ENB:04:11 [Next] . [Previous] . [Contents]

I. Format of the Convention: The format of the Convention generated a lot of comments. Benin said that the Convention could follow the general format of other international agreements, including Lom‚ IV and the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. Benin also said that the framework should emphasize the universality of the problem while giving special consideration to the African situation. Switzerland said that this should be a short framework convention containing general global principles. He added that the Convention should be supplemented with a series of regional instruments, since actions must be adjusted to regional needs and it is inappropriate to require all countries to make the same commitments.

There was a difference of opinion on the question of regional annexes or protocols. Some countries, such as Poland, Chile, Benin, Senegal and Finland, said that the Convention should contain annexes on regional and national programmes that are negotiated alongside the main Convention. Canada said that the INCD should seek to develop a framework convention with provisions that apply to most countries. Norway and Canada said that region-specific provisions should be placed in annexes to be negotiated as part of the process. The US also said that work on the framework convention and annexes should proceed at the same pace and in coordination with each other. Mexico said that there is no time for a gradual region-by-region approach and that topics, themes or sectors should be contained in annexes. Malaysia did not think the INCD should initiate parallel negotiations on protocols, as these should be left to the Conference of Parties.

II. Introductory Elements: Many delegates agreed that Chapter 12 of Agenda 21 should serve as the point of departure for the Convention. Cuba mentioned the need to incorporate some of the other Agenda 21 chapters into the Convention, specifically the chapters on agriculture and freshwater resources.

The WMO, UNSO, Malaysia, Guinea, Austria, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, IGADD, Bolivia and the NGOs all proposed that the Convention address causes of desertification emanating from poverty, external debt, trade, commodity pricing and other external economic factors. The UK, Australia and Portugal, however, stated that issues such as trade and debt should be avoided, as they are addressed in other fora. [Return to start of article]