BALI, 28 May -- Government representatives attending the fourth and final Preparatory Committee for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development today in Bali continued their consideration of the draft programme of action to be adopted by the Summit this August in Johannesburg, South Africa.
To help with their deliberations, the two working groups had before them a revised Chairman's paper (see document A/CONF.199/PC/L.1/Rev.1), which compiles provisions that have been agreed upon at previous preparatory meetings, as well as passages where consensus has not been reached.
In its introduction, the text reaffirms the validity of Agenda 21 -- a comprehensive plan of action adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which embraced economic growth, social development and environmental protection to achieve sustainable development in the twenty-first century. Agenda 21, the draft programme states, establishes the fundamental principles of sustainable development.
Among the key areas identified for action in the paper are poverty eradication, changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development, and health and sustainable development.
Speaking at today's briefing held by the Department of Public Information, Lowell Flanders, a senior official with the Summit Secretariat who is following the negotiations on the outcome text, said good progress was being made and it was hoped that negotiations could be completed by week's end. A key issue being discussed was whether the document would be a real action programme containing specific decisions or a "more typical kind of conference outcome".
He said that among the initiatives and ideas being reviewed were a world solidarity fund for poverty eradication; an action plan for water and sanitation; an action plan aimed at reducing by half those lacking modern energy services; the possible application of International Labour Organization (ILO) labour standards; and a 10-year work programme on energy resources and energy efficiency.
He also noted that representatives were discussing, in light of the United States non-accession to the Kyoto Protocol, how best to deal with climate change in the document. Issues related to trade and finance, oceans and good governance were also being addressed.
At a press conference given later in the afternoon by Makarim Wibisono (Indonesia) and other members of the Indonesian delegation, it was noted that negotiations on the draft programme of action were moving forward. However, some speakers had stressed that a linkage should be established between the commitments undertaken at the Doha trade summit and the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico with the Johannesburg Summit.
Speakers had raised the question of how best, for example, to allocate the Monterrey commitment of $30 billion in new official development assistance (ODA) in a way that would advance implementation of Agenda 21. Another concept that had been tabled was the use of special drawing rights for development purposes to further Agenda 21.
Meanwhile, a third working group took up a Vice-Chairman's paper (see document A/CONF.199/PC/L.3) entitled "Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development". That document outlines measures to strengthen the "sustainable development governance architecture" at the international, regional and national levels.
In other business today, the Preparatory Committee continued its multi-stakeholder dialogue segment, with discussion groups holding daylong meetings to take up capacity-building for sustainable development and framework for partnership initiatives.
Also today, a number of side events sponsored by civil society representatives were held on such topics as: "Education for Our Common Future"; "Wind Power for the World"; and "Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development".
So far, over 2,900 people from 144 countries are participating in the preparatory meeting, including 1,156 government delegates, 747 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 134 journalists.