On Tuesday, the contact group met through the evening and new proposals on the structure were tabled. On Wednesday morning the group met for a final round of debate. Delegates were urged to restrict their comments to the new text and not to engage in rhetorical debate. Nevertheless, members of the group were allowed to reopen previously agreed paragraphs.
As it stands, the Declaration contains a short preambular section and lists a number of areas in which participating States affirm their commitments. These are: human resources; natural resources; ecological fragility; economic vulnerability; capacity building; constraints to sustainable development; partnership; national, regional and international implementation; and public awareness.
The atmosphere took a turn for the worse when some of the contentious issues gave rise another round of protracted debate. These issues included: the participation of major groups; ownership of natural resources; climate change, response strategies and the framework convention; references to the debt burden on SIDS; and actions to reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. On this last point, a major donor country said that the only way this point could be retained was if it were moved to the section on national implementation. References to growing population pressure were dropped in anticipation of the circular debate that was bound to follow in Plenary. The debate lasted close to five hours before the group adjourned and the text was sent for translation.
At 8:00 pm the Plenary resumed in informal session to discuss the latest draft prepared during the afternoon by the Chair of the contact group, Amb. Besley Maycock. The differences over natural resources were resolved with language referring to the sovereign rights of SIDS over their own resources. The debate continued into the evening ironing out the final wrinkles .
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