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INFORMAL SESSION

The PrepCom convened in informal session Monday afternoon to begin discussing Chapter XV of the Draft Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, as contained in the Report of the Preparatory Committee (A/48/36). This entire chapter had been left in square brackets at the end of the first session of the PrepCom. The Chair suggested that delegates use this document as the base text but refer to the Suggested Amendments to the Draft Action Programme for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States prepared by AOSIS/G-77.

The Chair invited delegates to make general comments before examining the text line-by-line. Those delegations that gave general comments expressed their gratitude to AOSIS/G-77 for the text they had prepared and for incorporating so many of the comments of other delegations. There was some concern expressed that Chapter XV and the SIDS process in general should not add to the heavy reporting burdens of States in the field of environment.

XV. IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND REVIEW: This chapter deals with implementation at the national, regional and international levels. At each of these levels the chapter discusses issues of finance, trade, technology transfer, legislation, and institutions as well as the concept of a vulnerability index. It is the most contentious of the chapters of the Draft Programme of Action and was flagged for heavy amendment at the first session of the PrepCom.

Paragraph 61 remained in square brackets after considerable amendment and counter amendment as delegates searched for wording which would reflect the degree to which SIDS are to be considered a priority or a special case and what emphasis should be placed on the need for the international community to demonstrate its commitment to SIDS.

A number of delegates suggested amendments to the list of parallel international processes in new paragraph 61 bis, grafted from the preamble. These include the Basel and Bamako conventions as well as other regional instruments on hazardous wastes, the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, CITES, the World Summit on Social Development, the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Conference on Natural Disasters. As the list grew longer, some delegates asked if it could be collapsed into a general reference to other processes. The Chair asked an informal group of concerned delegates to meet and resolve this issue. The paragraph remained in square brackets.

New paragraph 61 bis;bis was agreed to with one comment that its substance should also be taken up in discussions on the preamble. Paragraph 62 on the development of action plans was acceptable as written. On paragraph 63, a number of delegates noted that decision making was the responsibility of governments alone, after consultation with major groups. They proposed that levels of government be distinguished from NGOs and their roles clarified and the appropriate reference for roles of major groups in Agenda 21 be used.

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