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PLENARY

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, reported that the INCD will hold one session after the adoption of the Convention in June 1994. He noted the need to finalize the regional agreement for Africa by 1994 so that it can be used as a basis for other regional agreements.

UNDP Administrator Gus Speth stated that desertification is one of the principal barriers to sustainable food security and sustainable livelihoods today. Speth highlighted UNDP's contributions in terms of: making available UNDP's global network of 131 country offices; plans to broaden joint ventures with UNSO and UNEP to combat desertification; and offering resources to the INCD.

Mohamed Ag Erlaf, the Environment Minister of Mali, discussed the importance of the case studies in facilitating the negotiations. Specifically, they have assisted in: identifying the specific problems; heightening the awareness and participation of local communities; developing local approaches; and highlighting the need for specific reforms.

Tunisia's Environment Minister Mohamed Mehdi Mlika described his country's problems with desertification and the findings of the Tunisian case study, particularly the costs involved in combatting desertification. For example, the amount required is US$500 million in contrast to the US$200 million that Tunisia now mobilizes.

John K. Sambu, Kenya's Environment Minister and Coordinator for IGADD, appealed for a strong and operational Convention. He referred to the importance of poverty, commodity marketing and international trade as they relate to desertification. He also highlighted the other major issue of land tenure in the drylands and reported on the recommendations of the IGADD case study.

Sghair Ould M'Barech, Mauritanian Minister for Rural Development and the Environment,highlighted problems with desertification in his country and noted the inadequacy of funds. He called for the global dimension of the problem to be recognized as well as the related social problems.

Amb. Ramtane Lamamra of Algeria noted the G-77 position that desertification should be treated on an equal footing with other global problems such as ozone depletion and climate change and that the Convention should reflect the global dimensions of the problem. He referred to the unwillingness demonstrated at INCD-2 to acknowledge the need for new and additional financial resources.

Amb. Pascal Gayama, Under-Secretary for the Organization of African Unity, called on governments to demonstrate the solidarity that will be needed at the international level to combat desertification. Mme Cisse Mariam K. Sidibe of CILSS stated that the Convention addressed the bulk of CILSS concerns. She highlighted remaining concerns, including the need for increased international assistance. She also noted the importance of regional organizations in monitoring the implementation of the Convention.

Bo Dockered of the Federation of Swedish Farmers described the current work of the international farming community in addressing environmental problems. He called for special measures to be taken to ensure the participation of farmers and farmers' organizations.

Dominic Walumbengo of the Kenyan NGO, KENGO, noted that debt relief, inadequate financing and structural adjustment programmes exacerbate the problems of desertification. He noted the inherent contradiction in asking affected countries to finance the costs of combatting desertification when they are steeped in debt.

INCD Chair Amb. Bo Kjell‚n of Sweden reported that he will undertake consultations on the topic of regional instruments to ensure the successful conclusion of the Convention.

Hama Arba Diallo, Executive Secretary of the INCD Secretariat, urged governments to reflect faithfully the main ideas that were expressed by the two working groups at INCD-2. He asked for compromises to be reached around the bracketed text in the draft Convention.

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