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There were very few problems arising out of this section. The debate reflected many of the discussions on this same issue during UNCED. Three main issues emerged.

First, the North wanted to ensure that intellectual property rights must be observed in the process. On the other hand, the South wanted indigenous and traditional knowledge and technology property rights to be guaranteed. Third, the reference to "genetic engineering and technology" was highly challenged by the US. Only one paragraph remains entirely bracketed. It provides for the conduct of joint research programmes and ventures between suppliers and recipients of relevant technologies, between countries, and between the public and private sectors.

The problem of the protection of transferred technology may be resolved in accordance with the relevant provisions of Agenda 21. Likewise, the concerns of the South may be resolved, however, the protection of indigenous knowledge may prove difficult in practical terms given the very nature of its transmission, as well as financial dependence in developing the technology. The issue of genetic engineering and technology may not be easy to resolve if the provision for joint research is retained. Also, since the transfer and acquisition of knowledge is closely linked to financial commitments, the Committee may not resolve this last issue until the final session in Paris.


ARTICLE 21 -- CAPACITY BUILDING, EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: This article recognizes the significance of capacity building, including institution building, training and development of relevant indigenous capacities, in efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. The following sub-paragraphs still contain brackets:

Other sub-paragraphs that do not contain brackets promote: capacity building at the local level; fostering the use and dissemination of knowledge, expertise and practices of local people; adaptation of relevant environmentally-sound technology and traditional methods of agriculture and pastoralism; provision of appropriate training and technology in the use of alternative energy sources; innovative ways of promoting alternative livelihoods; training of appropriate decision-makers and managers; more effective operation of existing national institutions; and the use of exchange visitor programmes.

Paragraph 2 says that Parties shall conduct a review of available capacity and facilities at the local and national levels as well as the potential for strengthening them. The US suggested that only affected "developing" country Parties should be required to do this. Portugal and Uzbekistan disagreed. The last sentence, "The results of such a review shall be included in national action programmes," remains bracketed.

Paragraph 3 and its six sub-paragraphs list public awareness and educational activities. Although China suggested deleting reference to working with NGOs in this context, Sweden argued successfully for its retention. The activities in this paragraph include: awareness campaigns; access by the public to relevant information; development and exchange of educational and public awareness material; assessment of education needs in affected areas; and the development of interdisciplinary participatory programmes.

Paragraph 4 establishes either an international education and training centre or a network of regional training centres. Norway, the EU and the US suggested deleting this paragraph, since the establishment of such a body should be taken up at the first Conference of Parties. Several African delegates advocated a network of centres, rather than the establishment of a new one. Two versions of this paragraph remain bracketed. [Return to start of article]