On Monday, 13 January, delegates addressed the extrabudgetary funds. Executive Secretary Diallo introduced the relevant documents. A/AC.241/69 contains: a report on the financial expenditures from the UN regular budget up to September 1996; a table on staffing; a report on the status of contributions to the Trust Fund up to 24 October 1996; and the expenditures from the Trust and Special Voluntary Funds. An update on the contributions made to date is provided in document A/AC.241/69/Add.2. Pledges made but not received by countries and other UN organizations and agencies are contained in document A/AC.241/69/Add.1. Document A/AC.241/69/Corr.1 contains corrections.
Diallo thanked several countries, including Antigua and Barbuda and China, for their financial contributions to the Funds, as well as the UN System, bodies and agencies that have provided other forms of resources and support to the Secretariat.
Delegates comments related to the role of the Secretariat, in particular awareness raising. The EU said the countries should own the Convention and the driving force should not come from outside a country. He noted that the COP will give more guidance to the Secretariat on ways and means to perform its role. The G-77 and China thanked countries that made contributions. Benin added that nothing in the CCD indicates that the Secretariat should play a subsidiary role. Bolivia thought resources were well spent and said desertification has to become part of countries political agendas. The three countries that are bidding to host the Permanent Secretariat also highlighted their contributions, in particular their history in anti-desertification activities.
In response to the comments, the Executive Secretary stressed the need to ensure that activities at national and regional levels are effective, and added that the Interim Secretariat was awaiting a decision from COP-1 on the Permanent Secretariats role. Chair Kjell�n said the Secretariats role will be clearly spelled out once the still pending issues are resolved, but there is still time since the Permanent Secretariat will start its operations no later than 31 December 1998, as decided by the General Assembly.
The Plenary adopted a draft decision mandating the Executive Secretary to make use of the Special Voluntary and the Trust Funds to support the participation of developing country delegates and NGOs at COP-1.
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