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PLENARY: The fifth session of the INCD will formally convene at 10:00 am at UNESCO Headquarters. The Committee will be welcomed to Paris by the Director-General of UNESCO and a representative from the French Ministry of the Environment. The first item on the Committee's agenda is the adoption of the agenda and organization of work, as contained in document A/AC.241/22. INCD Chair Amb. Bo Kjell‚n (Sweden) will also present an opening statement. The Plenary will also hear statements from the president of Cape Verde and ministers of a number of States, including Benin, Cameroon, Djibouti, Kazakhstan, Mali, Mongolia and Senegal.

After these opening statements, the Executive Secretary of the INCD, Hama Arba Diallo, will introduce the Secretariat documents, including: the final negotiating text of the Convention (A/AC.241/15/Rev.3), the final negotiating text of the Regional Implementation Annex for Africa (A/AC.241/19/ Rev.1) and the regional implementation annexes for Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Northern Mediterranean (A/AC.241/24, 25 and 26, respectively). The Committee may also consider a list of NGOs recommended for accreditation to the negotiating process (A/AC.241/9/Add.7).

The Plenary will reconvene at 3:00 pm to begin its consideration of the final negotiating text of the Convention. Discussion is expected to focus on the remaining bracketed portions of the text, however, if there is no objections from the rest of the Committee, new proposals will be entertained. If any parts of the text prove particularly contentious, it is possible that the Chair will set up smaller informal consultations or "informal-informal" meetings.

AD HOC NEGOTIATING GROUP: The Plenary is expected to establish an ad hoc negotiating group, under the chairmanship of Anne de Lattre (France). This group will focus its attention on the regional implementation annexes for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and, possibly the Northern Mediterranean. This group is expected to begin its work at 3:00 pm, in parallel to the Plenary.

IN THE CORRIDORS: At INCD-4 an NGO working group was established to draft a plan for worldwide NGO cooperation on the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification. A second draft of this plan will be the subject of discussion by NGOs during this session of the INCD. The plan proposes the establishment of an International NGO Network on Desertification that would raise awareness in both North and South on desertification and its effects, facilitate the sharing of information, and monitor implementation of the Convention.

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