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The Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to elaborate a convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa (INCD), Ambassador Bo Kjell‚n of Sweden, opened the first session of the Committee at 3:00 pm. The Committee quickly adopted the agenda and organization of work (A/AC.241/5), that had been drafted at the organizational meeting in January. Kjell‚n then proceeded to review the programme of work for this session in more detail. On Agenda Item 2, the election of officers, he mentioned that the Committee still needed to elect a Rapporteur and that three positions on the bureaus of the working group still must be filled. With regard to the working groups, he proposed that the bureaus consist of a Chair and two Vice-Chairs and that one of the Vice-Chairs will serve as Rapporteur. Kjell‚n announced that the elections for these positions will be held on Wednesday or Thursday, 26 or 27 May.

Kjell‚n also made the following amendments to the annex to document 241/5. The accreditation of NGOs will not be addressed until Wednesday to give delegates 24 hours to review the list, as called for in the rules of procedure. The Committee will not meet on Saturday, but there is the possibility of evening sessions on both Thursdays. Kjell‚n also announced that the Bureau will meet every afternoon at 6:00 pm in the Chair's office and that the Secretariat will hold inter-agency meetings every morning.

The next item on the agenda was the election of officers. Slovakia, on behalf of the Eastern European Group, announced that the group was nominating Dr. Serguei N. Morozov from the Russian Federation for the position of Rapporteur. Dr. Morozov was elected by acclamation and, thus, completed the INCD Bureau.

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