Daily report for 2 October 1997
UNCCD COP 1
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 meetings.
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 Snchez 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 Rapporteur.
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 Snchez 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 by COP-2.
SUDAN wanted criteria for including institutions. Chair Snchez 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 S 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 October.
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 the Plenary.
CST: The Committee on Science and Technology is expected to meet during the morning and afternoon.