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Daily report for 29 August 2002


Delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) met in a final Partnership Plenary to address regional implementation and in the afternoon heard statements from non-State entities. An informal ministerial consultation was convened in the morning to discuss the status of negotiations and ministerial involvement in the process. The Vienna setting convened in the afternoon to consider outstanding text. During an evening session delegates heatedly debated ways to make progress, and resumed their deliberations late into the night. The contact group on institutional arrangements met briefly in the morning, and along with the contact group on means of implementation met in a late night session. Presentations on Type II partnerships were delivered at a side event throughout the afternoon.


REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION: Rosa Elena Simeon, Minister of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development of Cuba, presided over and Gus Speth, Yale University, moderated the final Partnership Plenary. Speth described the five UN regional commissions, highlighting their potential role in WSSD follow-up and ability to bridge global and national-level work, share expertise with countries and provide policy advice.

Panel Discussion: The REGIONAL COMMISSION FOR EUROPE (ECE) explained that the ECE adopts regional action plans and promotes such cross-sectoral cooperation, participatory decision-making, environmental monitoring and regional agreements. The ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (ECLAC), said that regional groups help: reduce duplication; give small countries a voice; protect shared ecosystems; and attract financing. The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (ESCAP) noted that both rich and poor contribute to environmental degradation. The ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA (ECA) spoke of the need for: stable financing for developing countries, including for agreements like the Kyoto Protocol; debt relief; regional responsibility for attracting private capital; and culturally-appropriate modern technology. The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR WEST ASIA (ESCWA) said regional groups can help cope with globalization’s challenges through regional integration and trading.

Other panelists highlighted business’s increased awareness since Rio of the obstacles that climate change and biodiversity loss present to profit-making; and anticipated social upheavals and human population movements.

Plenary Discussion: Speakers supported regional and sub-regional actions to promote sustainable development and highlighted specific regional initiatives. BRAZIL stressed the need to finance institutions to strengthen south-south cooperation, and raise the proportion of renewable energy to 10% by 2010. TAJIKISTAN stressed the need for multi-sectoral and multi-regional approaches. TUVALU cautioned that regional organizations have their own agendas, some of which undermine sustainable development. ARGENTINA noted that effective actions depend on a strong level of multilateralism. SWITZERLAND stressed the importance of mountains; UGANDA highlighted the problem of desertification; and UNDP emphasized Africa’s situation.

Several countries noted that regional conflicts compromise sustainable development efforts. ISRAEL stated that regionalism is a new concept in the Middle East, and the PALESTINIAN NATIONAL AUTHORITY and the ARAB LEAGUE STATES stressed that peace, stability and the ending of occupation were preconditions to sustainable development. AZERBAIJAN noted that conflict is harmful to the land and environment, and distorts resource use.

THE WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION noted that sustainable development hinges on the power of the poor to negotiate with the rich, women with men in private spaces, and humans with nature. The PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT highlighted the centrality of good governance and a multi-stakeholder focus in sustainable development. UNEP underscored its role in "regional delivery." The ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK stressed the need for finance ministers to support sustainable development.

STATEMENTS BY NON-STATE ENTITIES: During the session, M. Robinson, UNHCR, called for integration of human rights into the Millennium Development Goals and suggested drafting human rights guidelines for the implementation of each goal. D. Anderson, UNEP, called for contributions to help implement WSSD outcomes. G. Brundland, WHO, announced a new alliance to secure healthy environments for children. M. Stuart, Business Action for Sustainable Development, supported development of international best practice standards to help judge the performance of international companies.

J. Somavia, ILO, noted that retooling economic systems and fiscal policies is an opportunity for technological breakthroughs and sustainable growth, and announced ILO’s new World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization. M. Boisard, UNITAR, announced capacity-building and training partnerships for sustainable urbanization and an African environmental information technology programme. G. Obasi, WMO, called for strengthening environmental monitoring systems and a science and technology advisory body to support WSSD outcomes. M. El-Ashry, GEF, noted the recent pledges for the highest-ever replenishment and the extension of the GEF’s mandate to desertification and POPs. A. Petitpierre, ICRC, announced ICRC guidelines on environmental protection during conflict.

I. Johnson, World Bank, welcomed multilateral efforts to pursue an enlightened public policy to achieve sustainable development. F Frangialli, World Tourism Organization, announced a joint WTO/UNCTAD initiative on Sustainable Tourism as a Tool for Eliminating Poverty. M. Hassan, Scientific and Technological Community, highlighted capacity building for science and technology, focusing on centers of excellence, women, indigenous knowledge, and north-south cooperation. A. Essy, African Union, said the WSSD’s outcomes would support sustainable development in Africa only if it proposes solutions to health, aid, debt and trade. A. Chowdhury, representing Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, looked forward to LDCs having greater control of their own development processes and declared that development will not be sustainable unless it benefits the poor.

L. Kouyate, l’Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, discussed his organization’s plan of action on sustainable development. T. L. Sundness, ICFTU, described the ILO’s core labor standards as crucial for sustainable development. G. Battaini-Dragoni, Council of Europe, described the Council’s human rights-based approach to sustainable development and its commitment to pluralist democracy. K. Sekimizu, IMO, described its participation in a number of conventions and initiatives as a guardian of the marine environment since 1992.

J. M. Suarez de Toro, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, highlighted the relationship between disasters and development, calling on the Summit to address the causes of disasters. J.C.I. Matheu, UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, stated the need for empowering local authorities, and for greater economic resources and capacity to implement sustainable development. A. Falaschi, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, highlighted the need for scientific capacity building in developing countries to use biotechnology. Y. S. Abdulai, OPEC Fund, called for agreements to create markets, jobs, and improve social services. L. G. Mayila, International Association of Economic and Social Council and Similar Institutions, highlighted the need for agreement on: renewable energy; access to safe drinking water and sanitation; and the legal responsibility of enterprises. C. Basset, UNCCD, stressed tangible outcomes that address political commitment, policy coherence and the mobilization of financial resources.

T. Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, proposed an international conference on indigenous peoples and sustainable development as a potential WSSD follow-up action. J. R. Goulongoma, ACP, called for the eradication of poverty in developing countries and urged the Kyoto Protocol’s early entry into force. D. Ratliff, Permanent Court of Arbitration, suggested that conciliation and arbitration rules be used for existing MEAs, corporate accountability and bilateral investment rules. N. Guy, International Hydrographic Organization, reinforced the need for safer and cleaner ships, safe navigation and research cooperation to support the protection of marine environment. B. Schmognerova, ECE, supported better understanding of the links among environmental, social and economic policies. M. Sharipov, Women in Europe for a Common Future, called for redirecting military expenditures to empower women. M. Elahi, South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme, presented 12 Type II partnerships launched in cooperation with UNEP in South Asia.


Informal ministerial consultations, chaired by South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, convened in the morning to discuss the status of negotiations and the need for ministers to be more directly involved. Main Committee Chairperson Emil Salim (Indonesia) presented a status report, commenting that on 24 August there were 156 paragraphs with brackets and as of the 29 August there were 84. He recommended that the Vienna setting continue working on technical disagreements and that the ministers address political disagreements, such as the Rio Principles, trade subsidies and energy issues.

Chair Dlamini-Zuma opened the floor for suggestions from ministers and other delegates on how to proceed. There was general consensus on the need for the Vienna setting to continue meeting in parallel to the ministers and the ministerial negotiations to begin as soon as possible. There was no agreement on a format for the process. Different options included the Vienna format, plenary or "bubbles" (informal consultation groups). In response to a question on the political declaration, the Chair said that the text would be released to ministers the afternoon of 30 August, depending on how negotiations were going.

After suspending the meeting briefly for consultations, the Chair announced that the Vienna setting would continue in the afternoon and communicate issues requiring ministerial interventions. She would also hold consultations in the afternoon to determine the ministerial meeting’s format.


Editor’s Note: coverage ended at 2:15 am.

VIENNA SETTING: After stating their respective positions on whether to "undertake a related effort for," "a similar goal for," or "to achieve a similar goal to halve by the year 2015 the proportion of" people without access to improved sanitation, delegates agreed to forward paragraphs concerning the sanitation target (7, 24) to ministerial consultation. Several delegates supported bringing text on renewable energy (8 and 19(e), (p)bis, (s) and (w)) to the ministerial level, but others requested hearing back from ongoing consultations.

One developed country suggested taking the issue of human rights and fundamental freedoms (47) to the ministers, but developing countries supported further informal consultations on the matter.

Reporting from the informal consultations on the Rio Principles, facilitator Paterson (South Africa) explained that the group had addressed the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the issue of precaution, and suggested that paragraphs concerning precaution (22, 45(e), 93(e)bis) be brought to the ministerial level. Stressing the need for a balance in mentioning the Rio Principles in the draft Plan of Implementation, several developed countries supported linking both principles and addressing them as a comprehensive package. Other developed and developing countries noted that the principles were unique and supported addressing them separately. There was no consensus on how the group should move forward on this.

Salim then announced that following consultations earlier in the afternoon held by Minister Dlamini-Zuma, there was agreement that the Vienna setting should submit deadlocked issues to the ministers. The ministers will then either have bilateral consultations or group discussions on each issue and agreement will be reported back to the Vienna setting. After some discussion, delegates agreed that they would submit a list of issues to the ministers in the evening.

Before adjourning, Chair Dumisani Kumalo announced that there is agreement on paragraph 5bis, on ethics in sustainable development, and on paragraph 70 regarding sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, to retain reference to the Kitakyushu Initiative for Clean Environment.

During the evening session, Chair Kumalo clarified that Minister Dlamini-Zuma was consulting with ministers of the various negotiating groups on an informal and potentially bilateral basis, and no ministerial meeting was planned for the evening.

Stating that the Vienna setting had exhausted possibilities for negotiations at the technical and expert level, one group of developed countries suggested a ministerial meeting be convened in a Vienna setting to discuss deadlocked issues and their interlinkages, specifically listing: Rio Principles; good governance; human rights; world solidarity fund; sanitation; energy; 10-year programme for sustainable consumption and production; trade and finance; natural resources; climate change; global public goods; globalization; social dimension; and partnerships. Other delegations stated that the list of issues was too long to be referred to ministers. Some noted that: several issues had not been debated in the Vienna setting; there was no agreement on which issues were deadlocked; and the contact groups on means of implementation and institutional arrangements were still to present their reports.

Chair Kumalo requested delegates’ indulgence to move forward. At 10:30 pm, the Vienna setting reconvened to discuss the outstanding paragraphs on the precautionary approach/principle (22, 23, 45(e), 45(e) alt, and 93(e)bis). Delegates focused on paragraph 22 (chemical management) and 93(e)bis (improving science-based decision-making) as a package. After debating the use of "precautionary principle" and "precautionary approach," delegates agreed to compromise and use the term "precautionary approach."

During the debate, Minister Dlamini-Zuma briefly addressed delegates and reported on her consultations with the leadership of different groups. They agreed that the Vienna setting and the two contact groups should continue to meet and identify issues where resolution is not possible, even if they have to meet through the night.

After three and a half hours of negotiations, including proposals and counter-proposals on both paragraphs, delegates closed discussion on these two paragraphs without agreement. Issues where they could not reach agreement included: reference to other international agreements, the application of the precautionary approach to health, when to use the precautionary approach, using the precautionary approach for protectionist purposes, and reference to risk assessment. Delegates agreed to refer the two paragraphs to the ministers.

Delegates then adopted, ad referendum, paragraph 61(b), on access to land and land tenure, as presented from a contact group. At 2:15 am, delegates began discussing the paragraphs on common but differentiated responsibilities.

CONTACT GROUP ON INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK: The contact group on Chapter X of the draft Plan of Implementation, co-chaired by Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) and Lars-Goran Engfeldt (Sweden), met in a brief morning session. One group of countries urged formal reaction to its package proposal on international governance (123 and 124), submitted the previous day. Other delegations suggested that the contact group revert to informal consultations to address the new texts. After some discussion and following calls from the Chair, the contact group adjourned to continue informal consultations. These failed to produce results. However, after discussion of the status of negotiations on Chapter X in the Vienna setting, the contact group resumed negotiations at 11:00 pm, continuing until midnight. The group addressed texts on governance at the international and national level and a substantive discussion of language was launched. One delegation circulated a revised version of the text on domestic governance.

CONTACT GROUP ON MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: This contact group, facilitated by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), convened twice in the evening. At the early evening session, the facilitator informed delegations that a developed country group had decided that its best interests would be served if all remaining matters were taken up at the political level. After discussions in the Main Committee, the contact group reconvened.

Trade: There was no agreement on the mutual supportiveness of trade, environment, and development. A developed country group objected that a reference to "in a manner consistent with WTO rights and obligations" implies a hierarchy of trade over environment and development. There was no agreement on a paragraph on sustainability impact assessments after developing countries objected that the concept is still not well defined. In a paragraph on promoting mutual supportiveness between the multilateral trading system and multilateral environmental agreements, agreement was reached on recognition of the importance of maintaining the integrity of both sets of instruments. There was no agreement on references to "complementarity," consistency "with sustainable goals" and supportiveness as "a complement" to the WTO's work programme. Developing countries proposed an alternative paragraph on trade and cooperation agreements. There was no agreement on three paragraphs dealing with tariff and non-tariff barriers, and trade-distorting subsidies. In the third paragraph on subsidies, differences remain on, inter alia, whether to "Take fully into consideration the need to" or "Reduce or phase out, as appropriate, environmentally harmful and/or trade-distorting subsidies"; and on whether to "encourage," and/or "undertake" reform.

Globalization: A new alternative introductory paragraph on globalization was introduced by two developing countries, drawing from text in the Monterrey Consensus and the UN Special Session on Children. There was no agreement. No agreement was reached on trade-related technical assistance and corporate responsibility. The facilitator noted he would report to the Main Committee.


During the afternoon and over the next three days, Type 2 partnership initiatives, which currently number over 200, will be announced. Information on partnerships is available on-line at partnership_initiatives.html


Despite the fact that the morning's informal ministerial consultation was intended to clarify a process for ministerial involvement in the negotiations and move forward on the political declaration, by early evening rumors were once again flying. Some delegations alleged that a draft declaration was being circulated to only a few key delegations, whereas others asserted that no formal or informal ventures had been made. The cancellation and rumored reconvening of an evening ministerial meeting left many totally confused.

However, an EU gambit to pull negotiators from contact groups and force a list of issues into ministerial discussion brought the situation to a head. Some applauded the move as a means to take the offensive on their push for targets and strong language in the draft Plan of Implementation, whereas others wondered whether they had played their trump card too soon. With serious resistance from the G-77//China and US, this bluff was called and the Vienna setting reconvened to work into the night to address remaining bracketed language.


On one of the crunch issues, the renewable energy target, discussed in the energy informals Thursday afternoon, some parties are mooting "voluntary regional targets for renewable energy" as a way of breaking the deadlock within and between groups. Others highlighted burgeoning rifts in the G-77/China along the OPEC/ SIDS divide, wondering how it might impact the dynamic of the negotiations.


PLENARY: Statements by Non-State Entities will resume at 10:00 am and continue at 3:00 pm in the Plenary Hall.

MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS: Ministerial consultations are expected to begin today on sanitation, renewable energy, the precautionary approach and other issues forwarded from the Vienna setting.

VIENNA SETTING: The Vienna setting may be reconvened in the morning. Check the Journal for details.

CONTACT GROUP ON INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: The contact group will convene at 10:00 am. Check the Journal for location.

Further information