There was little reaction yesterday to the soon- to-be-released Swedish Conference Room Paper. Some delegates quietly confided that this Conference has as its heart the legal framework of the Law of the Sea and, consequently, issues of environment and development should not receive the attention that the Swedish delegation seeks by promoting direct reference to the Commission on Sustainable Development. Some delegates doubted that the CSD would have either the time or the expertise to deal with the high seas fishing portfolio. This, however, could be seen as being in contradiction with Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 that calls specifically for the convening of this Conference.
An alternative approach, suggested by the US at a recent meeting of the Pacific Rim countries in Beijing, is currently receiving informal attention. Under this approach, a five-point plan would seek to adopt a set of guidelines and recommendations; the UN General Assembly would adopt a Declaration; all fisheries organizations (regional and subregional) would be required to review treaties and operational practices, amending them in conformity with the guidelines and principles; an annual report would be delivered to the General Assembly; and a special review of fisheries organizations scheduled for 1997. The Declaration would be non-binding and thus falling substantially short of what many coastal States are now striving for.