The Commission on Sustainable Development this morning elected one of its vice-chairmen, Czeslaw Wieckowski (Poland), as Rapporteur and received an update on the Commission's negotiations on the draft final document to be transmitted to the forthcoming General Assembly special session, which will review implementation of Agenda 21 -- the programme of action adopted by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
During its three-week session, which began on 8 April and will close tomorrow, the Commission is functioning as a preparatory and negotiating body for the Assembly's special session. Negotiations have focused on the reports of the Commission's Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group and Open- ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, as well as on such matters as the proposed review of the implementation of the Programme of Action of the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States in 1999 and the Commission's future work programme.
Reporting on the Commission's progress, Commission Chairman Mostafa Tolba (Egypt) stressed that today was the last day for negotiations, and the Commission would not close until it dealt with all matters before it.
He said Drafting Group I had made a great deal of progress in reaching agreement on how such sectoral issues as freshwater resources, energy, oceans, transport, atmosphere, toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes, including radioactive wastes, should be dealt with in the draft final document. Drafting Group I would continue its negotiations today and into the evening. The Group is being chaired by Derek Osborn (United Kingdom), one of the co- chairmen of the Commission's Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group.
Drafting Group II, he continued, chaired by Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim (Brazil), is negotiating sections of the draft text on the "means of implementation" of Agenda 21, which deals with such contentious issues as financial resources and mechanisms, transfer of environmentally sound technologies and capacity-building. The Group has also discussed matters
Sustainable Development Commissioni - 2 - Press Release ENV/DEV/418 10th Meeting (AM) 24 April 1997
concerning implementation in areas requiring urgent action, such as integrating economic, social and environmental objectives, eradicating poverty, changing consumption and production patterns and making trade, environment and sustainable development mutually supportive.
The Commission's Chairman reported further that consultations on the Commission's work programme, on institutional arrangements and on streamlining of national reports on progress made in implementing Agenda 21 were still continuing. Consultations on institutional issues were being lead by Vice- Chairman John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda). Vice-Chairman Wieckowski (Poland) is chairing the discussions on the Commission's draft programme of work.
Consultations on sustainable forest management, chaired by Commission Vice-Chairman Bagher Asadi (Iran), had reached as far as they could, Mr. Tolba said. The draft text on that matter would be presented to the General Assembly's special session with some brackets, indicating language and or issues upon which there had been no agreement.
Although he realized that there would be text that the Commission might not agree on, the Chairman expressed the hope that bracketed text would be kept to a minimum in the final draft document. He appealed to the delegations to cooperate to reach agreement on the issues before them and he offered to hold informal consultations on matters that were difficult to resolve.
On the draft political declaration or statement, Mr. Tolba said the Commission's bureau was awaiting the comments of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, which he expected to receive today. He expressed the hope that the draft would reflect the main points submitted by all delegations, so that when it was tabled in the final meeting it would be acceptable to all Member States and not be subjected to further negotiations. Another vice-chairman, Monika Linn-Locher (Switzerland), was responsible for negotiations on the political declaration or statement.
The Commission is scheduled to meet tomorrow at a time to be announced to approve the draft texts and to close the session.
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