Report of main proceedings for 18 November 1999
UNCCD COP 3
Delegates at CCD COP-3 continued their deliberations in the CST and COW. The CST considered traditional knowledge, the survey of networks and early warning systems, among other issues. The COW discussed Convention implementation, Secretariat assistance to Parties in preparing national reports and the relationship with other relevant conventions and bodies.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
PANEL DISCUSSION ON CCD IMPLEMENTATION IN AFRICA: On financing National Action Programmes (NAPs), MOZAMBIQUE called for critical review of partnership arrangements. She noted that the Global Mechanism must identify, mobilize and channel adequate financial resources to the local level. LESOTHO, with GERMANY, emphasized the problems of transparency and information flow between international and country level offices. MALAWI asked donor countries to elaborate on how CCD objectives are incorporated into aid strategies.
Regarding the participatory approach, UGANDA highlighted the need for public awareness, appropriate institutional structures and enabling environments. SUDAN sought guidance on how to involve the private sector while NORWAY, with RIOD AFRICA, underscored the role of women in the NAP process.
Regarding institutional arrangements for NAPs, CHAD discussed the role of legal frameworks, national coordinating bodies and inter-sectoral measures for CCD implementation. BENIN cited a lack of human resources and technical means to implement the active phase of their NAPs. ETHIOPIA stressed capacity building of coordinating bodies at all levels.
MALI outlined the challenges experienced in harmonizing national plans and policies. He stressed the need to coordinate between different national plans, policies and authorities to avoid duplication, insufficient resources and conflicting objectives. ALGERIA stressed the need to decentralize decision-making. With LIBYA, he highlighted addressing the difficulty of accessing donor funds. LIBERIA noted the difficulties that pressing social needs pose to CCD implementation. The US said NAPs should build on past initiatives and be harmonized in existing projects and plans.
MOROCCO discussed follow-up assessments of NAPs. He noted the importance of setting up operational methodologies of assessment and follow-up systems of indicators and benchmarks to enable decision-makers and international bodies assess progress.
ALGERIA emphasized simplifying indicators so they are accessible at the local level. The US said monitoring and evaluation systems are tools for managing results. Following the panel discussion, BENIN suggested drafting a resolution to, inter alia: establish a committee to review national reports; mobilize financial resources and technology transfer; disseminate information on how to access available resources; adopt better monitoring and evaluation systems; and develop effective partnership arrangements.
SUB-REGIONAL AND REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES (SRAPs and RAPs) IN AFRICA (ICCD/COP(3)/5/Add.5): CCD Executive Secretary Diallo said RAPs must be based on an approach defined by the countries themselves. EGYPT drew attention to the exclusion of certain countries that are not associated with particular sub-regional organizations from the implementation of sub-regional programmes. CILSS outlined its activities at the West African sub-regional level and said programmes must meet standards for, inter alia: sustainable management of shared water resources and shared flora and fauna; rational use of resources; technical and scientific cooperation; and drought relief. MAURITANIA and the ARAB MAGHREB UNION said shared resources are better managed at the sub-regional level. SADC presented its sub-regional activities including assisting with mobilization of resources to assist member States in elaborating their NAPs. IGAD noted cooperation in managing transboundary problems, institutional and economic policy issues, education and awareness, and implementing early warning systems.
CCD IMPLEMENTATION BY DEVELOPED COUNTRY PARTIES, UN ORGANIZATIONS, NGOS AND IGOS (ICCD/COP (3)/5/Add.1 and Add.3): The EU stressed considering drought and desertification as cross-cutting issues in all sectors. He highlighted measures to further improve support for desertification activities including donor coordination and through long-term partnerships with affected countries. The WORLD BANK underscored the role of CCD implementation in poverty alleviation. He reiterated the need for: integrated approaches to sustainable resource management, effective participatory structures for planning, and improved use of existing resources. UNDP noted its support for NAPs and said the next step is to mainstream NAPs to ensure that their outputs are incorporated in broad development programmes.
SECRETARIAT’S ASSISTANCE FOR NAP PREPARATION: Diallo reported on the Secretariat’s assistance in the preparation of developing country Parties’ national reports (ICCD/COP(3)/5/Add.4 and Inf.3), including organization of meetings and workshops in each sub-region to identify country needs in preparing NAPs and presentation of a NAP guide for African countries.
ADDITIONAL PROCEDURES AND MECHANISMS TO REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION: The COW deferred consideration of additional procedures and mechanisms to review the implementation of the Convention (ICCD/COP(3)/17) to informal consultations facilitated by Franklin Moore (US).
RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER RELEVANT CONVENTIONS AND INSTITUTIONS (ICCD/COP(3)/9 and ADD.1): Diallo noted ways of improving cooperation with other Rio conventions, including Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Wetlands Convention, CBD, FCCC, FAO and UNESCO. He added that the CCD also has arrangements with the Global Mechanism. The EU, with ICELAND, COLOMBIA and others, underlined the importance of working closely with other conventions. The EU also noted the need to assess the work done in these cooperative arrangements. ALGERIA inquired about the financial implications of the cooperative arrangements. NORWAY encouraged integrating information and reporting mechanisms between Rio conventions to enhance transparency. The G-77/CHINA noted that no one convention could coordinate the other, but they could benefit from each other through secretariat interactions. He also stressed synergies to mobilize funding for desertification. SENEGAL said synergies could not be made unless there was commitment by Parties and stressed starting by ensuring that the CCD and the Global Mechanism are able to assist affected countries. TUNISIA said that, to improve conservation of biodiversity, desertification and degradation must be addressed. The FCCC highlighted opportunities for cooperation with the CCD including capacity building activities and public awareness. GEF STAP outlined its activities on land degradation and affirmed its determination to strengthen collaboration with the CCD. Informal consultations facilitated by Franklin Moore (US) will consider this issue further.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF EXISTING NETWORKS: Katherine Waser (University of Arizona) informed delegates about the structure of the database created under the survey and evaluation of existing networks project and showed delegates how institutions can input information into it. Vice-Chair Smith presented an informal group’s revised proposals for a draft decision. The draft decision stresses the need to evaluate the network’s contribution to implementing the CCD and suggests ways forward including resolving outstanding Phase 1 issues and how to structure Phase 2.
EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS: Vice-Chair Valarezo summarized the report of an informal group on EWS. EGYPT said the terms of reference (TOR) for the proposed ad hoc panel were too general. He proposed that the panel elaborate on needed reviews related to data and information collection, management and dissemination, and propose drought preparedness measures. DENMARK, the NETHERLANDS, SENEGAL, SWEDEN and others stressed the need to link the proposed panel with CCD implementation, the development of NAPs and existing networks. FRANCE added that access to data should be considered and SWITZERLAND stressed identifying end users. With the support of DENMARK and others, JAPAN proposed replacing the reference to “model building and simulation” with “evaluation and prediction.” On the organization of the panel, BRAZIL expressed concern that a panel was being created without clear guidelines for its long-term work. CANADA said that the technical topics covered by the panel should emerge from the national reports found in document ICCD/COP(3)/CST/6. The US suggested indicating how experts from relevant institutions would “support” the panel. EGYPT said the Secretariat could write to institutions to invite experts to participate, at the institution’s expense, or to submit written materials. BRAZIL, DENMARK, FINLAND and the NETHERLANDS said they wanted to see a revised draft before deciding whether the panel should exist.
CST-4 PROGRAMME OF WORK: Delegates offered a range of options for consideration at CST-4. DENMARK, SWEDEN, the NETHERLANDS and FINLAND recalled the CST mandate to advise the COP on how to implement the CCD and suggested reviewing the national reports with this objective, focusing on traditional knowledge, benchmarks and indicators and EWS. SENEGAL said an examination of NAP implementation is premature. CST-2 Chair Jabbari noted that the CST-2 Bureau suggested water and soil management, which SENEGAL, SPAIN, the WMO and others supported. Other suggestions included linkages between the Rio conventions (CHILE, ARGENTINA and MALI) and economic indicators (BRAZIL). CANADA, supported by BELGIUM, suggested studying soil and water conservation as it relates to traditional knowledge and EWS. Delegates agreed to examine the “implications of traditional knowledge and early warning systems on sustainable soil and water management in dryland ecosystems.”
ROSTER OF EXPERTS: Delegates adopted the draft decision on this issue with NORWAY’s additions of an “education” category in the list of expert’s disciplines and the specification of “gender studies” under anthropology and sociology.
BENCHMARKS AND INDICATORS: Delegates adopted the draft decision on this issue with JAPAN’s call to encourage Parties to use numerical indicators enabling comparison of status in their national reports and the EC’s call for those in a position to provide assistance to mobilize “scientific” support for affected country Parties.
TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE: Delegates adopted, with some amendments, operative paragraphs calling for the Permanent Secretariat to develop a closer working relationship with related institutions and inviting Parties to include in their national reports the use of traditional knowledge. SENEGAL, SAUDI ARABIA, ITALY, SWITZERLAND and others supported the paragraph deciding to reappoint the Ad Hoc Panel. JAPAN, with CANADA, the NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM opposed reappointing the Panel and suggested calling for further efforts at national, sub-regional and regional levels based on the Panel’s work. EGYPT, supported by SUDAN, proposed that the panel examine economic and ecological benefits of traditional knowledge in addition to other activities specified in the decision. CST-2 Chair Jabbari noted that the CST-2 Bureau had endorsed the recommendation to reappoint the Panel. BELGIUM and FINLAND said the Bureau decision does not imply that the CST cannot discuss the issue. Delegates subsequently adopted text proposed by Japan, Egypt and the Netherlands whereby the Panel is appointed to develop “further appropriate criteria in line with future work on benchmarks and indicators, to be used by national focal points” to measure the reciprocity between traditional and modern knowledge, assess how mechanisms created by the CCD are incorporating traditional and local knowledge in their work programmes, and assess the economic, social and ecological benefits of traditional knowledge.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As CST participants came close to concluding their third session, many delegates said that they could see some progress although several remarked that the body is still searching for mechanisms to achieve its mandate. They commented that the substantive input to the meeting was higher than at CST-2 – several reports anticipated at CST-2 were only ready for CST-3 and a number of the documents were high quality. Questions of how the CST’s work can link with the national and local levels, how it can best advise the COP, and how to follow-through with its annual issue focus were three of the many questions raised in and out of CST-3 sessions and promise to feature as the CST matures.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: The Plenary is expected to devote the morning to a dialogue with NGOs and the afternoon to considering arrangements for the functioning of the Permanent Secretariat and reports from the COW and CST.
CST: The CST will complete its consideration of draft decisions during a morning meeting.