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Daily report for 1 April 2002

3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

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 Chairman’s Paper.


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 comments.

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 improved sanitation.

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.


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 prioritization.

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.


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 - 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.


WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will continue its consideration of the compilation Chairman’s 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 Chairman’s Paper, from the section on health, beginning at 11:00 am in Conference Room 4.

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