GLOBAL MECHANISM: Working Group I resumed discussion of the function of mobilizing financial resources in an informal open-ended working group.
Informal discussions held Thursday evening were based on two non-papers circulated by two regional groups on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday morning, the G-77 and China presented a new 11-paragraph draft non-paper for discussion. The non-paper designates the function as mobilizing and channelling of resources to all levels. In summary, the activities are to: promote actions leading to the mobilization and channelling of financial resources; mobilize, in conjunction with developed countries and relevant institutions, adequate and substantial financial resources; as a working partnership, mobilize adequate, timely and predictable financial resources, including new and additional funding, and channel these resources, including its own...in a predictable and timely fashion; in conjunction with the COP, encourage the provision of support at all levels, through various mechanisms; increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing financial mechanisms and collaborate with them to facilitate and catalyze the mobilization and channelling of resources; ensure, as a working partnership machinery, that adequate financial resources...are available; promote the use of existing bilateral and multilateral financial mechanisms and arrangements that mobilize and channel substantial financial resources; and promote and facilitate the transfer, acquisition and adaptation of technologies, as well as the use of indigenous and traditional knowledge and technologies.
Delegations noted that most of the text is lifted from the Convention. Some groups expressed reservation on its use in some contexts.
Regional and interest groups agreed to use the non-paper as a basis for negotiation and to make preliminary comments pending regional groups consultations. The inputs were textual modifications to accommodate other groups interests.
Some delegations proposed that all references to mobilization and channelling resources be preceded by promoting and/or facilitating. Some also proposed deleting all references to the Global Mechanism (GM) having its own resources. Where text was directly lifted from the Convention, some delegates suggested adding in accordance with the provisions of and naming the specific article. Some delegates noted that in the mobilization of resources the GM should work in conjunction with all Parties, not just developed countries. One delegation suggested including a catalytic role to the functions of the GM.
Delegates appeared to agree on the texts related to the transfer and use of technology and the need to promote actions leading to the mobilization of resources and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of existing mechanisms.
The Chair said he would provide delegates with text, as amended and bracketed, on Monday, 13 January. At the end of the session, some regional groups expressed frustration with the lack of flexibility of some delegations.
PROGRAMME AND BUDGET: Executive Secretary Diallo introduced the draft programme and budget (A/AC.241/65), in order to seek further guidance from the INCD to help shape the Secretariats final budget proposals. 1999 is expected to be the first full year in which the Secretariat would be financed by a core budget. Envisaged staffing requirements for 1999 are 34 posts. The budget includes two special-purpose funds, the Supplementary Fund, to support the participation of NGO representatives, and the Special Fund, which would finance travel of affected developing country delegates.
The G-77 and China had not developed a common position yet, but indicated they would forward comments by the end of February. Greece said the OECD group of countries would forward their written comments to the Interim Secretariat, if necessary.
SECRETARIAT STAFFING: Greece, on behalf of the OECD group of countries, expressed concern with the steep increase in the number of posts expected and said the transition should not be an occasion to upgrade posts. The US and Australia supported current staffing levels as the basis for the establishment of the Secretariat. Uganda emphasized the need for a realistic budget that takes into account the expanded activities that are envisaged. Benin supported strengthening and increasing the size of the staff. Bolivia and Brazil requested information regarding the criteria for determining how many staff would focus on each region. The Executive Secretary responded that the criteria took into account the number of countries covered in each regional annex. Tunisia noted the need for more staffing for the implementation of the regional annexes. Antigua and Barbuda was puzzled by the Greek interpretation of staffing, since the present level is 24, there is a request for 3 more, and the estimated total for 1999 is 34. He noted the study in chaos in the Biodiversity Convention (CBD) process, where the COP had to increase Secretariat staffing significantly after COP-1.
Greece requested information regarding the possibility of seconding staff from international organizations. Benin asked if there were provisions for current seconded staff to be retained or for the level of secondments to increase. The Executive Secretary noted that international organizations are currently cutting their staff.
COSTING: In response to several inquires regarding costs for the Global Mechanism, the Executive Secretary noted the need to know who is responsible for the costs. Greece looked forward to a fully-costed preliminary budget. Australia urged that future budgeting documents use full cost attribution. Morocco and Cuba also expressed an interest in knowing the cost estimates.
NGO PARTICIPATION: Greece noted several times that the participation of NGOs is important, but expressed his unease that a special fund would be formed for their participation. Benin, Tunisia, Haiti and Indonesia stressed the importance of support for NGOs. Indonesia asked which NGOs would participate. The Executive Secretary noted that someone must shoulder the responsibility for NGO participation.
WORKING CAPITAL FUND: Greece supported the establishment of a working capital fund, the level of which should be reviewed regularly. Benin stated that, in reference to the reserve fund, UN practice is well established and should be retained. Tunisia concurred. Antigua and Barbuda stated that the problem experienced by the CBD with its working capital fund was due to host institution-Executive Secretariat relations.
OTHER REMARKS: Benin asked what the link between the Regional Coordination Units and the Secretariat would be. The Executive Secretary asked for suggestions for arrangements. The US noted the assumption that all of 1998 would be a period of transition and expressed hope that it would be quick and smooth.
The Chair concluded that he would prepare a procedural draft decision that takes into account the views expressed and invites the Secretariat to submit a full-fledged budget to COP-1.
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