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Report of main proceedings for 6 September 1996

9th Session of the the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee of the International Convention to Combat Desertification

The two working groups met during the morning to consider administrative arrangementsfor the Permanent Secretariat, financial rules and cooperation on science and technology.An afternoon Plenary considered NGO accreditation, status of ratification andextrabudgetary funds. A panel on Women and Desertification met during the afternoon.

PLENARY

INCD Chair Bo Kjelln noted the following nominations for changes to the Bureau:Vladimir Ovchinnikov (Uzbekistan) for Rapporteur; Alock Jain (India); and SamvelBaloyan (Armenia) for Vice-Chair of Working Group II. All were elected by acclamation.

The Chair asked if delegates agreed to recommend the additional NGOs for accreditation,based on A/AC.241/9/Add.12. After he noted that the room was in agreement, the USsaid its flag had been raised before agreement was reached to request that the issue betaken up at the next Plenary. The Chair said agreement had been reached, but that the UScould try to reopen the issue then.

Executive Secretary Diallo noted that the recent CCD ratification by the Central AfricanRepublic brings the total to forty-three. China, Ghana, Tanzania, Brazil, Turkministan,Cameroon, Ethiopia, Argentina and Mozambique reported on their own progress inratifying the CCD, which many anticipated would be completed this year.

Diallo then reviewed the situation as regards extrabudgetary funds (A/AC.241/59 andAdd.1), outlining various financial expenditures including: donor country contributionssince the INCD began; activities funded over the last biennium; developing countriesfunded at INCD-9; and the Secretariat’s staffing situation.

Greece, on behalf of the OECD group of countries, commended the quality of the Reportand requested the Secretariat to submit a work plan for each biennium and to clarifywhether fellowships and grants from the trust funds are recurrent expenditures. TheNetherlands has earmarked one million guilders (US$660,000) to fund technical andinstitutional support to affected countries. It was agreed the responses would be given atWednesday’s Plenary.

Kjelln said a formal decision is being drafted regarding Italy’s offer to host COP-1 inRome in 1997. On the decision regarding the location of the Permanent Secretariat, acontact group is being constituted comprising the five members of the main Bureau,Chairs of the working groups and representatives from the three bidding cities.

WORKING GROUP I

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS OF THE SECRETARIAT: The Chairdrew attention to the G-77 and China’s proposal at INCD-7 (A/AC.241/WG.1(VIII)/L.1)suggesting that the UN Secretariat house the Permanent Secretariat, and distributed aChair’s draft decision on the subject. He called for an exchange of views on the proposalsfrom UNEP, the UN Secretariat and WMO.

Greece, on behalf of the OECD group of countries, supported by the US and Ireland,noted that they still need additional information, preferably on Monday, regarding: actualproposals on how the G-77 and China proposal would work; whether or not the WMOoffer is linked to Switzerland; and what the partial support from UNDP entails. They alsonoted that UNEP’s Executive Director is expected to present a report on UNEP’s reformat a later date, hence the need to wait.

Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77 and China, stressed their wish to have the UNSecretariat as the host. Tunisia noted the urgent need to make a decision and urgeddelegates to bear in mind the need to re-unite the twin conventions on climate change anddesertification. The US stressed the importance of studying budgetary implications of eacharrangement.

The Chair, underscoring the need to reach a decision at INCD-9, suggested convening atwo-hour informal evening meeting during the second week to enable the Group to reacha decision during the formal session. Consequently, the draft decision the Chair hadpresented on the matter for delegates to fill in the name of the institution to house thePermanent Secretariat was not discussed.

FINANCIAL RULES: Delegates then considered the Draft Financial Rules of theCOP, its Subsidiary Bodies and the Permanent Secretariat (A/AC.241/45/Rev.1). The G-77 and China reserved the right to return to the text. Uganda urged progress on thedesignation of the institution. The Working Group broke to allow negotiating groups toconsult.

Delegates resumed consideration during an afternoon informal-informal. Most of theoutstanding text, except for the references to the institutional host, was informallyresolved. Language from the financial rules for the Climate Change Convention would beborrowed to: describe the working capital reserve for the General Fund (maintained at alevel to be determined from time to time by the COP by consensus); and resources(contributions made each year by Parties on the basis of an indicative scale, adopted byconsensus, and based on the UN scale of assessments). The text regarding decisionprocedures was left pending. Working Group I will review these suggestions Monday orTuesday.

WORKING GROUP II

COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: The Group continuedconsideration of organization of scientific and technological cooperation (A/AC.241/57),and addressed Procedures of the Establishment and Maintenance of a Roster ofIndependent Experts and Procedures for the Establishment of Ad Hoc Panels.

Roster of Independent Experts: Benin, on behalf of the G-77 and China, clarifiedthat “independent experts” are acting in their personal capacity, expressing theirindependent scientific views. The Chair clarified that the roster consists of independentexperts in contrast to the government-appointed members of the Committee on Scienceand Technology (CST).

Selection of experts to be included on the roster: The changes below wereagreed to ad referendum. Under paragraph 2 (nomination of experts) the G-77 andChina expressed concern that experts could be nominated “irrespective of theirnationality” and suggested a deletion. The Chair noted that governments could nominateexperts from countries other than their own. The paragraph, as amended by Kazakhstanand Canada, now reads “Each Party may nominate experts, not only from its own country,taking into account the need for a multidisciplinary approach, appropriate gender balanceas well as broad geographical representation. Nominees shall have expertise andexperience in fields relevant to combating desertification and mitigating the effects ofdrought.”

In paragraph 5 (CST representatives should not also be on the roster) the G-77 and Chinaexpressed concern that some countries would not have enough experts for both the CSTand the roster. It was agreed, as suggested by Uzbekistan, to delete the paragraph.

Review by the Conference of the Parties: Delegates agreed that “The Conferenceof the Parties shall review the roster regularly and at least at every other ordinary sessionof the Conference of the Parties, and formulate recommendations in order for the roster tobe consistent with the requirements provided for in paragraph 2 above.”

Maintenance and transparency: The heading was changed to “Maintenance of theroster.” The Chair reminded delegates of the contents of paragraph 6, noting thatnominations should be submitted to the Permanent Secretariat through diplomaticchannels.

The Group quickly adopted Section III (procedures for the establishment of ad hocpanels) and moved on to the substantive procedures for their establishment. There waslengthy debate on whether to limit the possibility of establishing ad hoc panelsduring the COP’s ordinary sessions. Delegates agreed that “The COP, in principle, in itsordinary session, may as necessary, appoint ad hoc panels....”

PANEL ON WOMEN AND DESERTIFICATION

A panel discussion on Women and Desertification met during the afternoon. Presentationswere made on women and access to credit, women, land tenure and ownership, and pilotprojects to inform rural women about CCD and assist them to prepare their input tonational action programmes.

The Environment Liaison Centre International representative, Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, gave an overview of the gender aspects provided in the CCD andhighlighted some fundamental gender issues. Gaudensia Kenyange, fromUganda’s Commercial Bank, highlighted the constraints for women to obtain creditthat should be addressed in implementing the CCD.

A representative from AFAD (Mali) elaborated on the issue of credit systemsbased on her experience, and stressed the need for training that is geared to the recurrentincome-generating activities undertaken by women. Venkat Ramnayya of Youth forAction (India) spoke about women and land degradation and stressed their lack ofinvolvement in agricultural decision-making. Successful networking has empowered localpopulations.

Allyce Kureiya from the Marsabit Development Programme (Kenya) maderecommendations on how to include women in desertification control including: startingincome generating activities; using focus groups; educating about environmentalmanagement; encouraging energy conservation; and supporting girls’ education. RicardMinougou of Association pour la Protection de la Nature (Burkina Faso) spokeabout the organization’s pilot project on women and desertification. Simplified versions ofthe Convention were produced and 90 women learned to make soap as a part of incomeproducing activities.

Belinda Bruce (Canada) stated that the Farm Radio Network uses radios toexchange information regarding techniques aimed at increasing food supplies andimproving health and nutrition at the grassroots levels. Elizabeth Chiedza Gwaunzadiscussed the Zimbabwean case of land tenure, where women often have insecureaccess to land. If women are guaranteed access to land they will have more motivation toresist and respond to environmental degradation. Research such as gender studies on landare needed, and the notions of gender and access should be challenged.

IN THE CORRIDORS

The overall impression of many INCD-9 delegates is that slow but steady progress hasbeen made here in New York. The progress made to date, the rapid pace of incomingratifications, and the additional negotiating time offered by INCD-10 (6-16 January 1997)have lead many to believe that an INCD-11 is unnecessary. In addition, some participantshave recalled delegates' proposals to INCD-7 and 8 questioning the need for two-weeksessions and have suggested that INCD-10 meet for one week. Some add that time shouldbe allowed for regional groups to meet immediately prior to the session to prepare theirpositions.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUPS: Working Groups I and II are expected to meet at 10:00am and 3:00 pm in Conference Rooms 1 and 2, respectively. The topic of discussion willbe decided after consultations in order to avoid simultaneous consideration of rules ofprocedure and financial issues.

FRANCOPHONE CONSULTATION: The French speaking countries will meetat 6:30 pm at the ACCT Observation Bureau, 801 2nd Avenue, Suite 605.

CLIMATE PREDICTION FOR AFRICA: Collaboration between the U.S.National Weather Services’ Climate Prediction Center and organizations in Africa will bediscussed in Conference Room 7 from 1:45 to 2:45 pm.

SYMPOSIUM ON COMBATTING DESERTIFICATION: A meeting on thesymposium on “Connecting Science with Community Action” will take place inConference Room 2 at 1:15 to 2:15 pm.

ELCI AND UNSO: The booklet “Initiating NDFs, Suggested Guidelines forNGOs” will be presented in Conference Room A at 2:00 pm.

Participants

National governments
US
Negotiating blocs
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions
NGOs
Youth

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