The 49th United Nations General Assembly held its debate on Agenda Item 89(d), "Elaboration of an international convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa," on Friday, 21 October and Tuesday, 25 October 1994. Although the debate on this issue was held in the General Assembly plenary, action will be taken in the Second Committee. In connection with this item, the General Assembly had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (document A/49/477) and a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the reports of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Elaboration of an International Convention to Combat Desertification (INCD) on its third, fourth and fifth sessions (A/49/84 and Addenda 1 and 2).
During the course of the debate, most Governments noted that this Convention was innovative in its recognition of the physical, biological and socio-economic aspects of desertification. The Convention also recognizes the importance of redirecting technology transfer so that it is demand driven. The involvement of local populations in the development of national action programmes was also cited as an innovative provision. Most delegates stressed that political commitment is essential at this stage if the Convention is to be a success. Developing countries specifically mentioned the need for new and additional financial resources. While many were pleased with the fact that 87 nations signed the Convention in Paris at the ceremony on 14-15 October 1994, they urged more Governments to sign the Convention in New York and called for rapid ratification and entry into force.
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