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Third Conference of the Parties to the
Convention to Combat Desertification

Recife, Brazil; 15-26 November, 1999

Photos and RealAudio for Monday, 22 November

During the first day of the Special Session, delegates heard 36 statements, including statements from 17 Ministers and Deputy Ministers and the heads of GEF, UNEP and IFAD. In the afternoon, the Committee of the Whole met to discuss, inter alia, the proposal to add a new regional implementation annex to the Convention for Central and Eastern Europe. Bo Kjellén, Sweden, will facilitate consultations regarding the draft decision. The COW also considered draft decisions for medium-term strategy, COP-4 and COP-5 programme of work, and cooperation with other conventions. A Parliamentary Round Table also met throughout the day to discuss the role Parliamentarians can play in combating desertification at the national level.

The arrival of many familiar faces as the second week of COP-3 began buoyed some participants' hopes that the institutional memory and negotiating skills they bring will invigorate COP-3 deliberations. However, some still expect a long week of informal consultations, particularly on the programme and budget and procedures to review implementation. Some said that some programme and budget issues must await final decisions on other issues, such as implementation and the Global Mechanism, as well as resolution on contentious debates, including whther funds can be moved between budget item lines and the overall funding level for the Global Mechanism and Secretariat. Informal consultatiions on Convention implementation ahve reportedly focused on whether to create a new committee, with some compromise proposals suggesting alternatives for its composition among other things.

(See below to listen to speeches from the Special Segment)


Special Segment
In the morning Plenary, delegates heard speeches from Ministers and Deputy Ministers, as well as from Hama Arba Diallo, CCD Executive Secretary, José Sarney Filho, Brazilian Minister of the for the Environment and COP-3 President, Klaus Töpfer, UNEP Executive Director, Fawzi Al-Sultan, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO of the GEF
José Sarney Filho, COP-3 President and Brazilian Minister for the Environment

CCD Executive Secretary Hama Arba Diallo (FRENCH)

Executive Secretary Diallo noted that while previous Conference of the Parties addressed mechanisms for implementation, COP-3 is the first meeting where national reports on CCD implementation have been considered. He called on developed countries to intensify support to developing countries.

José Sarney Filho, Brazilian Minister of the for the Environment and COP-3 President (PORTUGEUSE)

COP-3 President Filho expressed Brazil's hope for a Mandate that includes a declaration of commitments for the next 10 years focusing on energy, water management, reforestation and afforestation, traditional knowledge, early warning systems, indicators to assess CCD implementation, and involves governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, the private sector and all other relevant actors.


GEF CEO Mohamed El-Ashry, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, and IFAD President Fawzi Al-Sultan

Message from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered by UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer (ENGLISH)

Kofi Annan's message said it would be a mistake to say the CCD concerns only developing countries, given its links to climate change, biodiversity, famine and social and political conflict. He expressed hope that COP-3 would strengthen the commitment to implement the CCD at all levels.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer (ENGLISH) (with the delegation of Benin

Executive Director Töpfer underlined the close linkages between desertification and poverty, and stressed that strategies to improve the environment should build on the wisdom of women and cooperation with all stakeholders. He highlighted UNEP's activities to combat desertification, including support to regional coordination units in Latin America, Africa and Asia and cooperation with the Global Mechanism.

Fawzi Al-Sultan, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (ENGLISH)

President Al Sultan recalled that no official funding was was provided for the Global Mechanism in 1998 and that, without consultation with IFAD, the initial requested budget of US$3 million for the Global Mechanism was set at only US$1 million. he said that if IFAD had aware the Global Mechanism had been in adequately funded, it would have withdrawn its offer to house th Mechanism. He urged the COP to ensure that the budget, is met to enable it to carry out its mandated function.

Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO of the Global Environment Facility (ENGLISH)

El-Ashry drew attention to the GEF's new operational programme for integrated ecosystem management and to a new partnership forged with its implementing agencies on land and water degradation with initial emphasis on Africa. He highlighted the linkages paper prepared by the GEF to be presented to the GEF council in December.

Kirsti Lintonen, Deputy Minister for Development, Finland speaking for the European Union (ENGLISH)

The EU said: the Global Mechanism should give priority to mobilizing existing resources; the search for synergies with other Rio Conventions should be a major objective of national and community-level implementation; and that, regarding implementation, delegates should not miss the opportunity to examine lessons learned by diverting too much conference time to less important issues.


Allison Drayton, Guyana for the G-77/China (ENGLISH)

The G-77/China noted that developing country Parties place a high priority on their responsibilities and expressed hope that the developed countries' failure to participate at senior Ministerial levels does not reflect a faltering of political will.

Mohamed Ould Sid'Ahmed Lekhal, Minister for Rural Development and Environment. Mauritania (FRENCH)

Mauritania supported adopting a medium-term strategy for the Secretariat giving priority to Africa. He also said the Global Mechanism should have three working groups for each affected region and should organize regular meetings in each subregion in Africa to elaborate the modalities of operation and facilitate access to funds.

Etienne Kayengeyenge, Director General, Ministry of Land Management and the Environment, Burundi, said the Global Mechanism should establish a communication system to report on the results of its activities.

Li Yucai, Vice-Minister for Forestry, China, proposed adopting a medium-term strategy by COP-4

Anatoliy Ovchinnikov, Uzbekistan, highlighted the worsening environmental situation in the Aral Sea region and supported elaborating a fifth Annex for Central and Eastern Europe. He said this would promote interregional cooperation in CCD implementation and reflect the needs of these countries..

Harry Thomson, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs, Malawi, proposed establishing a committee to review CCD implementation and urged Parties to increase support to the Global Mechanism.He also supported a fifth annex to the Convention

Samvel Baloyan, Armenia, called for a fifth annex for Central and Eastern Europe

Bo Kjellén, Sweden, speaks with Willem R.J. Van Cotthem, Belguim. Kjellén will facilitate consultations on the draft decision regarding an additional regional implementation annex for Central and Eastern Europe.

Interparliamentary Round Table
An interparliamentary Round Table met to discuss the role Parliamentarians can play in combating desertification at the national level. Building on COP-2's Round Table session, they reaffirmed their commitments to designing educational, scientific and cultural policies for CCD implementation.

CCD Executive Secretary Diallo, COP-3 President Filho, Antonio Fernando Cruz de Mello, Brazilian Ministry for the Environment, Jaime Trobo, Interparliamentary Union (IPU), and Michel Temer, President of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies and Chair of the Round Table session

Jaime Trobo, IPU, (left) noted the importance of parliamentary involvement in the CCD process through strengthening of institutional and legislative frameworks. Michel Temer highlighted the importance of public hearings, governmental commissions and national debate to address desertification problems.

The Negotiable Desert: Expert Knowledge in the Negotiations of the CCD

Elisabeth Corell, Wallenberg Fellow in Environment and Sustainability, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

"The Negotiable Desert: Expert Knowledge in the Negotiations of the CCD" This study analyzes the influence of both NGOs and scientific advisors on the negotiation process and establishes that while the scientific advisers were called upon to provide advice to the negotiation process and are generally regarded as experts, the NGOs also had expertise to provide. .

For further information or to order a copy of the dissertation, contact:
Elisabeth Corell, ecorell@mit.edu


Linkages desertification page
UNCCD Secretariat website (with official documents)
Introduction to the CCD
ENB coverage of the CCD COP-2
ENB Archives: volume 4 (desertification)
Desertification links

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� 1999, Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
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