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WORKING GROUP I

PREAMBLE: In a repeat performance of INCD-3, the US, supported by Japan, Norway and Australia, proposed that Working Group I postpone consideration of the Preamble until completion of the discussion of the Convention. The Chair suggested that a quick reading of the Preamble would enable the Group to have a better grasp of the positions of all delegates and, thus, moved ahead.

Paragraph 4: Although this paragraph was not bracketed, Greece, on behalf of the EU, proposed a small change that was accepted. The first line now reads: "Acknowledging that desertification and/or drought are problems..."

Paragraph 7: Brazil, supported by Gambia, Argentina and Australia, proposed removing the brackets and deleting the phrase "internal and international" so that the paragraph opens: "Considering the impact of trade..." Greece was concerned that paragraphs 7 and 9 should be discussed together as they both address trade. Switzerland proposed deleting paragraph 7 and retaining reference to trade in paragraph 9. The US supported the deletion of "internal and international," but wanted the rest of the paragraph to remain in brackets.

Paragraph 8: The following was agreed: "Conscious that economic growth, social development and poverty eradication are the priorities of affected countries, particularly affected developing countries..."

Paragraph 9: This paragraph on the relationship between desertification and social problems remains in brackets.

Paragraph 11: Delegates agreed to remove the brackets and it now reads, "Realizing that, despite efforts in the past, progress in combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought has not met expectations and that a new and more effective approach is needed at all levels in the framework of sustainable development."

Paragraph 12: Delegates agreed to remove the brackets and it now reads, "Recognizing the validity and relevance of decisions adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, particularly of Agenda 21 and its Chapter 12, which provide a basis for combatting desertification."

Paragraph 14: Delegates agreed to remove the brackets around the entire paragraph, pending assurance that the text is consistent with the UN Charter.

Paragraph 15: China, supported by the EU, agreed that the first sentence, on the role of national governments, should be deleted and the second sentence retained. Brazil proposed merging the international aspect of paragraph 16 into this paragraph and Mauritania proposed adding reference to "local implementation of action programmes in affected areas." It was agreed to support the Chinese and Mauritanian proposals, but not to include reference to the international community.

Paragraph 16: The brackets were removed from this paragraph on international cooperation, pending resolution of the definition of "mitigating the effects of drought" in Working Group II.

Paragraph 17: The Chair did not even open this paragraph for discussion, since positions on the allocation of 0.7% of GNP to ODA are well known. The brackets remain.

Paragraph 20: Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, proposed new language, but the Chair, Sweden, Australia, the US and Switzerland preferred to eliminate the shopping list of issues (climate change, land degradation, biodiversity, etc.) and just refer to the generic "environmental problems." The paragraph remains in brackets.

Paragraph 21: This paragraph remains in brackets since the relationship between this Convention and other environmental conventions is still to be determined.

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