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Daily report for 30 May 2002

4th Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met throughout the day in parallel working groups and contact groups. Working Groups I and II met all day and into the evening to continue negotiation of the Revised Chairman’s Paper. Working Group III met in a morning session and concluded a first reading of the Vice-Chair’s paper on an institutional framework for sustainable development. In the evening, Working Groups I and III met to begin a second reading of their texts. The contact groups on oceans, energy, Africa, biodiversity, good governance and finance also met.

Editor’s Note: Coverage of the sessions ended at 9:30 pm.


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

PROTECTING AND MANAGING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE: The Group concluded consideration of this section, and in the evening began a second reading of the new negotiated text on – introduction, poverty eradication, consumption and production patterns, and natural resource protection.

Forests: The main amendments made to this section were to align the text with the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Ministerial Declaration. Delegates accepted amendments by: NORWAY, to add "deforestation" to the issues listed on sustainable forest management; JAPAN, to highlight the multiple benefits of both natural and planted forests and trees; and the US to state that the achievement of sustainable forest management would be at both global and national levels, and would involve "partnerships among interested governments and stakeholders, including the private sector, indigenous and local communities and NGOs." They also agreed on support for the UNFF "with the assistance of" the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in coordinating sustainable forest management and "thus contribute to, inter alia, the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity," as proposed by the EU and NORWAY, respectively. With regard to the promotion and facilitation of sustainable timber harvesting, a G-77/CHINA proposal was accepted on the need, "in particular, to facilitate the provision of financial resources and transfer and development of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), and thereby address unsustainable timber harvesting practices."

A new paragraph proposed by MEXICO was accepted that recognizes and supports indigenous and community-based forest management systems to ensure their full and effective participation in sustainable forest management.

Delegates supported the EU’s amendment adding mention of timber and non-timber products in the chapeau, and proposed new language to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) expanded action-oriented work programme on all types of forest biological diversity, in close cooperation with the UNFF, the CPF, and other forest-related processes and conventions, and with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders. No agreement was reached on whether to have language to "implement" or "promote the implementation of" the CBD.

Biodiversity: Numerous delegations made copious amendments to the text on biodiversity. New text was proposed by: JAPAN, "to enhance national capacities for the establishment and maintenance of mechanisms" to protect traditional knowledge and to promote preparation of inventories on species, habitats, and ecosystems; MEXICO, to promote in situ and ex situ conservation of biodiversity and invest in the development and use of indigenous technology; NORWAY, to ensure effective synergies between the CBD and other multilateral environmental agreements; the EU, to recognize the role of youth, women, and indigenous and local communities in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and the G-77/CHINA, to negotiate the creation of an international regime to effectively promote and safeguard the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biodiversity and its components. MEXICO, NORWAY, and the EU, opposed by the US, called for adding reference to the CBD and the Cartagena Protocol.

Mining: Co-Chair Viotti announced that informal negotiations on mining had resulted in clean text, which was presented to the Working Group and accepted.

Working Group I met in the evening for a second, technical, reading of the Revised Chairman’s Paper. In some cases, contact group and informal "corridor consultation" facilitators provided updates on the status of text, although many issues are still pending, including common but differentiated responsibilities, financial resources, good governance, access of Indigenous Peoples to economic activities, and desertification. The contact group on chemicals reported the following unresolved topics: limitations on the term chemicals, such as toxic or hazardous; target dates; the precautionary principle; reference to UNEP; and heavy metals.


Working Group II was chaired by Ihab Gamaleldin (Egypt). 

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: On ESTs, delegates debated whether to include a specific reference to Agenda 21, with the G-77/CHINA proposing to delete language limiting action to finance technology transfer "as appropriate." Delegates agreed to retain this language, as well as the bracketed reference to Agenda 21. They also agreed to language emphasizing diffusion of ESTs. Delegates retained brackets on favorable terms for countries with economies in transition.

They quickly agreed on paragraphs related to: providing information more effectively; promoting access and transfer of technology related to early warning systems; creating partnerships conducive to investment and technology transfer, development and diffusion; improving interaction and collaboration among universities, research institutions, government agencies and the private sector; developing and strengthening of related institutional support structures; assisting developing countries in developing and implementing science and technology policies; and establishing partnerships between scientific, public and private institutions.

The EU called for deletion of text on providing "mobility grants" for technology assessment purposes, and proposed facilitating country-driven assessment. The G-77/CHINA preferred "technology needs assessment." Delegates could not agree on a paragraph on transfer of ESTs, with the EU and the US opposing text to establish a mechanism by 2004, and the G-77/CHINA urging retention of "the only paragraph with concrete action."

On a paragraph on developing access to multilateral and global research and development programmes, the G-77/CHINA proposed new text on creating centers for sustainable development in developing countries, which was opposed by the US and the EU. After protracted discussions on text regarding indigenous knowledge, delegates agreed on reference to increasing the use of scientific knowledge and technology, and increasing the beneficial use of local and indigenous knowledge in a manner respectful of the holders of that knowledge and consistent with national law. The EU introduced a paragraph taken from the globalization section on applying the precautionary principle in decision making, while avoiding recourse to the principle for protectionist purposes. Discussion was deferred.

Delegates came to quick agreement on paragraphs regarding: improving use of science and technology for environmental monitoring, assessment models, accurate databases and integrated information systems; establishing regular channels between policy makers and the scientific community; and using information and communication technologies (ICTs), where appropriate, as tools to, inter alia, increase the frequency of communication. Delegates discussed at length a paragraph on promoting and, where appropriate, improving access and use of satellite and remote-sensing technologies for data collection.

Regarding text on research and development entities engaging in strategic alliances, the G-77/CHINA supported, and the US objected to, references to "new and additional" resources. Several delegations, including the G-77/CHINA, the US and JAPAN, preferred deleting an EU-proposed paragraph on establishing an open, transparent and inclusive participatory process to examine issues related to the provision of global public goods. SWITZERLAND proposed alternate text on further identifying key issues of global public interest, including the provision of global public goods.

On education, delegates agreed to paragraphs on: meeting the Millennium Declaration goal on achieving universal primary education; providing financial assistance and support to education, research, public awareness programmes and development institutions; sustaining educational infrastructures; addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS on the educational system; allocating resources for the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All; integrating the sustainable development dimension into formal education systems; integrating ICTs in school curriculum development; and recommending to the UN General Assembly that it consider adopting a decade of education for sustainable development, starting in 2005.

A paragraph on eliminating child labor, taken from an ILO declaration and text of the UNGASS on Children, was left pending G-77/China consultations. The US opposed a paragraph on addressing the frequent, serious financial constraints faced by many institutions of higher learning, citing that it is too broad. AUSTRALIA could not agree to a paragraph on eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education "by 2005." The G-77/ CHINA opposed reference to monitoring in a paragraph on the Dakar Framework for Action.


The Working Group, chaired by Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), resumed negotiation of the Vice-Chairs’ text circulated on 27 May (Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Development), in a morning and evening session.

The EU tabled a new alternative paragraph, inviting the UN Chief Executives Board to develop a collaborative network for information exchange and coordination on sustainable development, and to keep the ECOSOC and CSD informed of its activities. The G-77/CHINA bracketed the text, saying it would burden the UN system.

On strengthening institutional frameworks at the national level, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, SWITZERLAND, the EU, and TANZANIA suggested including reference to the local (or sub-national) level. The G-77/CHINA did not support mentioning of "coherent" approaches, and a new EU paragraph setting a 2005 deadline for "all countries" to begin implementing national strategies for sustainable development. The G-77/CHINA also objected to the idea of multi-stakeholder participation "at all stages" of implementation. CANADA said there was no need to detail the functioning of national sustainable development councils. The US bracketed reference to: development cooperation agencies supporting developing countries; "undertakings by the international community" to enhance national institutional arrangements; and encouraging aid coordination.

The G-77/CHINA bracketed a new paragraph by the US on good governance, which received broad support from other countries, with the EU suggesting its discussion in the relevant contact group.

NORWAY proposed a mention of implementation, monitoring and review, and, with CANADA, suggested strengthening the gender focus. The G-77/CHINA proposed, as in other cases in the Co-Chairs’ text, to substitute the general notion of implementing "sustainable development" with a more focused reference to Agenda 21 and the outcomes of WSSD, and bracketed "partnerships," to which the EU and the US objected. CANADA, supported by several delegations, suggested encouraging partnerships among local authorities.

The G-77/CHINA bracketed the paragraph on indicators for sustainable development, against the EU and US objections. NORWAY proposed a role for Major Groups in policy development, implementation and monitoring of sustainable development programmes, and safeguarding the interests of vulnerable groups.The G-77/CHINA bracketed the paragraph on public access and participation, while the US opposed "developing global guidelines" on the issue. The EU introduced text on relating human rights to sustainable development, but the US expressed doubt on its relevance in this particular context.

In the evening, Co-Chair Anaedu invited comments on the final reading of the Vice-Chairs’ paper to produce compromise text. The G-77/CHINA objected to the reference to implementing "relevant outcomes of other UN Summits and conferences," in addition to Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the WSSD. The G-77/CHINA also insisting on bracketing the term "coherence" throughout the text.


AFRICA: This contact group, facilitated by Richard Ballhorn (Canada), met in the morning and afternoon, and completed a second reading of the remaining sections of the facilitator’s text circulated 27 May. The group agreed to restructure the section in order to give prominence to priority issues for Africa, notably, conservation of biological diversity, technology transfer, health, energy and transport infrastructure.

New proposals were agreed on, inter alia,strengthening research and control of ebola, trypanosomiasis and malaria, and conservation and protection of biological diversity, with delegates noting that text should reflect agreements reached in the Revised Chairman’s Paper on the section on the protection of the environment on the same issue. Two new proposals were bracketed as some considered them to be prescriptive: on promoting programmes and policies to enable women to become actors in the agricultural sector, "including the right to inherit land"; and on prioritizing the needs of the poor by providing stable and transparent regulatory frameworks "involving all concerned stakeholders and monitoring the performance and improving the accountability of public institutions and private companies."

On market access, three alternative texts were proposed, which aimed to: identify examples of opportunities open to Africa such as through the African Growth and Opportunity Act and to ensure consistency with, and not prejudge the outcomes of, the Doha WTO Ministerial Declaration.

There was no feedback on two new sections on sustainable development initiatives for Asia and the Pacific, and for Latin America and the Caribbean. Facilitator Ballhorn said a new section was also expected from countries in Central Asia.

The submission on Asia and the Pacific states that the international community welcomes the Regional Platform for Asia and the Pacific developed in Phnom Penh and pledges to support its objectives through financial support and promoting and facilitating capacity building and technology transfer to the region.

The submission on Latin America and the Caribbean states that leaders are undertaking an initiative targeted toward the adoption of concrete sustainable development actions, and envisions the development of actions fostering South-South cooperation and partnerships.

GOOD GOVERNANCE: In the evening, the contact group had an initial discussion of a text prepared by facilitator Koen Davidse (the Netherlands). New proposals were made on: strengthening the gender focus in the text; reinforcing the social dimension and public participation in formulation of policy; and emphasizing poverty eradication. An expanded version of the text, which focused on all aspects of domestic governance was tabled. One delegation stressed that, to ensure balance, it would not discuss domestic governance without bringing in all aspects of international governance, and would not consent to expanded text on the issue. The Chair promised to reflect on the debate and to come back to delegations later.

FINANCE: This contact group, facilitated by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), held its second meeting in the morning to complete the presentation of delegations’ initial comments on the Revised Chairman’s Paper on the sections on finance. The group resumed in the evening to begin consideration of a facilitator’s draft paper reflecting comments from the morning.

ENERGY: This contact group, facilitated by Gustavo Ainchil (Argentina), met in afternoon and evening sessions to discuss new text released 30 May. Brackets remained in paragraphs concerning: energy mixes; transition to more efficient use of liquid and gaseous fossil fuels; and guidelines of international financial institutions for sustainable development in energy restructuring programmes. Some urged, while others opposed, moving beyond CSD-9 language to specify "more efficient and cleaner" fossil fuel technologies. Delegates agreed to text on financial and technical assistance to developing countries with the inclusion of public-private partnerships or involvement of the private sector.

OCEANS: Delegations commenced the session, facilitated by Guy O’Brien (Australia), by indicating the paragraphs they tackled on Wednesday, and circulated compromise text. Pending a target date, delegates agreed on text addressing invasive alien species in ballast water. Agreement was suspended on text regarding: radiaoactive waste transportation; progressively eliminating subsidies contributing to overcapacity, and marine protected areas. Delegates agreed that the establishment of a process of global reporting and assessment should be held under UN auspices. A proposal to deal with where and how to mention the ecosystems and precautionary approach was agreed to by most delegates, save one preferring the precautionary principle. A proposal on ratifying or acceding to the UN Fish Stocks Agreement was accepted after reducing the number of qualifiers in the paragraph. Delegates could neither agree on text regarding allocation of access rights for high seas stocks, nor on coordination and cooperation, with some emphasizing that the General Assembly take the lead in assessments, and others stressing coordination at several levels.


The pressure to produce a "concrete deliverable" in Johannesburg is mounting. Apparently, a small group of concerned participants convened a meeting of select high-powered players to explore whether there is interest in coming up with something new – a potential outcome being referred to as a Type "1.5" or "1b" – for the Summit. Some of the options discussed include preparation of a programme of action on the basis of the five themes identified by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan or preparation of interim targets and measures to meet the Millennium Development goals. It is suspected that if there is sufficient interest, then the idea may materialize in June at a pre-Summit meeting in Brazil.

In the formal sessions, Thursday turned out to be crunch-time. Attempts to conclude negotiations on the Revised Chairman’s Paper resulted in the proliferation of contact groups. Biodiversity, desertification and mining were added Wednesday night to the list of existing groups on energy, oceans, Africa and good governance, as well as the abundant "corridor" consultations.

Meanwhile, the challenges that have faced the G-77/China since PrepCom II finally surfaced on Thursday afternoon and evening. According to some observers, the frustration in the G-77/ China with the African group, which has ignored calls to remove from their text initiatives that apply to other regions, resulted in the emergence of contributions on Latin America and the Caribbean and on Asia and the Pacific being submitted, with those of Central Asia, and Europe and North America also "on their way." The contact group on energy dissolved on Thursday evening partly due to a divergence of opinions within the Group. Some incensed NGO participants charged that the interests of the G-77/China were in jeopardy due to the pressure from a small number of countries.


PLENARY: Delegates will meet in Plenary at 10:00 am in Nusa Indah to vote on the accreditation of the NGO Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Progress reports from Working Groups I and II, and from the contact group on good governance will be presented by the respective Chairs. The Plenary is then expected to transform into an informal Plenary.

INFORMAL PLENARY: Delegates will meet in Nusantara at 3:00 pm to consider the updated Revised Chairman’s Paper.

WORKING GROUP III: Working Group III will meet in the Geneva Room following the morning Plenary until 1:00 pm, reconvening from 3:00 – 6:00 pm and from 8:00 – 11:00 pm, to continue consideration of the Vice-Chair’s paper.

CONTACT GROUPS: The Contact groups on oceans, Africa and finance are expected to meet Friday morning. Look for new text on oceans and Africa. Check the UN journal for times and venues.

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