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The Secretariat pointed out that the main issue was to assess what new institutions should be established under the Convention. Some delegations, such as the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan and the US, felt that the Conference of the Parties, and not the INCD, should decide on the establishment of subsidiary bodies. Others thought it was premature to discuss the question of institutions until agreement has been reached on the substantive components of the Convention.

Canada suggested that only those institutions be established that were absolutely necessary for the successful implementation of the Convention, in order to conserve limited financial resources. Canada, along with many other Northern countries, suggested making use of existing institutions established under other environmental conventions. This point represented clear divergence among the countries, with the African delegations urging that issue-specific instruments, such as the Desertification Convention, warrant their own institutions. Many African countries believed that despite the similarity of the goals with the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions, the nature, objectives and scope of the Desertification Convention were sufficiently different as to require an independent institution.