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PrepCom IV Draws to A Quiet Close

Major International U.N. Conference Closes without Major Declaration or Incident.

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Plenary sessions at the Preparatory Committee Meetings for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (PrepCom IV), attended by ministerial-level representatives and delegates from 137 countries, failed to agree on a final action plan at the final sessions held in Bali on Friday, June 07, 2002. Claiming "considerable progress" in the absence of the much hoped for "Bali Declaration," United Nation's spokesman, Lowell Flanders admitted that while discussions reached an impasse in such areas as financial and international trade, substantial understandings were achieved in matters touching the world's ocean resources and good governance. However, any political declaration agreed between the participating nations will have to wait until the World Summit scheduled in Johannesburg, South Africa later this year.

Feared Large Public Protests Did Not Materialize

A highly visible police and military presence from the Indonesian authorities overwhelmed both in numbers and sheer force any elements that may have been planning to use the meetings to stage violent protests. The protests that did occur were small and well-organized, using banners and street theatre to make their statements.

Greenpeace Protest Frustrated

The Greenpeace vessel Artic Sunrise, berthing at Bali's Benoa harbor throughout the conference, was frustrated in its efforts to make a dramatic statement in the waters only hundreds of meters from the main conference hall. Plans to toss a large paper mache three-headed ogoh-ogoh monster into the sea to represent U.S., Canadian, and Australian intransigence on sustainable development issues came to naught. Although approved by local police, Greenpeace's plans were thwarted at the last minute when Balinese pacalang or local village security forces objected, claiming local tradition dictated that ogoh-ogoh's can only be thrown into the ocean on the eve of the Balinese New Year.

Conference Brings Good Business

According to the local conference organizers for Prepcom IV, the event brought numerous benefits to Bali's tourism industry. Although materializing substantially less than the 6,000-10,000 expected, those who did attend brought hotels in the Nusa Dua area to 90%-plus occupancy levels. Members of the travel consortium handling PrepCom IV, reported substantial bookings for pre and post conference tours, underlining the faith the delegates have in Bali's overall security situation.

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