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WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I welcomed its Chair, Ahmed Djoghlaf, to New York and proceeded to complete its first reading of Articles 22 and 23 on financial resources and mechanisms, which started on Friday, and to begin its second reading of the preamble.

ARTICLE 22 -- FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Egypt proposed new language stressing that: mobilization of resources must remain the responsibility of the affected countries; a certain amount of coordinated bilateral and multilateral aid should be earmarked for combatting desertification; and priority should be given to Africa. Brazil commented that a bottom-up approach, which would favor democratic principles, is called for and reminded delegates that in Rio they agreed to work in solidarity and global partnerships, bearing in mind shared but differentiated responsibilities. At the conclusion of the debate, the following issues had emerged:

Sub-paragraph 1(e) explores new methods of innovative financing. Morocco supported Tunisia that the question of debt should be raised here. Norway requested greater clarification. Japan could not support this paragraph and Algeria called for its deletion.

Sub-paragraph 1(f) provides for equitable "burden-sharing" among countries providing assistance. A number of countries, including Morocco and Finland, suggested that it be redrafted.

Paragraph 2 calls on affected countries to allocate a portion of their own financial resources to achieve the objectives of the Convention. Australia disagreed with the establishment of national funds for this purpose. Others proposed redrafting it.

Paragraph 3 addresses the availability of financial resources. Morocco and Algeria felt that this paragraph should be retained. Norway and Finland suggested that it remain in brackets. Malaysia objected again to the presence of "Parties in a position to provide assistance" in this paragraph, since this would obscure the commitments of developed countries. The UK disagreed. Canada could not support the phrase "new and additional."

Paragraph 4 states that developed country Parties reaffirm their commitments to reach the accepted UN target of 0.7% of GNP for ODA. Morocco and Algeria said this paragraph should be retained. Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Japan proposed its deletion. Norway, Sweden and Zambia supported placing it in the preamble.

ARTICLE 23 -- FINANCIAL MECHANISMS: Egypt proposed reformulating the entire article to stress that the Conference of Parties will establish, no later than its third session, a specialized mechanism for supporting and financing programmes of action. Norway, Canada and Japan questioned the benefits of establishing a clearing-house mechanism in paragraph 2. Switzerland, Japan Finland, Sweden, Canada and Norway proposed deleting paragraphs 3 and 4, which deal with the establishment of a special fund. Zambia and Kenya argued for its retention. Algeria suggested merging these two paragraphs.

PREAMBLE: The Chair opened the floor for comments on the revised text of the Preamble, as contained in document A/AC.241/WG.I/CRP.1. The Holy See, supported by Mexico and Brazil, proposed adding a new paragraph that affirms that human beings are at the center of combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. By the conclusion of the afternoon's discussions of paragraphs 1-19, the following paragraphs still contained brackets:

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