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, was elected Chair of the PrepCom. The four Vice-Chairs are: Takao Shibata (Japan), Marian Dinu (Romania), John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Jos Luis Jesus (Cape Verde). Barbados, as host country, is an ex officio member of the Bureau.
The PrepCom had before it three documents for consideration: the draft provisional agenda (A/CONF.167/PC/1); a report of the Secretary-General on the preparations for the Conference (A/CONF.167/PC/2); and the draft provisional rules of procedure (A/CONF.167/PC/3).
The discussion on the draft guidelines for the work of the PrepCom was the most contentious. Issues that generated debate included the responsibilities of the international community in providing small island developing States access to financial resources; and the international community's responsibility to small island developing States regarding "access to environmentally sound and energy-efficient technology, including delivery mechanisms." The guidelines eventually adopted suggest that the PrepCom's 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. The guidelines also emphasize the importance of regional technical cooperation on environmental problems and the necessity for regional organizations and commissions to participate in this process.