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ARTICLES 13 -- ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME AND 14 -- CONTENT OF THE REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME: There was considerable discussion regarding the need for a regional action programme. The EU could not accept the African text and reiterated its proposal that Article 14(a) of the Secretariat text replace Articles 13 and 14. Canada questioned what activities the regional action programme would undertake over and above what is done by existing regional organizations. Benin responded that many problems, such as river basin management, require efforts at the regional level. Cameroon added that more than one action programme may be required at the regional level. The Chair formed a contact group, coordinated by Australia, to negotiate these articles.

ARTICLE 15-- STRENGTHENING OF ACTIVITIES OF UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS IN THE FIELD OF DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT: A contact group was established to consolidate the proposals by Canada and the US, as well as the EU proposal for deletion of the article. Discussion focused primarily on the terminology regarding the strengthening of UN activities.

ARTICLE 16 -- FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Canada questioned the rationale of specifically referring to the African Development Bank. Benin proposed the reference to other financial institutions. The UK, supported by Japan, requested that the entire paragraph be placed in brackets, pending the outcome of the finance negotiations. The Chair put all proposals in brackets.

ARTICLE 17-- FINANCIAL MECHANISMS: The US rejected the language on the proposed regional Special Fund and requested brackets around the entire article. Discussion was suspended, pending the outcome of the finance negotiations.

ARTICLE 18 -- TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION: The EU, opposed by Benin, proposed the addition of "as far as possible" in the chapeau to qualify the undertaking to rationalize and strengthen technical assistance. In sub-paragraph (a) (cost of support measures), delegates agreed to new language: "costs of support...do not reduce the overall costs and the sums allocated to technical assistance." The EU proposed the deletion of the reference in sub-paragraph (a) to the ceiling for allowable overhead costs. The African countries suggested alternative wording: "such costs shall only represent a small proportion of the total costs of the project." A contact group was set up to complete negotiations.

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