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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CONVENTION AND THE REGIONAL INSTRUMENTS:

A third core issue relates to the relationship between the regional instruments and the Convention itself. In spite of the draft decision presented to the UN General Assembly last November that provides time for the incorporation of other regional instruments into the Convention after the June 1994 deadline by scheduling an interim meeting to be held no later than January 1995, it is still unclear when these other regional instruments will be negotiated. The issues of timing and ensuring "priority" for Africa are still far from resolved.

Argentina and Brazil wanted assurance that regional instruments that are adopted after June 1994 will not be subjected to the ratification procedure of annexes described in Article 33 (Adoption and amendment of the Annexes). Norway hinted that some parties may not sign the Convention until all regional instruments are complete. Following calls by the Asians and Latin Americans that the African instrument be a model for other regional instruments, Canada and the US were concerned that the priority given to Africa in Resolution 47/188 is being lost.

In the face of these constraints, it is likely that the regional instruments will use the African model and will be short, precise and action-oriented. The Secretariat's 19-page draft and the Organization for African Unity's 16-page draft regional annex were criticized as being too lengthy. Egypt and several developed countries supported 3-page annexes. If this is the case, the four weeks remaining for negotiation may be adequate to complete the Convention and the annexes. How then does the Secretariat ensure priority is given to Africa? There seems to be two alternatives: making additional references to Africa in the body of the Convention, which seems unlikely since delegates have argued that this is an international convention; or in the proportion of funds allocated to the regions, notwithstanding the fact that the developed countries seem unwilling to have any mention of financial resources in the regional annexes.

By the close of this third session, it was not clear if and how these core issues will be resolved. Due to the efficiency of the Secretariat, delegates were able to take home a revised draft of the Convention. Hopefully, during the brief intersessional period, governments and regional groups will examine the current draft and revise their negotiating positions in light of the discussions in New York. Yet, unless consensus can be achieved on some of the core issues described above, brackets will continue to proliferate at INCD-4 and efforts to negotiate a strong, action-oriented Convention may be seriously undermined.

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