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Daily report for 2 April 2002

3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met in two parallel working group sessions all day and into the evening to continue consideration of the compilation text of the Chairman’s Paper.

Editors Note: ENB coverage of the working groups ended at 9:00 pm.


Co-Chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria Viotti (Brazil), the Working Group completed consideration of the section on poverty eradication and began consideration of changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production.

POVERTY ERADICATION: Livelihoods: The US, with CANADA and the EU, called for implementing ILO core labour standards and enhancing social and institutional capacity building. Supporting the US, AUSTRALIA urged retention of text "allowing poor people greater control over their own livelihoods," and SWITZERLAND supported non-market means and instruments to fight poverty.

Rural and Agricultural Development: The EU, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, said subsidy issues should be considered under globalization, and JAPAN supported deletion of trade-distorting subsidy references as they went beyond the Doha mandate. The G-77/ CHINA, with NEW ZEALAND, said language on trade-distorting subsidies and barriers to trade should follow Doha agreements toward elimination of barriers to trade in developed countries. The G-77/ CHINA called for a general reference to desertification and its links to poverty eradication. JAPAN called for deletion of the reference to market access for developing country products, which the EU, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and the US suggested could be moved to the section on means of implementation.

Education: The US called for text on Rio Principle 1 on human beings as the center of sustainable development concerns. The G-77/ CHINA emphasized "support for developing countries" in promoting universal primary education. The EU said text should be consistent with Millennium Declaration goals.

Settlements and Housing: CANADA withdrew a proposal highlighting issues relating to urbanization. On unplanned settlements, the G-77/CHINA called for reference to cultural, climate and social specificities.

Health: Many delegations said text on this issue could be moved to the health and sustainable development section. The EU proposed reference to reproductive care, CANADA suggested text on health, environment and poverty linkages and the G-77/CHINA emphasized "communicable" diseases.

Disasters and Conflict: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called for deletion of text on "natural" disasters. The US proposed referring to disasters in both developing and developed countries, but the G-77/ CHINA responded that developing countries are disproportionately affected by disasters. TURKEY stressed international cooperation in responding to disasters. HUNGARY recalled text from the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

Industrial Development: Delegates accepted the proposed subsection, with a US amendment to replace "efficient" with "sustainable" natural resource management.

CHANGING UNSUSTAINABLE PATTERNS OF CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: The US, with SWITZERLAND and CANADA, supported a short chapeau. HUNGARY called for programmatic targets. With regard to resource use, JAPAN opposed reference to the factor 4/10 approach. The EU, with AUSTRALIA and CANADA, said text on consumption should not be restricted to developed countries. AUSTRALIA, with NEW ZEALAND and SWITZERLAND, supported language on decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, while the EU and the CZECH REPUBLIC proposed moving it to the chapeau, and the US proposed deletion. The G-77/CHINA questioned the definition of indicators, and the US and AUSTRALIA noted their consideration elsewhere. NORWAY, NEW ZEALAND and SWITZERLAND supported, while the US and JAPAN opposed, mention of the polluter-pays principle.

Public Consumer Awareness: HUNGARY stressed the role of advertising and AUSTRALIA proposed addressing consumption patterns of richer populations. Many countries requested that ecolabeling be made voluntary, but not hide trade barriers. The G-77/ CHINA, with NEW ZEALAND, objected to SWITZERLAND’s and the EU’s proposal to provide information throughout the production chain.

Cleaner Production: AUSTRALIA, JAPAN and the US, diverged from SWITZERLAND and NEW ZEALAND, who supported HUNGARY’s proposal for a concrete action plan on resource efficiency by 2004.

Corporate Responsibility: The EU supported a formulation that includes text on certification and standardization, and the US, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, added that no specific systems should be mentioned. The G-77/CHINA, opposed by AUSTRALIA, highlighted the role of multinational corporations. The EU and SWITZERLAND emphasized the social dimension of corporate responsibility.

Policies: HUNGARY supported including text on sustainability criteria. The US, supported by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, suggested text on using economic instruments and market incentives to internalize external costs, and NORWAY proposed keeping text on market access for developing countries. The US also proposed language on gradually reducing and eliminating environmentally-harmful and trade-distorting subsidies that inhibit sustainable production and consumption patterns. NORWAY suggested deleting "trade-distorting." The G-77/CHINA supported, while JAPAN and NEW ZEALAND opposed, maintaining emphasis on developed countries. Delegates accepted a G-77/CHINA proposal on exchange of best practices on environmentally-sound technologies.


Working Group II, co-chaired by Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt) and Richard Ballhorn (Canada), completed consideration of the section on health and sustainable development, and began consideration of means of implementation.

HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Regarding mortality rates, the US expressed preference for the Millennium Declaration language and added mention of prenatal care and attendance at birth, and with SWITZERLAND and NORWAY, added child and girl health. On occupational aspects, the G-77/CHINA sought clarification of ILO’s "decent work" programmes. On programmes to eradicate threats to health, the EU proposed text on resistance to antibiotics and medicines abuse. The G-77/CHINA objected to the wording on proposals for a global chemical classification system and an addition of a heavy metals protocol to the Stockholm Convention. Co-Chair Ballhorn suggested moving these texts to the chemicals subsection. Regarding programmes to reduce respiratory diseases, the G-77/ CHINA proposed mentioning pollutants from traditional cooking and heating practices, and the US bracketed reference to financing.

Regarding lead phase out in gasoline, the G-77/CHINA objected to, and the EU and the US supported, the inclusion of references to other sources of particulates. The G-77/CHINA supported, and the EU, JAPAN and the US objected to: the target of reducing HIV infections by 25% nationally by 2005 and globally by 2015; and "provision of sufficient and additional resources" to support the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION reiterated its proposal on regional cooperation in combating HIV/AIDS.

The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting reference to the ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS as the basis for tackling public health problems and stressed indicating funds for access to adequate food. The US objected to references to "culturally acceptable" food, and preferred the development of international "partnerships" to achieve global health literacy. With TANZANIA, he urged mention of animal husbandry.

The G-77/CHINA, the EU, and the US supported: the production and use of biodegradable products; assistance to enhance, inter alia, developing country health information systems; and the removal of text on public access to health information and incorporation of traditional knowledge into these systems. They also supported the establishment of two contact groups to consider text on protecting traditional knowledge and the EU proposals on, inter alia, initiatives on access to basic health services by women, human resource development and "decentralization and dissemination of research institutes."

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: The G-77/CHINA proposed that the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities be featured in the chapeau, while the EU suggested it appear only at the beginning of the document. AUSTRALIA and the US objected to singling out the principle. MEXICO emphasized identifying actions beyond Monterrey agreements, and, noting that the compiled text was difficult to negotiate, suggested that the Co-Chairs produce their own clean text.

On mobilizing new and additional financial resources, the US proposed retaining reference to domestic sources, and supported by the G-77/CHINA, recommended shortening the text.

The US, JAPAN and CANADA objected to the G-77/CHINA text on a framework for an International Financial Architecture, insisting on better use of existing mechanisms instead. On forms of assistance to developing countries, the G-77/CHINA proposed replacing "investments" with "financial resources" and "national strategies" with "national policies." The EU and the US objected to the G-77/CHINA proposal to delete their texts on an enabling domestic environment and on encouraging environmental best practices.

Stressing the need to "celebrate the international success in Monterrey," NEW ZEALAND, with AUSTRALIA, CANADA, the EU, JAPAN, and the US, called for Monterrey Consensus language with regard to: actions to promote the mobilization of new and additional resources; official development assistance (ODA) targets; ODA for the implementation of the Millennium Declaration goals and other specified targets; implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); the absorptive capacity and management of aid by recipient countries; the efficiency and effectiveness of aid; and untying of aid to LDCs. NORWAY proposed keeping timeframes separate, and, countered by JAPAN and the US, welcomed the untying of aid to all developing countries to acknowledge progress beyond the OECD Development Assistance Committee efforts. The G-77/CHINA urged deleting references to national sustainable development strategies and internationally agreed best practices.

The G-77/CHINA called for new and additional financial resources, while the EU, the US, JAPAN and CANADA supported using existing mechanisms and exploring innovative sources of financing. There was agreement on simplifying the GEF project approval cycle, but general objection to the G-77/CHINA’s suggestion to identify focal areas for GEF funding and the EU’s reference to protection of global environmental goods. On the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, most delegates agreed to use Monterrey language, with SWITZERLAND stressing deepening and broadening the initiative. Reference to debt-for-sustainable-development swaps was supported by the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, and objected to by AUSTRALIA.


Even though many participants acknowledge that the "Type II" partnerships are expected to be one of the major WSSD outcomes, there is growing concern regarding the shape that the initiatives on partnerships will take by Johannesburg. Participants also lamented that meeting announcements were not consistent and thus many had missed the informal group meeting on Monday. Others complained that they were not receiving sufficient guidance on how the partnerships would be realized and what is expected of governments in support of such partnerships. These concerns may be addressed in an informal paper that is being prepared and that is likely to be released Wednesday morning.


WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will continue its consideration of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, beginning at 11:00 am, continuing in the afternoon in Conference Room 1, and possibly in an evening session in Conference Room 5.

WORKING GROUP II: The Group will continue its consideration of means of implementation beginning at 11:00 am, continuing in the afternoon in Conference Room 4, and possibly in the evening in Conference Room 6.

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