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MAIN COMMITTEE

Although the Main Committee was scheduled to meet at 11:00 am, it did not convene until after 12:00, as informal consultations continued. During the course of the day, the Committee examined outstanding issues in the non-paper on Section D of Chapter XV, Institutional Arrangements, Monitoring and Review; the EU proposals on finance; and the non-paper on the rest of Chapter XV.

In paragraph 1 on new financing mechanisms, AOSIS/G-77 wanted to retain reference to a new international funding mechanism, while many developed countries felt that this would be counter-productive and not in the SIDS' interest. In paragraph 2(b), informal consultations were successful and the new version, as amended, includes a review of implementation of the Programme of Action by the CSD in 1996, by the special session of the General Assembly (UNGA) in 1997, in conjunction with the overall review of Agenda 21, and a full review of the Programme of Action in 1999. In the afternoon, the US removed its reservation on paragraph 2(c), the UNGA's consideration of Conference follow-up.

Paragraph 7 was finally adopted in the afternoon and the last sentence now reads "to this end, the necessary resources should be provided, relying on the most efficient and cost-effective use of resources to fulfill the following functions." In paragraph 15, the reference to both private and public resources remained in brackets.

In paragraph 17, consultations resulted in removal of the brackets around "regional economic integration organizations," which should also take the Programme of Action into account when formulating policy. Agreed language on paragraph 18 now accepts the concept of autonomy for regional commissions in implementation and that they act as focal points for the coordination of follow-up. New language for paragraph 19 was accepted: "The Secretary-General in his report to the 49th UN General Assembly, requested in paragraph 12, should also report on progress made in the implementation of other recommendations above, including a section on the action taken by regional commissions to implement the Programme of Action, particularly at the sub-regional level."

Paragraph 115, which also addresses institutional arrangements, was moved to this section as paragraph 1 bis.

When the negotiations resumed on the new non-paper on Chapter XV, agreement was reached on paragraph 67. The specific reference to Chapter 23.2 of Agenda 21 was deleted and a new first sentence was proposed, with exact language from Chapter 23.1. Agreement was reached on paragraph 92 on commodity markets. The new language provides for better functioning and transparent markets, and assistance to SIDS in their efforts to achieve greater diversification of their commodity sectors.

The Chair invited delegations to comment on the EU proposal on finance. The Chair of the G-77 said that the Programme of Action is already limited due to SIDS' appreciation of constraints on resources; nevertheless it does reveal a need for new and additional financial resources. Agenda 21 accepts shared responsibility for problems and their causation, yet now SIDS are expected to bear the bulk of the burden themselves. She criticized the reliance on the GEF, which was replenished at the lowest possible level and whose funds are not available to all SIDS due to per capita income constraints. She also criticized the over-emphasis on the private sector, which is not strong enough in some SIDS to marshal adequate funds. China added its voice to that of the G-77, stating that the EU proposal was disappointing. The EU stressed again its three-part approach: the better use of existing resources; prioritization of ODA; and the mobilization of new and additional financial resources. Sweden said that it would like to see the 0.7% target for ODA included in the text. It was agreed that the text in A/CONF.167/L.1 would form the basis for negotiation and that the Chair would conduct informal consultations.

On paragraph 69, the finance paragraph in the national implementation section, the brackets were removed around the first sentence. Brackets remained around the second and third sentences dealing with environmental goals and the reordering of priorities, respectively. In the discussion on paragraph 82, AOSIS asked the authors of an amendment still in brackets if they were trying to imply that SIDS governments were corrupt and inefficient. The first set of brackets around the improved access to financial resources was removed.

On paragraph 88, concerning finance, one country introduced a new chapeau, which did not cover the key points required by other groups. There was concern that the Programme of Action should refer to the provision of new and additional financial resources, not only their mobilization, as was the case in Chapter 33.10 of Agenda 21. A suggested composite text to cover paragraph 88(b)-(e) was proposed, based on consultations held at the resumed session of the PrepCom. This was circulated in writing. Other amendments to the tirets were offered. The Chair noted that 88(a) is not bracketed, but that its ideas may appear in a composite text. Consultations will ensue.

In paragraph 89, the majority wanted reference to the CSD working group deleted. New, more concise language was proposed, highlighting the role that the CSD will play in monitoring and advancing new and innovative approaches.

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