Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 10 No. 61
Thursday, 29 June 2000

WSSD+5 HIGHLIGHTS

WEDNESDAY, 28 June 2000

On Thursday, 29 June, the Plenary met in the morning and afternoon to hear high-level government representatives. Working Groups I and II met in the morning and evening. Contact groups, informal informals and bilateral discussions took place throughout the afternoon on globalization, labor, trade, indicators, and sound principles and good practices.

PLENARY

Delegates heard statements on the review and appraisal of progress since the WSSD and on proposals for further initiatives for the full implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and POA. Speakers included one Head of State, two Deputy Prime Ministers, 23 Ministers, one Vice Minister and 10 Chiefs of Delegation. Plenary statements can be found on the Internet at: http:// www.unog.ch/ga2000/socialsummit/speeches/speeches.htm

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WORKING GROUP I: PART III

COMMITMENT 1: ENABLING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Sonia Felicity Elliott reported that the contact group on environment had agreed to merge language in the chapeau of paragraph 6 with 6(a), using WSSD language and original text. They also agreed to delete 6(b). IRAN accepted ad ref. Delegates agreed to language negotiated in an informal informal under Chair Macquieira: paragraph 2, on governance; paragraph 5, on rights; 6 ter, on regional guidelines; 10(a), on addressing excessive volatility of short-term capital flows, including consideration, inter alia, of a temporary debt standstill; paragraph 13, on the international economic decision-making process, including a reference to ensuring the transparency and accountability of IFIs; paragraph 16, on encouraging corporate social responsibility by promoting awareness (16(a)) and providing a just and stable framework (16(b)); and paragraph 19, on enhancing international cooperation, including burden-sharing, inter alia, to countries affected by natural disasters. Delegates agreed to language in 8(c), on access for products of developing countries, except for references to services and EIT countries. A reference to the Global Compact in 16(c), on enhancing partnerships, also remains bracketed.

COMMITMENT 7: AFRICA AND THE LDCs: Delegates noted 87(a) and 95 should be negotiated as a package. In paragraph 95, JAPAN could not accept reference to "countries that have not already done so" in language on bilateral debt cancellation, and proposed "welcome the/stress the importance of the implementation of bilateral debt relief." BANGLADESH suggested, and the G-77/CHINA supported, "implementing bilateral debt relief arrangements by creditor countries." In a later session, delegates accepted language in 87(a) on implementing appropriate debt relief initiatives that can lead to a sustainable solution to debt burdens. The new formulation dropped a prior reference to the HIPC initiative. In paragraph 95, on bilateral debt relief, JAPAN agreed, ad ref, that it could accept language on encouraging creditor countries to implement these arrangements. After BANGLADESH expressed concerns about conditionality, delegates agreed on language stressing that debt relief should contribute to national development objectives including poverty eradication. In paragraph 94, the EU agreed to drop its proposed reference to poverty reduction. In paragraph 97, the G-77/CHINA suggested new language welcoming the report of the Secretary-General, but deleting EU language emphasizing links among, inter alia, democracy and human rights. No consensus was reached.

COMMITMENT 8: STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAMMES: In paragraph 104, the EU said they could accept reference to "would" if "by governments" was deleted. JAPAN, the US and the G- 77/CHINA preferred to keep "would" without deleting the reference to governments. The EU conceded, and the paragraph was agreed. In 104 bis, Chair Maquieira proposed, with support from SWITZERLAND, combining his version of the original text with a US proposal on supporting the evolving concept of poverty reduction strategy papers. The G-77/ CHINA, with ALGERIA, suggested "noting" over "supporting." The EU, NORWAY and CANADA preferred supporting. JAPAN proposed "welcoming." MEXICO proposed, and all accepted, "taking into account." The text was agreed. Debate on paragraph 105(c) focused on whether transparency and accountability is required for both governments and IFIs and whether to make the sub-paragraph into a separate paragraph. The EU said the statement suggests IFIs would govern countries, but also wanted the text linked to national policy frameworks. The G-77/CHINA suggested "ensuring transparency and accountability by both governments and IFIs for improved efficacy of SAPs and social development goals," but JAPAN said the link with social development goals is unclear. The paragraph remains bracketed.

WORKING GROUP II: PART III

COMMITMENT 3: EMPLOYMENT: Following informal discussions, JAPAN introduced a package proposal comprising: 38(a), on making determined efforts to ratify ILO conventions concerning basic workers' rights; 40 alt, on encouraging the private sector to respect (and promote) basic worker rights as reaffirmed in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, with "and promote" to be deleted if the package is agreed; and 47(a), on making determined efforts to ratify ILO conventions concerning equal remuneration for men and women workers. The package is pending. In paragraph 45, on addressing employment issues of specific groups, the G-77/CHINA, with others, advocated "migrant workers." The EU, with CANADA, CYPRUS and JAPAN, opposed, and called for a reference to "documented." Advocating deletion of the paragraph's reference to migrants, the US specified documented workers who have acquired the right to long-term residence. No agreement was reached. COMMITMENT 4: SOCIAL INTEGRATION: Removing reference to consular assistance, delegates agreed on paragraph 63, on migrant protection. CANADA reformulated paragraph 66, on addressing armed conflict causes, as new 66 bis. CUBA opposed reference to good governance, specified "root" causes, called for elaboration of causes and added Beijing+5 text on, inter alia, human rights, territorial integrity, political independence and non-intervention. The HOLY SEE called for reference to reduction of trade in arms and EGPYT to termination of foreign occupation. No agreement was reached. In paragraph 69, on measures to end foreign occupation, the US and EU restated their preference to delete the paragraph. It remains bracketed.

COMMITMENT 6: EDUCATION AND HEALTH:An informal group presented consensus text for paragraph 80, which: recognizes everyone's right to the highest attainable health standards as contained in relevant human rights agreements and the WHO Constitution; recognizes the critical importance of access to essential medicines at affordable prices; acknowledges the contribution of international property rights to research, development and drug distribution, and to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge; and the free exercise, within national laws and international agreements acceded to, to access life-saving, essential medicines.

COMMITMENT 10: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION: In paragraph 116, on social indicators, the EU proposed new text from an ECOSOC resolution. Delegates questioned, inter alia, the reference to a "limited number" of indicators, asking what these indicators are. The text remains bracketed. Text proposed by an informal group for 118 (c) refers to "supporting continuing existing cooperation between the ECOSOC and the BWIs, in particular joint meetings with the World Bank and the IMF, so that the objectives and the policy approaches of UN conferences and summits are given due consideration by those institutions." In Norway's formulation of paragraph 123, on reforms to create a strengthened international financial system, MEXICO specified strengthened "and more stable," and proposed adding "with a view to enabling it to deal more effectively and in a timely manner with the new challenges of development." The proposal is pending. In paragraph 124, on people-centered sustainable development, all delegates except CUBA accepted the text, which remains bracketed.

CONTACT GROUPS

GLOBALIZATION AND LABOR: Two groups of countries suggested new formulations of paragraph 39, on labor standards. Both texts proposed: recognizing the importance of the ILO's work; the desirability for a dialogue between the ILO and certain international organizations; stressing that labor standards should not be used for the purposes of trade protection; and the importance of assessing gender-specific impacts. The two texts differed, inter alia, on: whether the ILO should "foster" or "continue to foster" dialogue; a reference to social development; assessing the links between labor standards and trade; the inclusion of civil society; a reference to countries' competitive advantage; and the avoidance of overlapping responsibilities between the various institutions. A number of countries emphasized their fundamental opposition to the concept of this paragraph, advocating its deletion. No consensus was reached. In 39 ter, on achieving full employment and rights at work, a delegate proposed text calling on the ILO, UN agencies and BWIs to work with governments to develop approaches and strategies, and prepare reports for these international organizations. Delegates had concerns on, inter alia: sovereignty issues; the expertise of the UN and BWIs on labor; and making formal requests of the ILO, an independent body. Another delegate proposed a reformulation without reference to the ILO and calling on BWIs to become more democratic and responsive to LDC needs. No consensus was reached.

INFORMAL INFORMALS Delegates in one group debated paragraph 7, on an open-ended inter-governmental working group. They discussed two issues: reference to best practices, which was retained with the understanding that best practices could be drawn from any country; and reference to integration of social policies in international organizations, which appeared to place IFIs on equal footing with governments and to elevate the legitimacy of their conditionalities to the international level. The emerging consensus, which is contingent upon the decision of references to IFIs, is to request ECOSOC, through the Commission on Social Development, to find ways to enable information sharing on best practices and to assist devel-oping country member states to develop policies to promote the goals of the Summit. In a second group on labor issues, delegates expressed concern over the implied need to ratify ILO agreements in paragraph 38. On workers' rights in paragraph 40, some delegates opposed reference to "promote" basic workers' rights in the private sector. In a third group, delegates discussed paragraph 80, on TRIPS, and developed language that would enable countries to utilize the options within TRIPS to access needed medication without restrictions or flouting TRIPS agreements. Issues included: attempts to de-link human rights from intellectual property rights through the use of commas and other punctuation; protection of patent rights in the distribution process; and upholding international patent rights alongside national laws. The success in developing consensus text was due to the inability of some delegations to justify contradictions with previously endorsed human rights provisions. In a fourth group, delegates discussed paragraph 116, on the development of qualitative and quantitative indicators, but reached no consensus. The main concerns related to capacity, resource implications, the top-down approach, standardization and context specificity. Some delegates expressed a need for accountability measures. There was discussion on the possibility of using existing measures, such as the UNDP's Human Development Indices and World Bank designed indicators. In paragraph 118, consensus has begun to emerge to retain language on supporting existing cooperation and collaboration with the BWIs, and dropping mention of UNCTAD, as it is a UN body, and the ACC, because it is a technical body.

IN THE CORRIDORS With a merry band of negotiators crammed into the Chair's office upstairs, reportedly slaying the last difficult brackets, delegates claim they could be wrapping up tonight around the hour for coffee, cognac or 1957 Dom Perignon. That should give time for small group musings, perhaps on who plans to reappear-or not, in one noticeable case-at WSSD+10. Over the past five days, delegates from across the spectrum have observed that a collegial spirit has mostly stretched to match a time of deep political divisions. Developing countries have struggled with issues of conditionality, and at least one large nation that should be exercising its leadership role is struggling with disinterest. But there is progress in the form of new references to a temporary debt standstill, transparency and accountability of IFIs, and the debate over the international currency transaction tax, which an EU country now privately concedes is an inevitability. And when the political declaration is finally cleared, there can be package dancing all the way home...

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary will meet at 10:00 am in the Assembly Hall.

COW: The Ad Hoc COW will meet at 10:30 am in Room XIX for the election of an additional Vice-Chair.

WORKING GROUPS: Working Group I will meet at 12:00 pm. Working Group II will meet after the Ad Hoc COW in Room XIX. Working Group III will meet at 12:00 pm in Room XIX.

 

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Tonya Barnes <tonya@iisd.org>, Richard Campbell <richard@iisd.org>, Wagaki Mwangi <wagaki@usa.net>, Tom Rotherham <trotherham@iisd.org> and Gretchen Sidhu <gsidhu@igc.org>. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead <leila@interport.net>. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA and DFAIT), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (DG-ENV). General Support for the Bulletin during 2000 is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, and BP Amoco. Specific funding for coverage of the WSSD+5 process has been provided by United Kingdom DFID. Logistical support has been provided at this meeting by UNOG and the DESA Secretariat. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at <enb@iisd.org> and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <info@iisd.ca> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://www.iisd.ca/ linkages/. The satellite image was taken above Geneva �2000 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to the Managing Editor at <kimo@iisd.org>.

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