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WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I completed its second reading of Articles 6-17, as contained in documents A/AC.241/WG.I/CRP.2 and 3. The Chair mentioned at the outset that Article 5, sub-paragraph (e), which was deleted on Tuesday, would be retained in brackets at the request of some delegations.

ARTICLE 6 -- OBLIGATIONS OF DEVELOPED COUNTRY PARTIES [AND OTHERS IN A POSITION TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE]: The major issue in the title and chapeau of this paragraph remains the phrase "and others in a position to provide assistance." Various formulations still remain bracketed. Paragraph (a) addresses the need to support the efforts of affected [developing] country Parties [needing assistance]. Paragraph (b) contains brackets around the provision of financial resources to assist in the development of long-term strategies and plans. Paragraph (c), which mentions the allocation 0.7% of GNP for ODA, remains bracketed.

ARTICLE 7 -- PRIORITY TO AFRICA: Iran and Sweden wanted to ensure that other affected regions are not neglected in this Convention, while giving priority attention to Africa. The G-77's proposed text was generally acceptable. It now reads: "In implementing the provisions of this Convention, the Parties shall give priority to affected African countries in light of the particular situation prevailing in this region, while not neglecting other affected [developing] regions. This priority will be also applicable in the context of the Regional Implementation Annex for Africa."

ARTICLE 8 -- RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS: The G-77 proposed new language for the first paragraph that relates to cooperation between this Convention and other relevant international agreements. The second paragraph, which reads "The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the rights and responsibilities of any Party deriving from a bilateral, regional or global agreement into which it has entered prior to the entry into force of this Convention for it," remains bracketed.

ARTICLE 9 -- BASIC APPROACH: Recurring definitional problems arose with regard to "developing country Parties," "affected Parties," "Parties in a position to provide assistance" and "Parties needing assistance." Paragraph 1 discusses the obligation to prepare, make public, and implement national, subregional and regional action programmes, through interregional coordination and cooperation. Paragraph 2, which is heavily bracketed, deals with support from developed country parties [and other Parties in a position to provide assistance] for affected [developing] country parties [needing assistance] in the preparation of action programmes. Paragraph 3 now reads: "The Parties shall encourage organs, funds and programmes of the UN system and other relevant organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community and NGOs in a position to cooperate, in accordance with their mandates and capabilities, to support the elaboration, implementation and follow-up of the action programmes."

ARTICLE 10 -- NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: Australia's consultations on this article resulted in text that was largely acceptable. The focus is on the purpose of national action programmes, which is to identify the factors contributing to desertification and the practical measures necessary for its prevention. These programmes should: incorporate a long-term strategy; allow for modification in response to changing circumstances; give priority to preventive measures; encourage cooperation; provide for effective local and national participation; and require regular review on implementation. There was still disagreement among delegations as to the notion of partnership. The US proposed a new sub-paragraph: "enhance national meteorological and hydrological capabilities and the means to provide for and apply the early warning of drought."

ARTICLE 12 -- SUBREGIONAL AND REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: This article in CRP.3 was the result of merging the articles on subregional and regional action programmes in the original text. Many African delegates preferred keeping these concepts separate so the merger was reversed. The same definitional problems in Article 9 arose in this discussion. Other problems that emerged included: the use of the terms "shared resources" or "transboundary resources" and "affected" or "degraded" ecosystems. Sub- paragraph (d), which mentions alternative sources of energy, remains bracketed, as requested by Saudi Arabia. The US bracketed (f), which mentions trade practices. Article 12 bis now contains regional action programmes.

ARTICLE 16 -- COORDINATION IN THE ELABORATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF ACTION PROGRAMMES: The brackets were removed from paragraph 1, which now reads: "Contracting Parties shall work closely together, directly and through relevant intergovernmental organizations, in the elaboration and implementation of action programmes." Discussion on paragraph 2, which stresses coordination, was deferred, pending new text to be submitted by the US.

Discussion on Articles 11 (Fields to be covered in national action programmes), 13 (Measures to mitigate the effects of drought), 14 (International cooperation), and 15 ([Assistance in][Support for] the elaboration and implementation of action programmes) was deferred and the articles remain bracketed. Delegates agreed to transfer Article 17, Regional Implementation Annexes, to Working Group II.

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