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The lengthy 24-paragraph preamble was the subject of three days of negotiation. The Holy See, supported by Mexico and Brazil, proposed adding a new paragraph that affirms that human beings are at the center of combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. A number of paragraphs led to a long discussion on the need to acknowledge drought and the need to mitigate its effects. Initially, the developed countries did not want to expand the scope of the Convention to put drought on an equal footing with desertification, however, they later agreed to include these phrases.

The following is a summary of the paragraphs in the preamble that still contain brackets. Paragraph numbers refer to the revised negotiating text (A/AC.241/15/Rev.1).