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4th Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

The fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) acting as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) formally opens today, Monday, 27 May 2002, at the Bali International Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia, and will meet until Friday, 7 June 2002. The fourth session was preceded by informal group consultations on Friday, 24 May, and informal-informal consultations on the Revised Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/L.1/ Rev.1) on Saturday and Sunday, 25-26 May.

During the PrepCom IV session, delegates are expected to conclude negotiating the Revised Chairman’s Paper and agree on a political document, both of which are expected to be adopted by the WSSD in September 2002. During the first week, Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues will take place on sustainable development governance, capacity building and a framework for partnership initiatives. Parallel Working Groups will meet to conclude negotiation of the Revised Chairman’s Paper, including the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (A/CONF.199/PC/L.3), and to consider the Type 2 outcomes – partnerships/initiatives. Informal contact groups will deal with issues such as energy, oceans, foreign occupation, sustainable development initiatives for Africa, and good governance.

In the second week, delegates will begin drafting a political document, and conclude with a High-level Segment, at which Ministers are expected to hold interactive dialogues on implementation, partnerships and initiatives, and elements of a political document.


The WSSD is being held 10 years after the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). UNCED, also known as the Earth Summit, took place from 3-14 June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over 100 Heads of State and Government, representatives from 178 countries, and some 17,000 participants attended the Summit. The principal outputs of the Summit were the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21 – a 40-chapter programme of action, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Statement of Forest Principles.

In Chapter 38, Agenda 21 called for the creation of a commission on sustainable development to: ensure effective follow-up to UNCED; enhance international cooperation and rationalize intergovernmental decision making; and examine progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels. In 1992, the 47th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) set out, in resolution 47/191, the terms of reference for the CSD, its composition, guidelines for NGO participation, organization of work, relationship with other UN bodies, and Secretariat arrangements. The CSD held its first meeting in June 1993 and has met annually since.

UNGASS-19: Also at its 47th session in 1992, the UNGA adopted resolution 47/190, which called for a Special Session of the UNGA to review implementation of Agenda 21 five years after UNCED. The 19th Special Session of the UNGA for the Overall Review and Appraisal of Agenda 21, which was held in New York from 23-27 June 1997, adopted the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (A/RES/S-19/2). It assessed progress made since UNCED, examined implementation, and established the CSD’s work programme for the period 1998-2002.

RESOLUTION 55/199: In December 2000, the UNGA adopted resolution 55/199, in which it decided to embark on a ten-year review of UNCED in 2002 at the Summit level to reinvigorate global commitment to sustainable development. The UNGA accepted South Africa’s offer to host the event. The resolution decided that the review should focus on accomplishments, identify areas requiring further efforts to implement Agenda 21 and other UNCED outcomes, and lead to action-oriented decisions.

PREPCOM I: CSD-10, acting as the Preparatory Committee for the WSSD, held its first session at UN headquarters in New York from 30 April to 2 May 2001. The session adopted decisions on: progress in WSSD preparatory activities at the local, national, regional and international levels; modalities of future PrepCom sessions; tentative organization of work during the Summit; provisional rules of procedure; and arrangements for accreditation and participation of Major Groups.

NATIONAL, SUBREGIONAL AND REGIONAL PREPARATORY PROCESSES: National preparatory committees for the WSSD were established to undertake country-level reviews, raise awareness, and mobilize stakeholders. Subregional and regional preparatory meetings for the Johannesburg Summit were held between June 2001 and January 2002. Eminent Persons’ Roundtables on the WSSD took place in all five UN regions, and regional preparatory meetings were held for Europe/North America (25-26 September 2001), Africa (15-18 October 2001), Latin America and the Caribbean (23-24 October 2001), West Asia (24 October 2001), Asia and the Pacific (27-29 November 2001), as well as for Small Island Developing States (7-11 January 2002).

PREPCOM II: The second session of the PrepCom met from 28 January to 8 February 2002 at UN headquarters in New York. The session conducted a comprehensive review and assessment of progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21, and agreed that the Chairman’s Paper produced from discussions at this session would serve as the basis for negotiation at PrepCom III. The PrepCom also adopted its report (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/L.1), which contains the Chairman’s Summary of the Second Preparatory Session, the Chairman’s Summary of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Segment, and the Proposals for Partnerships/Initiatives to Strengthen the Implementation of Agenda 21.

INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOVERNANCE: An informal consultation on sustainable development governance was held on 28 February 2002 at UN headquarters in New York. The consultation was based on an informal paper prepared by Bureau Vice-Chairs Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria). Based on this consultation, the Vice-Chairs produced a paper that was presented and discussed at PrepCom III.

PREPCOM III: The third session of the PrepCom met from 25 March to 5 April 2002 at UN headquarters in New York. The Commission: held preliminary discussions on an informal paper on sustainable development governance; began consideration of Type 2 outcomes – partnerships/initiatives; and considered the Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/L.1) transmitted from PrepCom II. Delegates submitted amendments to the Chairman’s Paper during the first week of the meeting, resulting in the production of a compilation text. Negotiations on some sections of the compilation text began during the second week. Delegates mandated PrepCom Chair Salim to prepare a revised Paper for consideration at PrepCom IV. At the Closing Plenary, a Vice-Chair’s explanatory note on Further Guidance for Partnerships/ Initiatives containing guidelines on Type 2 outcomes was circulated. The PrepCom also mandated the Bureau to prepare a text on sustainable development governance for negotiation.


CBD COP-6: The sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) met from 7-19 April 2002 in The Hague, the Netherlands and, in a High-Level Segment, considered the ten-year review of Agenda 21. The COP adopted a draft decision for transmission to the Summit as an annex to the Ministerial Declaration. The decision calls for the CBD’s active participation in the WSSD to ensure the consideration of CBD objectives and encourage governments to promote partnership initiatives and involve CBD national focal points in WSSD processes.

G-8 ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS MEETING: The G-8 Environment Ministers met from 12-14 April 2002 in Banff, Alberta, Canada, to advance preparations and issue a Ministerial Statement for the WSSD. The Statement highlights aspects that would assure a successful Summit, and emphasized: integration of the environmental dimension into economic and social development; linkages between health and the environment; and improved domestic environmental governance and measures to enhance the voluntary involvement of the private sector in sustainable development initiatives.

THIRD REPLENISHMENT OF THE GEF TRUST FUND: The meeting on the third replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund took place on 13-14 May 2002 in Washington, DC, USA. The GEF Council approved US$113.7 million for 20 environmental projects.

WORLD ECOTOURISM SUMMIT: This Summit, which took place from 19-22 May 2002 in Québec, Canada, adopted the Québec Declaration on Ecotourism, a new tool for the international development of ecotourism that will be officially tabled at the WSSD.


Informal consultations in preparation for PrepCom IV were held on 25-26 May at the Bali International Convention Center, Bali, Indonesia. Delegates met in a brief morning Plenary on Saturday, 25 May, then convened in morning, afternoon, and evening parallel working groups on Saturday and Sunday to begin negotiations on the Revised Chairman’s Paper (A/CONF.199/PC/ L.3/Rev.1). Separate contact groups on energy, oceans, and sustainable development initiatives for Africa met on Sunday, 26 May.


At 10:00 am, on Saturday 25 May, PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) opened an informal Plenary, expressing hope that "peace in your heart, peace on earth, and peace forever" would prevail in the negotiations. Chair Salim reinforced the need for a balanced, concise, action-oriented text that "looks to the forest rather than the trees," not another compilation text. He urged a focus on the Type 1 output – the implementation programme – as the priority outcome, noting that "this is the last harbor; the last chance to succeed before we sail to Johannesburg."


This Informal Working Group was co-chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria Viotti (Brazil). In his opening remarks on 25 May, Co-Chair Akasaka underscored that this was the last negotiating session before Johannesburg and suggested paragraph-by-paragraph consideration of the first four sections of the Revised Chairman’s Paper to confirm agreement and identify problems. Informal Working Group I completed a paragraph-by-paragraph consideration of the introduction and poverty eradication sections, and began consideration of changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. The Group re-established the contact groups on energy and oceans, which met on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, Co-Chair Akasaka announced that Melinda Brown (Australia) would continue facilitation of "in the corridor" consultations – initiated at PrepCom III – on text regarding entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.

INTRODUCTION: Delegates agreed to retain a G-77/CHINA proposal to emphasize support for development goals, including those from UNCED and "the Rio conventions and their protocols," and a proposal by the US, supported by AUSTRALIA and JAPAN, to add text from the Monterrey Consensus stating that internationally agreed development goals require a new partnership between developed and developing countries.

Delegates diverged on the terms economic "growth" versus "development." HUNGARY, with the EU and the G-77/CHINA, supported development, while the US, with AUSTRALIA, supported growth. Delegates accepted reference to economic development. The EU, with the US, JAPAN and AUSTRALIA, called for deletion of reference to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and it was bracketed. Delegates accepted SWITZERLAND’s proposal on "enhancing international cooperation."

On the provision stressing that Summit outcomes should benefit all, AUSTRALIA suggested adding "children" to the list of vulnerable groups. The G-77/CHINA asked for time to consider this proposal and a US suggestion to include Monterrey Consensus text within this provision.

Co-Chair Viotti announced that the paragraph on good governance would be considered in the governance contact group. Several new additions and counter proposals were suggested by HUNGARY, the EU, and the G-77/CHINA, and discussed in conjunction with issues of peace, security and stability. Delegates discussed the EU’s proposed reference to respect for human rights and cultural diversity. This was bracketed along with proposals from NORWAY on interdependence and the indivisibility of peace, development and environmental protection, as well as G-77/ CHINA proposals on, inter alia, the importance of ethics for sustainable development, and the inconsistency of multilateral coercive measures with international law, as they impede sustainable development.

POVERTY ERADICATION: Delegates agreed that national governments were primarily responsible for poverty eradication, although action was required at all levels, with the G-77/CHINA emphasizing the need for international support. The EU and NORWAY opposed, while G-77/CHINA supported, establishing a World Solidarity Fund. SWITZERLAND stressed national policies in addition to strategies, HUNGARY underscored that national programmes should include provisions for empowerment, while the US cautioned against creating prescriptive regimes.

Delegates accepted US-proposed text on access to land for women and girls. Concerning health services, delegates debated adding reference to population pressures, but the original Chair’s text was retained. Regarding education, the G-77/CHINA requested time to consider NEW ZEALAND’s proposal on the eradication of child labor.

Delegates agreed to consider a new G-77/CHINA proposal on improving sustainable agricultural production and food security. Regarding building basic rural infrastructure, delegates accepted a US proposal on improving transportation and on access to markets and market information.

NORWAY’s proposal to list indigenous communities among those who should have access to agricultural resources was accepted, but a new proposal urging policies to enhance employment levels of indigenous people was bracketed.

Text on increasing food availability and affordability was accepted. On desertification, delegates accepted text to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought and floods. Text on reversing current trends and minimizing degradation of land and water resources through the use of climate and weather information, forecasts and early warning systems, was also supported.

Delegates accepted a new US proposal on safe drinking water and sanitation services for poverty reduction. Discussion of NORWAY’s proposed 2015 target for access to safe drinking water and related actions was deferred.

Delegates agreed to text to: "provide assistance and mobilize resources" to enhance industrial development, "including through the transfer of environmentally sound technology on preferential terms, as mutually agreed." A G-77/CHINA proposal to provide support for sustainable natural resource management to create sustainable livelihoods for the poor was accepted. Delegates also accepted amendments to promote enterprises, "including by means of training, education and skill enhancement," and to provide financial and technical support for small-scale mining ventures, "as appropriate." SWITZERLAND’s proposal to increase income-generating productive employment opportunities that respect International Labour Organization Core Labor Standards was bracketed.

On improving the lives of slum dwellers, delegates supported: AUSTRALIA’s proposal to use language from the Millennium Declaration; improvement of "equitable" access to, inter alia, "land and property" and basic services; adequate and "secure" housing; consideration of country vulnerability to natural disasters; and an amendment to ensure improvement, inter alia, of employment "through appropriate national policies, promoting equal opportunities for women and men."

A new EU proposal, which SWITZERLAND amended, on support to local authorities in elaborating slums upgrading programmes within the framework of urban development plans, and to facilitate access, particularly for the poor, to information on housing legislation, was accepted.

CHANGING UNSUSTAINABLE PATTERNS OF PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION: Delegates accepted a US suggestion to later revisit all references to the Rio principle on common but differentiated responsibilities. They also agreed on the involvement of all countries "in promoting sustainable consumption," and for all to take an "active" role in changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns.

As delegates were unable to agree on text regarding the development of a 10-year work programme to improve resource efficiency, the EU will lead an informal contact group to consider the paragraph. Delegates accepted text on adopting and implementing policies and measures to promote sustainable patterns of production and consumption, applying, inter alia, the polluter-pays principle described in Rio principle 16. Language on using a life-cycle approach was bracketed. US-proposed text on developing production and consumption policies to improve the efficiency and productivity of energy and material inputs, and reduce levels of pollution and waste, will be considered by the energy contact group.

Delegates supported awareness raising "among youth and relevant segments in all societies," but diverged on proposed consumer information tools. Agreement was reached to: integrate the issue of production and consumption patterns, inter alia, into poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies; consider the chapeau and subparagraphs on increasing investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency within the 10-year work programme for improving resource efficiency; and incorporate "sustainable development" considerations into financial institutions’ decision making. Delegates failed to agree on references to Rio principle 11 paragraphs on enhancing corporate, environmental and social responsibility.


This Informal Working Group was co-chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt). On Saturday, 25 May, the group completed a first reading of the sections on globalization, health, SIDS, sustainable development initiatives for Africa and means of implementation. Discussion on means of implementation was resumed on Sunday afternoon. A contact group met on Sunday afternoon and evening, to consider the section on sustainable development for Africa.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN A GLOBALIZING WORLD: The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, on behalf of the EU, emphasized recognition and support of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha process. The US expressed concern over the characterization of globalization, and with JAPAN, cautioned against prejudging the outcomes of negotiations resulting from the Doha Ministerial meeting. JAPAN stressed the need for consistent language regarding multilateral trading agreements. MEXICO stressed local efforts, ICELAND underscored reducing trade-distorting subsidies, and NORWAY noted the lack of gender perspectives.

HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Delegates agreed on paragraphs regarding, inter alia: technical and financial assistance to developing countries for health information systems and integrated databases on development hazards; development and management of human resources in health services; and the GA resolution on HIV/AIDS. The EU emphasized the link between environment and health, and, with the US, SWITZERLAND and the HOLY SEE, suggested using language from the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. Regarding traditional medicine: the US proposed text on training to ensure the continuity of traditional knowledge; the G-77/CHINA preferred text on the sui generis system of protecting traditional knowledge; and NEW ZEALAND noted relevant work underway in the World Intellectual Property Organization. Delegates disagreed on the use of target dates, and discussed proposals on reproductive health care, culturally acceptable food, and specific dates and cost of developing drugs for neglected diseases.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS: The US bracketed a G-77/CHINA suggestion on "increased" financial resources for the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS. The EU, JAPAN, NORWAY and the US objected to target dates for various initiatives related to the Programme. JAPAN and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA proposed deleting reference to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Different texts were suggested for the paragraph on needs of SIDS for adaptation to climate change, with the US agreeing to work with interested delegations on a compromise text.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES FOR AFRICA: The US expressed concern with the misrepresentation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and with AUSTRALIA and the EU, opposed time-bound targets. JAPAN stressed ownership and South-South cooperation. This section was later considered in a contact group on Sunday afternoon and evening.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: During initial discussions on Saturday, several delegations supported deleting paragraphs on establishment of a mechanism for technology transfer to developing countries and a process to examine issues related to global public goods.

On Sunday afternoon, Informal Working Group II considered the provisions on education and reached agreement on most of the paragraphs. In the chapeau, the G77/CHINA supported, and the EU objected to, reference to "new and concrete financial commitments from donors." Agreement was reached on education-related development goals set in the Millennium Declaration and the Dakar Framework for Action, and on text stressing the role of education in promoting sustainable development. New text was added by SWITZERLAND to prohibit child labor. The paragraph on access to universities in developed countries was opposed by the US.


The Informal Working Group, chaired by Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), had a first reading of the Vice-Chairpersons’ paper on an institutional framework for sustainable development (A/ CONF.199/PC/L.3). VENEZUELA and IRAN, speaking on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, called for: strengthening and coordinating existing UN bodies and using their comparative advantages; avoiding the creation of new institutions; and balancing ECOSOC and CSD responsibilities without entrusting them with new functions. They objected to a separate section on "good governance." The EU suggested strengthening the social pillar of governance and, with CUBA, incorporating reference to UNEP’s international environmental governance proposals. The US, JAPAN, NORWAY, SWITZERLAND and AUSTRALIA stressed the issue of good governance. The Chair announced that a new text would be presented to delegations on Monday, 27 May, for discussion on Tuesday, 28 May.


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES FOR AFRICA: The G-77/CHINA introduced their modified text on Africa in Working Group II. After brief informal-informal consultations, the section was discussed in a contact group chaired by Vice-Chair Richard Ballhorn (Canada) that met on Sunday, 26 May. Proposals for the introductory paragraph included text on a "sense of ownership," concrete actions, and governance. Additional reference to human rights and gender equality was suggested for a paragraph on creating an enabling environment. In a paragraph on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), one delegation proposed that complementarities between the GEF and the UNCCD be highlighted, while another delegation pointed out that the CSD lacks the mandate to "make" the GEF the financial mechanism of the UNCCD. Several delegations emphasized that initiatives other than NEPAD should be included in the text. One delegation objected to use of the word "ensure" in various paragraphs. Delegates suggested adding text on: environmental and social responsibility in a paragraph on mining development; political leadership in a paragraph on health care; and the Abuja and Bonn Declarations in a paragraph on water. One delegation supported deleting a paragraph on environmental impact assessment, and delegates agreed to wait for the finalization of the section on SIDS before agreeing on paragraphs on climate change. On agriculture, several delegations cautioned against prejudging Doha negotiations and supported reinsertion of gender references. Delegates also discussed paragraphs on coastal and marine resources, energy and NEPAD, transport, mountains, forests, and disasters and conflict.

Editor’s note: ENB coverage of this contact group ended at 11:20 pm.

OCEANS: The contact group on oceans was chaired by Guy O’Brien (Australia). Several delegates stated that chapeaux should be general, with all agreeing that actions referred to in the chapeaux are required "at all levels." Delegates debated whether to use optimum, maximum or sustainable yield to reverse the "decline of depleted fish stocks." The UN open-ended informal consultative process of developments in ocean affairs was regarded as important to note, but several delegations expressed concern about prejudging its conclusions. References to traditional fishing and to the precautionary approach were debated, as was the use of "ecosystem approach," with some noting that the term held different meanings for different countries. References to the UNCLOS provisions relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, marine protected areas, marine living resources, and the use of target dates were discussed without reaching agreement. Many delegations stressed eliminating subsidies contributing to overcapacity and to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, while others opposed mentioning subsidies relating to capacity. Delegates also deliberated on maintaining productivity and biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions, and agreed to distinguish between land- and marine-based pollution. Discussions on promoting international networks yielded agreement that the Ramsar Bureau should coordinate such activities.

ENERGY: Delegations generally expressed satisfaction with the Chair’s text and proposed strengthening the linkage between access to energy and poverty eradication, but did not agree on reference to a programme of action and timeframes for access to energy. New text was proposed, inter alia: in support of efforts to reduce flaring and venting of gas associated with extraction of crude oil; to take into consideration the Framework for Partnerships on Energy for Sustainable Development; for international financial institutions to incorporate the objectives of sustainable development; to take into account country circumstances; to increase coordination and cooperation between international institutions and bodies dealing with different aspects of energy for sustainable development; and for adequate reform of energy markets.


OPENING PLENARY: Opening Plenary will commence at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1. On the agenda are introductory statements, accreditation of IGOs/NGOs, and presentation of the results of the pre-sessional meetings.

MULTISTAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE: Participants will meet in Plenary in Conference Room 1 from 3:00 - 6:00 pm to discuss sustainable development governance.

WORKING GROUPS I and II: Working Groups I and II will continue negotiations on the Revised Chairman’s Paper following Plenary at 11:00 am. Consult the UN Journal for the venue.

CONTACT GROUPS: Oceans will meet at 3:00 pm to discuss a facilitator’s text containing proposals of new paragraphs and compromise language. Energy will meet at 8:00 pm to discuss the new facilitator’s text, which will be released by 1:00 pm. Consult the UN Journal for venues.

SPECIAL SIDE EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Linking Local Actions with Strategies and Mechanisms for Sustainable Development, co-hosted by the Governments of Indonesia and Bolivia in partnership with Capacity 21/UNDP, the Earth Council and IIED, will take place from 6:15 - 7:45 pm in Conference Room 3.

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