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WORKING GROUP II

Document A/AC.241/L.15, "Definition of terms relating to the Convention," was circulated Friday morning. The document is based on work done by the Expert Group and Secretariat as requested by delegates during INCD-2. The Group then started discussion on Article 27, the Evaluation and Monitoring Centre, as well as Articles 28 and 29 of Part V -- Procedures.

ARTICLE 27 -- EVALUATION AND MONITORING CENTRE: Like Article 26 on the Scientific and Technological Council, this article generated protracted debate. Canada circulated a proposed amendment that suggests the deletion of the entire article and assigns the article's technical monitoring functions to Article 26 and the administrative function to Article 25, "Secretariat." The rationale is to ensure the tasks are carried out while saving costs by using existing institutions. Greece, on behalf of the EU, Finland, Germany, Belgium, Japan and the US supported this view, adding that Article 24 also empowers the COP to establish any new institutions it may deem necessary. Possible institutions to house the Monitoring Centre that were mentioned are UNEP, WMO, FAO, the Global Monitoring Centres in Africa, among others.

China proposed the establishment of a global network based on the proposal in Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, since most of the tasks are grassroots oriented. The proposed institution would be called the "Research and Development Centre" and would concern itself with coordination of the tasks outlined in Articles 18 to 21 that include: information collection and analysis; research and development; education, training and capacity building; and the transfer, acquisition, adaptation and development of technology.

Benin said that the African Group supported the establishment of an Evaluation and Monitoring Centre. The Centre should be an international body as opposed to one placed within an existing institution. He also expressed concern that some delegations had been circulating text before orally presenting it.

Egypt supported the African proposal and outlined five functions for the Centre including: providing early warning against drought; innovation of technology transfer and adaptation; and evaluation of progress at all levels. He questioned the proposal to use existing institutions and explained that some of these, such as UNEP and WMO were involved in "knowledge-analysis." What is needed is a "knowledge-making" institution. He also said the estimated annual cost of desertification is US$42.3 billion dollars while the income for 1977 from these regions was much less than that and added that 17 years of experimenting with UNEP were enough. The Gambia said the creation of institutions must always be preceded by function, adding that the needs of the stakeholders were being overlooked. Botswana suggested the Centre be located in Africa while Mongolia favored the Arabian Peninsula.

Israel said the Convention needed a permanent Centre for the proposed functions but this did not suggest a new physical structure. Existing infrastructures could be used and he suggested that the decision on the Centre be deferred.

ARTICLE 28 -- COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION ON IMPLEMENTATION:

Paragraph 1 calls for Parties to report on their implementation measures. Sweden affirmed the importance of this Article as the basis for follow-up to the Convention. She asked for further clarification on the types of reports required.

Paragraph 2 states that affected country Parties needing assistance shall provide descriptions of their action programmes. Brazil reiterated its concern with the term "countries needing assistance," preferring the term "developing countries" instead.

Paragraph 5 provides for the COP to arrange for the provision of technical and financial support in information compilation and communication to Parties needing assistance. Sweden, supported by the UK, proposed deletion of the last sentence as it left out reference to countries in a position to provide assistance, NGOs and IGOs.

ARTICLE 29 --MEASURES TO PREVENT DISPUTES: This article provides for the COP to resolve differences amicably. Discussion centered on specific wording changes with delegates debating which model should be used. The article was left in brackets.

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