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The Plenary met briefly Tuesday morning to hear statements by ministers of Sudan and Niger and, in the afternoon, the Minister for Environment and Tourism from Burkina Faso.

SUDAN: Salah Eddine Karar, Minister for Energy, noted the difficulties in combatting desertification in the Sudan due to lack of financial resources. Over the past four years, Sudan has allocated US$10 million for projects related to desertification and food security and has undertaken a number of projects with the cooperation of FAO, IGADD and UNSO. He added that desertification is regional in nature and requires the cooperation of the international community.

NIGER: Billo Soumana, Minister of Hydrology and the Environment, said initiatives to combat desertification must be multifaceted, decentralized and involve women and children. Progress could be more significant if the efforts were not undertaken in a context of extreme poverty. He called for a regional fund to implement the Convention in Africa and said that emergency measures for Africa in the interim period are essential since desertification will not wait.

BURKINA FASO: Anatole Tiendrebeogo, Minister of Environment and Tourism, called for recognition of the socio-economic causes and consequences of desertification. The financial mechanisms and structures for implementation are still a source of concern. A convention without a financial mechanism will not be a strong one. He expressed concern about the interim period and expressed hope that the Secretariat can continue its work during this period.

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