The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has published a 15,000-word summary and analysis of the tenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) acting as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which took place from 27 May to 7 June 2002 in Bali, Indonesia. The Web version of this Earth Negotiations Bulletin report is available at http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/vol22/enb2241e.html and in printable PDF format at http://www.iisd.ca/linkages/download/pdf/enb2241e.pdf We have attached a portion of this report, "A Brief Analysis of PrepCom IV." Kimo A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF PREPCOM IV ((c) IISD) DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ARE RAISING THE STAKES, A SECOND TIME AROUND PrepCom IV's failure to complete its work on the Draft Plan of Implementation for the WSSD was not unexpected. Indeed, early in the second week, the NGO community began to urge negotiators to bring their brackets to Johannesburg rather than settle for a bad deal; delegations obliged, but not only for this reason. The outstanding issues fall into two categories. The first and perhaps fundamental set of issues that led to stalemate concern finance, terms of trade and globalization, and the Rio Principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. These issues are best described as the confidence-building architecture that underpins the 1992 UNCED outcomes. These are the elements required to muster the trust, participation and cooperation of developing countries before the WSSD. A second set of issues concerns the development of the Programme of Work spawned by Agenda 21, including a series of time-bound targets. Progress on these and other issues will only be unlocked when confidence is regained in the process. This brief analysis will examine the background to the deadlock at the PrepCom IV negotiations of the means of implementation section of the Draft Plan of Implementation, review other programmatic issues, and comment on procedural questions and future prospects for the Summit. WAS THE DECK ALREADY STACKED? A major focus at Bali was the gap in implementation of Agenda 21. The most important fault line in the discourse on sustainable development since 1992 has been the failure to address the key confidence-building challenges of equity and fairness. While national trends in economic growth are mixed, there is a widening gap between the rich and poor - a trend that underlines the "broken promise" of Rio. This rift plays a key role in locking the sustainable development debate into a series of stand-offs between developed and developing countries over access to finance and a fair trading system. Within the confines of environment and sustainable development negotiations, the gap in implementation can be attributed to a failure of political will on the part of industrialized countries since 1992. On questions of finance for development, such as ODA levels, lack of political will amounts to a sufficient explanation. Taking a wider view, an important - if not decisive - explanatory factor, according to a number of NGOs in Bali, was the fact that "Rio" was trumped by Marrakesh and the formation of the WTO. Any prospect of a post-1992 policy-led global architecture capable of meeting the needs of the poorest was subverted by the ascendancy of trade liberalization and an unleashing of the disciplinary forces of corporate-led globalization. The WSSD presents an opportunity for world leaders to face up to the contradictions embedded in the architecture of global governance when it comes to trade and sustainable development. In the language of the new UNEP Global Environmental Outlook report, the choice is to pursue either a "Markets First" scenario or a "Sustainability First" scenario where global policy is no longer the servant of the trade regime. WHEN TO HOLD, WHEN TO FOLD Ultimately, after nearly two solid weeks of tedious negotiations following two previous PrepComs, and what many participants commended as excellent logistical arrangements, negotiations on the Draft Plan of Implementation broke down when the impasse on trade and finance issues could not be resolved. South Africa's Mohammad Valli Moosa, charged with breaking the stalemate, presented negotiators on Friday morning with a package put together after a number of behind-the-scenes high-level consultations. One of the key inputs to the package emerged from a meeting on Thursday between the EU and the G-77/China, and an informal non-paper tabled by the EU. The G-77/China spent three hours debating the Moosa deal, which met strong internal resistance as a "weak" and unacceptable compromise on finance and trade issues for developing countries. Nevertheless, the G-77/China arrived at a fragile agreement to go along with the deal, subject to its unconditional acceptance by the other negotiating partners. Although Mexico, New Zealand and Norway accepted the Moosa deal, the EU ultimately failed to keep all of its members on board in the face of unpalatable language on subsidies. Moreover, the US and Japan raised over a dozen objections and indicated that they could not accept the deal without amendments and/or further negotiations. Australia and Canada also had difficulties with the deal. Some observers noted that part of the inability to make progress on trade and finance issues was reflective of the problems in integrating the three pillars of sustainable development: Doha was negotiated by trade ministers; Monterrey by finance ministers; while the Summit process has been flooded with environment and foreign affairs ministers. The Moosa deal was taken off the table once negotiations collapsed, and discussions going into the Summit itself will be based on the Facilitator's latest draft. MANY JOKERS, ALL WILD Stalemate on the means of implementation section and subsequent breakdown of negotiations prompted a number of verdicts on the process. Some participants noted a lack of political leadership from the Bureau. This left much of the management of the meeting to the CSD/ PrepCom Secretariat, which lacked both the manpower and substantive expertise to handle some of the tasks. To many observers, these difficulties were compounded by a failure to adopt the secretariat model used for UNCED in 1992, which made better use of seconded staff, agencies, and regional representatives and a division of labor between political and administrative expertise. Along these lines, a running theme during PrepCom IV was the way in which UN agencies were sidelined in the process. One agency that had produced a lengthy proactive response to the implementation plan was advised to simply submit it to the Secretariat's website. Many participants pointed out that the conduct and observance of procedure in the various working and contact groups did not rise to the occasion, with time lost in confusion over meeting organization, an unprecedented number of redundant interventions and uncertain gaveling or reopening of issues. On Tuesday of the second week, reports began to circulate about the consultation format adopted by Chair Salim's Friends of the Chair group, which consisted of a troika made up of the EU, the US and the G-77/China (Indonesia, South Africa, Brazil and Venezuela). A number of delegations, including Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Norway, reported that they had been frozen out of the discussions. After protests from delegations, new arrangements were put in place to allow some countries to alternate and/or participate under the "Vienna" rules first introduced during the negotiations of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, whereby one speaker presents views on behalf of each interest and/or regional group. Identifying where the impact of procedural obstacles ends and political deadlock begins is always a problem; one high-level observation on this quandary rings true. The complexity and empowerment of the sustainable development agenda (seeking to institutionalize a meaningful conversation between finance, trade and environment discourses) presents a unique challenge to the multilateral system at the United Nations. The problem has outgrown the system; a fact that is reflected in the agenda item on sustainable development governance. EVERYTHING TO PLAY FOR Attention will now shift to the Johannesburg Summit itself. One of the outstanding achievements of the UNCED process is the birth of the Kyoto Protocol process. A reference to the Protocol's entry into force, alas, will also be one of the more contentious issues that will be sent to the WSSD. The Australian Prime Minister announced on World Environment Day (Wednesday, 5 June) that his country would not ratify the Protocol at this time. It was a particularly infuriating moment for those NGOs in Bali who fought in support of Norway's campaign to have a resolute paragraph urging ratification of the Protocol, to ensure its entry into force. The US resisted on the grounds that, while not wishing to obstruct other countries, it could not lend its name to a call for the ratification of an instrument that does not enjoy its support. The announcement that Japan had ratified the Protocol was better news. And there is intense speculation about the intentions of the President of the Russian Federation. On a recent trip to Germany, he is reported to have whispered a reassuring line to WWF campaigners: "Wir Machen Mit" (we're with you). Problems will also continue until the hot political issues of finance, trade and means of implementation are resolved. The newly proposed time-bound targets, such as halving by 2015 the number of people without access to sanitation and significantly reducing the loss of biological diversity, are likely to continue to be held hostage. Another problematic target would see a review by 2007 of progress in developed countries on phasing out energy subsidies. Also in brackets is a target to restore depleted fish stocks by 2015. The timing of and commitment to new programmatic work on areas such as sustainable consumption and production and energy for developing countries, particularly in Africa, together with action-oriented text on sanitation, are likely to be impacted by the wider discussions on finance and means of implementation. For the moment, important elements on the programmatic work remain in brackets. The WSSD will not be free from the risk of derailment as a result of the introduction of highly contentious political issues of the day, notably the divisions in international opinion over the United States' shift to a unilateralist agenda. Without a resolution on text dealing with the issue of unilateral coercive measures, the problem of good governance will be reopened at the Summit by the developing countries that are insisting on keeping a balance between good governance at both domestic and international levels. New funding initiatives, including a world solidarity fund to tackle poverty, and GEF financing for the UNCCD, will meet stiff opposition. Resolution of these and other outstanding issues will likely depend upon the outcomes on the means of implementation section. JUST A BLUFF? After several informal consultations and numerous explanatory notes issued since PrepCom II, the concept of and positions on partnerships have become more concretized. Questions on whether there will be established principles for partnerships have turned to demands by some Major Groups for prerequisites. The US is clearly prioritizing Type 2 as a key Summit outcome, while the G-77/China is wary that such initiatives will be a means of imposing conditionalities and circumventing government commitments on means of implementation. Differences among the Major Groups have also surfaced through the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues. Perspectives on partnerships range from the enthusiasm of business and industry champions, support from local government organizations, and calls for selection criteria and frameworks by NGOs. Within the NGO community there are organizations involved in fieldwork, while others focus on campaigns and policy. Attitudes to partnerships are somewhat influenced by the nature of a particular NGO's activities. Partnerships and pragmatism are regular features of the work of those NGOs working in the field on research on sustainable livelihoods, poverty and eco-system management linkages. Responding to the concerns of delegates, the Vice-Chairs have produced a series of explanatory notes, with the most recent note including principles and framework criteria. Partnerships have also been a recent focus of the Secretariat, which produced its set of guidelines on Partnerships on Energy for Sustainable Development, as the first in a series to address Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB) - the priority sectoral issues identified by UN Secretary-General. These concerns have caused the Bureau to continually reassure delegates that Type 1 outcomes would be the most important product of the WSSD, as the subject of Type 2 outcomes became more politicized throughout the session. Yet partnerships are slated to be a, if not the, key outcome of the Johannesburg Summit, according to some countries. LAYING YOUR CARDS ON THE TABLE Elements for a political declaration at the WSSD were discussed during an Informal Plenary, a ministerial-level exchange, and behind closed doors. With many unresolved issues in the Draft Plan of Implementation, Chair Salim was careful not to allow a full negotiation to develop on the content of the declaration. Although an actual draft declaration was not considered during this session, there is speculation that it may become the platform for reintroducing the issues that have fallen out of the implementation plan, a prospect that became evident with "in-the-corridor" suggestions that the issues of foreign occupation, coercive unilateral measures and ethics for sustainable development may be moved there. Progress on agreeing on elements for the Political Declaration is likely to influence decisions by some Heads of State and Government regarding their attendance at the Summit. There is also some speculation that the Declaration may provide the most authoritative and decisive place to deal with the core trade and finance issues. UP THE WSSD SLEEVE The collapse of negotiations on implementation issues will add to the pressures on those charged with the management of the WSSD process, notably the South African hosts. With uncertainty and political risk now associated with significant sections of the agenda, the "Summit" status of the meeting cannot be taken for granted, despite some early commitments from world leaders such as the UK's Tony Blair. A number of upcoming meetings present an opportunity for South Africa to cultivate interest in the Summit and take soundings on the way forward. These are the G-8 Summit in Canada, the World Food Summit+5 in Rome, a meeting of the EU leadership in Seville, the launch of the African Union, to be chaired by South Africa, and a mini-summit in Rio when the "Earth Summit torch" will be handed over from Brazil to South Africa. A number of Heads of State and Government are expected to attend this last event and issue a call for peers to come to Johannesburg. Still, there are concerns that without the personal involvement of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as well, South African President Mbeki's efforts at these Summits may turn out to be a mere ripple in a puddle. The intersessional period will also be marked by high profile civil society preparations. By collapsing the negotiations around some of the more emotive and clear-cut issues, negotiators have done the NGOs something of a favor by providing a focus for their campaigns on terms of trade, globalization, debt and finance for the environment and development. An indication of the possible scale of protest in Johannesburg was the launch in Bali of a million-signature petition drive under the anti-globalization slogan: "We the peoples believe another world is possible." A ROYAL FLUSH? As Heads of State and Government contemplate whether to journey to Johannesburg, everyone must bear in mind the lesson of PrepCom IV: developing countries will seize the opportunity of the WSSD to ensure that commitments on finance, trade and capacity building exist, are meaningful and are action-oriented. Key to meeting the developing countries' demands will be the transformation of the Monterrey Consensus into an action agenda, and the delivery of political commitments set out in the Doha Declaration. Critical benchmarks for the success of the WSSD will be the achievement of a coherent approach to establishing a working relationship between the sustainable development policy community and the programme outcomes of Doha and Monterrey. In other words, there needs to be an institutionalization of the conversation (and the conflict) on and convergence of the three pillars of sustainable development. At the core of that conversation - if confidence is to be restored in the post-UNCED agenda - will be an authoritative commitment to fairness in a fragile world.
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