REVIEW OF THE PROGRESS OF WORK
Working Group I Vice-Chair Erwin Ortiz summarized the Group's progress. Informal discussions have begun on the Global Mechanism. Delegates have considered the designation of the permanent secretariat (PS) and requested additional information from the Secretary General (SG) and other institutions regarding the support they can give the PS. Discussions on the financial rules have been initiated but no agreement has been reached. Working Group II Chair Takao Shibata said the Group has: completed discussion on communication of information and review of implementation; negotiated the first 10 paragraphs of the Rules of Procedure and removed some brackets; and reached agreement on some of the draft terms of reference of the Committee on Science and Technology.
Greece, on behalf of the OECD countries, presented a proposal on how to re-organize the future work of the Committee so as to complete work within a maximum of seven working days. Mauritania, supported by Antigua and Barbuda, said that INCD is part of the UN and these proposals can only be considered within the overall framework of the UN General Assembly decisions.
INCD Chair Bo Kjell�n appreciated the OECD proposals but noted that results of multilateral negotiations are sometimes arrived at in a convoluted manner, thus efficiency, in the commercial sense, is not always possible. The Secretariat will consider ways to increase efficiency. He circulated a revised agenda for the week. The Committee also appointed Jos� Urrutia (Peru) as Rapporteur for the rest of this session.
INTERIM ACTION IN OTHER REGIONS
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION: Ecuador said it will use an analysis of desertification and drought as guidelines for its National Action Programme (NAP), which will be produced through a series of workshops. Support is required to complete, publish and implement the NAP. Bolivia has submitted its NAP, which addresses social, economic, and physical environmental factors, utilizes input from 100 entities, and is action-oriented. Mexico, the first Party to ratify the CCD, said resource allocation should be balanced toward all affected areas, without failing to recognize the gravity of problems in Africa.
Chile believes the main problems are socioeconomic rather than technological. Its NAP will be launched in June following a series of workshops. Chile is collaborating on development of indicators to evaluate desertification. The Dominican Republic said it must cooperate with Haiti to create an island-wide programme. Haiti said the concept of desertification is not well known, but work on the problem is occurring under general environmental protection efforts. Political constraints from historical dictatorship, the reform process and the recent change of government have hampered ratification.
Argentina said its NAP will be a process programme that continues into the future, based on a series of workshops beginning in March. He emphasized horizontal cooperation, including a programme with Uruguay associated with both CCD and Biodiversity Convention actions and efforts with the Valdivia Group.
UNEP's Franklin Cardy said the institution is working at integrating several initiatives including on water harvesting and desertification to demonstrate their linkages and their long-term interaction with climate.
NORTHERN MEDITERRANEAN REGION: Spain reported on the February regional meeting and said countries in the region would soon designate national focal points. A conference on research and development vis-�-vis desertification is planned for later this year. Germany expressed its interest in hosting the permanent secretariat in Bonn and said it intends to submit its candidacy at INCD-9.
Cameroon said central Africa lacks a subregional organization and suggested assigning the development of a subregional action programme to an intergovernmental organization in the region. Egypt proposed that delegations submit written national implementation reports well in advance of INCD sessions to enable the Secretariat to compile a report on actions and funds. He also recommended that the Secretariat commit funds to regional media awareness campaigns.
UNDP provided a written summary of UNSO activities in the Latin America and Caribbean region. WMO praised the UNDP offer to host the GM, and urged participation of WMO, FAO and CGIAR in the Committee on Science and Technology (CST). He reiterated the WMO's offer to serve as the institutional host of the PS, noting operational and institutional benefits of co-location with relevant organizations involved in CCD implementation and related environmental science and policy activities.
SITUATION AS REGARDS EXTRABUDGETARY FUNDS
The Executive Secretary said the UN budget has a ceiling of US$2.608 billion for the biennium 1996-97, which requires reductions throughout the system. The INCD Secretariat has to save approximately US$232,600. Recruitment for a vacant position must be frozen and US$160,000 reduced from activities.
The Netherlands is funding the negotiation process with approximately US$600,000. Modalities for trust funds need to be developed by the Secretariat. Canada urged the Secretariat to include details in its financial reporting. Various functions and Secretariat staff should be listed along with budget requirements. She proposed that the Secretariat should prepare a six-month work plan. Germany reminded delegates of the additional US$50,000 it committed to the special fund at INCD-7, and said the most important awareness campaign is when delegates inform home governments and the public. In response to Canada, the Executive Secretary said most funding must be channeled through the UN system and activities are usually co-financed with other donors. Maria Sevilla of the Secretariat said a six-month plan for the Secretariat exists. She suggested meeting with individual delegations to provide details on functions they wanted explained.
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