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The fifth session of the INCD was held in Paris from 6-17 June 1994. During this session, delegates worked through many long nights to negotiate the remaining bracketed text in the Convention and to finalize four regional implementation annexes for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Northern Mediterranean. They also adopted resolutions that recommended urgent action for Africa and interim arrangements for the period between adoption of the Convention and its entry into force, which could take at least two years. There were times during this session that delegates thought they would never reach agreement on the financial provisions of the Convention. After three all-night sessions capped by a closing Plenary that did not even begin until 4:00 am, the Convention was finally adopted.

The Convention, which is the first post-Rio sustainable development convention, is notable for its innovative approach in recognizing: the physical, biological and socio- economic aspects of desertification; the importance of redirecting technology transfer so that it is demand driven; and the involvement of local populations in the development of national action programmes. The core of the Convention is the development of national and subregional/ regional action programmes to combat desertification. These action programmes are to be developed by national governments in close cooperation with donors, local populations and NGOs.