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Daily report for 4 June 2002

4th Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee

Delegates met for a brief Informal Plenary in the morning. Working Group III met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions to continue negotiations on sustainable development governance. The contact group on good governance met in the morning, and finance and trade met in the morning and afternoon. A Plenary was convened in the evening to discuss partnerships and the elements for a political declaration.

Editor’s Note: Coverage of Working Group III ended at 11:00 pm.


Chair Salim convened a brief morning Informal Plenary to report on the status of efforts to produce the "Bali Commitment" – Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD. Vice-Chair Richard Ballhorn (Canada) reported that the contact group on regional initiatives completed a productive first reading of its text on Monday, 3 June, and will produce consensus language. Chair Salim announced that Plenary would convene in the evening to discuss agreed text, elements for a political declaration to make the implementation programme possible, and how the Ministerial segment will be conducted.


Chair Salim reconvened the Plenary in the evening to report that working groups and contact groups were still at work and not yet ready to present final reports. Consideration of the Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD was therefore deferred until the next meeting of the Plenary. Jan Kára, facilitator of informal discussions on partnerships and initiatives, reported on consultations and a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue where the idea of Type 2 outcomes was further developed.

Chair Salim then described possible elements for a political declaration and invited further inputs during the Ministerial segment. He said that elements of the proposed declaration may address: the gap between sustainable development programmes and fragmented implementation; the need for a world that recognizes its interdependence based on commitments to diversity, participation, and equity; and resistance to the homogenization of world cultures.

Chair Salim also explained that Ministers are expected to focus on the "Bali Commitment" on Wednesday, consider partnerships on Thursday, and take up consideration of elements for a political declaration on Friday.

Venezuela, for the G-77/CHINA, commended Chair Salim’s outline and said the declaration should: be an instrument that Heads of State can easily endorse; be an index of ideas to be developed by the Heads of State themselves; and give political weight to the implementation document. Noting that the declaration is expected to be a commitment by all states to sustainable development, Spain, for the EU, said the elements of the declaration need to affirm the plan of action, and expressed hope that there would be a further exchange of views during the Ministerial segment. The UN Industrial Development Organization called attention to technological cooperation for sustainable development. BRAZIL requested Chair Salim to circulate these proposals in writing and said the declaration should be forward looking. Concurring, ARMENIA suggested that the Chair’s elements be circulated before delegations submit their own. Noting that nearly one billion people depend on income from export commodities, the COMMON FUND FOR COMMODITIES said there is need to reflect minimization of the negative effects and enhancement of the positive effects of export commodities. MEXICO emphasized the need for participation and said the declaration should include commitments that governments will have to undertake in order to attain sustainable development. Stating that environmental problems transcend administrative jurisdiction, KAZAKHSTAN suggested recognizing environmental, over administrative, areas, as well as financial and technical support to institutions dealing with sustainable development and intersectoral approaches.


Following a Tuesday night meeting that lasted until 2:00 am, the Working Group, co-chaired by Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria), continued negotiating Chapter X of the Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD. A short paragraph was agreed on the role of the General Assembly, as the "key element of an overarching framework of UN activities," as well as on text regarding concrete action to implement the Monterrey Consensus. Text was negotiated on the need to enhance cooperative efforts by international institutions within and outside the UN system, including international financial institutions, the WTO and the GEF. Near agreement was reached on language on enhancing coordination and "coherence" – which is still in brackets – in the approaches taken by international institutions to the implementation of outcomes of the WSSD and related conferences.

The agreed paragraph on the UN Chief Executives Board (CEB) requests the UN Secretary-General, utilizing the CEB, including through informal collaborative efforts, to promote systemwide inter-agency cooperation and coordination of sustainable development, facilitate exchange of information, and continue to keep ECOSOC and CSD informed of actions taken to implement Agenda 21. Other agreed text refers to: support for UNDP programmes on capacity building, with JAPAN reserving its position; cooperation among UNEP, other UN bodies, and the Bretton Woods institutions; and the contribution of UN-Habitat, UNDP and UNCTAD to sustainable development programmes.

In text on eliminating gaps and duplication in relevant international arrangements for institutional frameworks, the EU insisted on the retention of the term "coherence," preventing final agreement.

Paragraphs were agreed on the ECOSOC making full use of its high level and other segments for work on sustainable development, actively engaging major groups, and on gender mainstreaming. Although text was finalized on promoting effectiveness, complementarity and coordination of ECOSOC functional commissions and subsidiary bodies, the G-77/CHINA said the bodies included in their listing in Chapter X of the "Draft Plan" were not negotiable. There was no consensus on the close link between ECOSOC’s role on follow-up to WSSD outcomes and the Monterrey Consensus, and ECOSOC’s exploration of arrangements relating to meetings with Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO.

In the evening session, delegates did not agree on any paragraphs. Delegates could not agree on when or how to discuss paragraphs relating to the GEF, and in paragraphs on national-level activities, they left "coherence" bracketed in text on coordinated approaches, as well as "as appropriate" bracketed in text on multi-stakeholder participation. On national sustainable development strategies, the US opposed a target date of 2005, and HUNGARY suggested using text from the poverty eradication section.


TRADE AND FINANCE: The contact group, facilitated by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), continued consideration of the subsections on trade and finance in the section on means of implementation. Based on the Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD, and input from delegations, Chair Ashe attempted to draft the facilitator’s compromise text, with a view to narrowing down the alternatives, and covered: increases in ODA commitments; efficient and effective use of ODA for poverty reduction; the use of existing financial mechanisms; generation of new public and private innovative sources of finance; reduction of the unsustainable debt of developing countries; implementation of the outcomes of the Doha Ministerial Conference; encouragement of the WTO members to pursue the negotiating agenda and work programme agreed at the Doha Ministerial Conference; realization of the Doha deadlines; mutual supportiveness between trade and environment; and trade and technical assistance in support of developing countries.

The only fully agreed paragraph during this exercise relates to the enhancement of benefits for developing countries from trade liberalization, including through public-private partnerships.

GOOD GOVERNANCE: The contact group held a brief and inconclusive meeting in the morning to discuss a new text, issued 4 June at 2:00 am, by facilitator Koen Davidse (the Netherlands). It contains revised language for a paragraph in the draft plan and text to be added to Chapter X in the section on national-level activities. Delegates restated their positions, with some delegates suggesting stronger emphasis on domestic governance, others asking for more balance between domestic and international governance, and others still indicating that the domestic governance theme was already substantially covered in Chapter X.


A number of observers and delegations reported that a ‘green room’-type strategy had been adopted by Chair Salim and his ‘Friends of the Chair’ group who met all day Tuesday in an attempt to identify the elements of a package to bring negotiations on the implementation document to a close. The group is being facilitated by representatives of the EU, the US and the G-77/China (Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa) and was also said to involve regional representatives and other interest groups. Some interested country delegations were reportedly refused entry. Moreover, some high-level observers commented Tuesday night that the strategy was ‘not working’ as the negotiations continue to be dogged by personnel who are not in command of the issues. There were also indications that heads of delegation may undertake a rescue plan effort on Tuesday night.

In the course of Monday’s activities, it also emerged that, target periods will be tied to national budgetary cycles; a commitment to additional resources is likely; and there will be no roll-back on agreed language. The key trade-offs that may lead to a package will be forged around good governance, oceans, and institutions. Trade and finance will also feature as the "glue" that binds the package if and when agreement is reached by Friday.


Jan Pronk is to meet with some NGO representatives on Wednesday morning (today). Although he has not made any formal statements at the session, it is rumored he too has a "Type 1b" in his back pocket.

Meanwhile, the NGO advice to delegates, published in ECO, that they should be prepared to take their brackets to Johannesburg rather than settle for a bad deal in Bali, has not gone down well in some quarters. There is a fear that the NGO intervention may have lifted the pressure off Ministers to do more to resolve outstanding issues while in Bali. Continuing speculation (and spin) about the prospect of some NGOs walking away from the process has been met with a mix of skepticism and apathy.


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The Ministerial High-level Segment will convene from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and from 3:00 - 6:00 pm in the Nusa Indah room to hear Ministerial statements. President of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette, and GEF Co-Chairpersons, Kjell Larsson and Mohammed Valli Moosa, as well as Precious Ngelale (on behalf of the African Ministers Conference on Water) are expected to deliver statements.

PARTNERSHIPS: The informal consultations on partnerships will resume from 3:00 - 6:00 pm in the Geneva Room.

INFORMAL PLENARY: The Informal Plenary is expected to reconvene at 8:00 pm to continue negotiation on the outstanding issues in the Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD, and is expected to sit throughout the night. Check the notice board for venue.  

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