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CONFERENCE ON THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES:: YEAR-END UPDATE

Although the resumed session of the Preparatory Committee for the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States will not take place until March 1994, there is much to report upon the conclusion of the 48th session of the United Nations General Assembly. This special year-end issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin will review relevant activities that have taken place since the substantive session of the PrepCom in September 1993, summarize the results of the General Assembly's consideration of the Conference, and highlight upcoming events. This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is published as part of a series of year-end issues intended to summarize the current state of play in the various UNCED-follow-up conferences and negotiations reported on by the Bulletin in 1993.

@HEAD2.5 = A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SMALL ISLAND STATES CONFERENCE

The Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States has its roots in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21. UN General Assembly resolution 47/189, which established the Conference set the following objectives: review current trends in the socio-economic development of small island developing States (SIDS); examine the nature and magnitude of the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS; define a number of specific actions and policies relating to environmental and development planning to be undertaken by these States, with help from the international community; identify elements that these States need to include in medium- and long-term sustainable development plans; recommend measures for enhancing the endogenous capacity of these States; and review whether institutional arrangements at the international level enable these States to give effect to the relevant provisions of Agenda 21. The Conference is to be held in Barbados from 25 April - 6 May 1994.

The Preparatory Committee for the Conference held its organizational session in New York on 15-16 April 1993. Penelope Wensley, Australia's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and Ambassador for the Environment, was elected Chair of the PrepCom. The PrepCom adopted guidelines suggesting that the its consideration of the role of small island developing States should include actions at the micro level aimed at environment and development planning, measures for enhancing local skills and expertise, and medium- and long-term planning for sustainable development.

As part of the preparatory process, two regional technical meetings were held. The first meeting for the Indian and Pacific Oceans was coordinated by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and was held from 31 May - 4 June 1993 in Vanuatu. The second regional technical meeting for the Atlantic/Caribbean/ Mediterranean region was held in Trinidad and Tobago from 28 June - 2 July 1993. The meeting was coordinated by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) with the assistance of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The substantive session of the PrepCom was held in New York from 30 August - 10 September 1993. By the conclusion of the two-week meeting, the PrepCom had set the process in motion for the adoption of a programme of action for the sustainable development of SIDS. The draft programme of action contains chapters on the following: climate change and sea level rise; natural and environmental disasters; management of wastes; coastal and marine resources; freshwater resources; land resources; energy resources; tourism resources; biodiversity resources; national institutions and administrative capacity; regional institutions and technical cooperation; transport and communication; science and technology; human resource development; and implementation, monitoring and review. While delegates were able to reach agreement on the majority of the chapters in the programme of action, the preamble and the chapter on implementation, monitoring and review remained largely in brackets. As a result, delegates called for a resumed session of the PrepCom to be convened so that negotiations could continue on these sections.

@HEAD2.5 = INTERSESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

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