of Europe, to prepare a legal instrument on rural development, invite the European Union and the competent organisations and institutions to participate in the work of this committee of experts, and present the draft text to the Assembly for an opinion before its final adoption.
At the 4th Conference of Mediterranean Regions on 5 July, the Standing Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe recommended, inter alia, that the Committee of Ministers adopt a coherent Mediterranean policy and develop the Mediterranean dimension of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, established in Lisbon, by strengthening the TRANSMED information centre. The Parliamentary Assembly was invited to cooperate with the Congress in organising the 5th Conference of Mediterranean Regions, which was to be held in Montpellier in 1998. The Congress recommended that member states promote transfrontier and inter-authority cooperation, especially in population and migration matters and in the combating of intolerance, xenophobia, and racism, as well as in those concerning the preservation and management of water and forestry resources.
The CSD held its fourth session in New York, 18 April through 3 May, during which the CSD established two Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Groups (see through document E/CN.17/ 1996/38 and E/ 1996/28, Supplement No. 8 of the Official Records, 1996, of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)). The first one, on Sectoral Issues, met 26 February through 2 March, to consider the two sectoral themes on the agenda of the CSD for 1996: protection of the oceans, seas, and coastal areas (Ch. 17 of Agenda 21) and protection of the atmosphere (Ch. 9). The second Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group, met 4-8 March to discuss finance and production and consumption patterns. Similar to its second and third sessions, the CSD held a High-Level Segment, 1-2 May, during which statements were heard from over 50 ministers and other high-level officials.
During its fourth session, the CSD reviewed the following cross-sectoral issues: trade, environment, and sustainable development (Ch. 2 of Agenda 21); combatting poverty (Ch. 3); demographic dynamics and sustainability (Ch. 5); integrating environment and development in decisionmaking (Ch. 8);