Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 05 No. 191
Thursday, 8 May 2003
WEDNESDAY, 7 MAY 2003
Delegates convened in two parallel working groups
in the morning and afternoon to continue negotiating the Chair’s
draft decision on the future programme, organization and methods of
work of the Commission. Working Group I discussed the CSD’s
multi-year work programme and the future organization of work, while
Working Group II considered reporting, partnerships, and the bureau.
In the morning, participants also convened for a presentation on the
International Year of Freshwater, while informal consultations took
place in the morning and afternoon to finalize the draft decision on
the preparations for the 10-year review of the implementation of the
Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA).
WORKING GROUP I
At the opening of Working Groups I and II, CSD-11
Chair Moosa drew attention to the tight deadline facing delegates,
informing them that the session must finish by Friday afternoon, and
that negotiations must be concluded on Thursday. Stating that
ministers attending last week’s high-level segment had "wanted to
show that multilateralism is on track and has not broken down," he
urged delegates to demonstrate greater urgency in their work.
MULTI-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK: Regarding the
paragraph addressing the three main themes of poverty, consumption
and production, and the natural resource base, the G-77/ CHINA
expressed its preference for deleting it, or rewording it using
exact language from the JPOI . Deletion was supported by several
delegations, on the understanding that if retained, the thrust of
the text would be reflected in the preamble. Co-Chair Moeini Meybodi
requested Ngurah Swajaya (Indonesia) to facilitate informal
consultations on the preamble.
Regarding text on considerations that will guide
the implementation of the CSD’s work programme, the G-77/CHINA
suggested replacing it with its proposal on the multi-year programme
of work. Other delegations explained their amendments to the
paragraph, and several countries suggested moving parts of the text
to the preamble. While a number of delegations proposed amendments
to the original annex, the G-77/CHINA noted some fundamental
differences between country positions, adding that he preferred a
comprehensive cluster approach that embraced all issues rather than
a "pick and choose" approach focused on a limited list. Other
delegations disagreed, stressing the need to limit the number of
issues discussed by CSD sessions. They also noted that ministers had
expressed a desire to focus on water and energy in the first two
FUTURE ORGANIZATION OF WORK: On text
addressing the contribution of the CSD’s organization of work to the
implementation of sustainable development, the G-77/CHINA, opposed
by NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, AUSTRALIA, the US and EU, called for a
reference to the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities. The working group agreed that the Commission’s
work will be organized as a series of two-year action oriented
"Implementation Cycles," with a "Review Session" and "Policy
Delegates then discussed the Secretary-General’s
State of Implementation Report, agreeing to a proposal from CANADA
that it reflect progress on the implementation of Agenda 21, the
Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the JPOI.
The EU, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, proposed that the report present
a detailed review of implementation "at all levels." The G-77/CHINA
also objected to language suggesting that the report reflect on new
challenges and opportunities. There was general agreement that the
report would be based on information provided in countries’ reports
as well as reports from UN organizations and regions. However, there
was a lengthy and inconclusive discussion on the use of the words "inter
alia" and "as appropriate" when referring to information to be
provided by subregions and Major Groups. The G-77/CHINA opposed a
proposal by the US that partnership reports be included.
Delegations also agreed that the evaluation of
progress in the "Review Session" should include contributions from
UN agencies, programmes and funds, the GEF, and international
financial and trade institutions.
On contributions from Major Groups, delegations
accepted language proposed by Co-Chair Meybodi and amended by the
G-77/CHINA, which referred to scientific experts and educators,
"bearing in mind" the relevant paragraphs of the JPOI.
Delegates then addressed the outcome of the
"Review Session," and agreed that it should include a Chair’s
summary. On text proposing an Intergovernmental Action Forum, the
REPUBLIC OF KOREA proposed that it should be held in February in the
second year of a cycle; it also bracketed reference to the Forum’s
"two weeks" duration. Together with the EU and G-77/CHINA, it voiced
concern over the imbalance in the number of meetings in the two year
cycle of work. JAPAN reminded the Secretariat of its request that
delegates be briefed on the budgetary implications of the various
proposals regarding the schedule of meetings.
WORKING GROUP II
Working Group II continued negotiating the
Chair’s draft decision, which had been further revised in a
compilation text incorporating the outcome of discussions held on
Tuesday. Following a brief discussion of various proposals to amend
the title of one section, delegates agreed to remove all section
titles from the draft.
PARTNERSHIPS: The G-77/CHINA proposed text
for a preamble at the beginning of this section. The EU agreed to
this, while AUSTRALIA, CANADA, the US and JAPAN objected. Delegates
then discussed a paragraph reiterating that partnerships are an
important complementary instrument to enhance implementation of
Agenda 21 and the JPOI. The G-77/CHINA introduced language
clarifying that "partnerships are not intended to substitute
commitments made by governments, but to supplement the
implementation of JPOI." The US supported referring to
"intergovernmental agreements" rather than "commitments." The EU
proposed "other intergovernmentally agreed commitments." The group
agreed to hold informal consultations on this issue, and to report
back on Thursday.
There was also disagreement over a proposal by
the G-77/ CHINA to delete reference to partnerships being a "key
innovation," and to refer to them as "voluntary initiatives
undertaken by stakeholders" instead. Responding to new amendments
proposed by the G-77/CHINA, the US expressed concern at considering
new paragraphs at this late stage in negotiations.
REPORTING: Delegates devoted considerable
attention to a paragraph emphasizing the importance of a reporting
system for evaluating progress in implementation. Much of the debate
focused on whether to retain references to "an effective system" of
reporting, which was preferred by the EU, and also on including
language on "evaluating and monitoring." Following extensive
discussions, delegates approved text emphasizing that "an effective
system of reporting is essential for reviewing, evaluating and
monitoring progress" in implementation. Delegates also agreed to an
EU proposal that the paragraph should refer to relevant parts of the
JPOI, and to a US proposal to include a specific reference to
identifying actions, opportunities, and constraints.
The working group then discussed a paragraph on
reporting to the CSD, starting with text proposed by the G-77/CHINA.
Following amendments by the EU and US to this text, language was
accepted that "encourages countries to present, on a voluntary
basis, national reports, in particular to the Review Session of the
CSD, focusing on concrete progress in implementation, including
achievements, constraints, challenges and opportunities."
Regarding other text and additional proposals on
reporting, delegates expressed uncertainty over whether these
related specifically to reporting to the CSD, or to the report of
the Secretary-General. Co-Chair Bruno Stagno indicated that the
group would return to this text on Thursday morning.
Regarding a paragraph that refers to various
reporting-related requests of the Secretariat, delegates agreed to
text on avoiding an "unnecessary burden on States" in reporting, and
on providing information highlighting relevant trends, constraints,
challenges and emerging issues. The EU, opposed by the G-77/CHINA,
proposed promoting best practices and benchmarks. The US stressed
the UN Development Group’s role in coordinating development work
within the UN. However, no agreement was reached on this matter.
BUREAU: Delegates began an initial
consideration of the section regarding the Bureau. Comments focused
on concerns that a two-year Bureau term would give rise to legal and
other complications in light of the three-year tenure of CSD
membership. The US proposed deleting this section and drafting a
separate decision on the Bureau for ECOSOC consideration.
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON SIDS
Informal consultations on SIDS took place in the
morning and afternoon to finalize the draft decision on preparations
for the international meeting to review implementation of the BPOA.
In order to ensure the high visibility of SIDS issues, the
G-77/CHINA stressed its desire to include a three-day preparatory
meeting in CSD-12’s work programme. The US and JAPAN cautioned
against taking decisions on the scope and agenda of CSD-12 that
might predetermine the outcome of negotiations in the working
groups. Delegates agreed to leave a reference to a "high-level
segment" in brackets, pending Working Group I’s decision on this
Delegates agreed to reorder several paragraphs to
ensure that all reporting for the preparatory process would take
into account provisions in General Assembly resolution 57/262 on
streamlining reporting. The US proposed language requesting that the
Secretary-General work "within existing resources" in the
preparatory process, with NEW ZEALAND adding text stating that
voluntary contributions are to be used to cover shortfalls, if
necessary. Delegates agreed to these suggestions. Following
confirmation of the dates and venues for the regional preparatory
meetings, delegates approved the draft decision, which will be
forwarded to Working Group II for its consideration.
PRESENTATION ON THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF
This meeting was chaired by Ronnie Kasrils, South
Africaï¿½s Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry. In his keynote
address, Willem Alexander, Crown Prince of the Netherlands, said
improving sanitation required a special effort and called for a "new
agricultural revolution." Other speakers noted the need for social
mobilization and mobilization of the media, gender-sensitive water
strategies, and a focus on people, households and communities.
Participants also heard reports on the Millennium Project Task Force
on Water and Sanitation, the Third World Water Forum, and the World
Water Development Report.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Chair Moosaï¿½s emphatic appeal to the working
groups on Wednesday morning to demonstrate greater urgency in their
negotiations appeared to have met with mixed results. While
participants in Working Group I initially seemed inspired by his
eloquence, some left the meeting late in the afternoon suggesting
that talks had somewhat lost their way as the day progressed.
Meanwhile, Working Group II began at a pace one delegate referred to
as "snail-like," with some participants complaining about the "last
minute" introduction of numerous additions to the text by some
delegations. While the afternoon session was more productive, there
appears to be widespread concern that both groups still have a lot
of work to do; indeed, some seemed surprised that there was no night
meeting called on Wednesday.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: This group will meet in
Conference Room 4 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and 3:00-6:00 pm to
negotiate the future organization of work and the multi-year work
WORKING GROUP II: This group will convene in
Conference Room 6 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and 3:00-6:00 pm to
negotiate on partnerships, and on the contributions of the UN system
and Major Groups. This group will also consider the draft decisions
on SIDS and on fast-tracking WSSD-accredited NGOs to ECOSOC.