Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 22 No. 27
Thursday, 4 April 2002
WSSD PREPCOM III HIGHLIGHTS:
WEDNESDAY, 3 APRIL
Delegates met in parallel working groups
throughout the day and into the evening to continue consideration of
the compilation Chairman’s Paper. Informal consultations on
Partnerships were held in the afternoon. Editor’s Note: ENB
coverage of the working groups ended at 9:00 pm.
WORKING GROUP I
Co-chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria
Viotti (Brazil), the Working Group continued consideration of the
section on changing unsustainable patterns of production and
consumption and began the section on protecting and managing the
natural resource base of economic and social development.
Energy: Delegates agreed to Co-Chair
Akasaka’s suggestion that energy paragraphs be discussed in
informal-informal consultations. The G-77/CHINA requested that the
informal-informals and Working Group I not meet simultaneously. The
EU, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and the US suggested building on CSD-9
Transport: Many delegations objected to text
on bunker fuels, and SWITZERLAND suggested alternative wording on
the ongoing work in the International Maritime Organization and the
International Civil Aviation Organization on internalizing external
costs. HUNGARY and UZBEKISTAN proposed including reference to
regional approaches. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA objected to, and
SWITZERLAND supported, text on the polluter-pays principle. The
G-77/ CHINA proposed text on technical and financial assistance for
developing countries and rural transportation systems.
Waste: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA proposed
reference to industries and consumers minimizing waste and the
G-77/CHINA called for assistance to developing countries, including
small-scale waste recycling initiatives. HUNGARY said waste
prevention, not minimization, is the highest priority. AUSTRALIA and
the US opposed text referencing the Basel Convention. The G-77/CHINA
suggested use of CSD-9 language on transportation of hazardous waste
and supported the principle of prior notification.
Chemicals: SWITZERLAND and CANADA supported
AUSTRALIA’s amendment to implement international instruments on
chemicals "and wastes." The G-77/CHINA supported reference to the
Basel Convention. Regarding specific implementation dates,
SWITZERLAND, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and NORWAY expressed flexibility.
The G-77/CHINA, the US and NORWAY supported early ratification. The
RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with the EU, opposed specific deadlines, while
NEW ZEALAND and CANADA supported them. On international chemicals
management, SWITZERLAND called for more action-oriented text
reflecting Cartagena decisions and, supported by the REPUBLIC OF
KOREA, proposed a strategic approach by UNEP in coordination with
the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and
Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC)
PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE
OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chapeau: The EU
called for text on use of traditional knowledge and environmental
impacts; HUNGARY supported, and JAPAN and CANADA objected to, text
on the precautionary principle; NORWAY stressed linking poverty and
resource management; and ICELAND called for a common objective.
AUSTRALIA, TURKEY and the US supported a shorter G-77/China
Water: New text was suggested by: the
G-77/CHINA on, inter alia, water infrastructure, water
courses management in combating desertification, and watersheds as
an integrated management unit; HUNGARY on climate variability and
water-related hazard management; the US on reducing the number of
people without access to sanitation; and UZBEKISTAN on support for
an international convention on the Aral Sea Basin. Countries were
divided regarding reference to the International Freshwater
Conference. Several delegations objected to text on water pricing
models. AUSTRALIA opposed subsidizing water as a common good, and
supported new G-77/China text calling for an integrated approach to
On water quality, the G-77/CHINA objected to text
on indicators, and a number of delegations supported a paragraph on
water shortage and pollution prevention and protection measures. On
linkages among international processes and agreements, JAPAN and
CANADA supported removing references to trade, while the G-77/CHINA
and AUSTRALIA preferred deleting the paragraph. SWITZERLAND reminded
delegates of a proposal regarding an international agreement on
water that was deferred from earlier discussions.
Natural Disasters: The US inquired about text
referring to repairing damage from disasters, and the G-77/CHINA
clarified that it was taken from a General Assembly resolution.
WORKING GROUP II
Co-chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Ihab
Gamaleldin (Egypt), the Group continued consideration of the section
on means of implementation.
Science and Education: The EU, with the US,
supported the CZECH REPUBLIC proposal for separate science and
education sections. The EU said the proposal on improved
collaboration to enhance capacity in science and technology was too
detailed. The G-77/CHINA, countered by others, urged deletion of a
proposal adopted by CSD-9 on cooperation and coordination among
global observing systems, proposing instead a reduction of the cost
to developing countries of scientific and technical journals and
digital publications. AUSTRALIA and the US objected, citing lack of
control over pricing.
Regarding education, there was preference for a
proposal addressing mechanisms to alleviate economic difficulties
experienced by universities in developing countries and countries
with economies in transition, but no agreement on: proposals to
ensure university access by developing country students; assistance
to developing countries for educational infrastructure development;
and action-oriented language on ODA allocation to education.
Delegates accepted a proposal on integrating sustainable development
in higher education. Delegates disagreed over: integration of
information and communication technology in developing country
curriculum, due to lack of enabling environments; and initiatives on
stakeholder participation in biodiversity conservation.
On proposals to integrate science in decision
making: AUSTRALIA and the US suggested retaining text on enhancing
developing countries’ capacity to formulate environmental policy;
SWITZERLAND urged retention of the precautionary principle; and the
G-77/CHINA preferred promoting the use of scientific knowledge and
technology in the decision-making process at all levels.
Co-Chair Ballhorn asked Japan to consolidate its
proposals on the use of remote sensing technologies. The EU proposed
text on links between environment and security. The US and AUSTRALIA
said they had difficulty supporting the Czech Republic’s text on
funding for developing national and regional science policies.
TURKEY proposed generally accepted text on sustainable development
education, although the US and SWITZERLAND said they had difficulty
in reorienting national education to sustainable development
education. After discussion of implementing internationally agreed
programmes for education, the HOLY SEE produced a shorter version
that was accepted. Delegates agreed to move the text on raising
awareness of consumption and production patterns to the section
addressing this subject. On assistance to developing countries for
education, JAPAN questioned references to financial assistance, and
the G-77/CHINA reiterated its text on ensuring new and additional
financial resources for student and researcher access to
Technology Transfer: The G-77/CHINA
emphasized "urgent and effective actions to finance" transfer of
technology, and the US, JAPAN, the EU, AUSTRALIA and NORWAY proposed
using "promoting," "assisting" or "encouraging" such actions. The US
suggested text on increasing access to science and technology
knowledge in the public domain, and, with JAPAN and NORWAY, objected
to the notion of regulatory frameworks for technology transfer, as
suggested by the G-77/CHINA, that would be imposed on the private
sector. NORWAY agreed to frameworks to ensure transfer of
environmentally sound technologies. BRAZIL urged progress beyond
Agenda 21 in technology transfer, including establishing new
institutions. The US, the EU and JAPAN objected to new mechanisms.
The text on providing incentives for transnational corporations was
deleted on the insistence of the G-77/CHINA. SWITZERLAND, with the
EU and BRAZIL, stressed the importance of "green credit lines." The
EU, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and the US stressed "promoting" access to
environmentally sound technologies available in the public domain
due to property rights concerns. There was no agreement on an EU
proposal on stakeholder collaboration on technology transfer.
Delegates supported technology transfer, not "access," to countries
affected by natural disasters. The EU and AUSTRALIA expressed
general support for a US text emphasizing creation of public/private
partnerships at several levels to assist developing countries in
creating a domestic environment for technology development and
diffusion to enhance industrial efficiency and competitiveness in
agricultural productivity and environmental management.
The G-77/CHINA supported technology transfer to
developing countries through appropriate mechanisms, while the US,
JAPAN and CANADA stressed existing mechanisms. AUSTRALIA and the
REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported the US text on building developing
country capacity to implement intellectual property laws, while the
EU and CANADA stressed protection of indigenous knowledge through
intellectual property rights.
Trade: The US underscored trade as a critical
source of financing for sustainable development. The G-77/CHINA
stressed ensuring full and predictable market access, NEW ZEALAND
emphasized reinforcing Doha achievements, while the US, JAPAN and
AUSTRALIA stressed not going beyond Doha.
Co-Chair Diane Quarless (Jamaica) distributed a
Co-Chairs’ explanatory note on partnerships. The EU stressed that
partnerships need to be part of the sustainable development
objective and that ownership be among all partners. The ECONOMIC AND
SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC noted that partnerships
could also be an outcome of the regional preparatory process. SOUTH
AFRICA emphasized that partnerships needed: stronger linkage to Type
I outcomes; selection mechanisms and criteria; specific global
targets; and monitoring and evaluation within short time frames. The
US highlighted the potential role of the CSD in evaluating and
replicating partnerships, identifying lessons learned, and
facilitating more initiatives. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL suggested
that the US ratify the CBD and the Biosafety Protocol to demonstrate
commitment to food security issues. OILWATCH cautioned against "greenwashing,"
and BUSINESS ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT emphasized, inter
alia, addressing the three pillars of sustainable development,
and that partnerships be open, measurable and replicable.
Suggestions for facilitating partnerships included an interactive
website, and creating a CSD-managed information desk.
IN THE CORRIDORS
With only two days left before PrepCom III
closes, the realization that delegations would not complete their
work led to rumors about a possible decision to extend the session
into a third week. Many participants wondered what the resource
implications would be, considering that the limitations experienced
thus far have resulted in part from the budgetary cuts at the UN.
Some speculated that this situation could have been avoided had
facilities for evening meetings been made available during the
PrepCom. Apparently, some participants are vehemently opposed to an
extension of the PrepCom.
Meanwhile, the non-paper by South Africa
circulated on Wednesday afternoon and introduced during the informal
working group on partnerships was positively received. This paper
proposes an approach to action-oriented, time-bound outcomes for the
WSSD, with four elements: clear negotiated texts establishing a
process and framework leading to implementation plans; a focused set
of priority themes on poverty-related targets; linkages between Type
II outcomes on partnerships and the implementation process; and an
illustrative framework for implementation of the priority themes.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: A short morning Plenary is expected
to take place in Conference Room 1 at 11:00 am.
WORKING GROUP I: The Group will continue its
work on the section on protecting and managing the natural resource
base of economic and social development in Conference Room 1
following the Plenary, in the afternoon from 3:00 ï¿½ 6:00 pm, and in
an evening session starting at 7:30 pm.
WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will
continue discussion of means of implementation in Conference Room 4
after the Plenary and, possibly, in an evening session.
WORKING GROUP III: This Group will meet from
3:00 ï¿½ 6:00 pm in Conference Room 4 to resume consideration of
sustainable development governance. Look for a revised paper that
may contain elements for a draft decision.