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BARBADOS DECLARATION

The contact group drafting the Barbados Declaration met all day and into the night in Conference Room 3. The group continued to work through the remaining paragraphs of the draft provided by the Chair on Monday morning. The Chair also introduced a new updated working paper -- a reformulation of the first paragraphs, based on Monday's discussions.

During the morning session the group discussed the quality of NGO participation, specifically the degree to which Agenda 21 and the Programme of Action of this Conference enshrine a new concept of partnership between governments, NGOs and other major groups. Despite warnings from some members of the group that it should not renegotiate either instrument, let alone the Rio Declaration, the temptation at times was too great. The group also agreed on the concept of partnership between governments in implementing the Programme of Action, once again after considerable delay. Other concepts also proved problematic. While some expressed ignorance in the morning as to the meaning of "gender sensitivity," by afternoon text referring to gender equity as a guiding principle of sustainable development emerged.

It was also agreed to call attention to the special roles of youth and indigenous people. Paragraphs referring to the commitments to action of SIDS and the international community proved contentious, with the group once again veering into re-negotiation of concepts already agreed to in the Main Committee, if not in Rio. A sub-group that met through the lunch break organized these concepts into a declaration of commitments at national, regional and international levels. Those issues that had proved most controversial in the Programme of Action also proved contentious here and the participants agreed to disagree and wait until negotiations were complete in the Main Committee.

The contact group was scheduled to reconvene at 7:00 pm to continue deliberations.

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