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The Working Group completed its second reading of the text on Institutions and Procedures, as contained in documents A/AC.241/WG.II/CRP.5 and CRP.6, respectively.

ARTICLE 24 -- CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: Discussion resumed on sub-paragraph 2(k), however, delegates referred back to sub-paragraph 2(a). The final text reads: "[Periodically] [at each ordinary session,] review the implementation of the Convention and of the institutional arrangements on the basis of the evolution of scientific and technological knowledge in light of the experience gained in the national and international context."

Sub-paragraph 2(k) was amended as follows: "as appropriate, seek the cooperation of and utilize the services of, and information provided by, competent intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations." A new paragraph stressing the promotion and strengthening of the relationship with other relevant conventions was adopted.

Sub-paragraph 2(i), which provides for the COP to undertake other functions, now reads, "Exercise such other functions as may be necessary for the achievement of the objective of the Convention, as well as other functions assigned to it pursuant to the Convention."

Paragraph 3: Although the UK said this provision, which calls for the adoption of the rules of procedure, is similar to sub-paragraph 2(h), it was retained since both these provisions exist in the Biodiversity Convention.

Paragraph 4, which was heavily bracketed, was adopted. It provides for the interim secretariat "referred to in Article 38" to convene the first session of the COP. Also, "Unless the COP decides otherwise, the second, third and fourth ordinary sessions shall be held yearly and thereafter ordinary sessions shall take place every two years."

Paragraph 5 stipulates the requirements to convene an extraordinary meeting. The lengthy debate achieved no consensus on the preference for a six- over a three-month written request; and a one-third over one-fourth support by Parties on any such proposal. The Netherlands also objected to the Bureau, composed of five countries, being authorized to convene an extraordinary meeting, unless it was likewise subjected to either a one-third or one-fourth majority support of the Parties. The African Group pleaded for more time to consider these alternatives.

Paragraph 6 refers to the composition of the Bureau. Delegates are still not in agreement whether the composition by offices or geographical distribution should be mentioned.

Paragraph 7: Cameroon suggested that granting observer status to national NGOs to the COP may result in an influx of NGOs. He proposed that reference to national NGOs be deleted, but the US requested that the proposal be bracketed for consideration at the next session.

ARTICLE 25 -- [PERMANENT SECRETARIAT]: No consensus was reached on: the name of the institution; when its head is appointed; the location of the secretariat; whether a new secretariat will be set up or located within an existing one; and the secretariat's mandates to provide advice on programme monitoring activities at local, national, sub-regional and international levels as well as facilitating the compilation and communication of information. Consensus was achieved on the secretariat's administrative, report writing and coordination functions, and others that may be determined by the COP, with few amendments.

ARTICLE 26 -- [SUBSIDIARY BODY ON] SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL [ADVICE][ADVISORY] COUNCIL: Israel proposed the establishment of a network of existing institutions with one member to be designated as the core, and which would establish a scientific and technological council to advise the COP. This proposal was supported by several delegations. Greece, on behalf of the EU, requested that Articles 25-27 be retained in brackets, pending further review. This proposal was supported by several delegations and approved by the Chair. France noted that several of the subsidiary bodies proposed in Articles 25-27 are top-heavy and do not necessarily reflect national needs. Several African countries, as well as Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, affirmed the importance of the subsidiary bodies proposed in the text.


Paragraph 1 was revised to read: "Each Party shall communicate to the Conference of the Parties, through the Secretariat, reports on the measures which it has taken for the implementation of this Convention. The Conference of Parties shall determine the timetable for the submission of and the format of such reports for consideration at the ordinary session." Paragraph 2 was revised to read: "Affected country Parties [needing assistance] shall provide a detailed description of the action programmes adopted pursuant to the present Convention and of any relevant information on their implementation." A new paragraph was created out of the original paragraph 2 that reads: "Any group of affected country Parties [needing assistance] may make a joint communication on measures taken at the regional and/or sub-regional levels in the framework of action programmes." Paragraph 3, which governs other affected country Parties, was fully bracketed at the request of the US.

Paragraph 4, which deals with the reporting requirements of developed countries, was left in brackets. Paragraph 6 provides for the COP's role in arranging for support to countries needing assistance. The US had proposed that this function be delegated to the secretariat, in light of the infrequency of COP meetings. Several delegations reserved judgement on this proposal and the paragraph remains bracketed.

ARTICLE 29 -- MEASURES TO [RESOLVE QUESTIONS ON COMPLIANCE] PREVENT DISPUTES: The article was revised to read: "The Conference of Parties shall consider and adopt procedures and institutional mechanisms for the amicable solution of questions and differences of views that may arise [with regard to] compliance [with the Convention] on the implementation of the Convention."

The Chair deferred discussion of the remaining articles, including Article 17, until the fourth session.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT: The Rapporteur, Frederick G. Mallya, presented his report, as contained in Document A/AC.241/WG.II/L.2. The report is divided into three parts: organization of work; discussion of topics; and adoption of the report. Mallya read out several amendments that will be incorporated in the finalized version of the report. The report was adopted, as orally amended.

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