INCD Chair Kjell�n called delegates to order at 11:55 am on Friday, 17 January. He announced that the core group negotiating the Global Mechanism, chaired by Pierre-Marc Johnson, was still meeting and that the G-77 and China had requested time to meet during the morning. The Plenary would therefore reconvene at 3:30 pm to consider the draft decisions and report of the session.
Equatorial Guinea elaborated on the environmental activities and problems in his country. Improper land use is a threat to the forests and the country experiences months of great precipitation as well as of serious drought. He stated there is a shortage of data and few NGOs are involved in their efforts.
The Plenary reconvened at 4:30 pm. Delegates first considered the draft decisions forwarded by the Working Groups.
WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I Chair Mahmoud ould El Ghaouth introduced the Groups draft decisions, as contained in A/AC.241/WG.I(X)/L.1/Rev.1, L.2, L.3 and L.4.
Decision L.1/Rev.1, Designation of a Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for its functioning: administrative and support arrangements, was adopted.
The Chair said the Working Group used two mechanisms to negotiate text on the Global Mechanism, the full Group and a core group. Pierre-Marc Johnson reported on the work of the core group. The group met regularly for three days, but the text will require further work at COP-1. They produced nine paragraphs of text for the bracketed paragraph 4, regarding mobilizing and channelling financial resources. Three issues remain outstanding. One contains the options as agreed in the Convention/consistent with the Convention in reference to new and additional resources. The second contains options for qualifying the mobilization of funds, undertake actions leading to or for the mobilization. The third is more substantive because it relates to the functioning of the Global Mechanism as it intervenes in the flow of resources. The G-77 and China and EU and like-minded countries each submitted a formulation. One calls for the Global Mechanism to direct and guide the resources mobilized for the purpose of the Convention, including its own resources, made available from bilateral and multilateral sources,... The other for it to guide and direct, as requested and as appropriate, the allocation of resources mobilized for the purpose of the Convention, including resources made available...by bilateral and multilateral sources through the host or other organizations... The decision notes that the INCD approved the text in Annex I with the exception of paragraph 4. Chair El Ghaouth said the paragraph was transmitted from the core group to COP-1.
During adoption of L.2, Identification of an organization to house the Global Mechanism, the G-77 and China proposed asking IFAD and UNDP, in the revised versions of their offers, to include the proposed budgets for the functioning of the Global Mechanism they would provide on a biennium basis. Greece said the OECD and like-minded countries were not prepared to accept the new proposal. Following a 40-minute break, agreement was announced to include proposed budgetary implications for the functioning of the Global Mechanism.
The G-77 and China then asked if any consultations would be taken on paragraph 4 of Annex I and, if so, when. Chair Kjell�n said he has a mandate to undertake consultations, but could not say what form they would take. Bolivia indicated concern that the Annex was being sent directly to the COP while he had understood that there was a possibility that it could be completed at a resumed session of INCD-10. The Chair said he did not think there was much possibility for the Committee to make any more progress. Delegates adopted L.2.
The procedural decision in L.3 on the programme and budget, calling on the Interim Secretariat to submit a draft in mid-July, was adopted.
The UN planning and budget division issued an oral statement during adoption of L.4, Financial Rules of the COP, indicating that it was the UN Secretariats understanding that the reference to the UN in paragraph 7 (contributions to a general fund) does not imply any obligation on the UN to contribute to the core budget, subsidiary bodies or the Permanent Secretariat. The decision was adopted.
WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II Chair Takao Shibata reported that the Group had successfully concluded its work in the form of six draft decisions (A/AC.241/WG.II(X)/L.1-3, L.4/Rev.1, L.5/Rev.1, and L.6).
In L.1, Rules of Procedure of the COP, delegates reached agreement on 59 of 63 rules. Chair Shibata stated there was broad agreement regarding the size of the Bureaus for the COP and its subsidiary bodies: 11 members for the COP Bureau, including the President and the Chair of the CST, and five for its subsidiary bodies. Related numbers, nine and four respectively, are bracketed. Chair Shibata proposed calling on the COP to provisionally apply Rules 22 and 31 (regarding both bureaus). He said this was the same mechanism used in the Climate Change Convention COP and would allow a bureau to be elected. The UK suggested that the COP apply Rules 22 and 31 in relation to the size of the Bureau. L.1 was adopted as amended.
The five remaining decisions related to the initial work programme of the Committee on Science and Technology. Decisions L.2, L.3, L.4/Rev.1, and L.5/Rev.1 were all adopted without comment. They are respectively entitled: reports on modalities and timing of future work on inventories of research, traditional and local technology, knowledge, know-how and practices and on establishment of research priorities; report on work of other bodies performing work similar to that envisaged for the CST; report on work being done on benchmarks and indicators; and preparatory measures to put in hand work on networking of institutions, agencies and bodies.
Chair Shibata introduced a number of amendments that the Working Group had agreed to in L.6, Organization of the work of the CST, which was adopted as amended.
The Committee then considered the INCD Chairs draft decisions.
PARTICIPATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL AND INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS: The Chair presented this draft decision, as contained in A/AC.241/L.36, which recommends to COP-1 procedures for the accreditation of NGOs and according of observer status to intergovernmental organizations at COP sessions. A footnote expresses a reservation on the accreditation of one NGO. Syria, supported by Oman and others, re-affirmed their reservation on the accreditation of an NGO, EcoPeace. Benin suggested explicitly naming the NGO. The Chair said the footnote would mention the name of the organization. Other comments related to corrections of the names of some subregional intergovernmental organizations. The decision was adopted.
USE OF THE SPECIAL VOLUNTARY FUND AND TRUST FUND: The Chair noted that informal consultations had been held on the draft decision (A/AC.241/L.37), which is a recommendation to the General Assembly that would: enable the head of the Interim Secretariat, under the authority of the Secretary-General, to use the Special Voluntary Fund and the Trust Fund to support the participation at COP-1 of developing country delegates and NGOs, respectively. The only amendment was the specification that it is for participation at COP-1. The decision was adopted.
DRAFT AGENDA FOR THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: The draft decision (A/AC.241/L.38) is the draft provisional agenda for COP-1. It contains seven agenda items and 20 sub-items. The former include the election of the president and other officers, rules of procedure, credentials of delegations and the adoption of recommendations to the COP. The sub-items are the recommendations, conclusions and decisions transmitted by the INCD to the COP for action. Some delegations rejected the UKs suggestion to amend sub-item (h), on the programme of work of the Committee on Science and Technology, with approval of terms of reference for work to be undertaken on networking of institutions, agencies and bodies, and selection of a contractor to carry out this work. However, it was agreed that, this being a draft provisional agenda, the UK could raise the issue at COP-1. After a brief discussion, another UK proposal to amend sub-item (k) to replace approval of the roster of experts with establishment was accepted because the process of appointment suggests the experts must be approved by governments. It is also the language used in the Convention (Article 24, paragraph 2). The decision was adopted.
A representative of the Director-General of the FAO thanked the Committee for accepting their offer to host COP-1. He also thanked delegations that had recognized the question of food security, and the recently concluded World Food Summit, as concerns relevant to the CCD.
RESUMED SESSION OF THE TENTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE: Chair Kjell�n noted that during the Plenary, several conflicting references had been made regarding the possibility of a resumed session of INCD-10. He said although significant progress was made at INCD-10, he still needed a meeting to effectively address the outstanding technical issues in order to organize COP-1 efficiently. Although he had contemplated a two-day pre-COP meeting in Rome for this purpose, the constraints for facilities and cost of the meetings would be too high. Thus, a resumed session of INCD- 10 will be held in Geneva from 18 to 22 August 1997. He noted that the 50th Session of the General Assembly had made financial provisions for such an eventuality. The EU stated that the technical issues could be effectively handled by the extended Bureau. However, if a resumed session was preferred, EU members would be represented through their Missions in Geneva. Several countries, including Tanzania, on behalf of the G-77 and China, Benin and Bolivia, agreed with the Chair, noting that not all member countries are represented in the extended Bureau. The Chair proposed a draft decision that states that in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4, in resolution 50/112 of the General Assembly and paragraph 3 of resolution 51/180 of the General Assembly, the Committee decides to convene a resumed tenth session between 18-22 August in Geneva. The decision was adopted.
Mauritania said he regretted the EU statement. He reminded delegates that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) also addresses desertification issues and hoped that the willingness demonstrated in implementing the FCCC will match that directed to the CCD. Benin, as Coordinator of the African Group, said the representation of the EU at the resumed session of INCD-10 through its Missions in Geneva would be interpreted as a boycott of the Session. The Chair noted that, in accordance with their requests, the relevant statements would be put on record.
The Committee then adopted the draft report of INCD-10, prepared by Rapporteur Anatoli Ovchinnikov (Uzbekistan), as contained in A/AC.241/L.35, and authorized him to finalize the decisions made in the closing Plenary.
Syria, supported by Iran and Oman, raised his concern regarding an informal document circulated in the Asian Group, in which Israel was erroneously included as a member. He said that since the Interim Secretariat had included Israel in the Asian Group, the Group was unable to meet during the second week. Oman added that his delegation had sent a letter to the Secretariat requesting clarification on this matter. The Executive Secretary responded that the Secretariat had not tried to establish any formal group, and stressed that countries can form any form of affiliation, such as the JUSCANZ and jus-cannots. He said the approach of this Convention was regional and therefore Israel had been included as an affected country in the Asian Annex, not as a member of any formally established group.
Chair Kjell�n concluded this first part of the tenth session, and stated that this Convention is about the people who are living far away in the drylands. In this rapidly changing world the CCD represents the fundamentals; it is about sand, land, sun, water and people. He emphasized that the Convention is a great achievement and that through the urgent action for Africa and interim measures in other regions, it is already being implemented.
The Chair, as well as the EU and African Group, thanked all who were involved in this negotiating process. Chair Kjell�n declared closed the first part of INCD-10 at 8:00 pm.
[Return to start of article]