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The Working Group convened in the afternoon to complete negotiations on the outstanding issues of the main Convention and to discuss the Latin American regional annex.

ARTICLE 1 -- USE OF TERMS: Paragraph 1: Benin proposed an additional category for "affected developing countries needing assistance" that makes specific reference to African affected countries. Brazil reiterated its opposition to Benin's proposal, arguing that all developing countries need assistance. The proposal was bracketed. Sub-paragraph (j) (other parties in a position to provide assistance), was opposed by Argentina, Brazil, Iran, China and Malaysia. Norway pointed out that Agenda 21 actually refers to this category of countries. The EU reiterated its support. It remains bracketed. On sub- paragraph (k), the Chair, supported by the EU, proposed deletion of the brackets and the contents "or sub-region." Benin objected and the brackets remain. The Chair proposed the deletion of paragraph 2, however, Benin requested its retention within brackets.

ARTICLE 18 -- INFORMATION COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND EXCHANGE: The Chair proposed deletion of the brackets around "as appropriate." No agreement was reached and the brackets remain.

ARTICLE 19 -- RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: The brackets were retained around the word "existing" in the sentence referring to institutions.

ARTICLE 20 -- TRANSFER, ACQUISITION, ADAPTATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY: China proposed the same language for paragraph 3 that was used in Article 19, paragraph 2. The EU opposed the proposal and the brackets remain.

ARTICLE 24 -- CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: The Chair's proposal to delete sub-paragraph (e) was accepted. Sub-paragraph (h) was deferred to the group dealing with financial mechanisms. Benin proposed deletion of the first two alternatives for paragraph 6 (bureau) and the third version was retained with brackets around the last phrase (adequate representation of African countries on the Bureau).

ARTICLE 25 -- [PERMANENT] SECRETARIAT: The matter of "Permanent" will be settled in Paris. Sub-paragraph (c) contained several brackets. Benin preferred "facilitate assistance to" over "advise," and requested particular reference to Africa, as well as the deletion of the last bracketed phrase "in accordance with Article 28." The EU preferred "advise." Both options remain bracketed.

In sub-paragraph (b), "submitted to it" was bracketed. Benin objected and the text remains in brackets. The Chair proposed new wording for paragraph 2 bis: "The COP shall make recommendations on the ways and means of implementing Article 20." Benin requested that the paragraph remain in its original form. Norway and the EU proposed its deletion, while Brazil called for its retention since it represents an important component of the "bottom-up" approach, and its deletion would not be fair to local populations.

ARTICLE 26 -- ADVISORY PANEL ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: No agreement was reached on the new text submitted by the al-Kassas Group. Brazil proposed that the subsidiary body should be referred to as a council or committee, following language in the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. Everything remains in brackets.

ARTICLE 27 -- NETWORKING OF EXISTING INSTITUTIONS, AGENCIES AND BODIES: The EU supported the al-Kassas proposal. Brazil and India proposed bracketing the words in the first line of paragraph 1, since the body to supervise the networking has not been determined.


Delegates praised the draft text for its brevity and clarity and supported it as a good basis for discussion. Specific concerns were raised by Northern governments regarding references in the Diagnosis section to: the linkages with economic trends; the mention of the global problem of desertification; and the links to biodiversity and climate change. Argentina said that the objections to the links with climate change and biodiversity were unfounded in light of recent GEF discussions, where these links were actually confirmed. He noted the various trade practices which distort international markets. Peru asked delegates to submit written comments to the Secretariat by 20 April to assist further drafting, which will take place from 3-5 May in Santiago, Chile.

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