Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 05 No. 192
Friday, 9 May 2003
THURSDAY, 8 MAY 2003
Delegates convened in a Plenary in the afternoon
for a briefing on the status of negotiations on the draft decision
on the future programme, organization and methods of work of the
Commission. They also met throughout the day and into the evening in
two parallel working groups to finalize negotiations on their
respective issues. Working Group I considered the CSD’s multi-year
work programme and the future organization of work, with two contact
groups formed to negotiate issues concerning the Annex and the
sequence of meetings. Working Group II also established two groups
to finalize deliberations on reporting, UN system coordination,
Major Groups, partnerships, the Bureau, and SIDS. As of late
Thursday evening, negotiations were continuing on partnerships, the
programme of work, and the organization of work.
On Thursday afternoon, delegates met in plenary
to hear briefings from the co-chairs of the working groups on the
status of negotiations. Noting progress made so far, CSD-11 Chair
Moosa urged participants to strive to conclude their work on all
WORKING GROUP I
This working group convened in the morning to
establish two contact groups, which met throughout the day and into
the evening, addressing the programme and organization of work.
FUTURE ORGANIZATION OF WORK: This contact
group, chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada), met to negotiate
elements in the future work programme relating to the purpose,
outcomes and scheduling of meetings in the multi-year work cycle.
Delegates reached agreement on the scheduling of
both the "Review" and "Policy" Sessions and on deleting references
to a developed country’s proposal that the CSD convene an
"Intergovernmental Action Forum." Consensus was reached on holding
an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting to discuss policy options
and possible action, as well as to prepare input for the "Policy
The contact group could not agree to a proposal
by a developed country to refer to the "Review Session" as an
"Implementation and Review Session." Delegates were also unable to
reach consensus on a proposal by several developed countries that
both the "Review" and "Policy" Sessions should mobilize further
actions to overcome the obstacles and constraints to implementation.
As of late Thursday evening, text on convening a high-level segment
during the "Review Session" remained bracketed.
PROGRAMME OF WORK: This contact group, which
was chaired by Hossein Moeini (Iran), took up the Co-Chair’s text
distributed on Wednesday, and exchanged views on: the general
approach; number of themes in each cycle; criteria for theme
selection; the balance between focus and comprehensiveness when
selecting themes; linkages between themes; specific themes for the
first two cycles; and the special review cycle. Several developed
countries indicated that they would be prepared to agree to an
indicative list of themes beyond the first three work cycles, but
stressed the importance of ensuring a proper balance between
comprehensiveness and focus on a limited number of issues. A
developed country group suggested several criteria for choosing
themes, such as coherence and manageability, added value, absence of
an institutional home for a particular issue, and recent ministerial
guidance. Water and energy were continuously mentioned as themes for
the first two cycles. A developing country group argued for having a
review cycle, while several developed countries expressed doubts on
the need for this.
The contact group resumed towards the end of the
day to consider a revised Chair’s paper. The paper outlines, in
introductory paragraphs, considerations which should to guide the
CSD’s work programme, emphasizing that focal issues should be
addressed in an integrated manner, and that their selection in a
given cycle does not diminish the importance of other commitments.
It also notes that cross-cutting issues should be considered
On the Chair’s new version of the Annex,
developing countries proposed merging the "focal issues" and the
"cluster of issues" columns into a single numbered "thematic
clusters" column. After some debate, a developed country produced a
paper that reflected this new approach, and the contact group began
negotiating the exact description of themes in each cycle, with
developing countries insisting on a closer rendition of their
language as previously proposed. As of late Thursday evening,
negotiations were ongoing.
WORKING GROUP II
This working group continued negotiating the
Chair’s draft decision, and also took up draft decisions on NGO
accreditation and on SIDS, with the aim of completing work on all
outstanding decisions. While the group successfully completed much
of its work, by late Thursday evening a number of paragraphs in the
Chair’s draft decision remained unresolved.
REPORTING: On a paragraph proposed by the
G-77/CHINA encouraging further work on indicators for sustainable
development by countries at the national level, delegates agreed to
use the exact language agreed in JPOI paragraph 130, which notes the
integration of gender aspects, the voluntary basis of work, and
national conditions and priorities. The group also incorporated a
suggestion to request the Secretary-General to "consider progress
made in this regard, including further work on the above mentioned
indicators, in the report to the CSD, as appropriate."
On a paragraph setting out various considerations
to guide reporting to the CSD, delegates spent considerable time
debating a subparagraph outlining the required reporting inputs.
Text stating that reporting should be "comprehensive" and centered
on the "overarching focus of the cycle" remained in brackets.
However, delegates did eventually agree that text should refer to
inputs from "all levels, as appropriate, including national,
subregional, regional and global levels." They also agreed that a
list of organizations, groups, and institutions providing input
should be based on a similar list being negotiated by Working Group
Delegates then agreed to a number of
subparagraphs outlining other considerations that should guide
reporting to the CSD, including that: the existing reporting systems
should be used to the fullest extent possible and provide the bulk
of the information required; reporting should focus on concrete
progress in implementation, taking into account the three dimensions
of sustainable development; and country reporting should provide
information on the status of NSSDs.
On reporting-related requests to the Secretariat,
delegates finalized text on matters related to support for countries
in national reporting, and development of reporting guidelines. On a
proposal by the G-77/CHINA to refer to "technical and financial"
support, the US said the Secretariat provides "expert advisory
services," not financial support. Following clarification from the
Secretariat, delegates agreed that the Secretariat would provide
technical assistance "through regular and extra-budgetary sources."
On reporting guidelines, the US, supported by
AUSTRALIA, said the current guidelines are "cumbersome," and called
for streamlining. Delegates agreed on language reflecting these
concerns. Delegates also deliberated on who the Secretariat should
consult with, and whether proposals for national reporting
guidelines should be submitted to the CSD for consideration. MEXICO
stressed consultation with MEA Secretariats, and CANADA, with
SWITZERLAND, AUSTRALIA, the EU and US, supported consultation with
"stakeholders." The G-77/CHINA opposed this. Following lengthy
discussions, delegates agreed on consultations with "Major Groups,
as appropriate" as a compromise.
UN SYSTEM COORDINATION: Delegates finalized
text on this topic on Thursday afternoon. On a paragraph inviting
organizations within the UN system, the GEF, and financial and trade
institutions, to participate in CSD’s work, delegates approved,
inter alia, language recognizing the importance of enhancing
collaboration and coordination in all areas, including information
exchange and knowledge sharing on all aspects of implementation. On
promoting system-wide interagency coordination and cooperation, the
group agreed to an EU proposal to request the Secretary-General to
report on its activities to ECOSOC and the CSD. On proposals
outlining the UN system’s response to sustainable development,
delegates supported SWITZERLAND’s proposal to take into account the
work of the ad hoc working group on follow-up to major UN
conferences. The EU proposed language requesting information on the
outcome of the ongoing discussions on task managers. Following
extensive discussions and clarification by the Secretariat on the
function and activities of the Chief Executive Board, this proposal
was not included.
MAJOR GROUPS: Delegates discussed at length a
paragraph designed to enhance contributions from Major Groups
through a variety of measures. The G-77/CHINA rejected additional
proposals by several countries to refer to scientists, educators,
and other stakeholders. Following ongoing differences on references
to other stakeholders, delegates agreed late on Thursday evening
that the issue may have to be forwarded to the Plenary for
consideration on Friday.
After extensive discussions, a subparagraph
promoting more active involvement of Major Groups in implementation
was approved, with the inclusion of "other relevant stakeholders,"
as proposed by the EU and AUSTRALIA. However, as part of this
agreement, the EU, US and others acceded to a request by the G-77/
CHINA to delete a paragraph specifying various constituencies/
stakeholders, such as disabled persons, consumer groups, educators,
parliamentarians, media, and the elderly.
PARTNERSHIPS: The issue on partnerships was
considered throughout the day and into the late evening. The EU said
the guidelines presented in the text were not sufficiently
comprehensive, and supported "taking into account" the Bali Guiding
Principles and General Assembly resolution 56/76. This was opposed
by the G-77/CHINA, and delegates agreed on compromise language that
"takes note" of the resolution and of work on partnerships
undertaken in the WSSD preparatory process. Opposed by AUSTRALIA,
the G-77/CHINA proposed that partnerships should "be based on new
and additional funds." Delegates agreed to language reflecting that
partnerships should "include mobilizing new resources." In addition
to stressing that partnerships should be designed and implemented in
an accountable manner, delegates also agreed to SWITZERLANDï¿½s
proposal that partnerships be transparent. However, delegates could
not agree to language stating that partnerships should be consistent
with national laws, with the G-77/CHINA insisting that they be
consistent with national priorities, and the EU, supported by JAPAN
and SWITZERLAND, suggesting that they be consistent with sustainable
development priorities. Delegates also debated partnerships
reporting, with the EU supporting biennial reporting and the US
preferring reporting every five years.
BUREAU: Delegates discussed this matter on
Thursday afternoon. NORWAY and SWITZERLAND, opposed by the G-77/
CHINA and US, supported forwarding a clear recommendation on the
term of the Bureau. The G-77/CHINA preferred a one-year Bureau.
Delegates agreed to forward a separate decision requesting ECOSOC to
consider the term of the Bureau, taking into account the CSDï¿½s
two-year work cycle.
SIDS: John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda)
reported to the group on successful consultations on a draft
decision on preparations for the 10-year review of the
implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA). The group
adopted the decision.
NGO ACCREDITATION: Late Thursday afternoon,
delegates in Working Group II took up a draft decision on the status
of NGOs and other major groups accredited to the WSSD. The US
suggested alternative text, noting that it wanted to ensure that
this matter was addressed by the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs and not
under some new process. The UK, speaking for the EU, stressed the
backlog for NGO accreditation and the need to address this in an
expeditious way. Following extensive discussions, delegates agreed
to an operative paragraph recommending that ECOSOC consider, "in
accordance with the established UN rules of procedure and taking
note of the ongoing work of the NGO Committee, the status of NGOs,
which were accredited to the WSSD, so that the Commission can
benefit from their contributions as soon as possible."
IN THE CORRIDORS
As negotiations continued late into Thursday
night, considerable movement was observed on previously "fixed"
country positions with regard to the outstanding elements of the
draft decision. Meanwhile, several participants not involved in the
closed-door negotiations were reflecting on the successes and
effectiveness of the partnerships fair and the learning center.
While some welcomed their inclusion in the official session, others
were questioning the "low to medium level" of participation in these
events, particularly in the learning center, and the decision to
include them in what one observer called "an arduous and fairly
unexciting programmatic affair."
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: A Plenary is scheduled to take place in
Conference Room 4 at 10:00 am to adopt the sessionï¿½s decisions.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The ENB summary
and analysis of CSD-11 will be available online on Monday, 12 May