Emma Puka-Beals, Mount Holyoke College
Friday’s plenary discussions continued through the scheduled morning and afternoon sessions, and concluded slightly after 11pm based on the G77’s proposal to complete the first reading of the Zero Draft before the weekend.
CHEMICALS AND WASTE
Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the EU agreed on merging pre-paragraphs recognizing the 2020 JPOI resolution to achieve sound management of chemicals and hazardous waste by 2020. The G77, Norway and Switzerland opposed Canada’s addition of “voluntary” to language on management, and the US and Switzerland opposed the EU’s proposal to strengthen SAICAM. The US moved to delete text on the low capacity of developing countries to manage chemical waste. The US and Japan moved to delete paragraph 96 on public-private partnerships and previous conventions on waste, to which the G77+China expressed confusion and concern. The US and Japan also moved to delete subsequent paragraphs on recommitment and implementation, while the EU, Switzerland, Canada and Norway proposed streamlining these paragraphs into Means and Implementation. The US, Canada and Switzerland moved to phase down HFCs, which Japan opposed. Japan moved to include a section on atmosphere as an important trans-boundary pollution issue.
SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Norway supported Switzerland’s proposal to recognize the “unbridled growth of extraction and use of natural resources”, while the US and New Zealand moved for deletion and Canada proposed weaker wording.
There was contention around reaffirming the 10-Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Production and Consumption, with Switzerland, New Zealand Australia and New Zealand opposing language on a “global pact” proposed by the G77, which the US and Canada moved to rephrase as “important global effort”. In subparagraphs proposed by the G77+China, the US, Canada, Switzerland and New Zealand all opposed language calling specifically on developed countries to change their unsustainable patterns of production and consumption. The G77+China reasserted the need for a global pact on the 10YFP with support from Mexico, and urged the US, which had marked all but one paragraph for deletion, to be more cooperative. The G77+China also addressed the repeated requests by developed countries to eliminate text on common but differentiated responsibilities, asserting that it will not step down on its insistence that developed countries take the lead in sustainable initiatives.
The G77+China voiced its approval of the text while the US called for overall consolidation and Switzerland called for further highlighting of gender. Reproductive health education was be opposed by the Holy See, and the EU, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico were hesitant about references to education for all ages. The US and the EU moved to delete language by the G77+China on international support to developing countries, and the US and New Zealand opposed text on the right to education.
POPULATION AND HEALTH
The EU submitted a six-paragraph proposal on Health and Population which focused on water, energy and food security as prerequisites for health, reducing environmental hazards as a way to reduce non-communicable diseases, and access to family planning services and reproductive healthcare as necessary to women’s empowerment. This was uncontested with the exception of the Holy See’s consistent opposition family planning services and women’s reproductive rights.
The G77+China shared its vision for the section on education as focusing on improving access and opportunities for the next generation, with a special emphasis on universal primary education and equal access to schooling for girls.
A pre-section referencing sexual and reproductive health was proposed by the EU and supported by the US, Switzerland and Norway, but opposed by the Holy See. The EU underscored gender equality throughout the text and Mexico proposed the addition of vulnerable and disabled children. The G77 proposed a 4-section alternative which was supported by the Holy See, but opposed by the US, EU and New Zealand. The Holy See, Canada and the US moved to “invite” rather than “call upon” educational institutions to embed sustainable practices in their operations. The US and Canada opposed text on establishing an international instrument outlining commitments and implementation for ESD.
The G77, Norway, Japan, the EU, the RoK and Switzerland supported the existing title “Gender Equality” with the US and Lichtenstein supporting the addition of “and the empowerment of women”, while the Holy See requested the subtitle “of men and women”. The EU, the US and the G77 agreed that there was wide consensus and room for streamlining in this section, and the EU expressed its disapproval over the Holy See’s consistent deletion of language on gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights, which was not opposed by any other delegation. Norway proposed gender sensitive indicators for monitoring, which was supported by Switzerland, the US and Canada, and opposed by the Holy See. The US opposed Iceland’s proposal that women in leadership positions be increased by 40% based on the specific percentage. The G77, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland continued to support women’s access to family planning services and express their active opposition to the Holy See’s deletion of this text.
In discussing corporate accounting and reporting in the Private Sector as proposed by the EU, the US opposed all paragraphs while Norway and Switzerland supported the concepts. In the EU proposed section on Correct Price Signals, the US, New Zealand and Canada bracketed or moved to delete all text, while Norway again supported some concepts. Australia’s proposed section on Mining was supported by the EU, Canada and Switzerland.
ACCELERATING AND MEASURING PROGRESS
The G77+China opened the discussion with an agreement to potentially endorse Sustainable Development Goals build from the MDGs, stressing the difficulty of negotiating this within the G77. Colombia endorsed the SDGs as focused on supporting complete implementation of the MGDs, and the inclusion of SDGs was supported by Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, the RoK, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Belarus and Mexico. Switzerland proposed a framework that included paragraphs on characteristics, process, potential concerns, themes, and measurement, which was supported by the RoK and New Zealand. The EU emphasized that SDGs should not replace a clear, action-oriented Section V, and the US bracketed the entire section stating that it was not ready to commit to the development of the SDGs or begin working on the process, as it felt the text was too specific and preemptive. Japan agreed that the themes should not be decided before Rio+20, and all delegates agreed on the importance of upholding the MDGs. Switzerland moved to delete most G77 framing paragraphs on the SDGs, while the RoK moved to add these to section I. Japan was hesitant to accept specific themes, and the EU moved to delete timeframes that it felt were preemptive.
The G77+China stressed the need for implementation by developed countries, and stressed that the entire outcome document hinges on the means of implementation. The US reserved on the majority of the text and made the overarching comments that it lacked clear intent and lost impact because of its length and excessive references. Norway, Japan and Canada suggested that ODAs would play an important role, but not the only role in financing. The US, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand opposed references to middle-income countries, and the EU, US, Switzerland and Norway moved to delete the majority of the section, with the EU citing the wording and inappropriate themes that should be addressed by UN bodies outside of Rio. The G77 responded that it was calling for financing outside of government aid, and called for more openness by other delegates as it did not consider deleting these paragraphs to be a way forward.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The G77 called on developed countries to make commitments in implementation that enhance access and remove barriers, and referred to the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building as a good document that the G77 countries could not implement without support. Canada and the US opposed the idea of removing all barriers, and Canada, the US, Japan and the EU opposed a G77 paragraph questioning the role of patent protection and international property rights. The US, Japan, Switzerland and the RoK opposed a Belarus proposal to establish a global voluntary fund to facilitate the transfer of green technologies. Switzerland and the EU called for increased methodology in integration and assessment of regulatory regimes, and Mexico, the RoK and Australia endorsed the establishment of a WIPO and UNEO work program for this process.
The US, Canada and Australia continued to oppose language on middle-income countries, and there was additional talk of how developing countries could implement the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building without additional support.
The G77 proposed language urging the WTO to allow for different treatment of markets that promote the green economy, which Norway, the US, the RoK, Australia, Canada and the EU opposed. The US made an overarching comment that it would be inappropriate for the document to propose trade policies inconsistent with the WTO, and moved to delete all text. The G77 stated that it could reserve on WTO text until stronger partnerships were made. The EU and Switzerland again moved to delete all references to middle-income countries.
In the final paragraph on a Compendium of Commitments, the US emphasized its commitment to a strong Compendium and proposed an alternate paragraph calling for the implementation of concrete policies, plans and programs to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction, with a monitoring and accountability framework and full stakeholder participation, which was supported by Canada, Mexico and Kazakhstan.