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Report of main proceedings for 9 September 1996

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

Delegates continued to work in two working groups. Working Group I received anddiscussed a G-77 and China draft text on the Global Mechanism. Working Group IIconsidered procedures for communication of information and scientific and technicalcooperation. An informal group also met to discuss arrangements for the PermanentSecretariat.

WORKING GROUP I

GLOBAL MECHANISM: The G-77 and China distributed a document duringthe morning containing recommendations for changes in the Global Mechanism (GM) text.The Group adjourned so that regional groups could consult on the new text, which wastaken up during the afternoon.

France proposed that the introductory paragraph note that the GM, "in carrying out itsmandate under Article 21, paragraphs 4 and 5, should perform the following functionssubject to further guidance to be provided by the first COP on policies, operationalmodalities and activities." Several countries, including Senegal, Costa Rica, Tanzania,Lesotho, India, and Cuba, expressed concern with the proposal. France revised itsproposal to call on the GM to function under the authority and guidance of the COP "onpolicies, operational modalities and activities" in order to adhere to Article 21, paragraph7 of the CCD. Ghana stated that the change would restrict the GM from performing otherfunctions under Articles 7 and 20. Germany proposed beginning the French proposal with"including," which was agreed.

In paragraph 2 (analyzing and advising on request) delegates agreed to amend2(a) to promote the matching of available resources "including" assisting affecteddeveloping countries to find new and additional resources.

In 3 (facilitating cooperation and coordination), the G-77 and China proposedrenaming the title "promoting cooperation and coordination," but the OECD countries’proposal, derived from Article 21, paragraph 4 of the CCD, was accepted: "Promoteactions leading to cooperation and coordination." The suggestion to delete "whereappropriate" in 3(c) (encourage multiple source financing approaches) generateddebate. The OECD countries were concerned that the deletion would mandate the GM to"coordinate" co-financing arrangements, becoming an intermediary body. No agreementwas reached.

Following a series of suggestions from the G-77 and China and the OECD countries,3(d) (civil society participation) and the G-77 and China-proposed 3(h)(awareness raising) were merged. The text calls for action to increase awareness on andpromote participation in implementing the CCD by foundations, academic institutions,NGOs and other private sector entities, and to facilitate contacts with them to contributeto the mobilization of financial resources. The G-77 and China proposal for a new(3)(e)(v), calling for promotion of the full use and continued improvement offunding sources was added. In (3)(f) (information and advice on technology)delegates added the G-77 and China reference to "environmentally sound, economicallyviable and socially acceptable" technologies "relevant to combating desertification and/ormitigating the effects of drought." Text calling for the promotion of partnership buildingas it relates to the support of mobilization of financial resources was also added.

In 5 (reporting to the COP), 5(a) (nature of the reports to the COP)attracted debate regarding the need to refer to specific articles of the Convention.Delegates will negotiate informally.

WORKING GROUP II

PROCEDURES FOR COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION: Delegatesreferred to A/AC.241/49/Rev.1, Procedures for Communication of Information andReview of Implementation, during their morning discussion. Youssef Brahimi of theSahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) presented a conference room paper (CRP) onbenchmarks and indicators. The four sections of the text address the concept of indicators,implementation indicators, impact indicators and recommendations. Chair Shibata notedthat the report was related to paragraph 10 (format of national reports) of the texton procedures for communication.

Benin wanted to make the CRP a committee document. Germany, supported by Tunisiaand France, suggested establishing a working group on indicators. France announced aninternational programme on follow-up to provide information to North-South researchteams. Benin proposed that the informal group could work between the end of INCD-9and the beginning of INCD-10. He noted that the group that worked on the CRP (OSStogether with several African countries) could form the nucleus of the group, and addrepresentatives from other regions. Germany proposed that interested countries join thegroup. Senegal suggested coordinating the group’s work with work on indicators by otherintergovernmental groups. Tunisia suggested participation by actors at the subregionallevel and Benin called for participation of civil society and NGOs. China stressed theimportance of methodology for indicators. The UK suggested that the open-endedworking group should focus on implementation indicators prior to INCD-10, so thatparagraph 10 could be completed, and then on methodologies for impact indicators.

The Chair summarized the discussion, noting that the Secretariat should continue its workon indicators and involve other relevant countries and organizations, taking into accountregional and subregional characteristics, prior to INCD-10. Voluntary contributions wouldbe requested and no intergovernmental meeting would be convened. A Chair’s draftdecision based on this discussion was distributed at the end of the day.

The Group then considered paragraphs 10, 11, 19 and parts of 20. The brackets wereremoved and text was adopted without any substantive changes.

ORGANIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION:The Group completed consideration of A/AC.241/57, resolving all remaining text.

Procedures for the establishment of ad hoc panels: Delegates quicklyreached agreement on paragraphs 2-8. In paragraph 3 (composition ofpanels) language was amended by the G-77 and China to reflect "a multidisciplinaryapproach, an appropriate gender balance and broad and equitable geographicalrepresentation." In 4 (number of panel members) the G-77 and China suggestedthat the number of members on any ad hoc panel shall not exceed twelve. Languagealready included in paragraph 3 on appropriate gender balance was deleted inparagraph 5 (importance of local and traditional knowledge). Paragraph6 (the maximum number of panels) was amended by a combination of UK and G-77 and China proposals to read: "The COP shall determine the number of ad hocpanels which, in principle, shall not exceed three at any one time." The heading forparagraphs 7 and 8 was changed to "Reports of ad hoc panels." Paragraph8 (public access to panels’ work) was amended by the G-77 and China to read"Reports of ad hoc panels shall be in the public domain and, where appropriate, bedisseminated through different mechanisms to all interested parties."

Establishment and maintenance of a roster of independent experts: The Groupthen returned to consider paragraphs 2 and 7, which were adopted ad referendumlast week. The G-77 and China amended paragraph 2 (the diversity of experts) toinclude appropriate gender balance and broad and equitable geographical distribution.They also proposed deleting text stating that "each Party can nominate experts not onlyfrom its own country." The UK objected, emphasizing the need to make a distinctionbetween the government appointed experts on the Committee on Science and Technology(CST) and the independent experts on the roster. However, the phrase was deleted.Paragraph 5 (CST representatives may not be on the roster as well) was deletedand 7 (disciplines to be represented) was adopted.

The Working Group also considered the future work programme of the CST.Delegates agreed to propose that the Plenary should ask delegations and agencies tosubmit suggestions on the work programme by the end of October. The Secretariat wouldbe requested to compile these views and draft a report on the work programme of similarUN bodies, their work related to desertification and suggestions for collaboration, all ofwhich would be submitted to INCD-10.

The UK observed that the CST work program shall follow that of the COP, and that itshould include the implementation of Article 25 in the Convention (networking ofinstitutions, agencies and bodies). Niger noted that experts need time to become familiarwith the CCD. Canada warned that the Secretariat would not have time to make athorough report on similar bodies. In fact, according to the CCD this is a task for theCST.

DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENT SECRETARIAT

A two-hour informal evening session, which was proposed last Friday, met Mondayevening. The Chair re-presented his draft decision in the hope that it would movediscussion forward. Some delegations stated that they could only contribute on theunderstanding that the G-77 and China draft decision (A/AC.241/WG.I(VII)/L.1) wouldbe withdrawn and that the entire Chair’s draft would be bracketed. Some amendments tothe text were made regarding the nature of the document to be transmitted to COP-1, butdelegates hit a dead end when they got to the place in the text where the institution was tobe named. Some felt all the institutions that have bid should be mentioned, but otherswanted only one institution, stating that the arrangements of the CCD and Climate ChangeConvention should be similar because both have been under the aegis of the GeneralAssembly. No agreement was reached and the relevant institutions were not asked tomake contributions. Some delegates expressed frustration because they had hoped theorganizations that were interested in hosting the Permanent Secretariat could clarify theirbids. The Chair concluded that delegates should consult informally. The matter will betaken up in Working Group I later.

IN THE CORRIDORS

NGO participants were pleased that the G-77 and China draft proposal for the GMcontained many of the suggestions they presented in ECO last week. They alsowere encouraged by the fact that the conference room paper on benchmarks and indicatorswas generally supported and incorporated into the work of Working Group II onprocedures for the communication of information. Although a few NGOs have taken thefloor during negotiations, most report that they have worked through private contactswith delegates and, based on Monday’s developments on the GM and indicators texts,their work appears to have had an impact on INCD-9.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

WORKING GROUP I: The Working Group will continue its discussions inConference Room 1 on the Global Mechanism during the morning and will take upfinancial rules in the afternoon. Look for a document circulated by the G-77 and Chinacontaining new proposals for paragraph 5 of the GM text.

WORKING GROUP II: The Working Group is expected to meet during themorning and afternoon in Conference Room 2 to consider rules of procedure. Look for aChair’s draft decision, which is expected to call for suggestions on the work programmefor the CST during COP-1, and request the Secretariat to provide a compilation of theseviews, along with a report on similar work carried out in the UN system, at INCD-10.

MOBILIZING PARTNERS: Solidarit Canada Sahel and UNSO/UNDP willdescribe lessons learned from the first campaign on the CCD in Canada from 1:00 to 2:30pm in Conference Room A.

Participants

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

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