Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 22 No. 25
Tuesday, 2 April 2002
WSSD PREPCOM III HIGHLIGHTS:
MONDAY, 1 APRIL 2002
Delegates met in three parallel groups in
afternoon sessions, as the morning was dedicated to regional group
consultations. Working Groups I and II met to begin consideration of
the compilation text of the Chairman’s Paper, and the group
on partnerships met for informal consultations and focused on
agriculture, food security and rural development. At the start of
the Working Group sessions, PrepCom Chair Salim made opening
statements in which he noted the limited time available and
encouraged delegations to identify deliverables and concrete actions
to strengthen Agenda 21. He said Type II outcomes should complement,
not replace, the action plan or its implementation section of the
WORKING GROUP I
Co-Chair Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) opened
negotiations on the introduction to the section on poverty
eradication, urging concentration on implementation actions. The
Group did not conclude discussion on this section.
POVERTY ERADICATION: Venezuela, for the
G-77/CHINA, emphasized establishment of a World Solidarity Fund for
Poverty Eradication, and urged consideration of financial and
technical assistance to developing countries. The US suggested that
the Fund be established "pursuant to modalities to be determined by
the UN General Assembly."
Spain, for the EU, supported coherence between
poverty eradication policies at all levels, and stressed national
responsibilities. HUNGARY supported the use of subheadings within
the text. SWITZERLAND called for reference to principles such as
access to knowledge, participation, and the role of women, and to
results of other relevant UN processes. IRAN emphasized that poverty
eradication is the cause of environmental degradation, and AUSTRALIA
preferred deleting text on clear and time-bound commitments.
Co-Chair Akasaka said the Secretariat would merge the three
introductory paragraphs into a short chapeau.
In a general discussion on the Working Group’s
proceedings, the US, with JAPAN, said Heads of State would not sign
a long and repetitive document. The G-77/CHINA stressed text that
calls for action and avoids description.
The US supported G-77/CHINA text on "achieving"
the Millennium Declaration goals. NORWAY called for reference to
water sanitation, but a number of delegations opposed, stating it is
addressed in another section. Delegates deliberated on whether to
refer to specific Millennium Declaration goals, and Co-Chair Akasaka
said the Secretariat would draft a new paragraph incorporating the
Delegates accepted text encouraging policy and
programme coordination among national and international institutions
to develop poverty reduction strategies. Co-Chair Akasaka, supported
by AUSTRALIA, suggested that Working Group II consider the issue of
least developed countries as referenced in the Brussels Programme of
Action, but SWITZERLAND felt it was an important political issue for
Working Group I text, beyond a matter of implementation. On their
suggested text for active participation of the poor in sustainable
development, SWITZERLAND, supported by HUNGARY, proposed summarizing
related aspects in a chapeau based on fundamentals for a politically
anchored text, and Co-Chair Akasaka suggested using related agreed
text from the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly for
the Overall Review and Appraisal of Agenda 21.
Regarding women, the US, G-77/CHINA, HOLY SEE,
HUNGARY and CANADA urged consolidation of proposals. The G-77/CHINA
supported access to healthcare, as CANADA, with the EU and
SWITZERLAND, proposed mainstreaming a gender perspective in the
text, particularly relating to policy. JAPAN urged consideration of
the population issue.
On the water subsection, HUNGARY called for
reference to an international legally binding agreement to "conserve
and sustainably manage water resources." TURKEY, the US, EU and
G-77/CHINA opposed references to new agreements on water. JAPAN,
with the US and EU, objected to specific targets regarding access to
On the energy subsection, delegates made various
suggestions on placement. The EU suggested reference to access to
"cleaner and safer" energy services and supported an action
programme and strengthened institutional settings for policy
development, consideration of proposals on energy partnerships, and
innovative financing mechanisms to implement energy goals. JAPAN
opposed, and the G-77/CHINA supported, specific targets. The
G-77/CHINA emphasized commercially viable renewable energies and
decentralized energy systems.
WORKING GROUP II
Co-chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Ihab
Gamaleldin (Egypt), the Group began consideration of, but did not
complete, the section on health and sustainable development.
HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Delegates
started debating this section of the Chair’s new compilation text,
and agreed to continue deliberation of this section as well as start
discussion on means of implementation on Tuesday, 2 April. Co-Chair
Ballhorn tabled a consolidated version of the chapeau of the health
section, which the Working Group accepted as a basis for discussion.
The G-77/CHINA objected to direct quotation from Agenda 21 on
"healthy and productive life," but supported retention of the idea.
The EU agreed that there was no need for selective quotations. The
G-77/ CHINA, supported by the EU and US, advised referring to
poverty eradication and specific illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria. There was wide agreement to delete
reference to "ecologically sustainable development." The G-77/CHINA
suggested removing the list of vulnerable groups, while the US
wished to retain mention of specific groups. The US proposed
maintaining the reference to causes of disease, and bracketing
"climate changes" in this context.
On collaboration between the private and public
sectors to address health concerns among the most vulnerable
populations, NORWAY called for strategic impact assessments and the
G-77/CHINA stressed poverty eradication. The G-77/CHINA suggested
moving the proposed research areas to a new subparagraph. The US
recommended merging them with the proposal to support research
addressing the secondary effects, inter alia, of poor health.
BRAZIL sought clarification on the rationale behind this
Regarding equitable access to affordable and
efficient healthcare services, the HOLY SEE, opposed by the
G-77/CHINA, proposed replacing primary, secondary and
high-complexity health levels with "basic health services." JAPAN
and the US, opposed by the G-77/ CHINA, suggested "promoting" such
access, and CANADA opted for "facilitating."
The US, the EU and JAPAN opposed the G-77/China
proposal for "flexible" implementation of the World Trade
Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). NORWAY stressed the need to
maintain a policy statement reflecting successful efforts aimed at
promoting access to drugs and healthcare. Co-Chair Ballhorn proposed
using the Doha language.
The EU and the HOLY SEE supported the proposal on
research to address the secondary effects of poor health, and the
HOLY SEE proposed separating the research and data provisions.
On an international capacity building initiative
to assess health and environment linkages: the EU proposed more
concise text; and the US, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, NORWAY and
CANADA, proposed referencing the provision on knowledge gained in
the Type II (partnerships) outcomes.
In response to the G-77/China, CANADA said the
reference to ongoing work to integrate health and environment
sectors related to the regional initiatives of the health and
environment ministers of the EU, Americas and Africa.
On the proposal to strengthen the capacity of
health systems to deliver health services, most delegations called
for more concise text, with the G-77/CHINA and the EU stressing
health services for all. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed regional
cooperation to combat HIV/AIDS, and reinstatement of the reference
to countries with economies in transition.
The HOLY SEE requested a combined paragraph on
strengthening capacities of health systems to combat diseases. The
EU and the G-77/ CHINA supported a text on delivering basic services
to all in an efficient and affordable manner. TANZANIA promised to
submit text on animal health as it affects human health, as well as
an explanation of "unhealthy diets." Co-Chair Ballhorn suggested the
subsection on agriculture as a possible location for this proposal.
Chaired by Jan Kára (Czech Republic), this
informal consultation discussed what he referred to as a "randomly
chosen cluster" of agriculture, food security and rural development
partnerships. Initially, many delegates expressed difficulty in
proceeding without parameters and guidelines on partnerships, to
which Chair Kára stated that informal consultations should not be
too prescriptive and that issuing a partnership document might
initiate unintended negotiations. SOUTH AFRICA suggested identifying
different kinds of partnerships, while GHANA recommended creating a
website for emerging initiatives. The NETHERLANDS listed elements
that encourage partnerships, stressed that partners need to come
from developing countries, and proposed holding a partnerships
roundtable at PrepCom IV in Bali. INDONESIA requested clarification
of whether funds for initiatives would be financed through monies
pledged in Monterrey, to which the NETHERLANDS stated that majority
of Monterrey pledges were for official development assistance.
UNEP’s Coral Reef Initiative elaborated on its framework to manage
multiple partnerships. FINLAND described a resolution on
biodiversity, forestry and rural development that it was working on
in collaboration with Russian and Swedish NGOs, and timber and
furniture companies. The POPULAR COALITION TO ERADICATE HUNGER AND
POVERTY announced that its Land Alliance for National Development is
producing their consensus document to be endorsed by their partners
at PrepCom IV in Bali. The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA
AND THE PACIFIC (ESCAP) linked food security to land degradation and
desertification, and welcomed inter-regional cooperation.
Illustrating a potential new type of partnership, JAPAN suggested
combining farm and off-farm activities.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The compilation text of the Chairman’s Paper
has been dominating discussions since its release on Saturday. Many
participants expressed discontent with the 100-page text, which some
felt satisfied the wishes of those opposing an action-oriented text.
Given the limited time remaining to produce agreed text for PrepCom
IV as mandated by the General Assembly, some speculated on possible
options that could be explored to ensure that PrepCom III fulfills
its mandate. One option is to prepare a negotiable consensus text
from the compilation text by the Bureau/Secretariat ï¿½ which some
noted the Co-Chairs in Working Group II had already initiated. The
other is to convene a one-week intersessional meeting the week prior
to PrepCom IV. A third option is to provide microphone services, for
a mere US$500 per night, for evening sessions for the G-77/China, in
order to avoid an intersessional. Participants noted that it is now
up to the Bureau to urgently act in order to put the process back on
course and restore focus and momentum to ensure progress. However,
the frustration is such that some developed countries have
entertained the idea of hosting an intersessional meeting.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will
continue its consideration of the compilation Chairmanï¿½s Paper,
from the section on poverty eradication, beginning at 11:00 am
in Conference Room 1.
WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will
continue its work on consideration of the compilation Chairmanï¿½s
Paper, from the section on health, beginning at 11:00 am in
Conference Room 4.