Daily report for 3 October 1997


Delegates to COP-1 selected Bonn as the location for the Permanent Secretariat. They also heard statements in Plenary and met briefly in the Committee of the Whole. The Committee on Science and Technology met all day and completed its work at 6:30 pm.


LOCATION OF THE PERMANENT SECRETARIAT:The Plenary took a consensus decision after the first round of voting for the location of the Permanent Secretariat. Bonn received an absolute majority and will host the Permanent Secretariat. GERMANY noted the significance of Bonn's election on Germany's national holiday, celebrating its unification. Germany also thanked Canada and Spain for a bidding process that was competitive yet fair, and guided by a common interest in advancing the Convention. SPAIN and CANADA congratulated Bonn, thanked the CCD Secretariat and INCD Chair Bo Kjelln for their dedication during the bidding process, and said they will continue to support the Secretariat and Bonn.

Michael Zammit Cutajar, Executive Secretary of the FCCC, expressed his delight that the CCD and FCCC Secretariats would be neighbors. He suggested the two Secretariats explore opportunities for cooperation, particularly in capacity building, and streamline processes for gathering information. A pilot project involving several developing countries to produce national reports that meet the requirements of the three sister Conventions is ongoing.


DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENT SECRETARIAT AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR ITS FUNCTIONING: COLLABORATION WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS: The COW considered collaboration between the Permanent Secretariat and other Conventions (A/AC.241/L.43). The amendments were adopted. Preambular paragraph one now specifies the involvement of UNEP in collaboration between the Conventions, within the framework of the "programme for the implementation of Agenda 21 adopted by" UNGASS. The decision requests the head of the interim secretariat to strengthen collaboration with the other Conventions and thereby "...assist UNEP in its role of developing coherent interlinkages among relevant environmental conventions in cooperation with their respective conferences of the parties."

Senegal, Benin, on behalf of the African Group, and France noted that decisions for adoption were not available in all UN languages, which should change next week.

ORGANIZATION TO HOUSE THE GLOBAL MECHANISM AND AGREEMENT ON ITS MODALITIES: The Chair's draft decision addresses the co-hosting arrangements by IFAD, UNDP and the World Bank, and the offers from IFAD and UNDP. The Chair proposed informal consultations for Friday afternoon, but delegates could not procede because the process had not been agreed to in the COW. To formalize informal consultations, the COW convened and the Chair proposed the establishment of an open-ended Working Group to negotiate the text, after a first reading in the COW. The COW endorsed the approach and proposed co-chairs John Ashe and Pierre-Marc Johnson. The G-77 and China's proposal to split the decision to distinguish between the collaborative arrangements and housing and operational arrangements was adopted. The EU said these decisions should be cross-referenced. The Chair drew attention to a concern that the text does not take into consideration the involvement of NGOs, but noted paragraph 7 refers to players outside the host agency, including NGOs.

The G-77 and CHINA objected to informal consultations on Friday afternoon or over the weekend because the Group had not considered the matter and the revised draft decisions needed to be re-produced and translated into the official UN languages.


The first session of the CST adopted six recommendations.

TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE: Delegates continued their discussion of inventories of traditional knowledge. SWEDEN presented the outcome of an informal meeting held Wednesday. Participants asked how localized experience could be transferred within countries and between regions and continents. The meeting proposed involving NGOs in the process, developing an ad hoc panel on local knowledge and developing research appropriate for application at the local level.

Many delegates supported the UK's suggestion that each CST meeting select one topic for in-depth consideration as well as her proposal that the issue of the interface between traditional and modern knowledge could be the theme for next year. BELGIUM said the CST's meeting should begin on the first day of COP-2. The Chair suggested that presentations should be made by each regional group regarding traditional knowledge and noted that more time might be needed by the CST. EGYPT said materials on the presentations should be distributed in advance. The GAMBIA suggested that two presentations from Africa be made. ISRAEL noted that the Asian region is also diverse. ITALY and PORTUGAL drew attention to the Annex IV countries' experience. CANADA said there should also be a presentation regarding the translation of information across areas and suggested that an international symposium on the issue could precede COP-2. MOROCCO suggested that each country discuss the issue, after which regional seminars could prepare the presentations for CST. The Chair highlighted the bottom-up approach of Morocco's proposal and suggested that donations be encouraged to host an international symposium.

Delegates adopted a recommendation that encourages Parties and observers to collate information on traditional knowledge, including how it might be linked to modern technology. It requests the Secretariat to prepare a synthesis of the reports. The CST is to allocate one day to review the report, discuss the topic and reach conclusions and recommendations. Parties and observers are invited to make contributions on a sub-regional or regional basis during CST-2.

ROSTER OF EXPERTS: The draft recommends that the COP request Parties to supplement their submissions to the Secretariat to ensure representation of areas such as gender, relevant disciplines, NGOs and IGOs. Many developing country delegates were concerned with the updating and distribution of the roster because some lack access to the Internet. Other delegates were interested in diversity of disciplines.

The recommendation was adopted with the insertion of language indicating: that the roster should be available in electronic form and hard copies and be distributed through UN channels once a year; and that better representation of relevant disciplines, particularly anthropology and sociology, health sciences, legislation, microbiology and trade, should be ensured.

BENCHMARKS AND INDICATORS: Delegates recommended the number and composition of participants for the ad hoc panel that will oversee the continuation of the informal, open-ended process on benchmarks and indicators. The GAMBIA proposed twelve members. The UK, BRAZIL, CANADA, ARGENTINA and MEXICO preferred five. NIGERIA and others suggested ten. PORTUGAL, ITALY and SPAIN said all Annexes should be represented. CANADA said the terms of reference do not refer to implementation Annexes. ISRAEL stressed that the members be selected from the roster, not from the regional groups. SYRIA and SAUDI ARABIA said nominations should come from regional groups. Delegates agreed to ten members, all of whom should be nominated in accordance with the established rules for ad hoc panels: three from Africa, one from Eastern Europe and two each from other regions.

OTHER BODIES PERFORMING WORK SIMILAR TO THE CST:The recommendation invites Governments to submit information on additional organizations. It requests the Secretariat to produce a consolidated report to COP-2 and make the information available in electronic form and hard copy through UN channels.

SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF EXISTING NETWORKING: The draft recommends that the COP approve the UNEP proposal in ICCD/COP(1)/CST/2/Add.1. The terms of reference include: a proposed amount of US$414,000 plus 13 percent for programme support costs; the participation of other organizations and that the additional cost for such participation shall not exceed 25 percent of the total estimated costs; and that Governments, regional economic integration organizations and other interested organizations contribute to the Trust Fund.

ITALY, the UK, FRANCE, GERMANY, BELGIUM and SWEDEN, as potential funders, did not understand why there had to be additions of 13 and 25 percent to the UNEP proposal. The Secretariat said 13 percent was a standard cost on all contributions and that 25 percent was added to cover the additional costs of having other consortium members along with UNEP.

The GAMBIA and MOROCCO supported cooperation between the Observatoire Sahara Sahel and UNEP and said additional funding was necessary. UNEP said extra costs for some of the members in the consortium were included in the US$414,000. The reference to 25 percent was deleted. Delegates agreed with the EUROPEAN COMMISSION to "request Parties and signatories to the Convention and interested organizations, including the Global Environment Facility," to contribute to the Trust Fund.

WORK PROGRAMME OF THE CST: The NETHERLANDS proposed the inclusion of a discussion on National Action Plans. Chair Snchez said the CST could request Parties to submit their NAP comments by 15 March 1998. The agreed recommendation calls on the CST to address a priority issue at each session, the priority issue for CST-2 being traditional knowledge. The CST-2 agenda would include the other topics on the agenda for CST-1. Parties are invited to submit proposals for the CST-2 agenda.

OTHER ISSUES: Delegates approved the procedures for the establishment of ad hoc panels (decision 9/10, agenda item 7(j)) and establishment and maintenance of a roster of independent experts (decision 9/10, agenda item 7(k)), as contained in ICCD/COP(1)/2. SPAIN recalled its reservation on the composition of the CST Bureau.

The Chair said he believed the CST-1 provisions will ensure that CST-2 works on important issues. The UK thanked Chair Snchez and said the Committee could not have had a better Chairperson for its first meeting.


Many delegates were pleased with the outcome of the CST and the way the first session had addressed its organizational issues. Some were disappointed that it had not established itself as the "unique" scientific body they believed it could be. A number noted there are several unresolved questions and lessons for the next meeting. They said the COP must now consider how CST recommendations will fit into the proposed programme and budget. The timing and length of the meeting were also considered. Some suggested that the CST should meet before the COP or begin the first day of the COP and last longer.


COW: The COW is expected to meet in the afternoon to discuss the Programme and Budget. Informal consultations are expected during the morning on: the Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Convention; the date and venue of COP-2; institutional and operational arrangements of the Global Mechanism; and Rule 22 of the Rules of Procedure.

NGO FORUM: The NGO Forum is scheduled to meet all day.

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