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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 was 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 experts on the Secretariat. 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.

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