Chapter 12 of Agenda 21 requested that the UNGA establish an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) for a convention to combat desertification to be completed by June 1994. In early October, the African Group began consultations on a draft resolution presented by Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia. By 28 October, the African economic experts' group, chaired by Benin, agreed on a draft resolution. The draft is procedural in nature, since the African Group chose to leave the more complicated details regarding the terms of reference until after the establishment of the INC. The draft resolution was then approved by the African Group at the ambassadorial level on 30 October and forwarded to the Group of 77 as a "non-paper". The draft resolution establishes an INC to prepare an International Convention "to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa" by 1994. It proposes five substantive sessions and an organizational session to be held in New York in February 1993. It also proposes that the Secretary-General set up a multi-disciplinary expert group to assist the INC and invites "relevant" NGOs to contribute to the success of the negotiating process.
This non-paper presented by the African Group was slightly modified within the G-77, which made changes to the title and several paragraphs in order to bring the language used in conformity with the exact wording found in Chapter 10, paragraph 40 of Agenda 21, regarding the mandate of the Conference. The draft resolution was formally introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the G-77 member states to the Razali Group at its 7 November session (see below).
There is strong support both within the African Group and from other country groups for the election of Bo Kjelln of Sweden as the Chairman of the Bureau of the INC. The appointment of a high-level official as head of the ad-hoc Secretariat will be made by the UN Secretary-General at a later date. It is very probable that the PrepCom schedule will be as follows: PrepCom I in Nairobi at the end of April 1993, PrepCom II in Geneva during August 1993, PrepCom III in Paris during November 1993, PrepCom IV in Rome in March 1994 and the final meeting in New York in June 1994. Although tentatively set for February, the organizational session may be convened as early as the end of January 1993.
[Return to start of article]