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WORKING GROUP II

Working Group II continued informal discussions on the remaining section on Institutional and Procedural matters: overall arrangements, annexes and protocols.

OVERALL ARRANGEMENTS, ANNEXES AND PROTOCOLS: The Secretariat explained the difference between the annexes in this section, which are technical, and those being discussed under the regional instruments. Belgium, on behalf of the EC, pointed out that 10 percent of the Community in 5 member states suffered from desertification. He stressed the importance of a broad Convention that covers both the developed and developing countries. He added that the Convention should provide for regional instruments to cover desertified areas in developed countries, should the need arise in the future. Argentina, supported by Benin, said the Convention should not be a framework Convention. Argentina also favors regional instruments in the form of annexes. Benin outlined and elaborated on the differences between the three options for regional instruments: protocols, annexes and additional appendices. He said that while a protocol would be better, from a diplomatic and practical point of view, Africa favors an annex that is an integral part of the Convention. The annex for Africa should be concluded by June 1994. Botswana agreed with Benin, adding that the annex should be a "primary instrument." Brazil said that while it recognized the priority given to Africa, all regional instruments should have the same legal status. The Convention can only be complete once all the regional instruments are completed. She renewed Brazil's request to the Secretariat to prepare an instrument for Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Canada highlighted questions to be addressed in formulating the Convention: the relationship between the regional instruments and whether they would be an integral part of the Convention; the timing for ratification and entry into force and their implications if they differed from each other; and the availability of resources to the Committee to carry out its work. He stated that the Committee should not borrow heavily from other Conventions, but learn from them. He underscored the need to establish universal principles in the preparation of the regional instruments. He stated that in order to give priority to Africa, the annex on Africa should be completed by June 1994 with arrangements for provisional implementation immediately thereafter. He supported the establishment of a group of legal experts to examine these possibilities, and suggested that the results of this meeting should be forwarded to the Committee before its next session.

China said that the Convention should have specific obligations and should be action-oriented, with regional instruments in the form of either annexes or protocols as an integral part of the Convention. Austria agreed that the Convention should cover all parts of the world, but that donors should be able to choose where to direct their efforts. He suggested that instruments for other regions could be left optional or be concluded through bilateral agreements. He argued that making all regional instruments integral parts of the Convention would delay ratification. Portugal stated that legal instruments should have equal legal status. The instrument for Africa should be completed by June 1994 and those for other regions by December 1994.

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