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Daily report for 3 December 1998


The COW discussed arrangements for the Permanent Secretariat and the programme and budget during the morning and dialogued with NGOs on traditional knowledge during the afternoon. The CST met all day and completed discussing all but the draft decision on traditional knowledge.


PERMANENT SECRETARIAT AND PROGRAMME AND BUDGET: The COW discussed the designation of a Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for its functioning (ICCD/COP(2)/9 and ICCD/COP(2)/8, Corr.1, Add.1 and Add.2). Executive Secretary Diallo noted that, in December 1997, the UN General Assembly approved the institutional linkage between the CCD Secretariat and the UN. He also noted COP-1 Decision 3/COP.1, which mirrors UNFCCC arrangements, accepting the offer for the UN to provide the administrative and support arrangements for the Convention Secretariat during the period of this linkage. The COW supported these arrangements.

Diallo and GERMANY noted that the headquarters agreement signed with the German government in August 1998 has identical terms to the UNFCCC Secretariat's. Diallo said ratification by the German parliament should take place in early 1999, but since the necessary minimum conditions had been achieved he invited the COW to recommend adoption by the COP. GERMANY said it had forwarded DM 2 million to the Secretariat as part of the agreement and promised to pay its contribution to the Secretariat's core budget in January 1999. Delegates differed on whether the COP should adopt the agreement prior to Germany's ratification. The COW agreed that the Secretariat and Germany should meet informally with interested parties and provide requested documentation and discuss outstanding legal issues.

The COW considered the Secretariat's medium-term strategy (ICCD/COP(2)/6). Diallo said the document was the Secretariat's proactive attempt to synergize conventions. The G-77/CHINA supported the Secretariat's strategy and proposals for future action. The EU and JUSCANZ did not support the document as a basis for further discussion. Both stressed that the Secretariat is intended to play a facilitating and coordinating role for Parties, however the document suggested an operational role, which JUSCANZ said would conflict with the roles of the GM, CST and specialized agencies involved in combating desertification.

Diallo introduced documents ICCD/COP (2)/2 and 3 on the programme and budget. He said expenditure of the supplementary and special funds for 1999 suggest a reduction of 10% of the proposals outlined at COP-1. 82% of the supplementary fund would be concentrated on facilitation, external relations and public information programmes. The special fund would support the participation of affected countries at the COP. The G-77/CHINA said the budget should account for new Parties and therefore be increased. The EU expressed concern about funding coordination units from the core budgets and supporting Rio Convention coordination from the supplementary funds, and said the finances set out in COP-1 will be satisfactory. JUSCANZ called for a distinction between the different budgets and listed the activities under the different headings. The AFRICAN GROUP and GRULAC underscored the role of regional coordination units in monitoring activities and progress in the regions and sub- regions. The Secretariat, in response to EU queries, noted the availability of an updated scale of contributions and said 20 of the 32 core staff will relocate to Bonn and 15% of the budget goes into the cash reserve. She noted the experimental basis of the financing from the UN Secretariat due to concerns expressed over the possible use of the funds to offset the contributions of member States and said support to the regional level (paragraph 24(b) and 30 (c)) was drawn from the supplementary funds and not the core budget. Regarding the carry-over of funds, the Secretariat clarified that this concerned voluntary funds and not the core budget. The EU proposed continuing discussions in a smaller group. The Chair requested John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) to chair a contact group on budgetary and financial matters.

DIALOGUE WITH NGOS: A number of NGOs, civil society groups, local organizations and women's groups presented their activities and made recommendations for consideration by the COW. The presentations were based on five sub-themes related to traditional knowledge (TK): national/action plans; partnership; communication and research; appropriate technologies; and the role of women. Delegates underscored the importance of the forum in facilitating progress and proposed a similar forum for the CST.

On national actions and plans, speakers noted the importance of considering sustainable livelihood activities in the NAP preparation, the need to recognize small producer organizations on the same basis as NGOs, the establishment of effective funding and co-management of resources, and the role of NGOs in implementing NAPs. On partnership building, participants stressed the need for: new partnerships on information and dissemination of TK; the establishment and enhancement of partnerships between NGOs, civil society, women's groups and national organizations; and the modalities of the partnerships in the context of NAPs.

Interventions on communication and research underlined the inherence of communication and participatory approaches and proposed including institutional capacity building in national programmes. The role of religion and religious institutions in facilitating participation was noted.

On appropriate technologies, speakers stressed the need for: incorporating TK systems in CCD implementation; informed action based on TK and appropriate technology; and a record of traditional practices to facilitate appropriately evaluated solutions.

Discussants applauded the role women play in arid areas, not only in the guidance of culture but also in ensuring the stability of complex systems. They noted the urgency to protect women's know-how and address desertification, which threatens the resources on which their activities are based, and stressed the role of NGOs as facilitators of access by women at all levels.


TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE: EGYPT presented a proposal for a panel that would assess the socio-economic impact of TK, facilitate information exchange, and demonstrate innovation and integration of TK and modern science. The UK proposed that a panel explore how to integrate the work of the CST with similar work in other conventions. CUBA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, proposed that a panel explore funding of desertification projects through the Global Environment Facility. Discussion on the CST Chair's draft decision on TK, which incorporates the Egyptian and UK proposals, will take place Friday.

FUTURE WORK PROGRAMME OF THE CST: On the future work programme, the UK, supported by many, proposed selecting one institutional and one substantive/technical issue. She said institutional issues could include training, research and transfer of technology. Substantive aspects could include dryland management, drought early warning systems and water and soil management. Additional proposals included: gender issues (NORWAY, the NETHERLANDS and SWITZERLAND); incorporation of water and land management into national policies (MAURITANIA); water collection technology (SAUDI ARABIA); desertification mapping technologies (JAPAN); drought mitigation efforts and land tenure (TUNISIA); and capacity building (UNEP).

Based on this discussion, the CST Chair's draft decision identified the priority issue, noted that the CST-3 agenda would include topics on the CST-2 agenda, and requested the Secretariat to facilitate two intersessional extended Bureau meetings. The Chair proposed that CST-3 consider early warning systems. The WMO, the UK, CUBA for the G-77/CHINA, MALAWI and SUDAN supported the proposal. EGYPT said early warning systems would entail too technical a discussion for CST delegates and proposed food security. BRAZIL, the UK, SAUDI ARABIA and the NETHERLANDS noted the importance of soil and water management, with the Netherlands highlighting synergies with the CSD work programme. The UK and BELGIUM suggested adding a half-day discussion on a second theme. FRANCE expressed concern about the time required to produce quality decisions on two issues. The Chair concluded that "early warning systems in their broadest sense" would be the priority issue. NORWAY expressed hope that the broadest sense would include gender issues.

The UK and GERMANY expressed concern about the cost of two extended Bureau meetings and proposed one meeting of the Bureau only. SUDAN proposed "at least one" meeting. Delegates accepted CUBA's proposal that the meeting focus especially on planning for CST-3.

ROSTER OF INDEPENDENT EXPERTS: The draft decision on the roster of independent experts invites Parties to supplement their submissions for the roster to ensure that under- represented areas are addressed, in particular in terms of gender representation, better representation of relevant disciplines, and increasing representation of experts from NGOs and IOs. The draft also requests the Secretariat to make available an updated roster in electronic and hard copy formats. EGYPT and NIUE specified that the roster contain experts' complete addresses, including e-mail. Delegates accepted MALAWI's call for balance in terms of gender "equity" rather than "representation."

OTHER BODIES PERFORMING WORK SIMILAR TO THAT ENVISAGED FOR THE CST: The draft decision invites governments to update the information contained in Secretariat reports on this subject. The original draft also requested the Secretariat to "pursue" potential areas of cooperation between the CCD and other conventions and organizations. The UK supported a more precise definition of what the Secretariat would do. Delegates requested the Secretariat to "update the information on" potential areas of cooperation.

SURVEY AND EVALUATION OF EXISTING NETWORKS, INSTITUTIONS, AGENCIES AND BODIES: Delegates adopted the draft decision on this issue with grammatical amendments. It requests UNEP to expedite the survey and evaluation in conformity with its COP-1 mandate and to submit a report to COP-3. It also requests UNEP to submit to CST-3 a methodology for carrying out the second and third phases of the survey and evaluation.

BENCHMARKS AND INDICATORS: The draft decision on this issue: requests the COP to endorse the methodological framework for impact indicators proposed by the panel, pending their testing and validation; invites governments to initiate testing the impact indicators; and encourages countries in a position to provide assistance to initiate testing. Delegates revised a remaining operative paragraph to call for representatives of the Convention Annex regions to present to CST-4 their experience in applying impact indicators to permit evaluation and refinement of the methodology. GERMANY added text asking those who have tested indicators to distribute their results to the CCD Secretariat.


Some CST delegates were pleased with Wednesday’s discussion of traditional knowledge up to the point when talk turned to creating a panel. They noted that, although delegates had begun talking about the bottom-up issues, their solutions remained top-down. Some looked to Thurday's NGO forum on the same issue for new ideas on implementation. One said the forum provided insights to the CST's shortcomings by highlighting practical actions at the local level that need to be supported and promoted. He stated that there is a need to maintain the momentum on traditional knowledge issue to avoid repeated calls for action in the future.


PLENARY: The Plenary is expected to receive reports from the COW and the CST. Check the Journal to confirm meeting time.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The COW is expected to discuss the Secretariat's medium-term strategy, the programme of work for COP-3 and -4 and the report on the Global Mechanism. Check the Journal to confirm meeting time.

COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: The CST is expected to consider the draft decision on traditional knowledge. Check the Journal to confirm meeting time.

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