United Nations

A/51/420


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

1 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/420
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 97 (b)


            ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:  SPECIAL SESSION
            FOR THE PURPOSE OF AN OVERALL REVIEW AND APPRAISAL OF THE
                          IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 2      3

II.   PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION .................    3 - 44     3

      A. Commission on Sustainable Development and its
         Bureau ...........................................     3 - 15     3

      B. Relevant activities carried out by the 
         Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development
         and by organizations and bodies of the United
         Nations system ...................................    16 - 22     7

      C. High-level Advisory Board on Sustainable 
         Development ......................................    23 - 24     8

      D. Information from Governments on progress achieved 
         at the national level ............................    25 - 27     9

      E. National, regional and subregional activities to
         support the preparatory process ..................    28 - 31    10

      F. Rio Conventions ..................................    32 - 36    11

      G. Initiatives by major groups ......................    37 - 39    12

      H. Public information activities ....................    40 - 42    13

      I. Status of contributions to the Trust Fund ........    43 - 44    14

III.  SOME PROPOSALS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL MODALITIES DURING
      THE FIFTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE
      DEVELOPMENT AND THE SPECIAL SESSION ..................   45 - 52    14


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The convening of a special session of the General Assembly for the
purpose of an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of
Agenda 21 was envisaged in paragraph 38.9 of Agenda 21 adopted by the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held at Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992.  That recommendation of the
Conference was endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution
47/190 on the report of the United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development.

2.   At its fiftieth session, the General Assembly considered a report
of the Secretary-General containing proposals on the format, scope and
organizational aspects of such a special session (A/50/453) and
decided to convene that special session for a duration of one week
during the month of June 1997 at the highest possible level of
participation (resolution 50/113).  The Assembly also determined
organizational modalities for the preparations for the special
session, including the relevant role of the Commission on Sustainable
Development and of other relevant organizations and bodies of the
United Nations system.  Furthermore, the Assembly recognized the
important role played by major groups, including non-governmental
organizations, in the implementation of Conference recommendations and
the need for their active involvement in the preparations for the
special session, as well as the need to ensure appropriate
arrangements for their contribution during the special session.  The
Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a number of
reports for the consideration of the Commission containing an overall
assessment of progress achieved since the Conference, together with
recommendations for future actions and priorities; and to mount a
public information programme to raise global awareness of both the
special session and work undertaken by the United Nations in the
follow-up to the Conference.  Finally, the Assembly requested the
Secretary-General to submit to it at its fifty-first session a
progress report on the state of preparations for the special session.


                   II.  PREPARATIONS FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION

           A.  Commission on Sustainable Development and its Bureau

3.   The General Assembly in its resolution 50/113 decided that the
Commission on Sustainable Development would act as a central
intergovernmental forum for the preparations for the special session. 
In particular the Assembly encouraged the participants in the fourth
session of the Commission (18 April-3 May 1996) to address matters
related to the special session; invited the Commission to devote its
Ad Hoc Open-ended Inter-sessional Working Group meeting, to be held in
February 1997, to assisting the Commission in undertaking the review
for the special session; welcomed the decision of the Commission to
devote its fifth session, in 1997, to preparations for the special
session; and decided that that session of the Commission would be
open-ended in its deliberations, allowing for the full participation
of all States.


        1.  Fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

4.   The high-level segment of the fourth session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development, held from 1 to 3 May 1996, was attended by
almost 50 ministers and policy makers from all the regions of the
world.  The thrust of the discussion on matters related to the
preparations for the special session was reflected in the Chairman's
summary of the high-level segment that was included in the report of
the Commission on its fourth session. 1/  The participants in the
high-level segment stressed the vital importance of the special
session, when the General Assembly will review the overall progress
achieved in implementing the Rio commitments and discuss appropriate
strategies for implementation in the coming years.  It was stressed
that participation in the special session at the highest possible
level would be essential for its success.

5.   The discussion showed that there was a broad consensus that the
special session should not attempt to renegotiate Agenda 21, or other
intergovernmental agreements in the field of sustainable development,
but should concentrate on their further implementation.  In this
context, participants highlighted a number of objectives: 

     (a) To revitalize and energize commitment to the concept of
sustainable development, to ensure it a central place on the political
agenda and to reinforce momentum for its implementation at the
international, national and local levels.  Participants recognized the
need to strengthen the Commission's public visibility and improve its
outreach;

     (b) To frankly recognize failures to meet certain goals and
identify reasons for failure;

     (c) To boost implementation of the Rio commitments through such
means as the identification of innovative approaches to cooperation
and financial assistance, and through concrete proposals for action; 

     (d) To define priorities for the period beyond 1997.  A number of
participants felt that the Commission should focus on a limited number
of key issues rather than reviewing every chapter of Agenda 21, in
particular those issues where it is felt that real progress could be
made; 

     (e) To raise the profile of issues that had not been sufficiently
addressed by the Conference or where significant developments had
taken place since the Conference.  Such issues might include changing
consumption and production patterns, energy (including renewables) and
transport, urban issues, enterprises, fresh water, and management of
risks.

6.   Participants in the high-level segment recognized that, in future
work, more attention should be paid to addressing the driving forces
that impacted on the sustainable management of natural resources while
at the same time giving more attention to the economic and social
dimensions of sustainable development, including combating poverty. 
The crucial link between the driving forces - economic growth and
trade, consumption and production patterns and population growth - and
resource management were the economic sectors that often defined the
way that policy-making and implementation were organized.  To be truly
effective, the Commission's consideration of resource management
issues had to be combined with an equal emphasis on sectoral policy
development.  Many sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries,
industry, human settlements and social services, were already dealt
with in existing forums in the United Nations system.  The impact of
the Conference and Agenda 21 on the work in those forums had helped to
inject considerations of sustainability into their discussions. 
However, there were some gaps and, from the perspective of
sustainability, the most obvious gap related to transport and energy.

7.   Participants reflected on the implementation of Agenda 21
objectives since the Conference and noted the continuing need to
strengthen mechanisms within the United Nations system which helped to
integrate environmental concerns more fully into regular decision-
making processes.  Participants encouraged other intergovernmental
bodies, especially the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade
Organization (WTO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development, to ensure that sustainable development issues were taken
into consideration in a systemic and consistent manner.  A number of
participants stressed the link between international and national
follow-up and encouraged the Commission to promote the integration of
conclusions from major international conferences, including those held
at Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing and the then forthcoming Habitat II
conference in Istanbul.

8.   Particular stress was laid on the importance of devolving
implementing actions from global to regional level, and decentralizing
responsibilities from national to local level where appropriate.  In
highlighting the value and effectiveness of local empowerment, it was
suggested that the United Nations might sponsor an award that would
recognize globally significant examples of sustainable development
undertaken at the local or micro-level.

9.   Participants in the high-level segment stressed the importance of
developing a broad-based consensus involving major groups for
achieving sustainable development.  The development of new
partnerships between stakeholders, such as educators, scientists,
Governments, non-governmental organizations, business and industry,
trade unions, youth and the media, among others, was encouraged as a
means to foster better communication and to get across the key issues
of sustainable development.  It was noted that closer involvement of
the private sector was essential for achieving sustainable
development, but that appropriate mechanisms of interaction still
needed to be developed in that area.

10.  Participants emphasized the importance of the involvement of major
groups in the preparations for the 1997 special session and in the
session itself, in accordance with the appropriate rules of procedure. 
They also welcomed initiatives for self-reporting by major groups in
1997.


            2.  Bureau of the Commission on Sustainable Development

11.  The Bureau of the Commission on Sustainable Development met in New
York on 15 July 1996.  Preparations for the special session were in
the focus of the discussion.  The Bureau was informed about the
process of preparation and format of documentation for the 1997 review
to meet the requests for reporting related to the review contained in
General Assembly resolution 50/113, decisions of the Commission and
other intergovernmental mandates.

12.  The Bureau welcomed the fact that the United Nations system,
through the system of task managers of the Inter-Agency Committee on
Sustainable Development, demonstrated its continuing commitment to and
support for the Commission's work programme and would actively
contribute to the preparations for the 1997 review.  In particular,
the Bureau expressed its satisfaction with the intention of the
Secretariat to finalize most of the documentation early in 1997 so
that it would be available prior to the 1997 meeting of the
Commission's Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group when formal
intergovernmental preparations for the special sessions would
commence.

13.  Bearing in mind the discussions held during the high-level segment
of the fourth session of the Commission, members of the Bureau
considered that the special session should focus on the implementation
of Agenda 21 and result in the adoption of an agreed statement or a
declaration which would be action-oriented, and that the special
session should have a high political profile.  As for the process
leading to the preparation of the final document of the special
session, the Bureau, taking into account the provisions of General
Assembly resolution 50/113, felt that it could be organized along the
following lines:

     (a) The Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group of the Commission
(24 February-7 March 1997), taking into account reports of the
Secretary-General and other documentation, outcomes of various inter-
sessional activities organized by Governments and organizations and
other relevant inputs, would strive to agree on the format and
structure of a final document and the main elements to be included in
it.  The outcome of the Working Group meeting would be a detailed
outline of the final document;

     (b) Such an outline would form the basis for negotiations during
the fifth session of the Commission (7-25 April 1997), when the
Commission should attempt to agree on the draft final document of the
special session;

     (c) The special session in June 1997 would resolve all
outstanding issues that might remain bracketed after the fifth session
of the Commission, and also reflect in the document any new
developments, or proposals made, in the period between the fifth
session of the Commission and the special session.

14.  The Bureau agreed on the need for involvement of the Chairman
and/or its members in the main inter-sessional activities and relevant
intergovernmental meetings expected to make an input to the
preparations for the special session.

15.  The Bureau stressed the need for effective arrangements to allow
major groups, including non-governmental organizations, to contribute
to the preparations for and the deliberations during the special
session.  While the Bureau agreed that the rules of procedure needed
to be fully respected and that specific decisions on the participation
of major groups in the session would be taken by the General Assembly,
it also agreed that a number of activities could be organized during
the special session with a view to ensuring effective input of major
groups and their active inter-action with government representatives. 
The Bureau considered that it would be useful to assess and build upon
the experience gained during previous special sessions of the General
Assembly, and sessions of the Commission, as well as Habitat II and
other recent meetings and intergovernmental processes, such as
hearings in the context of the elaboration of the Agenda for
Development.


          B.  Relevant activities carried out by the Inter-Agency Committee
              on Sustainable Development and by organizations and bodies of
              the United Nations system

16.  The General Assembly in its resolution 50/113 invited all relevant
organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, including the
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the
specialized agencies and other multilateral organizations, including
multilateral financial institutions and WTO, to contribute to the
special session, and requested the Inter-Agency Committee on
Sustainable Development, in close coordination with the Commission on
Sustainable Development, to ensure an effective and coordinated
system-wide response to the preparation of the special session.  The
Assembly also welcomed the decisions of the Governing Council of the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in which the Council
emphasized the need for the Programme, in accordance with its mandate
in the implementation of Agenda 21, to continue to provide effective
support to the work of the Commission, and in which the Council
decided to hold its nineteenth session early in 1997 with a view of
making a contribution to the special session.

17.  The Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development at its
eighth session (10-12 July 1996) stressed the political importance of
the preparations for the 1997 special session.  The Committee agreed
that the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods
institutions and other relevant bodies, should actively contribute to
making the special session a highly visible international event that
would energize global commitment to the implementation of Agenda 21
and advance international dialogue and action for sustainable
development.

18.  The Committee agreed that it would be essential for the 1997
review to go beyond assessment of progress achieved in the Commission
and in the United Nations system and to make a frank and analytical
appraisal of the overall progress made and problems encountered at the
international, national and local levels.

19.  During the session of the Committee it was suggested that, in
addition to their active involvement through the Committee's system of
task managers in the preparation of the reports of the Secretary-
General for the 1997 review, the organizations of the United Nations
system would consider making their own contributions to the review
process with a view to enriching the preparations for the fifth
session of the Commission and the special session itself.  In this
context the Committee welcomed work carried out in UNCTAD in
accordance with General Assembly resolution 50/95 to prepare a
comprehensive assessment on trade and environment and the work carried
out by the World Health Organization to prepare a world health and
environment report as important inputs to the special session. 
Preparatory work for the special session would also benefit from a
mid-term review of the achievements in reaching the goals set out by
the World Summit for Children, whose outcome had been fully
incorporated in Agenda 21.  The Committee considered that other
important contributions could be received from regional commissions
and the regulatory bodies of relevant conventions.  Furthermore, there
were high expectations that the final report of the Ad Hoc
Intergovernmental Panel on Forests of the Commission would provide a
significant contribution to the 1997 review and to forest-related work
in general in the period after the special session.  Another important
expectation was connected with the ongoing global freshwater
assessment.

20.  Furthermore, it was considered that it would be essential to
engage in this process, as far as possible, relevant governing bodies
and intergovernmental meetings held under their auspices.  An
important input to the 1997 review would come from the World Food
Summit which would address the issue of sustainability, and from the
nineteenth session of the UNEP Governing Council, which would
specifically consider the UNEP contribution to the special session. 

21.  The Committee underlined the significance of various country-
driven initiatives, which would build up a political momentum leading
to the special session.  The Committee also noted with satisfaction a
proposal made during the high-level segment of the fourth session of
the Commission to organize a joint meeting of Ministers of Environment
and Ministers of Finance as part of the preparatory process for the
special session, and expressed the hope that interested countries
would follow up on this promising initiative.  Important contributions
were also expected from non-governmental organizations and major
groups.

22.  The Administrative Committee on Coordination decided to submit a
statement to the General Assembly at its special session, in which it
would analyse the effectiveness of inter-agency arrangements
established to follow up the Rio Conference and, on the basis of
experience gained after the Conference, suggest ways of promoting more
effective and efficient United Nations system-wide support in the area
of sustainable development for the period after 1997.


           C.  High-level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development

23.  The High-level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development, at its
fifth session (29-31 January 1996), agreed that it should contribute
to the 1997 review of progress achieved in the implementation of the
Rio commitments by means of a concise report focusing on a few
critical areas.  The Board decided that it would examine the
impediments to sustainable development in those areas and make
independent recommendations as to how the impediments might be
overcome.  It proposed that the report be made available to the
Commission on Sustainable Development at its fifth session in April
1997.  The Board also agreed that its members would consider
initiatives to generate debate on the review in their own
constituencies.

24.  At its sixth session (4-6 September 1996), the Board agreed that
its report would focus on three critical areas of sustainable
development, namely, energy, transport and water resources.  Within
each of those areas, the report would examine policy measures for
improving sustainable use, with an emphasis on economic factors, and
make recommendations concerning policy packages that Governments might
use, individually or collectively, to overcome the impediments to
sustainable development.  In addition to the policy analysis and
recommendations, the report would include a number of brief
descriptions of successful sustainable development policies in various
countries, including rural wind energy programmes, energy taxes,
tradeable emissions permits, urban transportation management, and
river basin management.  The Board also agreed that members would
disseminate the report within their constituencies and organize
meetings to consider how their recommendations might be implemented. 
The Board will complete its work on the report at its seventh session,
in January 1997.


               D.  Information from Governments on progress achieved
                   at the national level

25.  The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/113, requested the
Secretary-General to prepare for the consideration of the Commission
on Sustainable Development at its fifth session country profiles
providing a concise presentation of progress made and constraints
encountered in implementing Agenda 21 at the national level, compiled
on the basis of national information received and in close cooperation
with the Governments concerned.  At its fourth session, the Commission
welcomed and supported the preparation of those country profiles.

26.  In response to those requests, the Secretariat prepared a common
format for the profiles and circulated it to all Governments.  For
those 74 countries that have submitted national reports to the
Commission, the Secretariat is preparing the draft profiles on the
basis of the information contained in the national reports.  As they
are completed in draft form, the profiles are sent to the appropriate
national focal points for comments, updating and approval by the
Governments as necessary.  Countries that have not yet been able to
provide the Secretariat with a national report to the Commission have
also been requested to complete a national profile in the common
format.

27.  The national profiles will support the analysis and assessment
required for the documentation for the fifth session of the
Commission, as envisaged in General Assembly resolution 50/113.  In
addition, all national profiles will be made available on the Internet
following their approval by the Governments concerned.  The Secretary-
General would like to encourage all countries to continue providing
the Commission with information on progress made and constraints
encountered in implementing Agenda 21 at the national level, which
will be of great value for the 1997 review.


           E.  National, regional and subregional activities to support
               the preparatory process

28.  The General Assembly in its resolution 50/113 invited Governments
as well as relevant regional and subregional organizations to consider
undertaking reviews of progress achieved since the Rio Conference at
the national, subregional, regional and interregional levels with a
view to contributing to the preparations for the special session.  The
Assembly welcomed the preparation of hemispheric, regional and
subregional conferences on sustainable development and invited
Governments concerned to contribute to the special session the
outcomes of such conferences. 

29.  A number of Governments are undertaking or are considering
undertaking inter-sessional meetings and initiatives with a view to
contributing to the 1997 review.  The outcomes of such initiatives are
expected to be presented to the Commission on Sustainable Development
and/or the General Assembly at its special session directly by the
Governments concerned.  However, if such meetings or initiatives
conclude by the end of November 1996, the Secretary-General would
appreciate being informed of their outcomes so that they can be
reflected, as appropriate, in the documentation prepared by the
Secretariat. 

30.  With regard to the regional commissions and other regional
organizations, various activities are being conducted as a
contribution to the preparations for the special session of the
General Assembly:

     (a) In Africa, the first Conference of African Ministers
Responsible for Sustainable Development and Environment was held in
March 1996 at the initiative of the Economic Commission for Africa. 
It adopted the guidelines for monitoring the progress made in building
critical management capacities for sustainable development in Africa
as a framework instrument for harmonizing relevant activities in the
region. 

     (b) In the Asian and Pacific region, the Committee on Environment
and Sustainable Development of the Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific, which will hold its third session in October
1996, will conduct a regional review of progress achieved in the
implementation of the outcome of the Rio Conference as an input to the
fifth session of the Commission and the special session.

     (c) In the region of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), a
special session of the Committee on Environmental Policy was held in
January 1996, which considered the outcome of the Ministerial
Conference on Environment for Europe, held at Sofia in October 1995. 
The Environmental Programme for Europe adopted at the Sofia Conference
represented a first attempt to set out a common direction to make
Agenda 21 more operational in the ECE region. 

     (d) In the Latin American and Caribbean region, the contribution
to the special session will be considered at the Tenth Meeting of
Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, to be
held on 11 and 12 November 1996 at Buenos Aires, and the Hemispheric
Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held on 7 and 8 December 1996
at Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, under the auspices of the
Organization of American States.

     (e) Upon the suggestion of the Economic and Social Commission for
Western Asia (ESCWA), the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for
Environment, in May 1996, called upon all Arab countries to
participate actively in the 1997 review, by such means as setting up
national committees to prepare national reports on the implementation
of Agenda 21.  A synthesis of those reports will be considered at the
next Council meeting in November 1996 and then forwarded to the
special session.  Furthermore, the ESCWA Committees on Energy and
Water Resources are holding meetings early in 1997 to review ongoing
and planned activities, thus providing regional perspectives on these
issues to the 1997 review.

     (f) Belarus announced at the fourth session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development that it is organizing at Minsk a conference on
sustainable development of countries with economies in transition.

31.  Furthermore, the regional commissions, in cooperation with the
regional offices of UNEP, are preparing inventories of regional
initiatives in the area of sustainable development undertaken since
the Rio Conference, or conducting regional reviews.  The results of
those exercises will be available at the special session.


                              F.  Rio Conventions

32.  The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/113, invited the
conferences of parties or other regulatory bodies of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on
Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or
Desertification, Particularly in Africa, as well as the regulatory
bodies of other relevant instruments, as appropriate, and the Global
Environment Facility, to provide their inputs to the special session.

33.  The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change agreed to make a special input, through
its Subsidiary Body on Implementation, to the special session.  The
secretariat of the Convention has been requested by the Conference of
the Parties, at its second session, to prepare a relevant submission
for consideration by the Subsidiary Body on Implementation at its
fifth session in February 1997.

34.  In the case of the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification, its interim secretariat will prepare, after the
January 1997 session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee,
an input summarizing the key provisions of the Convention, action
taken prior to the Convention's entry into force and the outlook for
the first session of the Conference of the Parties.

35.  Pursuant to decision II/18 (annex), adopted by the Conference of
the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its second
session, a report will be submitted to the General Assembly at its
special session from the perspective of the Convention's three
objectives:  the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of
its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits
arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.  The report will
be considered by the Conference of the Parties at its third session
(Buenos Aires, 4-14 November 1996).

36.  The Global Environment Facility will also make an input to the
special session.


                        G.  Initiatives by major groups

37.  The General Assembly in its resolution 50/113 recognized the
important role played by major groups, including non-governmental
organizations, at the Rio Conference and in the implementation of its
recommendations, and recognized the need for their active involvement
in preparations for the special session, as well as the need to ensure
appropriate arrangements for their contribution during the special
session.

38.  The secretariat of the Commission on Sustainable Development
prepared and distributed a set of guidelines (1997 Guidelines for
Major Groups' Input) to all major group contacts currently in the
database.  These guidelines provide information on how major groups
can contribute to the 1997 review process, the fifth session of the
Commission and the special session of the General Assembly.

39.  Major group organizations are also organizing various meetings
independently or jointly with international organizations,
non-governmental partners and Governments.  These events aim to review
and assess the Rio follow-up process as well as raise awareness about
the 1997 review and follow-up activities in the period after 1997. 
Such initiatives include:

     (a) Rio+5.  A global assessment of sustainable development
progress led by the Earth Council, in collaboration with numerous
network non-governmental organizations and major group organizations,
and in consultation with the secretariat of the Commission.  In
addition to organizations from each of the nine major group
categories, the event involves the national councils for sustainable
development, the media, and the religious and education communities,
as well as various United Nations and non-United Nations international
organizations.  The culminating event is a week-long meeting at Rio de
Janeiro (13 to 19 March 1997).

     (b) Sustainable Development Indicators for Youth Project, Phase
II.  The project, led by Rescue Mission and other youth organizations
around the world, is a follow-up to the youth panel/exhibition
prepared for the fourth session of the Commission.  The Children's
State of the Planet Television Report, also led by Rescue Mission, is
a major media campaign by youth on sustainable development and the
1997 review process.

     (c) Survey of local Agenda 21 initiatives.  This comprehensive
survey of local efforts is led by the International Council for Local
Environmental Initiatives and the Division for Sustainable Development
of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development. 
This survey is the first comprehensive stocktaking exercise on the
fast-growing local Agenda 21 movement around the world.  It is
estimated that more than 2,000 local governments and authorities have
developed projects and frameworks for achieving local sustainable
development.  The results of the survey will be presented to the
Commission on Sustainable Development at its fifth session and to the
General Assembly at the special session.

     (d) Survey on the future of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, led by the World Federalist Movement and INTGLIM. 2/ 
This is based on a short survey and a series of interviews with United
Nations staff members, as well as governmental and non-governmental
experts.  The leading organizations will submit the final report to
the Ad Hoc Inter-sessional Working Group of the Commission, and to the
Commission at its fifth session.

     (e) The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is
preparing a report and various events on the business perspective on
sustainable development.

     (f) Earth Summit II:  A Business Input.  A national level meeting
organized by the United Nations Environment and Development (United
Kingdom) and the International Chamber of Commerce (United Kingdom) to
review business responses to sustainable development in the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

     (g) The Inter-Parliamentary Union will emphasize changing
consumption and production patterns in its input to the 1997 review
process, and it will follow up on its declaration on financing and
transfer of technology, which was submitted to the Commission at its
fourth session.

     (h) Global Cities 21:  Local Agenda 21 for Sustainable
Communities.  A meeting organized jointly by the International Council
for Local Environmental Initiatives, the Global Action Plan and the
Earth Council to review contributions of local authorities, which will
be held at Lisbon on 8 and 9 October 1996.

     (i) A meeting of indigenous people will be held in Colombia in
1996 to prepare an input to the fifth session of the Commission and
the special session, with special emphasis on forests.


                       H.  Public information activities

40.  The General Assembly in its resolution 50/113 requested the
Secretary-General to mount a public information programme to raise
global awareness of both the special session and the work undertaken
by the United Nations in the follow-up to the Conference.

41.  In response to that request, the Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development and the Department of Public
Information are joining their efforts with a view to designing and
implementing the media/public information strategy that will ensure
broad outreach of the preparatory activities and of the special
session, build awareness of sustainable development issues, promote
further the goals and objectives of the Rio Conference and of the 1997
review, and, as follow-up to the special session, ensure dissemination
of its results.

42.  In implementing the strategy, the Secretariat intends to prepare
various information materials and radio and television programmes and
organize special media/public outreach activities.  It will also
strive to ensure the broadest possible dissemination, inter alia,
through electronic means, of the official reports and documents
prepared in connection with the 1997 review, including the outcomes of
the fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and of
the special session itself.  One of the challenges will be to ensure
effective outreach in the developing countries.


                 I.  Status of contributions to the Trust Fund

43.  The General Assembly in its resolution 50/113 invited Governments
to assist the developing countries, in particular the least developed
among them, in participating fully and effectively in the special
session and its preparatory process, and in that regard invited them
to make appropriate contributions to the Trust Fund to Support the
Work of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

44.  Pursuant to that resolution, a note verbale soliciting
contributions for the above-mentioned purposes has been circulated by
the Secretary-General to all Member States and Observers.  The
Secretary-General would like to reiterate his appeal to all interested
countries for relevant contributions to the Trust Fund, earmarked for
assisting the participation of developing countries in the special
session of the General Assembly.


           III.  SOME PROPOSALS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL MODALITIES DURING THE
                 FIFTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE
                 DEVELOPMENT AND THE SPECIAL SESSION

45.  A number of general proposals for the organization of the 1997
special session and its preparatory process were brought to the
attention of the General Assembly at its fiftieth session (see
A/50/453).  While specific decisions about the organization of work
during the fifth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
and the special session itself will be taken by the Commission upon
the recommendation of its Bureau and by the General Assembly, the
Secretary-General would like to make some additional suggestions on
this matter for the consideration of Member States.

46.  Concerning the formal intergovernmental part of the 1997 review,
bearing in mind previous practice, the provisions of General Assembly
resolution 50/113 and current discussions in the Commission and its
Bureau, it is likely that the main work on the text of the final
document of the special session will be done during the fifth session
of the Commission, which will largely be a negotiating meeting. 
During the special session itself, in parallel to the plenary meetings
of the Assembly where a high-level debate will take place, an ad hoc
committee of the whole, reporting to the plenary, could be
established.  The role of the committee will be to reach agreement on
all outstanding matters in the final document.

47.  Bearing in mind the provisions of General Assembly resolution
50/113 and the recommendations of the Commission at its fourth
session, an important challenge will be to ensure appropriate
arrangements that will allow major groups, including non-governmental
organizations, to make their contribution to the meetings with due
respect to the existing rules of procedure. 

48.  It is likely that during the fifth session of the Commission and
the special session of the General Assembly a number of Governments,
international organizations and major groups will organize,
individually and jointly, various informal side events, presentations
and briefings with a view to contributing to a more formal
intergovernmental process.  It would be useful to ensure that
contributions from major groups to such events will be organized in a
systematic way.  Some suggestions in this regard are made in the
following paragraphs.

49.  During the fifth session of the Commission, one possibility would
be to organize, in parallel with the drafting groups that will work on
the text of the final document of the special session, hearings
involving representatives of Governments, major groups and eminent
persons, devoted to an assessment of the existing and potential role,
and contribution to its implementation, of each of the major groups
identified in Agenda 21.  Summaries of such hearings could either be
included in the report of the Commission on its fifth session or made
orally by the Commission at the special session.

50.  During the special session itself, the formal debate in plenary
meeting could be interspersed with panels and/or dialogue sessions
with world leaders or other eminent persons covering a wide spectrum.

51.  While the organizational recommendations relating to the fifth
session of the Commission could appropriately be made by the Bureau of
the Commission, the views and recommendations of the General Assembly
will be important for the organization of the special session and
parallel events envisaged at that time.

52.  As to the dates for the special session, the Secretary-General,
bearing in mind the calendar of other United Nations meetings and
conferences and the provisions of General Assembly resolution 50/113,
recommends that it be held from 7 to 13 June 1997.


                                     Notes

     1/  Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 8 (E/1996/28).

     2/  International non-governmental organization working group on
legal and institutional matters.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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