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This article remains heavily bracketed after one reading. The Chair of Working Group I did not think that a second reading would serve any purpose as delegates remained divided along North-South lines. There are two options for the chapeau of paragraph 1. One version stresses the responsibility of the international community for providing financial resources and the other stresses the responsibility of the country concerned. There are eight sub-paragraphs that remain bracketed. They: ensure the provision of financing and incentives; [earmark 10% of bilateral and multilateral aid resources to support desertification and drought action programmes]; give priority to Africa; [give priority to least developed affected countries]; rationalize and strengthen resources already allocated for combatting desertification and the effects of drought; [give priority and attention][support] to activities likely to advance the implementation of action programmes; explore innovative methods of financing; provide for equitable burden sharing; ensure sustainability of projects; and allow flexibility in the provision of financial assistance.

Paragraph 2 calls on affected countries to allocate [a substantial][an appropriate][an adequate] portion of their own financial resources to achieving the objectives of this Convention. Outstanding issues include the establishment of national funds to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, and the portion of financial resources to be allocated.

Paragraph 3 contains numerous brackets around such issues as what countries will provide assistance, how will they provide this assistance, and what this assistance is comprised of.

Paragraph 4 is bracketed and states that developed country Parties reaffirm their commitment to reach the accepted UN target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA. Developing countries said that since this target was affirmed in Rio, the brackets should be removed. The EU wanted to retain the brackets as there was a proposal to incorporate this language into the preamble. The US commented that it has not endorsed the ODA target and would prefer to see this paragraph deleted.

Paragraph 5 had been in Article 21 and was moved here at the request of some delegations. It remains bracketed and asks developed country Parties to provide financial support to enhance capacity building, education and public awareness.

ARTICLE 23 -- FINANCIAL MECHANISMS: This article remains heavily bracketed. Paragraph 1 addresses the need to make use of all available financing mechanisms. Paragraph 2 recommends an inventory of sources and uses of funds. Iran suggested removing the brackets around the sentence that establishes a clearing house on the types and methods of assistance available. The US disagreed, but thought an inventory of aid flows would be useful. Paragraphs 3 and 4 address the establishment of a special fund. While the African countries support this, the developed countries prefer deleting these two paragraphs. Paragraph 5, as proposed by Egypt, says that the Conference of Parties shall approve a programme and budget document, which will be financed by the Parties on the basis of assessed contributions.


ARTICLE 24 -- CONFERENCE OF PARTIES: There was consensus on the need for the Conference of Parties (COP) and its basic functions. The only contentious issue was the suggestion by the African Group that some of these functions be carried out "at each ordinary session" or on a periodic basis. Most of the developed countries argued that it is for the COP to determine their schedule of work. The Africans want the Convention to specify timelines for certain COP functions, such as the revision of the three lists of countries, referred to in Article 1 (affected countries; affected countries needing assistance; and countries in a position to provide assistance), and to ensure that the implementation process starts soon after the first meeting of the COP.

Another unresolved issue relates to the conditions governing the convening of an extraordinary meeting: a six- versus three-month advance written request by a country Party, and a one-third versus a one-fourth minimum support by the Parties to convene the meeting. Another key debate was the possibility for such meetings to be convened by the Bureau, consisting of five country Parties. The Africans maintain that the Bureau should be authorized to convene an extraordinary meeting in an emergency situation. The Netherlands said in such a situation, it would still be possible to meet the two conditions stated above. Otherwise, the Bureau's authority should likewise be subjected to these same conditions. [Return to start of article]