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
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24 August 2006