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COMMON BUT DIFFERENTIATED RESPONSIBILITIES:

The second outstanding core issue refers to the concept of "common but differentiated responsibilities." While it is clear that some countries that are affected by desertification need assistance (financial, technical, research, information, etc.) to fulfil their obligations under the Convention (whatever those obligations may be), it is not clear who those countries are, the severity of their problems and the type and sources of assistance needed. The developed countries are in favor of a new partnership between all countries "in a position to provide assistance" and those suffering from desertification and/or drought. Some of the developing countries, including Malaysia, Brazil, India, China, Argentina and others, believe that it is the responsibility of the traditional donor community to provide this assistance, thus obviating the need for a new category of "countries in a position to provide assistance." Some of the least developed countries suffering from desertification are more concerned with actually receiving assistance than its source. Until this problem is resolved, little progress can be made in removing the brackets from a majority of articles in the current draft Convention. There are at least 30 sets of brackets in the preamble and 12 articles that result from disagreement on these definitional issues related to common but differentiated responsibilities.