31 May 2002


Press Release



Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Denied Accreditation

(Received from a UN Information Officer.)

BALI, 31 May -- The fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development was briefed this morning on the state of negotiations on the Summit implementation plan, with speakers underlining the progress made in the negotiations thus far and outlining the areas that required further deliberation.

In other business this morning, the Committee decided to reject accreditation of a non-governmental organization (NGO), the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, by a vote of 90 in favour of no action to 37 against, with 10 abstentions.

Representatives have formed two working groups to advance their negotiations on the Chairman’s paper, which contains the text of the draft implementation programme (the latest version of the text is contained in documents A/CONF.199/PC/WG.1/2 & WG.2/2), with a third group deliberating on a Vice-Chairman’s paper (see document A/CONF.199/PC/L.3) entitled “Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development”. 

Status of Negotiations

KYOTAKA AKASAKA (Japan), Co-Chair of Working Group I, which is assigned to deal with the first half of the Chairman’s paper, said the Group had worked very hard to meet the Chairman’s deadline of completion of work by this evening.  About 80 per cent of the text was now agreed upon, within today’s deadline.  The texts of two “rather large” areas, energy and oceans, had been under intensive consultation and were not included in the latest version of the text.  Even in those cases, good progress had been made, with many differences having been bridged.  More time was needed to complete discussions on those items.

Issues remaining in brackets included how to deal with financial and technical issues.  Some of the issues were linked to those being discussed by the other Working Groups, which made it hard to complete discussions without seeing the results of those Groups.

RICHARD BALLHORN (Canada), Co-Chair of Working Group II, which is assigned to deal with the second half of the Chairman’s paper, said the latest text contained some reproduction errors -- corrected copies were available at the back of the room.  The first chapter of the section, on sustainable development in a globalizing world, had many bolded and bracketed texts.  Trade and finance issues would have to be dealt with in the relevant contact group.  It was not as unresolvable as it looked. 

He said chapter 6, on health and sustainable development, was in reasonably good shape.  Chapter 7, on small island developing States, was also in reasonable shape.  Discussions were continuing, and there was a good chance that a number of the issues would be resolved perhaps even by this afternoon.  Chapter 8, on sustainable development for Africa, had proceeded at a slightly different pace because there had been less time at the last Preparatory Committee to deal with it. 

Good progress had been made in a contact group on Africa yesterday, he continued.  It was quite a substantial text and in some cases delegations were having to check with their authorities before they could decide.  He thought a substantial text could be achieved, but that some issues remained to be resolved.  He noted that there was now a chapter 8 bis -- proposals for very concentrated regional initiatives to promote sustainable development.

In the final chapter, means of implementation, paragraphs 59 to 70 were the subject of a contact group and required significant further work.  He hoped experts in finance and trade -- where the biggest challenges lay -- could sit down and resolve those issues.  Good progress had been made on the remaining issues.

IHAD GAMELELDIN (Egypt), Co-Chair of Working Group II, said he was confident that the remaining issues could be resolved.  He noted good progress had been made on such issues as capacity-building and science and technology transfer.  Discussions were ongoing in the area of health.  In a nutshell, progress was being made.

EMIL SALIM (Indonesia), Chairman of the Preparatory Committee, then urged delegates to undertake a constructive approach to the remaining negotiations.   The time had come “to clean the text by focusing our discussion on the brackets”.

The representative of Venezuela, for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said any paragraph or section absent from the two documents before the Committee didn’t mean that they were outside the document in real terms -- they were present in the text, even though they didn’t appear in it.

The CHAIRMAN assured the Committee that such passages would not be left out.

Non-Governmental Organization Accreditation

When the Committee took up accreditation of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, it had before it a letter from the Permanent Representative of China (see document A/CONF.199/PC/19).  The letter sets out China’s firm

objection to accreditation of the NGO to the World Summit and its preparatory process, because it was “a separatist organization that is same in nature as ‘International Campaign for Tibet’ and ‘Tibet Justice Center’ whose applications for accreditation were resolutely rejected” by the Preparatory Committee.

At the outset of the Committee’s consideration, the representative of the United States said it was his position that legitimate NGOs, such as the one in question, applying for accreditation could and should be approved.  All well-established and widely recognized NGOs could make positive contributions to the Summit.  The NGO in question was well qualified to be accredited and to participate.  He proposed that the plenary grant the request for accreditation.

The representative of Spain, for the European Union and associated States, then said the Union welcomed the participation of NGOs and other major groups at the Summit.  They had an important part to play in the discussions.  A large number would be present at Johannesburg representing a broad range of different views that would help lead to a fruitful exchange of views.  The Union believed that the NGO in question should be able to participate in Johannesburg and he supported its accreditation.  This didn’t mean it supported its views, however.  The Union supported the call for a vote just made by the United States delegation.

The representative of China next reaffirmed his delegation’s objection to the accreditation of the NGO in question.  He moved to take “no action” on the proposal of the United States and requested an immediate vote by roll call.  The Chinese Government had consistently supported participation in the Summit of NGOs operating in the spirit of the United Nations Charter.  The NGO in question was a political organization, which had the aim of splitting China’s territory.  It had never carried out any activities to help the socio-economic situation of Tibet, he noted.  He strongly appealed for an affirmative vote on China’s no action motion and rejection of the NGO’s application for accreditation.

Following China’s request, both Pakistan and Cuba spoke in favour of the motion.  The United States and Spain, for the European Union, spoke against the motion.

The motion was then carried by a vote of 90 in favour to 37 against with

10 abstentions.

Also today, the Committee decided to accredit to the current meeting and the World Summit two intergovernmental organizations, the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development and the Center for International Forestry Research.

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For information media. Not an official record.