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PLENARY

On Monday morning the Plenary heard reports from the Working Group Chairs, adopted a new programme of work for the week, examined the situation as regards extrabudgetary funds and accredited additional NGOs and IGOs to the INCD. The Committee also elected A. Ovkinnikov (Uzbekistan) to the post of Vice-Chair/Rapporteur for Working Group I.

WORKING GROUP PROGRESS REPORTS: Ahmed Djoghlaf, the Chair of Working Group I, reported that the Group has addressed the preamble and sections on principles, objectives, nature and structure of commitments and national action programmes. The Group began to discuss the section on sub-regional action programmes last Friday. Anne de Lattre, the Chair of Working Group II, reported that she is producing an objective summary and requested additional suggestions from delegates in writing. She reported that the Group decided to use the definition of desertification in Agenda 21. She described some of the proposals made on research, technology transfer, information and institutions.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK: INCD Chair Bo Kjell‚n then presented the Committee with a revised programme of work. Canada, supported by Australia, commented that the purpose of this session was to conduct a first reading of the Secretariat's text and not to negotiate text. As some delegates have made specific drafting suggestions and others have not, they requested that delegations be given the opportunity to make drafting suggestions here or during the intersessional period. Egypt requested that a list of delegates and relevant contact information be provided to facilitate intersessional consultations. The Executive Secretary, Arba Diallo, suggested that delegates obtain this information on their own, in light of the Secretariat's limited resources.

SITUATION AS REGARDS EXTRABUDGETARY FUNDS: Arba Diallo reported on the status of extra-budgetary funds, supplementing the information in A/AC.241/13. Developing country participation at the first two INCD sessions was made possible by grants from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Costs for 70 developing countries to attend INCD-2 has been estimated at US$350,000. An additional US$2,400,000 is needed to cover the costs for developing country participation at the remaining three INCD sessions.

With regard to the Trust Fund for Secretariat activities, Diallo stated that UNEP had made an additional contribution of US$60,000 for NGO participation and for the migration meeting in Almer´┐Ża. The Netherlands had contributed US$555,139 and Canada and Switzerland have provided financial support for the hiring of two additional Secretariat experts. The budget for the Asian and Latin American case studies is estimated at US$300,000 and the estimated cost of the studies to be undertaken by the Experts Panel amounts to US$200,000.

France said that it will contribute Fr.500,000 to the Voluntary Fund and Fr.600,000 to the Trust Fund. Australia and the US requested more details about what Secretariat activities are being supported by the Trust Fund. The Netherlands wanted to ensure that these resources are being used for the process as mandated by resolution 47/188. Norway requested clarification on the use of the Voluntary Fund and expressed concern that Trust Fund contributions are being used for regional meetings and case studies, rather than for the financing of the negotiating process. Sweden stated that it is contributing 1 million Swedish crowns for the Uganda case study.

Diallo responded that many countries who suffer from desertification have requested assistance and the Secretariat is doing its best to ensure maximum participation. The Voluntary Fund is also facilitating the participation of Bureau members. The Trust Fund has been used primarily to cover staff and Secretariat costs. However, some countries have made contributions earmarked for the case studies.

ACCREDITATION OF NGOS AND IGOS: The Committee also accredited 26 additional NGOs (A/AC.241/9/Add.3) and 3 inter-governmental organizations (A/AC.241/L.5/ Add 1 and Add 2) to the INCD.

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