.
The US proposed that the section encompass the importance of
marine science to ocean management in general.
Other Marine Pollution: The US and the IMO proposed noting the
need to minimize the transfer of alien species in ballast water.
On addressing environmental aspects of oil and gas operations at
the regional level, the IMO added international and the RIO
GROUP national and sub-regional action, particularly within the
framework of the Regional Seas Programme. The OFFICE FOR
COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS (OCHA) supported Canadas
proposal for oil tanker design requirements to include double
hull and compartments, to minimize oil spills. TURKEY proposed
language on environmental health issues arising from marine
Coral Reefs and Protected Areas: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, the US
and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported Australias proposal for a
more general reference to marine protected areas (MPAs). The RIO
GROUP proposed separate sections for coral reefs and MPAs and
deleting the call for the CBDs development of a global
representative system of MPAs to take into account IUCN
categories and multiple use principles.
INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION AND COOPERATION: The G-77/CHINA,
supported by EGYPT, SUDAN and LIBYA, said the Co-Chairs' draft
did not capture the Groups position. The EU proposed text
noting the special case for international coordination of oceans
and inviting the UN Secretary-General to make better use of the
CSD Secretariat and suggest initiatives to the GA on
coordination. AUSTRALIA called for elaboration of delegations'
proposals for improved coordination in the Co-Chairs' draft or
as an annex. ICELAND recalled a proposal that the ACC Sub-
Committee on Oceans and Coastal Areas (ACC-OCA) involve a
representative group of governments in its deliberations.
Supported by CANADA, the US and NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND proposed a
paragraph detailing options for improved coordination, including
a UN conference on ocean affairs, a high-level symposium and an
annual open-ended working group of the GA. CANADA, supported by
NORWAY, noted agreement on the need to improve coordination
using existing institutions and resources, within the GA's
mandate. He supported a proposed GA working group and a high-
level symposium with UNCLOS.
The US said improved intergovernmental coordination should be
achieved within existing resources and institutions, building on
the GA's existing mandate. He supported recommending an open-
ended working group to the GA, noting concerns about NGO
involvement. The RIO GROUP, supported by EGYPT, the RUSSIAN
FEDERATION and LIBYA, proposed a new introductory paragraph
recommending that the CSD forward proposals to the GA for
further analysis. JAPAN supported EGYPT's objection to giving
the impression that existing international mechanisms,
specifically UNCLOS, are not working. On the ACC-OCA
recommendations, EGYPT questioned a proposal to involve a
representative group from governments and cautioned against the
CSD contradicting GA rules. She said the CSD cannot call for a
broadened GA mandate.
EGYPT cautioned that a precedent for NGO involvement at the GA
level would apply across the board, including at the Security
Council. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported EGYPT and LIBYA on a
cautious approach to participation of all actors in GA
deliberations. SUDAN, supported by LIBYA, reiterated its
proposal to entitle the document "possible" elements. JAPAN,
supported by CHINA, suggested identifying problems with existing
international arrangements. The MARSHALL ISLANDS called for a
forum with open-ended, in-depth review of oceans affairs with
participation by SIDS and other bodies. CHINA supported making
maximum use of existing mechanisms. On participation of "all
actors," he suggested using the 19th Special Session of the GA
as a reference point. The INTERNATIONAL SEABED AUTHORITY said
the ISWG report should reflect how the CSD could contribute to
the decision-making process at the GA.
CO-CHAIRS SUMMARY OF DISCUSSION ON OCEANS AND SEAS
The G-77/CHINA, the EU, the US and the RIO GROUP expressed
general satisfaction with the text and said they would submit
comments in writing. CHILE requested adding a reference to a
meeting on desertification and the El Niño phenomenon to take
place in Chile in October 1999.
CO-CHAIRS PROPOSALS ON CSDS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE SPECIAL
SESSION ON SIDS
GENERAL COMMENTS ON THE TEXT: The EU said more emphasis was
needed on national and regional actions and suggested including
a reference to the outcomes of the Donor-SIDS meeting. The US
and AUSTRALIA noted the omission of some priorities for action
identified in the Secretary-Generals report. NEW ZEALAND
underscored the importance of reflecting SIDS views, expressed
concern with limited time for Special Session preparations, and
suggested emphasizing international cooperation to assist SIDS
in implementing conventions.
John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) chaired informal consultations
on the draft Co-Chairs proposal on CSDs contribution to the
Special Session on SIDS in the afternoon.
GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS: On SIDS as a special case for
sustainable development, several delegations requested that
agreed CSD language be used. On efforts by SIDS at the national
and regional levels to meet the POAs priorities and objectives,
the need for enhanced domestic efforts was noted. A delegation
indicated that the draft already reflected circumstances on the
ground. One delegate suggested that effective international
financial support to SIDS should be supplemental to domestic
efforts and proposed use instead of transfer of
environmentally sound technologies (ESTs).
CONSTRAINTS: It was proposed that higher volatility of
economic growth, rather than low economic growth, and an
economic base which prevents economies of scale rather than a
narrow resource base, be noted as constraints.
MAJOR CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES: Capacity-Building: One delegate
proposed that resources be mobilized for SIDS demonstrating a
commitment to sustainable development. Delegates proposed
deleting context-sensitive gender balance in education
Finance: Some opposed references to new and additional
commitments. One delegate opposed text stating that market
access difficulties and lack of capacity impede SIDS
involvement in international trade. One delegate suggested
noting that resources need to be further mobilized, rather
than are being mobilized, at the national level. Inclusion of
the Donor-SIDS conference outcomes was requested.
Information Management: Reference to a possible clearinghouse
mechanism for information exchange was requested.
Globalization and Trade Liberalization: A delegation proposed
shifting the emphasis from SIDS limited capacity to face
threats and adapt to changes in trade rules and globalization to
enabling SIDS to take advantage of globalizations
opportunities. Another suggested including a reference to
additional threats posed by globalization. Delegates proposed
deleting references on: reducing trade barriers and enhancing
SIDS access to export markets; SIDS export diversification;
and costs related to SIDS transition to global trading rules.
Technology Transfer: A delegation proposed changing the section
title to Science and Technology to better reflect the POA.
Another delegation said the title should remain unchanged
considering that a section on technology transfer was included
in the POA under cross-sectoral issues. Proposals were made to
describe the role of the international community in EST transfer
as important rather than vital. A proposal was made to
include a reference to climate change when addressing innovative
adaptation technologies for SIDS.
National Development Strategies: A delegation proposed
emphasizing the development of indicators at the regional level
to assist SIDS. A proposal was made to develop strategies for
both SIDS and donors to improve implementation of donor-
Vulnerability Index: One delegation opposed a composite
vulnerability index. Another delegation proposed assigning
appropriate instead of necessary resources to support SIDS
work on a vulnerability index.
SECTORAL ISSUES: Climate Change: Separate sections were
for climate change and natural disasters.
Energy: One delegate proposed deleting a call for international
support to provide renewable energy sources and adding national
government responsibility for creating an enabling environment
for private sector investment.
Freshwater Resources: Planning and integrated management of
freshwater resources were emphasized.
Oceans and Marine Resources: One delegate opposed negotiating
fishing agreements to obtain increased access fees and greater
supervision of distant-water fleets. One delegate preferred that
coastal zone management take place in areas of sovereignty or
jurisdiction of SIDS instead of exclusive economic zones.
Tourism: It was proposed that the importance of regional
marketing, private sector participation and creation of enabling
environments be underscored. Several delegates recommended
deleting text on the linkage between sustainable tourism and
The Role of the UN System: Regarding UN actions for effective
implementation of the POA, one delegation preferred stressing
the need to make more effective use of existing resources
from all sources rather than the need to mobilize new
resources. It was also suggested to note ongoing efforts within
the UN system to create development assistance frameworks. Text
was proposed stating that UN agencies should be more proactive
in seeking SIDS views on sustainable development issues to
ensure that national differences and local sensitivities are
IN THE CORRIDORS
Observers reported resistance to a consolidated text from the
Rio Group at an informal lunchtime meeting on drafting
arrangements for proposed improvements in international
coordination of oceans issues. However, delegations agreed to
the preparation of two documents. A non-paper identifying common
elements in proposals from the ISWG will be produced for CSD-7
in addition to the Co-Chairs' elements for a draft CSD decision
on oceans and seas.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
ENERGY BRIEFING: The Secretariat will brief delegates on
preparations for the CSDs consideration of energy at CSD-9 at
10:00 am in Conference Room 4.
REVISED CO-CHAIRS TEXTS: Revised Co-Chairs drafts of the
summary of discussion on oceans and seas, elements for a draft
CSD decision on oceans and seas, and proposals for CSDs
contribution to the Special Session on SIDS are expected to be
circulated in the morning and considered in the afternoon.
CLOSING PLENARY: It is expected that delegates will consider
adopt the report of the ISWG and hear concluding remarks in a
closing Plenary in the afternoon.