Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 22 No. 34
Friday, 31 May 2002
WSSD PREPCOM IV HIGHLIGHTS: THURSDAY, 30 MAY 2002
Delegates met throughout the day in parallel
working groups and contact groups. Working Groups I and II met all
day and into the evening to continue negotiation of the Revised
Chairmanís Paper. Working Group III met in a morning session and
concluded a first reading of the Vice-Chairís paper on an
institutional framework for sustainable development. In the evening,
Working Groups I and III met to begin a second reading of their
texts. The contact groups on oceans, energy, Africa, biodiversity,
good governance and finance also met.
Editorís Note: Coverage of the sessions
ended at 9:30 pm.
WORKING GROUP I
The Group was co-chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka
(Japan) and Maria Viotti (Brazil).
PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE
BASE: The Group concluded consideration of this section, and in
the evening began a second reading of the new negotiated text on Ė
introduction, poverty eradication, consumption and production
patterns, and natural resource protection.
Forests: The main amendments made to this
section were to align the text with the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)
Ministerial Declaration. Delegates accepted amendments by: NORWAY,
to add "deforestation" to the issues listed on sustainable forest
management; JAPAN, to highlight the multiple benefits of both
natural and planted forests and trees; and the US to state that the
achievement of sustainable forest management would be at both global
and national levels, and would involve "partnerships among
interested governments and stakeholders, including the private
sector, indigenous and local communities and NGOs." They also agreed
on support for the UNFF "with the assistance of" the Collaborative
Partnership on Forests (CPF) in coordinating sustainable forest
management and "thus contribute to, inter alia, the
conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity," as
proposed by the EU and NORWAY, respectively. With regard to the
promotion and facilitation of sustainable timber harvesting, a
G-77/CHINA proposal was accepted on the need, "in particular, to
facilitate the provision of financial resources and transfer and
development of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), and
thereby address unsustainable timber harvesting practices."
A new paragraph proposed by MEXICO was accepted
that recognizes and supports indigenous and community-based forest
management systems to ensure their full and effective participation
in sustainable forest management.
Delegates supported the EUís amendment adding
mention of timber and non-timber products in the chapeau, and
proposed new language to implement the Convention on Biological
Diversityís (CBD) expanded action-oriented work programme on all
types of forest biological diversity, in close cooperation with the
UNFF, the CPF, and other forest-related processes and conventions,
and with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders. No agreement
was reached on whether to have language to "implement" or "promote
the implementation of" the CBD.
Biodiversity: Numerous delegations made
copious amendments to the text on biodiversity. New text was
proposed by: JAPAN, "to enhance national capacities for the
establishment and maintenance of mechanisms" to protect traditional
knowledge and to promote preparation of inventories on species,
habitats, and ecosystems; MEXICO, to promote in situ and
ex situ conservation of biodiversity and invest in the
development and use of indigenous technology; NORWAY, to ensure
effective synergies between the CBD and other multilateral
environmental agreements; the EU, to recognize the role of youth,
women, and indigenous and local communities in conservation and
sustainable use of biodiversity; and the G-77/CHINA, to negotiate
the creation of an international regime to effectively promote and
safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from
the use of biodiversity and its components. MEXICO, NORWAY, and the
EU, opposed by the US, called for adding reference to the CBD and
the Cartagena Protocol.
Mining: Co-Chair Viotti announced that
informal negotiations on mining had resulted in clean text, which
was presented to the Working Group and accepted.
Working Group I met in the evening for a second,
technical, reading of the Revised Chairmanís Paper. In some
cases, contact group and informal "corridor consultation"
facilitators provided updates on the status of text, although many
issues are still pending, including common but differentiated
responsibilities, financial resources, good governance, access of
Indigenous Peoples to economic activities, and desertification. The
contact group on chemicals reported the following unresolved topics:
limitations on the term chemicals, such as toxic or hazardous;
target dates; the precautionary principle; reference to UNEP; and
WORKING GROUP II
Working Group II was chaired by Ihab Gamaleldin
(Egypt). MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: On ESTs, delegates debated
whether to include a specific reference to Agenda 21, with the
G-77/CHINA proposing to delete language limiting action to finance
technology transfer "as appropriate." Delegates agreed to retain
this language, as well as the bracketed reference to Agenda 21. They
also agreed to language emphasizing diffusion of ESTs. Delegates
retained brackets on favorable terms for countries with economies in
They quickly agreed on paragraphs related to:
providing information more effectively; promoting access and
transfer of technology related to early warning systems; creating
partnerships conducive to investment and technology transfer,
development and diffusion; improving interaction and collaboration
among universities, research institutions, government agencies and
the private sector; developing and strengthening of related
institutional support structures; assisting developing countries in
developing and implementing science and technology policies; and
establishing partnerships between scientific, public and private
The EU called for deletion of text on providing
"mobility grants" for technology assessment purposes, and proposed
facilitating country-driven assessment. The G-77/CHINA preferred
"technology needs assessment." Delegates could not agree on a
paragraph on transfer of ESTs, with the EU and the US opposing text
to establish a mechanism by 2004, and the G-77/CHINA urging
retention of "the only paragraph with concrete action."
On a paragraph on developing access to
multilateral and global research and development programmes, the
G-77/CHINA proposed new text on creating centers for sustainable
development in developing countries, which was opposed by the US and
the EU. After protracted discussions on text regarding indigenous
knowledge, delegates agreed on reference to increasing the use of
scientific knowledge and technology, and increasing the beneficial
use of local and indigenous knowledge in a manner respectful of the
holders of that knowledge and consistent with national law. The EU
introduced a paragraph taken from the globalization section on
applying the precautionary principle in decision making, while
avoiding recourse to the principle for protectionist purposes.
Discussion was deferred.
Delegates came to quick agreement on paragraphs
regarding: improving use of science and technology for environmental
monitoring, assessment models, accurate databases and integrated
information systems; establishing regular channels between policy
makers and the scientific community; and using information and
communication technologies (ICTs), where appropriate, as tools to,
inter alia, increase the frequency of communication.
Delegates discussed at length a paragraph on promoting and, where
appropriate, improving access and use of satellite and
remote-sensing technologies for data collection.
Regarding text on research and development
entities engaging in strategic alliances, the G-77/CHINA supported,
and the US objected to, references to "new and additional"
resources. Several delegations, including the G-77/CHINA, the US and
JAPAN, preferred deleting an EU-proposed paragraph on establishing
an open, transparent and inclusive participatory process to examine
issues related to the provision of global public goods. SWITZERLAND
proposed alternate text on further identifying key issues of global
public interest, including the provision of global public goods.
On education, delegates agreed to paragraphs on:
meeting the Millennium Declaration goal on achieving universal
primary education; providing financial assistance and support to
education, research, public awareness programmes and development
institutions; sustaining educational infrastructures; addressing the
impact of HIV/AIDS on the educational system; allocating resources
for the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All; integrating
the sustainable development dimension into formal education systems;
integrating ICTs in school curriculum development; and recommending
to the UN General Assembly that it consider adopting a decade of
education for sustainable development, starting in 2005.
A paragraph on eliminating child labor, taken
from an ILO declaration and text of the UNGASS on Children, was left
pending G-77/China consultations. The US opposed a paragraph on
addressing the frequent, serious financial constraints faced by many
institutions of higher learning, citing that it is too broad.
AUSTRALIA could not agree to a paragraph on eliminating gender
disparity in primary and secondary education "by 2005." The G-77/
CHINA opposed reference to monitoring in a paragraph on the Dakar
Framework for Action.
WORKING GROUP III
The Working Group, chaired by Lars-GŲran Engfeldt
(Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), resumed negotiation of the
Vice-Chairsí text circulated on 27 May (Institutional Frameworks
for Sustainable Development), in a morning and evening session.
The EU tabled a new alternative paragraph,
inviting the UN Chief Executives Board to develop a collaborative
network for information exchange and coordination on sustainable
development, and to keep the ECOSOC and CSD informed of its
activities. The G-77/CHINA bracketed the text, saying it would
burden the UN system.
On strengthening institutional frameworks at the
national level, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, SWITZERLAND, the EU, and
TANZANIA suggested including reference to the local (or
sub-national) level. The G-77/CHINA did not support mentioning of
"coherent" approaches, and a new EU paragraph setting a 2005
deadline for "all countries" to begin implementing national
strategies for sustainable development. The G-77/CHINA also objected
to the idea of multi-stakeholder participation "at all stages" of
implementation. CANADA said there was no need to detail the
functioning of national sustainable development councils. The US
bracketed reference to: development cooperation agencies supporting
developing countries; "undertakings by the international community"
to enhance national institutional arrangements; and encouraging aid
The G-77/CHINA bracketed a new paragraph by the
US on good governance, which received broad support from other
countries, with the EU suggesting its discussion in the relevant
NORWAY proposed a mention of implementation,
monitoring and review, and, with CANADA, suggested strengthening the
gender focus. The G-77/CHINA proposed, as in other cases in the
Co-Chairsí text, to substitute the general notion of implementing
"sustainable development" with a more focused reference to Agenda 21
and the outcomes of WSSD, and bracketed "partnerships," to which the
EU and the US objected. CANADA, supported by several delegations,
suggested encouraging partnerships among local authorities.
The G-77/CHINA bracketed the paragraph on
indicators for sustainable development, against the EU and US
objections. NORWAY proposed a role for Major Groups in policy
development, implementation and monitoring of sustainable
development programmes, and safeguarding the interests of vulnerable
groups.The G-77/CHINA bracketed the paragraph on public access and
participation, while the US opposed "developing global guidelines"
on the issue. The EU introduced text on relating human rights to
sustainable development, but the US expressed doubt on its relevance
in this particular context.
In the evening, Co-Chair Anaedu invited comments
on the final reading of the Vice-Chairsí paper to produce compromise
text. The G-77/CHINA objected to the reference to implementing
"relevant outcomes of other UN Summits and conferences," in addition
to Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the WSSD. The G-77/CHINA also
insisting on bracketing the term "coherence" throughout the text.
AFRICA: This contact group, facilitated by
Richard Ballhorn (Canada), met in the morning and afternoon, and
completed a second reading of the remaining sections of the
facilitatorís text circulated 27 May. The group agreed to
restructure the section in order to give prominence to priority
issues for Africa, notably, conservation of biological diversity,
technology transfer, health, energy and transport infrastructure.
New proposals were agreed on, inter alia,strengthening
research and control of ebola, trypanosomiasis and malaria, and
conservation and protection of biological diversity, with delegates
noting that text should reflect agreements reached in the Revised
Chairmanís Paper on the section on the protection of the
environment on the same issue. Two new proposals were bracketed as
some considered them to be prescriptive: on promoting programmes and
policies to enable women to become actors in the agricultural
sector, "including the right to inherit land"; and on prioritizing
the needs of the poor by providing stable and transparent regulatory
frameworks "involving all concerned stakeholders and monitoring the
performance and improving the accountability of public institutions
and private companies."
On market access, three alternative texts were
proposed, which aimed to: identify examples of opportunities open to
Africa such as through the African Growth and Opportunity Act and to
ensure consistency with, and not prejudge the outcomes of, the Doha
WTO Ministerial Declaration.
There was no feedback on two new sections on
sustainable development initiatives for Asia and the Pacific, and
for Latin America and the Caribbean. Facilitator Ballhorn said a new
section was also expected from countries in Central Asia.
The submission on Asia and the Pacific states
that the international community welcomes the Regional Platform for
Asia and the Pacific developed in Phnom Penh and pledges to support
its objectives through financial support and promoting and
facilitating capacity building and technology transfer to the
The submission on Latin America and the Caribbean
states that leaders are undertaking an initiative targeted toward
the adoption of concrete sustainable development actions, and
envisions the development of actions fostering South-South
cooperation and partnerships.
GOOD GOVERNANCE: In the evening, the contact
group had an initial discussion of a text prepared by facilitator
Koen Davidse (the Netherlands). New proposals were made on:
strengthening the gender focus in the text; reinforcing the social
dimension and public participation in formulation of policy; and
emphasizing poverty eradication. An expanded version of the text,
which focused on all aspects of domestic governance was tabled. One
delegation stressed that, to ensure balance, it would not discuss
domestic governance without bringing in all aspects of international
governance, and would not consent to expanded text on the issue. The
Chair promised to reflect on the debate and to come back to
FINANCE: This contact group, facilitated by
John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), held its second meeting in the
morning to complete the presentation of delegationsí initial
comments on the Revised Chairmanís Paper on the sections on
finance. The group resumed in the evening to begin consideration of
a facilitatorís draft paper reflecting comments from the morning.
ENERGY: This contact group, facilitated by
Gustavo Ainchil (Argentina), met in afternoon and evening sessions
to discuss new text released 30 May. Brackets remained in paragraphs
concerning: energy mixes; transition to more efficient use of liquid
and gaseous fossil fuels; and guidelines of international financial
institutions for sustainable development in energy restructuring
programmes. Some urged, while others opposed, moving beyond CSD-9
language to specify "more efficient and cleaner" fossil fuel
technologies. Delegates agreed to text on financial and technical
assistance to developing countries with the inclusion of
public-private partnerships or involvement of the private sector.
OCEANS: Delegations commenced the session,
facilitated by Guy OíBrien (Australia), by indicating the paragraphs
they tackled on Wednesday, and circulated compromise text. Pending a
target date, delegates agreed on text addressing invasive alien
species in ballast water. Agreement was suspended on text regarding:
radiaoactive waste transportation; progressively eliminating
subsidies contributing to overcapacity, and marine protected areas.
Delegates agreed that the establishment of a process of global
reporting and assessment should be held under UN auspices. A
proposal to deal with where and how to mention the ecosystems and
precautionary approach was agreed to by most delegates, save one
preferring the precautionary principle. A proposal on ratifying or
acceding to the UN Fish Stocks Agreement was accepted after reducing
the number of qualifiers in the paragraph. Delegates could neither
agree on text regarding allocation of access rights for high seas
stocks, nor on coordination and cooperation, with some emphasizing
that the General Assembly take the lead in assessments, and others
stressing coordination at several levels.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The pressure to produce a "concrete deliverable"
in Johannesburg is mounting. Apparently, a small group of concerned
participants convened a meeting of select high-powered players to
explore whether there is interest in coming up with something new Ė
a potential outcome being referred to as a Type "1.5" or "1b" Ė for
the Summit. Some of the options discussed include preparation of a
programme of action on the basis of the five themes identified by UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan or preparation of interim targets and
measures to meet the Millennium Development goals. It is suspected
that if there is sufficient interest, then the idea may materialize
in June at a pre-Summit meeting in Brazil.
In the formal sessions, Thursday turned out to be
crunch-time. Attempts to conclude negotiations on the Revised
Chairmanís Paper resulted in the proliferation of contact
groups. Biodiversity, desertification and mining were added
Wednesday night to the list of existing groups on energy, oceans,
Africa and good governance, as well as the abundant "corridor"
Meanwhile, the challenges that have faced the
G-77/China since PrepCom II finally surfaced on Thursday afternoon
and evening. According to some observers, the frustration in the
G-77/ China with the African group, which has ignored calls to
remove from their text initiatives that apply to other regions,
resulted in the emergence of contributions on Latin America and the
Caribbean and on Asia and the Pacific being submitted, with those of
Central Asia, and Europe and North America also "on their way." The
contact group on energy dissolved on Thursday evening partly due to
a divergence of opinions within the Group. Some incensed NGO
participants charged that the interests of the G-77/China were in
jeopardy due to the pressure from a small number of countries.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Delegates will meet in Plenary at
10:00 am in Nusa Indah to vote on the accreditation of the NGO
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Progress reports from
Working Groups I and II, and from the contact group on good
governance will be presented by the respective Chairs. The Plenary
is then expected to transform into an informal Plenary.
INFORMAL PLENARY: Delegates will meet in
Nusantara at 3:00 pm to consider the updated Revised Chairmanís
WORKING GROUP III: Working Group III will
meet in the Geneva Room following the morning Plenary until 1:00 pm,
reconvening from 3:00 Ė 6:00 pm and from 8:00 Ė 11:00 pm, to
continue consideration of the Vice-Chairís paper.
CONTACT GROUPS: The Contact groups on oceans,
Africa and finance are expected to meet Friday morning. Look for new
text on oceans and Africa. Check the UN journal for times and