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Daily report for 26 March 2002

3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met in two parallel morning sessions for Working Groups I and II to begin consideration of the Chairman’s Paper (A/ CONF.199/PC/L.1), with Group I reconvening in the evening for informal informal consultations. Group II was unable to hold evening consultations as new text negotiated from the morning session was unavailable. Working Group III met in the afternoon to begin consideration of sustainable development governance. Informal consultations were held in the afternoon to exchange views on partnership initiatives – the Type II outcomes.


Working Group I, co-chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria Viotti (Brazil) commenced consideration of sections I and II of the Chairman’s Paper, covering the introduction and poverty eradication. Prior to the discussion, Alan Miller, GEF, reported on the energy roundtable held during PrepCom II, noting that sustainable development goals require access to clean energy technologies. The Group then conducted a paragraph-by-paragraph discussion of the Chairman’s Paper.

INTRODUCTION: The US reaffirmed commitment to "internationally agreed development" goals. HUNGARY suggested structural modifications, particularly to address cross-cutting issues, advocated a concrete plan of action for implementation of Agenda 21, and called for good governance at the regional level.

Venezuela, for the G-77/CHINA, suggested text on achieving the Millennium Declaration goals through common but differentiated responsibilities and concrete actions, including new and additional financial resources, technology transfer, capacity building and access to markets. Spain, for the EU, supported by HUNGARY, proposed including text on the goals of other major UN conferences. NORWAY proposed inserting the Brundtland Report’s definition of sustainable development. The US suggested text stating that countries have primary responsibility for economic and social development, and, with CANADA, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, SWITZERLAND and TUVALU, stressed good governance. CANADA, with the EU, supported text on ecosystems, and with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, called for reference to gender issues.

The G-77/CHINA emphasized outcomes empowering women and youth. SWITZERLAND regarded the Introduction as a place for fundamental principles such as human rights, stating that these should apply universally. NORWAY suggested recognizing the growing income gap, while the US recommended removing text on unsustainable lifestyles and adding equity, participation and accountability. NEPAL underscored family planning and literacy for women and the poor, and TANZANIA requested a definition of global stewardship.

POVERTY ERADICATION: The G-77/CHINA expressed general approval of the text and requested acknowledgement of joint responsibility for tackling poverty, and recognition that some environmental standards may hinder poverty eradication. AUSTRALIA, supported by the US, expressed concern that time-bound commitments may reduce flexibility of emerging development needs.


Co-chaired by Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt) and Richard Ballhorn (Canada), the Group began making preliminary comments on sections V and VI of the Chairman’s Paper, which deal with sustainable development in a globalizing world, and health and sustainable development.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN A GLOBALIZING WORLD: The G-77/CHINA described the section as "balanced," and several countries called for a more balanced chapeau, and for text referring to the Doha Ministerial Declaration. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC), for the EU, with CANADA and SWITZERLAND called for reference to the UN Global Compact, while the US, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, objected to the notion of "managing" globalization, and suggested mentioning its benefits.

On foreign direct investment (FDI): the G-77/China called for increased flows; the EC stressed protecting environmental and social rights, and creating enabling environments; the US emphasized making FDI more supportive of sustainable development; and TURKEY highlighted institutional and legal frameworks. AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND proposed drawing language from the Monterrey Consensus. On tariffs, many countries urged using the Doha Ministerial Declaration language. New proposals included: the concept of community-based entrepreneurial capacity; access to financial market information; reduction of global financial volatility; a UN convention on corruption; and sustainability impact assessment of major trade policy initiatives.

HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Delegates commented on paragraphs regarding integration of health policies, delivery of basic health services, WHO support programmes, technical assistance, and leaded gasoline phase out.

Several countries agreed that this section should focus on human well being. The G-77/CHINA, inter alia, emphasized: financial resources, technology transfer and dissemination; targets and commitments on infant and maternal mortality; and malaria and other infectious diseases. The EU, inter alia, stressed: links between health, development and environment; education and training; and, with the US, CANADA and MEXICO, attention to vulnerable groups. In addition, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed regional cooperation in combating HIV/AIDS; the US stressed maternal and reproductive health, malnutrition, and research on secondary health effects; JAPAN identified additional sources of particulates; CANADA emphasized knowledge gained from international capacity building initiatives; and the HOLY SEE proposed reference to adequate shelter. NORWAY stressed the health, poverty alleviation and sustainable development nexus and SWITZERLAND focused on access to basic health services and the environmental dimension of health. UN HABITAT, FAO, UNEP and WHO proposed referring to current agency health programmes.


Working Group III convened at 4:30 pm to start consideration of the sustainable development governance (SDG) paper prepared for PrepCom III by Vice-Chairs Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) and Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden). Engfeldt said the paper was prepared on the basis of the UN Secretary-General’s Report, delegations’ input during PrepCom II and the informal consultations held on 28 February 2002. The paper is to become section X of the Chairman’s Paper, and a revised version will be issued on Thursday.

Delegates welcomed the paper, which many said was well-structured and generally acceptable as a basis for further work. SWITZERLAND focused on the role of the CSD. The G-77/CHINA stressed the importance of globalization, financial institutions, UN regional commissions and the WTO in governance. The EU proposed strengthening references to Major Groups. INDONESIA referred to ongoing UN institutional reforms and proposed a clearer delineation of ECOSOC and CSD responsibilities. The US recalled the focus placed by several countries on good domestic governance, with CANADA suggesting that the issue need not be controversial and requesting more clarity on reporting procedures mentioned in the paper.

The US proposed reframing the overall SDG objective to assisting governments to provide an enabling domestic architecture that makes sustainable development possible. IRAN said regional commissions should not oversee country reporting. The INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION called for governance that supports the transformation to sustainable economies. The EU proposed, inter alia: linking the Cartagena International Environmental Governance consensus to other SDG aspects; integrating the follow-up of the major 1990s conferences; clarifying the responsibilities of the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and CSD with regard to SDG; and addressing regional governance and the role of national sustainable development strategies.


Jochen Eigen, UN Habitat, discussed partnership arrangements regarding capacity building decentralization, regional forums, and thematic contributions, specifically from UN agencies. Annik Dollacker, CropLife International, described a partnership arrangement to transfer knowledge to smallholder farmers using a web-based distance learning programme. Following the presentations, PrepCom Chair Salim explained how Type II outcomes are intended to implement the negotiated Type I document, stressing that partnerships must give substance and action to the Chairman’s Paper and Agenda 21, and contribute to the Millennium Declaration goals.

Co-Chair Jan Kára opened discussion of Type II outcomes. The EU called for a definition of the nature, scope and monitoring strategy of such outcomes, and the NETHERLANDS identified water, energy, rural development, sustainable agriculture, health care, urban poverty, and initiatives for Africa as key Type II areas. SWITZERLAND said partnerships should involve all significant actors and have transparent monitoring procedures. SOUTH AFRICA suggested that the Johannesburg Programme of Action links Type I and Type II outcomes. The CZECH REPUBLIC described its focus on partnerships for awareness, education and science. INDONESIA said partnership initiatives have started within ASEAN on forest fires, marine coastal management, and energy. The US identified key partnership areas as clean energy, clean drinking water, food security and health.

BUSINESS ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT welcomed the focus on actions and results rather than process and procedures. The THIRD WORLD NETWORK identified principles of existing partnerships, including respect for local cultures and knowledge systems, and equitable involvement. The STAKEHOLDER FORUM stressed that partnerships cannot address all sustainable development challenges. The CITIZENS’ ALLIANCE FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION OF KOREA emphasized the involvement of mass media in partnerships. The INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE discussed rural development partnership projects. The INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HYDROGEOLOGISTS discussed sustainable use of water. The LABOR COMMUNITY STRATEGY CENTER expressed hope that governments will work with NGOs on corporate accountability. The WOMEN’S CAUCUS objected to partnerships between the UN and transnational corporations. FAO, supported by the SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY and INDIGENOUS PEOPLES caucuses, described the Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Joint Initiative. UNEP emphasized that partnerships must be environmentally sound. UNESCO described themes for partnerships, such as ethical principles for sustainable development.


Informal informal consultations for Working Group I, facilitated by Co-Chairs Akasaka and Viotti, convened from 6:00 pm until 8:30 pm. Delegates agreed on text referring to: the challenges of endemic poverty, social inequity, unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and environmental degradation; reinvigorating commitment of the international community to sustainable development goals; and WSSD outcomes contributing to the empowerment of women, youth and vulnerable groups. However, after prolonged deliberations, delegates could not agree on text referring to an enabling international environment, means of implementation, and inclusion of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.


Negotiations of the Johannesburg outcomes began in earnest Tuesday evening in a tense atmosphere that may have been caused by mounting frustration among participants throughout the day. Some were concerned about the bloated "wish list" in the Chairman’s Paper that still seems to lack concrete "deliverables." Others were at a loss for what to do with a paper on SDG submitted earlier by Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Turkey and the US, arguing that the Co-Chairs’ paper is already well-structured and formulated, and progressing at a good pace. The high interest in Type II outcomes is making others jittery as these initiatives may deflect attention from government commitment for action. Participants note the "lack of content and clear positions" of governments on specific partnerships. Some suggested that requiring delegations to propose specific actions and identify necessary resources may advance discussion in the right direction.


WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I will continue its consideration of the Chairman’s Paper in Conference Room 1, beginning at 10:00 am and continuing in the afternoon.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will continue its consideration of the Chairman’s Paper in Conference Room 4, starting at 10:00 am and continuing in the afternoon.

WORKING GROUP III: Working Group III will meet to continue the discussion on SDG. Consult the UN Journal for the venue and time.

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