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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
What's New
  FEATURE STORY

Major Progress in Summit Talks on Finance and Trade

Johannesburg, 28 August— Major progress has been made in the negotiations on the major outcome document for the World Summit on Sustainable Development on issues relating to trade and finance questions, which include some of the most contentious issues the Summit has faced.

Negotiators have agreed on about 99 per cent of the text concerning finance and about 80 per cent of the section on trade, with the agreements drawing heavily on language from the World Trade Organization meeting in Doha, Qatar, last November, and the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico, in March.

Overall, more than half of the matters not agreed at the beginning of the Summit have been resolved and much of the remaining text has been refined to the key points for final negotiation.

John Ashe, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from Antigua and Barbuda, who is chairing the talks on trade, finance and globalization reported that virtually all of the provisions on finance had been agreed upon, with outstanding issues referring to the inclusion of "common but differentiated responsibilities," a phrase that is being dealt with in separate discussion. On the outstanding issues, Ashe said negotiations were continuing on the issue of phasing out subsidies, and there were still disagreements on how to characterize the effects of globalization, as an opportunity as well as a challenge.

The key to the progress so far, Ashe said, has been the "good spirit in the room" that allowed delegates to work to 3:00am in the morning.

In other negotiations, countries agreed to several targets, in addition to the 17 targets and timetables that were agreed upon in Bali. The targets that have been agreed to at the Summit include the goal of 2004 to limit the health-related impacts of pollution, the goal of eliminating gender disparities in education by 2005, to develop food strategies in Africa by 2005, and to restore fish stocks by 2015.

Neroni Slade, Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations, and Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States, said agreement in fish stocks was an acknowledgement of a situation that has existed for years. "The specific target of 2015 is an attempt to reverse the trend," adding that, "this is a very satisfactory result."

Discussions on other targets are continuing, including on whether a target to halve the number of people who lack access to proper sanitation, and another on addressing eliminating toxic chemicals.

There are 191 countries participating in the Summit, one of the largest turnouts for any UN conference

The number of people attending the Summit continues to grow. So far, 17,417 people have been accredited, including 7,681 delegates, 6,585 NGOs, and 3,151 media representatives.




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24 August 2006