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Daily report for 27 March 2002

3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met in a brief morning Plenary to hear a statement by Uganda’s Vice-President and then convened in working groups. Working Group I met in the morning and afternoon to conclude initial consideration of the Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/L.1). Working Group II met in the morning to continue consideration of the Chairman’s Paper, and Working Group III met from 4:30 - 6:00 pm to continue consideration of the informal paper on sustainable development governance.


Spesioza Wandira Kazibwe, Vice-President of Uganda, stressed the need for improved land and water resource productivity, strengthened political leadership and commitment, good governance, empowerment of stakeholder groups, protection of mountain forests for high-quality water, participatory research and technology, and implementable documents.


Co-chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria Viotti (Brazil), the Group completed consideration of its sections of the Chairman’s Paper.

POVERTY ERADICATION: The G-77/CHINA supported text on a solidarity fund to eradicate poverty, market access for developing country exports, and the "Education for All" programme. The EU proposed a separate section on energy, and, emphasizing access to modern energy services, announced the launch of, and funding for, a new related initiative. Additional text was proposed by: the US on safe and stable families; JAPAN on women’s empowerment and declining population growth rates; ICELAND on renewable energy resources; and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA on land management, agricultural production and ecosystem conservation. SWITZERLAND supported good governance, including involvement of women in partnership projects and assistance for water supply infrastructure. CANADA stressed gender equity and a people-centered approach to sustainable agriculture and rural development, and MEXICO emphasized reference to urban poverty. The IUCN called for addressing wealth redistribution. The FAO supported the World Food Summit targets and livestock programmes, and UNIDO noted the importance of the agro-industry and manufacturing sectors. The COMMITTEE ON EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITES stressed the role of satellite observation in poverty eradication, and UN-HABITAT noted limited reference to urban human settlements.

CHANGING UNSUSTAINABLE PATTERNS OF CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: New proposals were made by: HUNGARY on means of implementation, sustainable tourism and education; JAPAN on raising corporate awareness and responsibility and establishing air quality monitoring systems; the EU on promoting adequate market structures and information for sustainable development reporting; SWITZERLAND on using a lifecycle approach in production processes; and the G-77/CHINA, inter alia, on decisions of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety. A number of countries emphasized implementation of chemical management agreements. TUVALU warned against reinterpreting the Kyoto Protocol. NORWAY called for reference to the polluter-pays principle and proposed adding a heavy metals protocol to the Stockholm Convention. The US, with NORWAY, said promoting sustainable patterns of production and consumption applies to all countries. AUSTRALIA suggested taking text on production and consumption patterns from CSD-7 decisions.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION opposed specific references to standards and energy efficiency targets. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA suggested text on gradually reducing and eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, and CANADA supported text on energy security through market reform. TURKEY emphasized small and medium-sized enterprises. NEW ZEALAND said renewable energy includes hydropower and geothermal energy. The CZECH REPUBLIC emphasized sustainable transport. The NGO SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION CAUCUS suggested studying the impacts of advertising on developing countries and the socio-environmental impacts of military spending.

PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: NORWAY suggested that the UN take the lead in freshwater issues, and governments ensure sustainable water use. The EU called for political commitment to water management, and increased awareness of ocean protection. Several countries highlighted results of the Bonn International Freshwater Conference, while TURKEY cautioned against referring to conferences that lack international consensus and against specific references to transboundary management of freshwater resources. The US, with AUSTRALIA, suggested deleting text on the Kyoto Protocol while the EU, MEXICO, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, UKRAINE and NEW ZEALAND supported its implementation. The EU, the G-77/CHINA and NEW ZEALAND supported, and JAPAN and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA opposed, references to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). CANADA supported text on ocean-related agreements and called for linking marine systems and food security. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA advocated elimination of harmful fishing subsidies. Linking marine mammals to fisheries management was supported by JAPAN and NORWAY, and rejected by NEW ZEALAND and the US. The G-77/CHINA called for, inter alia: international community support for developing country recycling programmes, natural disaster research and impact reduction through financial and technological assistance, strengthening systems of regional cooperation, and toxic waste management.

KYRGYZSTAN, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, proposed reference to countries with economies in transition. MEXICO and SWITZERLAND supported mention of integrated natural resource management. SWITZERLAND highlighted the need to address crosscutting issues and strengthen existing environmental legislation and water governance, and suggested a new paragraph on flexible mechanisms to address climate change. With NORWAY, she supported an ecosystem approach. NORWAY also called for text promoting proper land use planning in coastal areas. BANGLADESH supported community-based participatory management. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION proposed text on strengthening monitoring systems for transboundary air pollution and opposed, while NEW ZEALAND supported, mention of the UNESCO Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage. BELARUS, with UKRAINE, proposed new text urging cooperation in addressing technological disasters and their consequences. TUVALU proposed language to address damage resulting from transboundary transport of hazardous waste.

SENEGAL proposed linking combating desertification with poverty reduction, the EU underscored identification of causes of soil degradation, while CANADA and the G-77/CHINA supported more effective implementation of the UNCCD. SWITZERLAND stressed Local Agenda 21 programmes and, supported by KYRGYZSTAN and PERU, called for stronger language on sustainable mountain development. Several countries expressed support for sustainable ecotourism and language from the UNFF-2 Ministerial Declaration. The G-77/ CHINA, JAPAN, NEW ZEALAND and SWITZERLAND supported activities of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The US proposed consideration of invasive alien species and the illegal trade in endangered species. AUSTRALIA and CANADA requested recognition of the benefits of the mining industry, while the EU proposed providing assistance to developing countries in managing mines. The FAO called for sectoral interagency partnerships.


Co-chaired by Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt) and Richard Ballhorn (Canada), the Group continued with preliminary comments on sections of the Chairman’s Paper dealing with health and sustainable development, sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS) and means of implementation. Section VIII on African initiatives will be addressed during the second week after the conclusion of an African Summit taking place in Abuja, Nigeria.

HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The G-77/ CHINA suggested, inter alia, promoting cooperation between public health organizations and ensuring sufficient resources for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The US urged mention of nutritional supplements and food fortification. NORWAY suggested that chemicals be addressed. NEW ZEALAND requested specifying food and animal husbandry guidelines, and the FAO proposed action on transboundary livestock diseases. WHO suggested using health impact assessments to improve policy coherence and UNEP recommended more regional environmental health centers. The US, JAPAN, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and NEW ZEALAND, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, suggested that language on traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights be removed.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS: New references were called for by: the G-77/CHINA on UNCLOS; the EU on implementation of the CBD; and NEW ZEALAND, SAMOA and SAINT LUCIA on a liability regime for the transportation of radioactive material. JAPAN and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, opposed by NEW ZEALAND, proposed deleting the reference to the Convention on the Conservation of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. SAINT LUCIA disagreed with the US that "special and differential treatment" is only applicable in the WTO context. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION inquired about a "global sustainable energy programme," but SAMOA and SAINT LUCIA urged retaining a reference to energy needs.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: On finance, the G-77/ CHINA suggested adding "common but differentiated responsibilities" with respect to new and additional resources for Agenda 21. The EU emphasized improving domestic conditions and efficiency of aid. The US and JAPAN proposed using text from the Monterrey Consensus, while NORWAY and others said ideas such as a new trust fund and unrealistic targets require explanation. On technology transfer, the G-77/CHINA suggested more action-oriented text and the EU called for strengthening interactions between institutions in developing countries. Several countries opposed creation of new mechanisms and language on patents and traditional knowledge.


Bureau Vice-Chair Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) chaired this session on sustainable development governance (SDG). Delegates initially discussed the possibility of ECOSOC integrating the dimensions of sustainable development. Responding to inquiries by IRAN and INDONESIA, Patrizio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General, DESA, noted as possibilities ECOSOC’s high-level segment and dialogue, UN partnerships, and an independent annual ECOSOC session. On the Vice-Chair's paper on SDG, Nauru, for the PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM, underscored regional cooperation, institutions and mechanisms for governance, and commitments that include transparent, efficient and accountable development assistance.

TURKEY stressed local governance, while NORWAY, with AUSTRALIA, TUVALU and the US, called for more emphasis on good national governance. BOLIVIA proposed a global forum on sustainable development. AUSTRALIA warned against wide reform, except for changing the CSD methods of work. The US suggested that the CSD switch to a five-year negotiating cycle, and suggested "interest groups" as an additional policy level. SOUTH AFRICA stressed democratic process. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION questioned the notion of universality of the CSD and the Global Ministerial Environment Forum. GHANA recalled the Accra Forum on national sustainable development strategies, and MEXICO suggested reference to MEA coordination.


Excitement around the Type II outcomes - partnerships - is building and taking focus. Apparently, the G-8, hosted by Canada this year, may be toying with ideas it could announce at its summer meeting. These prospects have stimulated action among countries and groups on possible initiatives they could unveil at the WSSD to provide substance to political commitments. Energy, water and education are being mentioned as promising areas. In contrast, participants say prospects for generating a coherent Type 1 outcome during PrepCom III in New York are getting bleaker by the hour. Inputs made so far by delegations are said to have made the text so heavy, there is serious concern the PrepCom will have to resolve most issues in Bali.


PLENARY: The Plenary will meet from 3:00 - 4:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to hear a statement by David Anderson, President of the UNEP Governing Council.

WORKING GROUP II: The Group will meet in the morning from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 4 to complete consideration of means of implementation.

WORKING GROUP III: This Group will reconvene from 5:00 - 6:00 pm to continue consideration of the informal paper on sustainable development governance.

Working Group I will not meet in the morning to allow the Secretariat time to compile a revised text. Informal consultations on partnerships are likely to resume in the afternoon upon adjournment of the afternoon Plenary. Consult the UN Journal for meeting times and venues.

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