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Daily report for 5 February 2002

2nd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met all day and in an evening session in Plenary to continue discussion of the Chair’s List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion, only completing another four of the 11 "non-clusters."


The sessions on the "non-clusters" of health and part of energy were co-chaired by PrepCom Vice-Chairs Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt) and Richard Ballhorn (Canada), handing over mid-afternoon to Vice-Chairs Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria Luiza Viotti (Brazil), who co-chaired the rest of the day and evening.

HEALTH: Zimbabwe, for the G-77/CHINA, called for technical assistance to developing countries to improve indoor air quality, and HUNGARY highlighted World Health Organization (WHO) initiatives and regional programmes on the issue. A representative of the WHO called for cost-effective solutions to global health problems. The ILO noted that provision of basic social services can create employment and raise incomes. The CONSULTATIVE GROUP ON INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH called for reference to health improvement through good nutrition.

TURKEY said that the CSD target date of 2012 for provision of access to safe and affordable water was unrealistic. The US called for separate treatment of indoor and outdoor air quality issues, and addition of text regarding health implications of mercury. INDONESIA proposed adding reference to maintaining quality of air and water resources at national and local levels. TANZANIA drew attention to the link between refugee-impacted areas and the environment. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA proposed adding text on air and marine transboundary pollution and occupational health and safety. NORWAY supported decentralized approaches that ensure community empowerment and promotion of good governance.

The FAO suggested text on access for vulnerable populations to safe, nutritionally-adequate and culturally-appropriate foods. The INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT called for text on Indigenous Peoples and traditional practices, and on the role of women in ensuring household food security. Spain, for the EU, supported reference to, inter alia, use of WHO health indicators and national efforts at disease prevention, surveillance and treatment.

GHANA, with TUVALU and the PHILIPPINES, proposed new text on the increased role of traditional knowledge of plant-based health systems, including more effective patent rights protection. CANADA supported a global health and environment assessment to promote consensus on priorities for action. MAURITIUS called for text on provision of technical and financial resources for development of wastewater treatment infrastructure in developing countries. SOUTH AFRICA, with TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, called for supporting a global HIV/AIDS programme of action, and adding text on targets to reduce HIV infection rates.

JAMAICA requested mentioning mental health and the sanitation problem of medical waste disposal. CHILE proposed reference to goals for the reduction of infant and maternal mortality. BANGLADESH supported reference to mitigating arsenic contamination in groundwater, and, with INDIA, opposed replacing text on traditional biomass fuels and coal. ALGERIA, with BOTSWANA, stressed access to water as a basic health prerequisite, particularly in countries prone to drought and desertification. The INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY requested mention of technological contributions to disease research.

ENERGY: NIGERIA proposed a global mechanism toward elimination of gas flaring, and NORWAY suggested regional programmes to combat long-range transboundary pollution. SWITZERLAND called for references to non-motorized transport and the polluter pays principle. HUNGARY suggested adding "non-clusters" on industry and atmosphere, and emphasized improvement of public transport. The US called for weaving energy into economic development, and questioned the need for new programmes. UNIDO explained its current work linking poverty and energy.

JAPAN highlighted developing environment-friendly vehicles and transboundary air pollution. Zimbabwe, for the G-77/CHINA, said that the Group supported renewable energy and rural electrification. SAMOA stressed assisting vulnerable countries in climate adaptation strategies. KENYA drew attention to the Habitat Agenda. ICELAND emphasized renewable and clean conventional energy. CANADA expressed discomfort with "unclear initiatives and time-bound objectives" and spoke against duplication. IRAN focused on clean fossil fuel technology.

Noting that energy is the second most distorted sector after agriculture, NEW ZEALAND supported access to energy for the poor, cleaner energy technologies, efficiency targets, and global alliances that include the private sector. TURKEY proposed referring to "multi-model" mass transit systems. PERU underscored the human factor in production and consumption patterns. SAUDI ARABIA objected to having a stand-alone section on energy, preferring the cross-sectoral approach used at CSD-9. BRAZIL proposed references to hydroelectric power, energy supply diversification, and support of renewable energy by financial institutions based on country needs. INDONESIA stressed capacity building in technology efficiency, as well as a global initiative to promote the use of natural gas, which YEMEN said should also include technical and financial assistance.

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT: Spain, for the EU, spoke of increased cooperation with UN agencies and stakeholders and improved implementation of agreements. China, for the G-77/ CHINA, mentioned conceptual difficulties with the notion of global stewardship, and proposed putting traditional knowledge in the context of intellectual property rights. JAPAN stressed ecotourism, illegal logging and trade, and forest fire monitoring, referring to its initiative on satellite observation. KAZAKHSTAN suggested coordination of donor aid.

INDONESIA proposed adding references to community-based resource management, ecotourism, and linking mining to land ownership, and with GHANA and the COOK ISLANDS, stressed intellectual property rights of local people and plant breeders. Ghana and the Cook Islands also stressed broadening the definition of natural disasters. HUNGARY proposed, inter alia: integrating ecosystem management to all relevant conventions and programmes and with science; clustering chemical and hazardous wastes issues with industry; and cooperating with the UN Forum on Forests to make the WSSD a global summit on forests. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION emphasized the use of existing institutions and regimes, as well as giving consideration to a legal framework on forests. ECUADOR proposed reduction of vulnerability of communities to natural disasters. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA urged reference to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the proper management of radioactive waste. SWITZERLAND, with KAZAKHSTAN, called for a separate section on mountain ecosystems as in Agenda 21, and supported by JAPAN and CANADA, urged non-duplication of efforts.

The FAO highlighted: the need for monitored implementation of indicators; land degradation in drylands; and reduction of the potential polluting effects of intensive agriculture. CANADA supported commencing a global dialogue on best practices in mining and reference to regulating transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. The CZECH REPUBLIC, with HUNGARY, called for reference to the ongoing work of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The US stated that text should not repeat what is covered in other MEAs, noted that there is no single benefit-sharing model that is appropriate for all countries, and recommended pollutant release and transfer registers for chemicals.

TANZANIA proposed language on preventing loss of traditional knowledge, global partnerships regarding mining and resource management, and the impact of refugees on natural resources and, with GHANA, reference to climate-related natural disasters. The G-77/ CHINA called for mention of wetlands as a natural resource. EGYPT proposed reference to enhancing developing country capabilities to address the dangers of genetically-modified organisms.

Expressing concern over transboundary shipments of hazardous and radioactive wastes, NEW ZEALAND, with SAMOA and TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, called for a compensatory multilateral liability regime and development and implementation of vulnerability indices. ALGERIA stressed the interrelation between climate change and desertification. UKRAINE, with TUVALU, suggested that text on manmade and natural disasters be separated.

BRAZIL opposed references to global stewardship and a legally-binding instrument on forests, and suggested text on whale sanctuaries. The UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY called for integrated scientific assessments and promotion of best practices in farm management. PAPUA NEW GUINEA, with TUVALU, suggested text on "extreme weather events." NIGERIA suggested "tourism for sustainable development," as opposed to "sustainable tourism." SAUDI ARABIA proposed including issues on atmosphere and referencing aspects of atmospheric pollution related to the management of sinks and land use.

FRESHWATER: China, for the G-77/CHINA, objected to the wholesale adoption of the International Freshwater Conference (IFC) recommendations, and proposed new paragraphs on watercourse management and capacity building. The EU, inter alia, supported the IFC recommendations. TAJIKISTAN called for reference to the 2003 International Year of Freshwater and MOROCCO proposed new text on protecting water resources from industrial pollution. EGYPT, supported by TURKEY, emphasized implementation of the Millennium Declaration targets on access to water and a regional approach to freshwater management.

MEXICO called for specific goals and dates for programmes and for an international water regime. AZERBAIJAN stressed clean water for downstream beneficiaries. JAPAN wanted more attention paid to the role of forests in water conservation, and referred to his country’s proposal for international observation of the global water cycle and monsoon forecasts. SWITZERLAND called for better coordination of international water events and creation of a mechanism to develop water policies, liability, information, and participation in local water projects.

CANADA urged caution about using time-bound targets for integrated water resource management plans, while GHANA, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, proposed advancing the date of water resource management plans to 2010 as more realistic. INDONESIA wanted reference to water resources "both in urban and rural settlements," and development of a water resource database.

IUCN called for concrete water management measures such as local and national action plans. SYRIA called for minimizing potential negative environmental impacts of large water infrastructure projects. ALGERIA urged promotion of water sanitation technologies and launching of desalinization programmes.


The Secretary-General’s Advisory Panel met in close proximity to Conference Room 1 on Tuesday: the word in the corridors is that the group will work on the ethic and partnership angle of Johannesburg, and might generate input for PrepCom IV.

Meanwhile, some delegates remarked that the discussion of the Chair’s List had a good start, settling into a more organized and less emotional climate than the previous day. To make up for sharp criticism of the Chair’s List, delegates commended the hard work done by the Secretariat. It was observed that the morning session was ably launched by Vice-Chair Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt), who was intent on involving UN agencies and stakeholders to take part in the fray.

The regional perspective was repeatedly mentioned, with several delegates dismayed that the meeting is eluding the good work done by the regional preparatory conferences. The latter are still seen as carefully negotiated expositions of regional Summit expectations.


INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION: Delegates will meet in Conference Room 1 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm to continue the Interactive Discussion on the List of Issues and Proposals for Discussion. Informal consultations on the List will continue in Conference Room 4 from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm with a view to concluding discussion.

PANEL: A panel on the role of the media in raising awareness regarding sustainable development and the Summit will take place in Conference Room 1 from 3:00 - 6:00 pm.

SIDE EVENT: A presentation by South Africa on logistics for the Summit will take place from 1:15 - 2:45 pm in Conference Room 4.

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