Fourth Summit Preparatory Committee (PREPCOM 4)
27 May - 07 June 2002
of Daily Press Briefing
by the United Nations Department of Public Information
29 May 2002
Negotiations on the implementation programme for the World
Summit on Sustainable Development in Bali are continuing in three working
groups, but a number of difficult issues have spawned a host of smaller
“contact” negotiating groups according to Lowell Flanders of the United Nations
Division on Sustainable Development.
Among the issues requiring special attention to
resolve differences include trade and finance, natural disasters,
energy, promoting sustainable development in Africa, oceans, good
governance, a World Solidarity Fund for Poverty, and eco-labelling.
In answer to a question about good governance,
Flanders responded that discussions on good governance were actually
a subset of governance issues, and included concerns relating to
human rights, democracy, legal systems, and the right to information.
He said the smaller contact groups were helpful toward resolving
these very key and very difficult issues.
Flanders said discussions on oceans have become difficult as
a result of the outcome of the recent Whaling Commission.
In response to a question on what happens if text is not agreed
upon by the end of the Bali PrepCom, Flanders said it is always
a possibility that a few issues are not resolved, and these issues
“would be kicked up to the ministerial level” to see if they could
be resolved. If not, they would be taken up in Johannesburg.
“We are trying to make every effort to clear the text,” Flanders
said. In Monterrey, at the
International Conference on Financing for Development, this proved
very important and led to some countries making significant financial
So far, the Summit Secretariat has received more than 40 submissions
for partnerships, and they are posted on the website.
The two Co-Chairs of the working group on partnerships, Jan
Kara of the Czech Republic and Diane Quarless of Jamaica, provided
a briefing on the discussions on partnerships that took place in
the multi-stakeholder dialogues.
Kara said the partnership initiatives would be voluntary,
and would be complement and reinforce the commitments made by governments
in the negotiated outcome documents.
The initiatives will be officially launched in Johannesburg
at the Summit, according to Kara, by governments, NGOs or other
major groups to help implement the goals of the Summit.
As of now, there is still an ongoing process to determine
the guidelines for recognizing partnerships that promote sustainable
development. He noted that there was still a “spirit of
mistrust and uncertainty” surrounding the partnerships, but he emphasized
that the initiatives would not be a replacement for a negotiated
Quarless said the discussions in the multi-stakeholder dialogues
would be taken into account during a new round of consultations.
She said the dialogue has helped develop a set of pre-requisites
and principles for the partnership initiatives.
Some NGOs, she said, were not ready to accept the partnerships
because of concerns over a lack of corporate responsibility or the
influence of transnational corporations.
There were concerns that mechanisms were needed to safeguard
the balance of power between the various partners, to identify their
roles and responsibilities, ownership, and accountability.
“We will have to work this through,” she said. “We will have
to address these concerns.”
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24 August 2006