A Clearing House
for Information on the Convention to Combat Desertification
Presented by the
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HIGHLIGHTS OF CCD COP-1 THURSDAY, 2 OCTOBER 1997
Delegates to COP-1 elected the remaining members of the
Bureau during a short morning Plenary meeting. The
Committee of the Whole (COW) met briefly in the morning and
during the afternoon. The Committee on Science and
Technology (CST) deliberated during morning and afternoon
Delegates met in Plenary to elect Bureau members. As the
Eastern European Group has only one Party to the CCD, it
was decided that rather than leave a Bureau seat open, it
should be filled, for COP-1 only, by a representative from
another regional group. The seat will revert back to the
Eastern European Group at COP-2. Those elected as Vice-
President were: Harold Acemah (Uganda); Katinda Komando
(Tanzania); Mohammad Reza Jabbary (Iran); Abdul Hameed Al-
Monajed (Syria); Samvel Baloyan (Armenia); Maria Julia
Alsogaray (Argentina); Miguel Angel Araujo Padilla (El
Salvador); and Andri Bisaz (Switzerland). Jabbary will
also serve as Rapporteur. Ricardo Sánchez Sosa (Cuba) was
elected CST Chair.
Representatives of every regional group expressed
satisfaction with the composition of the Bureau. Benin, on
behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, said the current allocation
should not serve as a precedent for future Bureau
compositions. Equitable geographic distribution and
adequate representation must be assured in the future. He
said that, at COP-2, the African Group would like three
representatives on the Bureau. Belgium, on behalf of WEOG,
expressed regret over the lack of transparency in the
election process of the CST Chair and did not agree with
the proposal that three African representatives should
serve on the Bureau at COP-2. Iran, on behalf of the ASIAN
GROUP, highlighted the "gentleman's agreement" between the
regional groups that the Asian Group will chair the CST at
COP-2 and reserved the right to nominate two Vice-
Presidents to the Bureau at COP-2.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
GLOBAL MECHANISM FUNCTIONS: Two new sub-paragraphs
replacing sub-paragraph 4 (e) (function of mobilizing
resources), which was amended at the resumed INCD-10 and
informally negotiated at COP-1 by a contact group co-
chaired by Pierre-Marc Johnson (Canada) and John Ashe
(Antigua and Barbuda), were circulated in the morning. They
authorize the Global Mechanism (GM) to guide and direct
resources mobilized from bilateral and multilateral sources
to activities, programmes and projects in the field, and
its own resources mobilized through a trust fund and/or
similar arrangement for the functions only. JAPAN said
contributions to a trust fund and/or similar arrangement
are voluntary and urged that this be reflected in the COP-1
report. All text regarding the GM's functions was adopted.
GM ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS: The G-77 and CHINA
disagreed with the Chair's proposal to conduct
deliberations on the GM's administrative arrangements
through a contact group co-chaired by Johnson and Ashe
because the approach had not been discussed. A Chair's
draft decision was distributed in the afternoon. The G-77
and CHINA noted decision 10/18 that concerns the
institution to host the GM. He suggested that the COP adopt
two separate decisions to reflect the separate issues of
housing by IFAD or UNDP and collaboration between IFAD,
UNDP and the World Bank.
PROGRAMME AND BUDGET: Executive Secretary Diallo presented
the programme and budget, ICCD/COP(1)/3 and Add.1,
ICCD/COP(1)/4 and ICCD/COP(1)/2 (financial rules). He
outlined four important aspects: the transition to the new
funding arrangements in 1999; uncertainties that
constrained preparation of exact estimates; estimates are
based on envisioned needs of the programme of work not on
desired resources; and financing a secretariat of 43 staff.
He highlighted decisions in the financial rules that need
to be taken.
Chair El-Ghaouth supported the EU's suggestion to compare
the documents with those of the first year of the
Secretariats of the Conventions on biological diversity and
especially climate change. He warned that by COP-2, the 1
October deadline of informing governments of their
impending contributions will have passed. Discussion was
deferred to allow for regional consultations.
DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENT SECRETARIAT: COLLABORATION WITH
OTHER CONVENTIONS AND COMMITTEE ON THE REVIEW OF
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: Delegates deferred
discussion of the two draft decisions (A/AC.241/L.43 and
42) to allow the G-77 and China to consult on Switzerland's
proposed amendments on collaboration with other conventions
and informal consultations between the EU and the G-77 and
China on the draft decision to establish a committee to
review the implementation of the Convention.
Michelle Schwartz, on behalf of the NGOs at COP-1, urged
delegates to: establish the GM without delay; authorize the
GM to mobilize resources to aid the establishment of
national desertification funds; take steps to establish an
NGO trust fund; and ensure that a GM high-level advisory
committee includes NGOs.
SITUATION AS REGARDS EXTRABUDGETARY FUNDS: Diallo provided
supplementary information on the review of the situation as
regards extrabudgetary funds (ICCD/COP(1)/4 and Add.1). He
detailed activities undertaken in several regions, reviewed
CCD information dissemination and public awareness efforts
and discussed the Interim Secretariat's current staffing
situation. No discussion was forthcoming.
RULES OF PROCEDURE: The COW was informed that consultations
regarding the bracketed text in the Rules of Procedure, in
particular Rules 22 (election of officers) and 31 (election
of officers of subsidiary bodies), were not complete.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
CST Chair Ricardo Sanchez Sosa (Cuba) opened the
Committee's first meeting at 10:15 am. Delegates elected
Salah Tahoun (Egypt), Sun Honglie (China) and Linda Brown
(UK) as CST Vice-Chairs. Tahoun will also serve as
ROSTER OF INDEPENDENT EXPERTS: The Secretariat introduced
ICCD/COP(1)/6 and Add.1. He welcomed suggestions regarding
its format, list of disciplines, etc. The Gambia, on behalf
of the AFRICAN GROUP, TURKMENISTAN, the LEAGUE OF ARAB
STATES, ALGERIA, the GAMBIA, EGYPT, TUNISIA, KENYA, SENEGAL
and TANZANIA wanted an open-ended roster that is updated
regularly. CUBA, CHINA, KENYA, AUSTRIA, SENEGAL, SWEDEN,
ISRAEL and TANZANIA called for representation of social
scientists, including sociologists, lawyers and economists.
CUBA, CHINA, KENYA, AUSTRIA, SWEDEN and ISRAEL wanted more
women on the roster. The LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES suggested
inclusion of representatives from regional and subregional
organizations. TUNISIA and CHINA suggested putting the
roster on the Internet. KHAZAKSTAN, KENYA, MEXICO and SYRIA
expressed concern that their nominees were not included on
the list. ALGERIA said there was regional imbalance.
AUSTRIA and SWEDEN stressed the participation of NGOs.
ISRAEL said the Secretariat could also collect information
and add experts. EGYPT said a classification of disciplines
was required for a quality roster.
The FAO, UNEP, UNESCO, UNDP, the LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES, the
EC, the GEF, the WMO and IRAN announced their willingness
to contribute their expertise and ongoing desertification
activities to the CST.
The Secretariat pointed to the CST mandate in Article 24 of
the CCD and said it addressed all the issues delegates had
raised. Nominations cannot be included when they are not
received through diplomatic channels. Chair Sánchez
suggested that the CST propose that States continue
supplementing the roster.
BENCHMARKS AND INDICATORS: The Secretariat presented
ICCD/COP(1)/CST/3 and Add.1. He suggested that the CST
consider how to continue the work and said it might be
useful to establish an ad hoc group. SPAIN and BRAZIL noted
ongoing projects involving indicators. CUBA said indicators
need to be adaptable to local conditions. The GAMBIA said
they also should be uniform and applicable by all. CUBA and
FRANCE, among others, supported the proposal for an ad hoc
group. The Gambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP, said any group
should contain adequate representation from Africa. The UK
supported the open-ended consultative process and suggested
that the matrix of implementation indicators in
A/AC.241/Inf.4 be tested in the field. She said the
methodology for identifying impact indicators in
ICCD/COP(1)/CST/3/Add.1 may be too ambitious. SWEDEN
suggested adding five members from the roster to the open-
ended consultative group. GERMANY supported the open-ended
consultative process. The Chair said the only method to
conduct work between COPs is through ad hoc panels. CANADA
supported establishing a five-member ad hoc panel as well
as requesting the open-ended group to consult. An informal
group was to draft the group's terms of reference.
THE WORK OF OTHER BODIES SIMILAR TO THE CST's: The
Secretariat introduced document ICCD/COP(1)/CST/4, which is
based on 15 replies from INCD members.
The LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES noted that ACSAD is a regional,
not subregional, organization. TURKMENISTAN noted the
absence of institutes from Central Asia and suggested
including its Desert Research Institute. IGAD suggested
including ADALCO and the subregional Drought Monitoring
Centre in Nairobi. CILSS' activities cover the whole of
Central Africa and not only the CILSS region. IRAN
suggested including DESCONAP. CHINA suggested including the
China National Research and Development Center for
Combatting Desertification, the China National Training
Center for Combatting Desertification and the Lanzhou
Institute of Desert Research. SADC said DRFN is now the
focal point in the region and should replace SACCAR. BRAZIL
and ARGENTINA were concerned that there is no organization
for their region and wanted the Secretariat to set one up
SUDAN wanted criteria for including institutions. Chair
Sánchez said the list should remain open to make it
representative. EGYPT felt the list of institutions could
only be finished after completing the work on indicators.
The UK proposed that the Secretariat produce a consolidated
document for the next CST meeting. Chair Sá nchez suggested
a deadline by the first quarter of 1998. He also proposed
making the information available on the Internet.
SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF EXISTING NETWORKS: The Secretariat
introduced documents ICCD/COP/(1)/CST/2 and Add. 1.
ARGENTINA, BRAZIL and TURKMENISTAN noted that no proposals
from organizations in their regions were included. IRAN
said the proposal submitted by DESCONAP had been omitted.
The UK suggested that UNEP's proposed consortium with OSS
and other organizations could be enlarged to address those
regional concerns. MALI, BRAZIL, SWEDEN, SYRIA and GERMANY
supported the consortium proposal. The Chair suggested that
UNEP's proposal be accepted with the provision that UNEP
would submit an addendum, within a specified time, on the
consortium and the organizations to be consulted.
INVENTORY OF RESEARCH: The Secretariat introduced document
ICCD/COP(1)/CST/5. The Gambia, on behalf of the AFRICAN
GROUP, supported the document, especially the inventory of
traditional knowledge. He called for a defined distinction
of research priorities for the various levels and said the
Secretariat should focus on the international level.
Discussion on this item will continue Friday morning, 3
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary is expected to meet during the morning
to select the location of the Permanent Secretariat.
COW: The Committee of the Whole is expected to meet after
CST: The Committee on Science and Technology is expected to
meet during the morning and afternoon.