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Responsibility for negotiating the Convention was given to the two working groups. Working Group I, chaired by Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria), was responsible for the sections of the main Convention on: the preamble; principles; objectives; structure and nature of commitments; national action programmes; regional action programmes; capacity building, education and public awareness; financial resources and mechanisms; and coordination and cooperation. At the conclusion of the session, Working Group I had reached consensus on most of the articles under its mandate. The substantive problems that remain include the inclusion of an article on principles in the text, all matters related to financial resources and mechanisms, and the commitments of developed country Parties [and other Parties in a position to provide assistance].

Working Group II, chaired by Anne de Lattre (France), was responsible for the sections on: definitions, technology transfer and cooperation; research and development; information collection, analysis and exchange; institutions; procedures; final clauses; and the regional instruments. At the conclusion of the session, Working Group II had reached consensus on most issues of the main Convention except: categories of countries; subsidiary bodies; reservations or exceptions open to the Parties; and the obligations of a withdrawing Party. In response to the polarized positions of the different regional groups at the onset of the negotiations, the Chair relied on informal contact groups to resolve the most contentious issues. Four contact groups were established during the course of the negotiations. Prof. al-Kassas of Egypt chaired the groups dealing with the use of terms (Article 1) and institutions (Part IV). Jean-Dieudonne Ntsama of Cameroon chaired the group covering: information collection, analysis and exchange; research and development; and transfer, acquisition, adaptation and development of technology.

To facilitate greater understanding of the evolving Convention, the following is a summary of the status of each article. The article numbers are consistent with document A/AC.241/15/Rev.3, issued informally at the conclusion of the fourth session.


PREAMBLE: At the beginning of this session, eleven of the paragraphs in the Preamble contained brackets. However, by the conclusion, only four paragraphs were still under negotiation and two of these were new ones. Consensus was reached on paragraphs that address:

The two original paragraphs remaining in brackets address: the international community's commitment to attain the UN target of 0.7% of GNP to Official Development Assistance (ODA), and the contribution that combatting desertification can make to achieve the objectives of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. The first new paragraph, which was proposed by the Russian Federation, acknowledges that special attention should be given to problems of combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought in countries with economies in transition. The second new paragraph, which was proposed by the G-77 and China, recognizes that special provisions are required to meet the needs of developing countries, including new and additional financial resources and appropriate access to relevant technologies. Since these two paragraphs deal with financial questions, they will be addressed once the articles on financial resources and mechanisms are resolved. [Return to start of article]