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Daily report for 29 May 2002

4th Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met in a morning Plenary to hear the outcomes of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues and a statement by Prince Willem Alexander of Orange (the Netherlands). Working Group I met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions to consider agriculture and desertification. Working Group II met in the afternoon and evening to consider health and sustainable development. Working Group III met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions to consider sustainable development governance. The contact group on energy met in the afternoon and evening to finalize text to forward to the Working Group. The contact group on oceans convened briefly in the afternoon and the contact groups on Africa and finance met in the evening, the latter for the first time.

Editor’s Note: Coverage of the meetings ended at 6:00 pm.


Chair Salim invited the Chairs of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues (MSDs) to present their report.

DISCUSSION GROUP I: Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) presented the highlights of the MSD sessions, with Ballhorn noting that the Group first focused on principles and elements of capacity building, and Akasaka reporting that the dialogue subsequently addressed possible institutions, means and mechanisms to enhance capacity building. Major Groups then provided reports, in which: WOMEN called for a binding UN convention on UN accountability; YOUTH proposed a programme advisory council to monitor capacity building initiatives, and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for WSSD implementation; INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for international instruments that recognize their rights; NGOs called for the promotion of national legal frameworks for NGO operations; LOCAL AUTHORITIES called for a strong legal framework; TRADE UNIONS urged strengthened governance and corporate accountability; the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY emphasized human resource development, institutional capacity and links between science and technology policies; FARMERS stressed, inter alia, land and agricultural practice rights, the precautionary approach, and the role of governments; and BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY emphasized good governance.

NORWAY highlighted contributions from Major Groups, notably, the need for: corporate accountability and regulation; rights-based and precautionary approaches; equity; and gendered governance. The EU noted the importance of education and good governance.

DISCUSSION GROUP II: Vice-Chairs Jan Kára (Czech Republic) and Diane Quarless (Jamaica) summarized discussions on principles and modalities from Tuesday’s MSDs, noting the widespread interest in, though not support for, Type 2 outcomes.

WOMEN outlined their principles for partnerships, while YOUTH stressed implementing existing conventions. Emphasizing that they considered the principles summarized as prerequisites for partnerships, YOUTH, supported by FARMERS and TRADE UNIONS, expressed their rejection of self-reporting. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, together with YOUTH, stressed self-determination, and supported a binding convention on corporate accountability. NGOs elaborated on their vote of no confidence in Type 2 outcomes, citing lack of government commitment to principles such as clear targets, enforceable mechanisms, and accountability, adding that if governments were abdicating responsibility, the least NGOs could do was maintain integrity. LOCAL AUTHORITIES highlighted their role and experience in action and implementation. TRADE UNIONS stressed external monitoring, and the "right to say no." BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY supported self-monitoring, expressing disappointment in the lack of support by other Major Groups. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY reiterated their role as service providers, while FARMERS restated their interest in partnerships on renewable energy and biotechnology.

FUTURE PRIORITIES: Chair Salim then invited Major Groups to provide their views on future priorities, which could constitute input to the political declaration.

FARMERS emphasized strengthening public services and establishing a legal framework for farmers’ organizations. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY recommended, inter alia, establishing science institutions at all levels and creating a scientific and development advisory council to the CSD. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY stressed the need for a partnership framework, a clear WSSD Type 1 outcome with programmes and commitments, and a body to synthesize the partnerships’ results. TRADE UNIONS called for: a recommitment to Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration; references to key issues they raised in the MSDs; a focus on implementation; and collaboration with, among others, UNEP and the International Labour Organization (ILO). LOCAL AUTHORITIES stressed good governance, capacity building, strengthened government capacity, decentralization and sufficient financial resources. Stressing debt cancellation and ecological debt and reparations, NGOs noted a lack of political will evidenced from: the lack of commitment to targets, in contrast to the World Trade Organization and debt repayment schedules; non-acknowledgement that the Rio North-South partnership is based on common but differentiated responsibilities; and the struggle to retain the basic vision of Rio.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called on the WSSD to initiate an assessment of protection of traditional knowledge and to convene a world conference on Indigenous Peoples. YOUTH stressed elimination of corruption, poverty eradication through recognition of the growing income gap and, with WOMEN, emphasized peace as a precondition for sustainable development. WOMEN underscored that sustainable development should be the overarching framework for political and economic commitments and, with YOUTH, lamented that Major Groups’ concerns were not being heard.

SAUDI ARABIA stated that poverty alleviation is key to sustainable development. The ILO expressed its support for strengthening MSDs within the WSSD process, while the ENERGY COALITION announced their work on a new "chapter 41" to Agenda 21 on renewables. A representative of the WSSD CIVIL SOCIETY SECRETARIAT said that anticipated financing to host civil society in Johannesburg has not materialized, and called for support from the international community. Closing the session, Chair Salim expressed hope that MSDs would contribute to discussions in the Working Groups.

Chair Salim then introduced Prince Willem Alexander of Orange (the Netherlands), who presented key recommendations and actions from his report – No Water No Future – prepared for the UN Secretary-General’s panel on water.


This Working Group was co-chaired by Maria Viotti (Brazil) and Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan).

PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT: Agriculture: Delegates accepted NEW ZEALAND’s text on enhancing the role of women at all levels and in all aspects of rural development, agriculture, nutrition and food security. JAPAN, opposed by the G-77/CHINA, AUSTRALIA and NEW ZEALAND, proposed text realizing the various roles of agriculture, which was bracketed. The US, with JAPAN, proposed deletion of reference to "the right to food as stated in article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights," and proposed alternative text recognizing the commitment of States to realize the right to be free from hunger, which remains bracketed. NORWAY, opposed by the US and the G-77/CHINA, proposed, and subsequently withdrew, text calling for the development of a voluntary code of conduct as a means to promote food security.

The EU, with the G-77/CHINA and CANADA, called for reference to "sustainable" rather than "optimal" use of renewable resources, which was adopted. Delegates accepted language proposed by the G-77/CHINA to support the efforts of developing countries to protect oases from silt, land degradation and increasing salinity.

Delegates did not agree on the placement of NEW ZEALAND-proposed text from the World Food Summit Roma Declaration to "fully embrace population concerns into sustainable development strategies, plans and decision making, including factors affecting migration, and devise appropriate population policies, programmes and family planning services." Text on land tenure, with ROMANIA’s added reference to countries with economies in transition, was accepted.

On declining public sector finance for sustainable agriculture, delegates accepted an EU proposal to support the promotion of private sector investment, as well as NORWAY’s suggestion to disseminate research results to farming communities.

On enhancing market access, the reference to "value added" agricultural products was bracketed, pending consultations due to lack of clarity for SWITZERLAND and the EU on whether the terms include genetically modified organisms. "Mental brackets" were retained on proposals by the REPUBLIC OF KOREA to replace the text on the phase-out of export subsidies through market access with text from paragraph 13 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration, and by CANADA promoting the conservation and sustainable use and management of traditional indigenous agricultural systems and strengthening indigenous models of agricultural production, pending consultations with, inter alia, trade experts and Working Group II.

Delegates accepted new proposals by: the G-77/CHINA, and amended by the EU, on promoting programmes for environmentally sound, effective and efficient use of soil fertility improvement, and on agricultural pest control; NORWAY, inviting countries that have not done so to ratify the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture; and the G-77/CHINA to strengthen and improve coordination of existing initiatives to enhance sustainable agricultural production and food security.

Desertification: The chapeau on strengthening the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was accepted after minor amendments were made to the G-77/CHINA’s proposal "to address causes of desertification and land degradation to restore land." Text on encouraging synergies between the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UNCCD was debated, with the EU adding the UN Forum on Forests, SWITZERLAND suggesting more action-oriented text promoting harmonized approaches between different agencies, and BRAZIL preferring to retain the Chair’s text.


The Working Group, co-chaired by Richard Ballhorn (Canada) and Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt), met in the afternoon to discuss a revised text on health and sustainable development, issued on Sunday, 26 May.

HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Delegates quickly agreed to paragraphs on: reduction of maternal, infant and child mortality rates; assistance to HIV/AIDS orphans; strengthening of ILO and World Health Organization programmes to reduce occupational death, injuries and illnesses; provision of affordable energy to rural communities; and protection of the health of workers.

After extensive debate, delegates accepted paragraphs on measures to: launch, as appropriate, international capacity-building initiatives that assess health and environment linkages; improve availability and access for all to sufficient, safe, culturally acceptable and nutritionally adequate food; develop or strengthen, as applicable, programmes to address non-communicable diseases; and mobilize adequate public, and encourage private, financial resources for research and development on diseases of the poor.

Consensus was not reached on numerous references to health care services, with the US preferring deletion of "services" and others supporting health care "and" services. No headway was made on text regarding: "development" of programmes to promote health literacy "by 2010"; taking measures "consistent with reports of UN conferences and summits"; fulfilling commitments to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and technology transfer taking into account "women’s concerns."

The US called for bracketing paragraphs on traditional medicine and protection of traditional knowledge, and on implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.


This Working Group, under the chairmanship of Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), negotiated the Vice-Chairs’ paper circulated on 27 May on Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Development. The EU and JAPAN bracketed text on GEF financing of domestic sustainable development projects. The G-77/CHINA bracketed paragraphs on: integrating the social dimension in sustainable development, the outcomes of the Third Global Ministerial Environment Forum/ Seventh Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council; and a US suggestion on improving cooperation among UN bodies in the field of environment, explaining that the text shows an imbalance between the social and environmental pillars and the economic pillar of sustainable development. The US, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION and opposed by the EU, preferred deleting reference to universal membership of the UNEP Governing Council. There was debate over whether the final decision on the issue should be deferred to the UN General Assembly. The discussion on a reference to a UN convention against corruption, currently being elaborated, was inconclusive. Different versions of text were proposed on transnational corporation accountability, with the US insisting on a short reference to "promoting corporate responsibility," and SWITZERLAND suggesting a composite version, which was supported by many delegates. The G-77/CHINA proposed a new paragraph calling for support to the UNDP Capacity 21 programme.

The G-77/CHINA also proposed text to entrust the UN General Assembly with overviewing WSSD outcomes, "in particular, on means of implementation." The EU proposed text calling on: the General Assembly to "deepen the understanding of the concept of sustainable development"; the UN system to streamline its reporting; and the Second Committee to embrace social issues and become the "Sustainable Development Committee." The EU suggested a stronger coordinating role for ECOSOC, while the G-77/CHINA proposed holding high level and coordinating segments back-to-back every three years, with themes suggested by the CSD. The US objected to ECOSOC monitoring pledges made at the Monterrey Conference.

The need to strengthen the CSD received general support, but enhancing its role and focus in reviewing Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the WSSD, agreements and other commitments, provoked numerous amendments. In the paragraph on scientific contributions, the G-77/CHINA proposed replacing "specialist" organizations – whose advice may be drawn upon by the CSD – with "intergovernmental" organizations. CANADA, supported by NORWAY and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, urged consideration of educators’ contribution to sustainable development, but the G-77/CHINA recalled that educators are not a Major Group. The US expressed its preference that the CSD negotiate decisions every five years, with the G-77/CHINA insisting on two years, as in the Vice-Chairs’ paper. On partnerships, the US introduced four new paragraphs on the role of the CSD as a focal point and forum for exchange of lessons learned and information, including a website, for stakeholders involved in partnerships and for potential partners. The G-77/CHINA questioned the need to mention partnerships, so as not to prejudge the WSSD outcomes, and bracketed the US proposals. The EU suggested deletion of the paragraph on the CSD reviewing issues related to financial assistance and technology transfer, and references to means of implementation. JAPAN, with US support, added amendments on Earth observation data and global mapping. The G-77/CHINA stressed the need for the CSD to review constraints and reasons for non-implementation of previous decisions.

The Chair observed that delegations had invariably reverted to their old proposals, thus slowing down the drafting process.


ENERGY: The energy contact group continued to disagree over the use of targets, with one delegation urging targets that are meaningful for all countries, such as cutting energy subsidies by 50% and reflecting real energy costs. Another delegation proposed new text on full disclosure of subsidies and cross-subsidies. Delegations raised the issue of the difference between the terms "sustainable energy sources" and "energy for sustainable development," and between "cleaner" or "advanced," instead of "more efficient," fossil fuel technologies. Use of the formulation "reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound" in references to energy services was agreed. Delegations supported the use of CSD-9 language in most of the text, and agreed to text on reduction of flaring and venting of gas associated with crude oil production, as well as domestic programmes for energy efficiency, and efforts to improve the functioning, transparency, and information about energy markets. Discussion covered issues including: incorporation of sustainable development into energy restructuring programmes; exchange of lessons learned; collaboration between existing organizations and institutions; and whether the life-cycle approach is an energy issue. At the conclusion of the afternoon session, one delegation called for language from CSD-9 stating that, "in case some countries choose to use nuclear energy technologies for sustainable development, absolute priority should be given to safety." The text was bracketed.

OCEANS: Facilitator Guy O’Brien (Australia) adjourned Wednesday’s meeting soon after convening it, and urged delegates to consult and produce compromise text for discussion on Thursday morning. He further stated that he would be reporting on progress of the contact group to Chair Salim following the Thursday morning session.


Wednesday’s morning earthquake may have stirred – but not shaken – Summit preparations and progress. There is still rumbling and grumbling behind the scenes, which might have led to a closed-door meeting with Desai and UN agency representatives on Wednesday afternoon. Since the start of negotiations, several UN agencies have expressed frustration at what they view as a deliberate attempt to exclude them from substantively contributing to the session, with some even suspecting an "invisible hand" at work. Among their major concerns is a DESA document on synergy on energy – one of the issues UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan identified as an important issue – that seems to be "secretly doing the rounds," but which most agencies have not seen. It has not escaped delegates that, unlike at PrepCom III, Working Group Chairs have not invited input from the agencies – with the exception of the ILO and WHO, which have been called upon a few times. Some are wary that instructions have been given to disregard their offers of technical advice. The informal-informal consultations over the weekend left some UN agencies feeling further left out of the process, as text specifically relating to them was removed from the implementation document.


WORKING GROUPS: Working Groups I, II and III will meet from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, 3:00 – 6:00 pm, and from 8:00 pm – with the possibility of all-night sessions – to conclude the first round of negotiations on the Revised Chairman’s Text. Working Group I will meet in Nusantara, Working Group II will convene in Nusa Indah, while Working Group III will meet in the Geneva room.

CONTACT GROUPS: Africa will meet in the Frangipani Room at 10:00 am. Oceans will meet at 10:00 am in the Bandung Room to discuss compromise text developed on Wednesday, 29 May. Good governance will meet at 3:00 pm in the Orchid Room. Contact groups are expected to report to their respective Working Groups to enable the completion of the first round of negotiations. Look for revised papers from the contact groups on energy and oceans.

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