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There was agreement on all of the functions of the secretariat except two: facilitating assistance to affected developing country Parties; and providing advice on the desertification programme and monitoring activities. The issue that generated protracted debate was the requirement that the COP designate a secretariat at its first session. Delegates could not agree on whether the secretariat should be established as new institution or situated within an existing one, such as UNEP, WMO, FAO or the Global Monitoring Institutes. The Africans favor a new institution for two reasons: the lack of capacity of existing institutions; and the potential conflict between the governing body of the institution and the COP over desertification matters.