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THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary will meet today at 11:00 am to receive the Chair's revised negotiating text, a compilation of five Conference Room Papers (A/CONF.164/CRP.1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), considered during the informal-informal sessions held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning of this week. The Chair is expected to consider the work of the Credentials Committee (A/CONF.164/18) prior to adjourning the Conference. Look for the draft listing of delegates to the Conference, which is scheduled to be released today.

NGO ACTIVITIES: Look for a letter to be published in <W2I>ECO<D> from the NGOs to the Conference Chair on the topic of openness and transparency at this and future work of the Conference. In a debriefing session held yesterday, the NGOs drafted a collective letter, addressed to Satya Nandan, expressing their discontent at the way the negotiations have been conducted this week. Over the last three days, the NGOs have been excluded from observing the negotiating sessions. Many feel that this sort of secrecy and lack of transparency had been abandoned by governments following the positive experience of the UNCED process. Some have expressed the feeling that democracy and participation cannot be sacrificed at the expense of political expediency, since this is too high a price to pay for a speedy resolution to negotiations. This was the first meeting in two years related to environment and development matters, and the first UNCED-mandated negotiation, where NGOs have been barred from observing the sessions. Many NGOs who have traveled great distances and represent constituencies directly affected by the decisions taken by the delegates feel that their contribution has been not only ignored but discounted as irrelevant to what has become a legalistic struggle. They have all endorsed this open letter to the Chair asking for a more transparent process, both during the coming intersessional period and at the last session of the Conference in August 1994. Look for strong words in the corridors from NGOs, particularly to those delegations who normally are supportive of NGO participation but who have failed to advocate for their presence in the negotiating room this week.

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