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There was a great deal of support for the need to incorporate the views of local people into the Convention. The EC stated that since desertification is mainly anthropogenic, solutions and prevention strategies must focus on the local level. Sweden and Brazil also stressed the need for concrete action at the local level. UNSO stated that there was a need for a new direction in the implementation of operational programmes, away from addressing the physical aspects and toward a livelihood-centered approach.

Many countries, including Denmark and Belgium, mentioned that the Convention should use a bottom-up approach. Italy, Tanzania, Australia, Canada, and Finland emphasized the roles of local communities and NGOs. Bolivia and Australia specifically mentioned the role that NGOs can play in the negotiations.

Chad, Ghana and Jordan cited the importance of local communities and local knowledge. The Netherlands, Canada, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Madagascar all stressed the role of women in combatting drought and desertification. Australia and Bolivia mentioned the role of indigenous technologies and practices. Lesotho, Kenya and Burkina Faso stressed the importance of popular participation at all levels and that the best way to empower people is through decentralization. The NGOs emphasized the need for community-led programmes, particularly targeting women, supported by multi-level programmes, and appropriate technology developed from indigenous knowledge systems and science.