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Daily report for 28 May 2002

4th Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Parallel Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues on capacity building and partnerships were held all day. Working Group I met in morning and evening sessions, while Working Group II met in the evening to continue negotiation of the Revised Chairman’s Text. Working Group III met in the afternoon to begin discussion on sustainable development governance. Contact group meetings were held on oceans and sustainable development initiatives for Africa.

Editor’s Note: Coverage of the Working Groups and Contact Groups ended at 9:00 pm.


Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues were held on capacity for sustainable development and on Major Group’s frameworks for partnership initiatives.

DISCUSSION GROUP I: The Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on capacity building was co-chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt) in the morning, Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) in the afternoon, and Paul Hohnen facilitating discussion.

WOMEN called for: a gender mainstreaming policy; 50% participation of women in all levels of decision making; collection of gender-disaggregated data; and development of gender-sensitive indicators. YOUTH urged creation of subregional information clearinghouses and establishment of youth-led ecovillages. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES supported knowledge exchange networks, strengthening indigenous capacity on the basis of traditional knowledge, and technology transfer involving indigenous knowledge and experts. NGOs called for, inter alia, empowerment for participation in local and national decision making, and formal and non-formal education and training approaches.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES proposed that the Chair’s text reflect their capacity to improve the urban dimension of sustainable development. TRADE UNIONS criticized the negative impacts on workers from unsustainable liberalization and privatization policies. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY noted the role of multinational corporations in transferring technology and knowledge, and the importance of creating an appropriate domestic environment for investment. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stressed education, North-South and South-South exchange of experiences, and collaboration in scientific programmes. FARMERS drew attention to their ability to contribute to sustainable development, and called for closer involvement in Summit preparations.

During discussion, INDIA urged South-South cooperation and focus on the link between good governance and capacity building. To create human capacity, the EU emphasized education at all levels, and the role of the private sector. Major Group representatives identified key principles of capacity building for sustainable development. FARMERS stressed partnership between states and stakeholders in rural societies. TRADE UNIONS urged freedom of association and the right to organize. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for a rights-based approach to sustainable development and the principle of free and prior informed consent. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY emphasized informed, evidence-based decision making. NGOs proposed free sharing of environmentally friendly technologies, YOUTH proposed South-North capacity building, and the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted countering the brain drain.

WOMEN stressed addressing their grassroots community role, and the issue of girls leaving school. Both TRADE UNIONS and FARMERS highlighted empowering agricultural workers. Several governments responded, with AUSTRALIA calling for a 50-year vision to pinpoint today’s priorities.

In the afternoon session, Facilitator Hohnen invited input from intergovernmental organizations and requested participants to share specific capacity building case studies and areas for improvement. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY described an international engineers register. LOCAL AUTHORITIES said lack of legal frameworks and financial resources are challenges in implementing Local Agenda 21 action plans. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY mentioned efforts in biosolid management. FARMERS highlighted efforts to counter the effects of desertification. Describing the subsidiarity principle, the EU said national authorities should allow local authorities to handle issues in which they are competent.

Lessons garnered from capacity building examples were, for: NGOs – the importance of process ownership and governance; INDIGENOUS PEOPLES – empowerment arising from a government act recognizing their empire; BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY – benefits in health, education and employment that can accrue to communities within five years; and for YOUTH – the need for catalytic seed funds toward democratization of information. Noting a paucity of successful partnerships, LOCAL AUTHORITIES underscored tools, such as information and communication technologies, as an aspect of capacity building. WOMEN underlined peer-to-peer learning and transfer of technology and skills that communities can sustain.

FRANCE proposed the establishment of criteria to ensure that partnerships are compatible with sustainable development, and the US noted that longer term partnerships can result from short term capacity building initiatives. BRAZIL stressed the role of national academies of science in decision making and the development of national science and technology innovation plans. UGANDA discussed partnerships between government and local communities for agricultural expertise transfer. LIBYA highlighted partnerships with other countries and participatory efforts to implement Agenda 21 in national decision making.

FARMERS said subsidies are critical in food security and sovereignty issues, and that conservation may displace indigenous farmers. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY proposed considering Indigenous Peoples’ involvement in the medicinal use of plants, and called for science and sustainable development education.

NGOs urged fostering national centers for climate change research by strengthening existing national commissions for sustainable development. LOCAL AUTHORITIES highlighted senior citizen involvement and called for the networking of networks at the Summit.

On collaboration with the Scientific and Technological Community: TRADE UNIONS said such a partnership would take time to develop; BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY expressed interest; INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said traditional knowledge is also scientific; WOMEN called for support to national and regional institutions; and YOUTH suggested partnering through ecovillages.

In closing remarks: BANGLADESH enquired about access to UN funds for community work; FARMERS called for the establishment of meta-networks; and the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY reported on a new network of institutions dealing with traditional medicine. Facilitator Hohnen noted a large number of unresolved issues and Chair Akasaka stated that the session had provided ideas on how to better respond to capacity building needs.

DISCUSSION GROUP II: WOMEN elaborated on concerns regarding transnational corporations and international financial institutions, mechanisms guaranteeing gender mainstreaming and equity, and implementation of existing conventions. YOUTH called for a binding agreement on corporate accountability, and highlighted, inter alia, intergenerational equity, and social, environmental and economic justice as key criteria. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES lamented the historical attitude toward them and resource-intensive activities on traditional lands without consultation. NGOs emphasized the need for transparency, liability and accountability, while LOCAL AUTHORITIES underscored their role as the link between national governments and civil society.

TRADE UNIONS provided examples of good and bad partnerships, defining, inter alia, common objectives, extensive stakeholder consultations, and a balance of strength as characteristics of good partnerships. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY identified enabling environments and definition of roles and responsibilities as key elements of a partnerships framework. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY cautioned that knowledge can be misused, and highlighted information discrepancies between industrialized and non-industrialized countries. FARMERS highlighted their multifaceted role in sustainable development, expressed interest in renewable energy and research on genetically modified organisms, and recognized the need for public-private partnerships in water distribution systems.

Regarding partnerships as concrete means of implementation, the US stressed that commitments continue beyond the Summit, adding its preference for self-reporting mechanisms. The EU elaborated on the link between Type 1 and 2 outcomes, parameters and follow-up mechanisms and, with JAPAN, highlighted the importance of local authorities in achieving sustainable development. SAINT LUCIA called for a partnerships framework that includes criteria, terms of reference, and a monitoring mechanism.

In the discussion, facilitated by Ida Kopen, NGOs emphasized the importance in partnerships of non-interference in internal affairs and intimidation of other nations, and WOMEN and YOUTH proposed ratification of existing UN conventions as partnerships prerequisites. In response, the US highlighted voluntary initiatives as demonstrating commitment. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES stressed recognition of the negative impacts of globalization, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY underscored the arbitrary nature of the dichotomy between Type 1 and 2 outcomes, and WOMEN noted the limited consultative process in the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. SOUTH AFRICA expressed commitment to a clear framework, while DENMARK emphasized the need for internationally recognized frameworks and guidelines to help disadvantaged entities. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stressed tangible outcomes, while TRADE UNIONS underscored the right to organize collectively and freely.

Summarizing the discussion, Kopen outlined a preliminary list of principles, including: transparency, accountability, equality, equity, full participation, measurability, replicability, the three pillars of sustainable development, and ownership. Major Groups added: the right to say no, non-intimidation, non-coercion, intergenerational equity, empowerment of historically disempowered, equal access, precautionary approach, ecosystems approach, performance, corporate accountability and a code of conduct, and commitment to existing UN conventions.

Throughout discussions in the afternoon session, Major Group representatives and country delegations shared specific examples of ongoing partnerships. TRADE UNIONS expressed concern that partnership funding "might be relegated to a parade of investment proposals," and NGOs noted that past partnerships have broken down because of conflict of need between partners. YOUTH detailed their partnerships selection criteria. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stated its commitment to partnerships regardless of UN approval. FARMERS elaborated on risk management as a mechanism, and stressed rules and certainty. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY stated that partnerships should be voluntary agreements, while LOCAL AUTHORITIES called for the courage to set targets. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES lamented the lack of legal recourse, stated that transparency does not amount to equitable power, and inquired about mechanisms to ensure sustainability, particularly when priorities shift. WOMEN expressed concern with power balance, and noted the need for policies at regional and national levels, and skills and resources at the local level. NGOs said they did not want Type 2 initiatives to be a "trivial pursuit of diversion and cooptation," and expressed unwillingness to support such outcomes.

JAPAN stressed self-selection and self-governing of partners, FRANCE described financing of public-private partnerships and guaranteeing access to resources as mechanisms bridging the two outcomes. INDONESIA pointed out costs of developing partnerships, GUYANA emphasized that the main partnership emerging from Rio was between the North and South, and questioned whether it had been honored, while ETHIOPIA expressed concern that FARMERS reflected Northern rather than Southern perspectives. SWITZERLAND stated that interest in Type 2 activities should be backed up with commitment to Type 1 outcomes, and stressed that projects need to be bankable. BELGIUM suggested partnerships between Northern countries to change consumption patterns. FINLAND stated that partnerships are a new deal and questioned suspicions of certain groups.

Co-Chair Quarless said the WSSD should galvanize support for partnerships. WSSD Secretary-General, Nitin Desai, emphasized that partnerships are not a substitute for what governments need to do, and not just between corporations and other parties.


The Working Group, co-chaired by Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) and Maria Viotti (Brazil), continued negotiations of the section on protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development.

Delegates agreed that water pollution measures would be at the national level, and would address surface and ground water, prevention, mitigation and clean-up. The EU noted cost implications, particularly for mitigation technologies. Delegates agreed to language on promoting sustainable water use, and deferred discussion of a US proposal on sanitation aspects, pending results of a bilateral consultation.

On development of integrated water resources, delegates debated formulations by the G-77/CHINA and the EU, but agreement was reached on a Co-Chair’s proposal to "develop integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans by 2005 with support to developing countries," which resolved ambiguities on: whether the text refers to all countries or only developing countries; the legal force of the language; and the extent to which water resource development should be underway.

On water services, delegates discussed language limiting cost recovery objectives, following proposals and amendments by various delegations, and finally agreed on the use of various policy instruments "without cost recovery objectives becoming a barrier to access to safe water by poor people."

Concerning competing water allocation needs, delegates accepted a proposal by NORWAY to amend the language to ensure priority is given to meeting basic human needs, as well as restoration of ecosystems. There was consensus on developing programmes for mitigating the effects of extreme water-related events. Although delegates debated the meaning of "non-conventional" water resources and decided to retain the term and the Chair’s text, the US inquired about the implications of specifying the provision of technical and financial resources in some paragraphs only.

Upon amendment, a new G-77/CHINA proposal was accepted supporting efficient, cost-effective and environment-friendly efforts and programmes in developing countries on sea water desalinization, water recycling and water-harvesting from coastal fogs. Delegates accepted a G-77/CHINA amendment to the Chair’s text, which supports facilitating the establishment of public-private partnerships and partnership forms that give priority to the needs of the poor under stable and transparent national frameworks provided by governments, whilst respecting local conditions.

Delegates accepted a proposal by the G-77/CHINA to separate text relating to support for developing countries and countries with economies in transition to monitor and assess water quality and quantity, from text on joint observation and research for water resource management and scientific understanding.

SWITZERLAND proposed the promotion of knowledge sharing. The G-77/CHINA, opposed by the US and AUSTRALIA, suggested amendments to "provide" rather than to "encourage and promote" knowledge sharing, capacity building and the transfer of technology, including remote-sensing and satellite technologies toward the improvement of water resource management and scientific understanding of the water cycle. The US stated that satellite technology falls within this category. A procedural debate ensued, following which the US raised a formal objection to Chair Akasaka’s suggestion to bracket both texts, in light of the Rules of Procedure regarding objections raised on substantive grounds. CANADA concurred with the US, and urged good faith in the negotiations. Both texts remain bracketed.


In the evening, the Working Group, chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada), resumed negotiation on the globalization section. SWITZERLAND suggested deleting the paragraph related to increased technical assistance, including in the trade and sustainable development interface, and the US and the G-77/CHINA proposed dropping the latter part of the phrase. The G-77/CHINA introduced a provision on market access to products from developing countries, which was bracketed by the US.


In an afternoon session, this Working Group, co-chaired by Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) commenced negotiation of the Vice-Chairs’ paper on Institutional Arrangements for Sustainable Development that was circulated on 27 May. Many amendments were tabled to the introduction and the section on arrangements at the international level. By agreement, the term "arrangements" was replaced by "frameworks" throughout the text. The G-77/CHINA added reference to needs of developing countries "in the area of financing, technology transfer and capacity building, bearing in mind the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities." The proposal was bracketed. Both the EU and the US said, however, that they would agree to a general reference to the Rio principles. The US accepted mention of sustainable development goals, but with a proviso that they concern only "internationally agreed goals." SWITZERLAND, supported by the US, proposed text referring to internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. There was general agreement on adding text on better collaboration between parts of the UN system, and strengthening the capacities of developing countries for sustainable development. The EU and the G-77/CHINA suggested several alternative texts referring to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which were bracketed. References to easing the accession of developing countries to the WTO were bracketed by JAPAN and the EU. The EU explained its concept of mutual supportiveness between the WTO and multilateral environmental agreements, but did not submit specific text. In his closing remarks, Co-Chair Anaedu, commenting on the excessive number of editorial amendments, noted that this session "was not negotiation."


The evening meeting of the contact group on energy was postponed due to illness of a regional group spokesperson, while the evening meeting of the contact group on good governance was cancelled.

AFRICA: The Africa contact group met in the afternoon to consider a revised text prepared by Vice-Chair Richard Ballhorn. The group discussed the introductory paragraph, as well as paragraphs on an enabling environment, mechanisms for implementation of New Partnership for Africa’s Development, technology transfer, and education.

OCEANS: Facilitated by Guy O’Brien (Australia), this contact group met in an afternoon session to continue negotiations. Delegates discussed an updated paper with facilitator’s compromise text and delegates’ proposals. Little progress was achieved with delegates stalemating on text related to fisheries and living marine resources.


Despite Bali’s tropical climate, progress on the Revised Chairman’s Text appears to be frozen, particularly on issues deferred to the contact groups. Not only have government delegates expressed frustration at the pace of the negotiations, ranging from "extremely slow", "going in reverse" to "coasting along and playing with words." Major Groups are also castigating governments for their apparent lack of interest in producing an effective and meaningful Type 1 document. Some have asserted that success in PrepCom IV now rests on four factors: completion of this document; a bracketed but workable political declaration; definition of criteria for Type 2 outcomes; and some sort of "divine intervention."

Meanwhile, progress on Type 2 outcomes is uncertain: there is division within Major Groups on support for partnerships, and all but one major group have agreed on the need for a convention on corporate accountability. Observers have noted that the desire for a free weekend in Bali – a talisman of PrepCom IV’s success – will only be met if the negotiating torpor is overcome…


PLENARY: Delegates will meet in Plenary at 10:00 am in Nusa Indah to hear reports from the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues.

WORKING GROUPS: Working Group I will meet from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, 3:00 – 6:00 pm, and 8:00 – 11:00 pm in Nusantara 1 to continue consideration of the Revised Chairman’s Paper. Working Group II will meet following Plenary and from 8:00 –11:00 pm in Nusa Indah to continue discussion on SIDS, health and sustainable development, finance and trade. Working Group III will meet to continue consideration of the revised Vice-Chairs’ paper on institutional frameworks for sustainable development governance circulated on 27 May, following Plenary, and from 3:00 – 6:00 pm and 8:00 – 11:00 pm. Consult the UN Journal for the venue.

CONTACT GROUPS: Energy will meet from 3:00 – 6:00 pm, and from 8:00 – 11:00 pm in the Frangipani Room. Africa will meet at 3:00 pm in Nusa Indah.

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