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Daily report for 3 April 2002

3rd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met in parallel working groups throughout the day and into the evening to continue consideration of the compilation Chairman’s Paper. Informal consultations on Partnerships were held in the afternoon. Editor’s 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 continued consideration of the section on changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and began the section on protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development.

Energy: Delegates agreed to Co-Chair Akasaka’s suggestion that energy paragraphs be discussed in informal-informal consultations. The G-77/CHINA requested that the informal-informals and Working Group I not meet simultaneously. The EU, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and the US suggested building on CSD-9 outcomes.

Transport: Many delegations objected to text on bunker fuels, and SWITZERLAND suggested alternative wording on the ongoing work in the International Maritime Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization on internalizing external costs. HUNGARY and UZBEKISTAN proposed including reference to regional approaches. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA objected to, and SWITZERLAND supported, text on the polluter-pays principle. The G-77/ CHINA proposed text on technical and financial assistance for developing countries and rural transportation systems.

Waste: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA proposed reference to industries and consumers minimizing waste and the G-77/CHINA called for assistance to developing countries, including small-scale waste recycling initiatives. HUNGARY said waste prevention, not minimization, is the highest priority. AUSTRALIA and the US opposed text referencing the Basel Convention. The G-77/CHINA suggested use of CSD-9 language on transportation of hazardous waste and supported the principle of prior notification.

Chemicals: SWITZERLAND and CANADA supported AUSTRALIA’s amendment to implement international instruments on chemicals "and wastes." The G-77/CHINA supported reference to the Basel Convention. Regarding specific implementation dates, SWITZERLAND, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and NORWAY expressed flexibility. The G-77/CHINA, the US and NORWAY supported early ratification. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION, with the EU, opposed specific deadlines, while NEW ZEALAND and CANADA supported them. On international chemicals management, SWITZERLAND called for more action-oriented text reflecting Cartagena decisions and, supported by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, proposed a strategic approach by UNEP in coordination with the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC) members.

PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Chapeau: The EU called for text on use of traditional knowledge and environmental impacts; HUNGARY supported, and JAPAN and CANADA objected to, text on the precautionary principle; NORWAY stressed linking poverty and resource management; and ICELAND called for a common objective. AUSTRALIA, TURKEY and the US supported a shorter G-77/China proposal.

Water: New text was suggested by: the G-77/CHINA on, inter alia, water infrastructure, water courses management in combating desertification, and watersheds as an integrated management unit; HUNGARY on climate variability and water-related hazard management; the US on reducing the number of people without access to sanitation; and UZBEKISTAN on support for an international convention on the Aral Sea Basin. Countries were divided regarding reference to the International Freshwater Conference. Several delegations objected to text on water pricing models. AUSTRALIA opposed subsidizing water as a common good, and supported new G-77/China text calling for an integrated approach to water management.

On water quality, the G-77/CHINA objected to text on indicators, and a number of delegations supported a paragraph on water shortage and pollution prevention and protection measures. On linkages among international processes and agreements, JAPAN and CANADA supported removing references to trade, while the G-77/CHINA and AUSTRALIA preferred deleting the paragraph. SWITZERLAND reminded delegates of a proposal regarding an international agreement on water that was deferred from earlier discussions.

Natural Disasters: The US inquired about text referring to repairing damage from disasters, and the G-77/CHINA clarified that it was taken from a General Assembly resolution.


Co-chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt), the Group continued consideration of the section on means of implementation.

Science and Education: The EU, with the US, supported the CZECH REPUBLIC proposal for separate science and education sections. The EU said the proposal on improved collaboration to enhance capacity in science and technology was too detailed. The G-77/CHINA, countered by others, urged deletion of a proposal adopted by CSD-9 on cooperation and coordination among global observing systems, proposing instead a reduction of the cost to developing countries of scientific and technical journals and digital publications. AUSTRALIA and the US objected, citing lack of control over pricing.

Regarding education, there was preference for a proposal addressing mechanisms to alleviate economic difficulties experienced by universities in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, but no agreement on: proposals to ensure university access by developing country students; assistance to developing countries for educational infrastructure development; and action-oriented language on ODA allocation to education. Delegates accepted a proposal on integrating sustainable development in higher education. Delegates disagreed over: integration of information and communication technology in developing country curriculum, due to lack of enabling environments; and initiatives on stakeholder participation in biodiversity conservation.

On proposals to integrate science in decision making: AUSTRALIA and the US suggested retaining text on enhancing developing countries’ capacity to formulate environmental policy; SWITZERLAND urged retention of the precautionary principle; and the G-77/CHINA preferred promoting the use of scientific knowledge and technology in the decision-making process at all levels.

Co-Chair Ballhorn asked Japan to consolidate its proposals on the use of remote sensing technologies. The EU proposed text on links between environment and security. The US and AUSTRALIA said they had difficulty supporting the Czech Republic’s text on funding for developing national and regional science policies. TURKEY proposed generally accepted text on sustainable development education, although the US and SWITZERLAND said they had difficulty in reorienting national education to sustainable development education. After discussion of implementing internationally agreed programmes for education, the HOLY SEE produced a shorter version that was accepted. Delegates agreed to move the text on raising awareness of consumption and production patterns to the section addressing this subject. On assistance to developing countries for education, JAPAN questioned references to financial assistance, and the G-77/CHINA reiterated its text on ensuring new and additional financial resources for student and researcher access to universities.

Technology Transfer: The G-77/CHINA emphasized "urgent and effective actions to finance" transfer of technology, and the US, JAPAN, the EU, AUSTRALIA and NORWAY proposed using "promoting," "assisting" or "encouraging" such actions. The US suggested text on increasing access to science and technology knowledge in the public domain, and, with JAPAN and NORWAY, objected to the notion of regulatory frameworks for technology transfer, as suggested by the G-77/CHINA, that would be imposed on the private sector. NORWAY agreed to frameworks to ensure transfer of environmentally sound technologies. BRAZIL urged progress beyond Agenda 21 in technology transfer, including establishing new institutions. The US, the EU and JAPAN objected to new mechanisms. The text on providing incentives for transnational corporations was deleted on the insistence of the G-77/CHINA. SWITZERLAND, with the EU and BRAZIL, stressed the importance of "green credit lines." The EU, the REPUBLIC OF KOREA and the US stressed "promoting" access to environmentally sound technologies available in the public domain due to property rights concerns. There was no agreement on an EU proposal on stakeholder collaboration on technology transfer. Delegates supported technology transfer, not "access," to countries affected by natural disasters. The EU and AUSTRALIA expressed general support for a US text emphasizing creation of public/private partnerships at several levels to assist developing countries in creating a domestic environment for technology development and diffusion to enhance industrial efficiency and competitiveness in agricultural productivity and environmental management.

The G-77/CHINA supported technology transfer to developing countries through appropriate mechanisms, while the US, JAPAN and CANADA stressed existing mechanisms. AUSTRALIA and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported the US text on building developing country capacity to implement intellectual property laws, while the EU and CANADA stressed protection of indigenous knowledge through intellectual property rights.

Trade: The US underscored trade as a critical source of financing for sustainable development. The G-77/CHINA stressed ensuring full and predictable market access, NEW ZEALAND emphasized reinforcing Doha achievements, while the US, JAPAN and AUSTRALIA stressed not going beyond Doha.


Co-Chair Diane Quarless (Jamaica) distributed a Co-Chairs’ explanatory note on partnerships. The EU stressed that partnerships need to be part of the sustainable development objective and that ownership be among all partners. The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC noted that partnerships could also be an outcome of the regional preparatory process. SOUTH AFRICA emphasized that partnerships needed: stronger linkage to Type I outcomes; selection mechanisms and criteria; specific global targets; and monitoring and evaluation within short time frames. The US highlighted the potential role of the CSD in evaluating and replicating partnerships, identifying lessons learned, and facilitating more initiatives. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL suggested that the US ratify the CBD and the Biosafety Protocol to demonstrate commitment to food security issues. OILWATCH cautioned against "greenwashing," and BUSINESS ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT emphasized, inter alia, addressing the three pillars of sustainable development, and that partnerships be open, measurable and replicable. Suggestions for facilitating partnerships included an interactive website, and creating a CSD-managed information desk.


With only two days left before PrepCom III closes, the realization that delegations would not complete their work led to rumors about a possible decision to extend the session into a third week. Many participants wondered what the resource implications would be, considering that the limitations experienced thus far have resulted in part from the budgetary cuts at the UN. Some speculated that this situation could have been avoided had facilities for evening meetings been made available during the PrepCom. Apparently, some participants are vehemently opposed to an extension of the PrepCom.

Meanwhile, the non-paper by South Africa circulated on Wednesday afternoon and introduced during the informal working group on partnerships was positively received. This paper proposes an approach to action-oriented, time-bound outcomes for the WSSD, with four elements: clear negotiated texts establishing a process and framework leading to implementation plans; a focused set of priority themes on poverty-related targets; linkages between Type II outcomes on partnerships and the implementation process; and an illustrative framework for implementation of the priority themes.


PLENARY: A short morning Plenary is expected to take place in Conference Room 1 at 11:00 am.

WORKING GROUP I: The Group will continue its work on the section on protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development in Conference Room 1 following the Plenary, in the afternoon from 3:00 - 6:00 pm, and in an evening session starting at 7:30 pm.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will continue discussion of means of implementation in Conference Room 4 after the Plenary and, possibly, in an evening session.

WORKING GROUP III: This Group will meet from 3:00 - 6:00 pm in Conference Room 4 to resume consideration of sustainable development governance. Look for a revised paper that may contain elements for a draft decision.

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