The Plenary met Monday morning to hear Working Group progress reports and to review the situation on extrabudgetary funds (A/AC.241/20 and Add.1).
WORKING GROUP I: The Chair, Ahmed Djoghlaf, reported that the Group completed two readings of the articles mandated to it. Still to be resolved are: Articles 22 and 23 (financial resources and mechanisms), which are being dealt with in a contact group coordinated by Pierre-Marc Johnson (Canada) and Bolong Sonko (The Gambia); Article 13 (regional action programmes); and Article 14 (international cooperation).
WORKING GROUP II: The Chair, Anne de Lattre, said that after the first reading of the text, the contentious issues are: the categories of countries in Article 1; budgetary issues in Article 24 (Conference of the Parties); and some sections on institutions. The Group has also completed a first reading of the Implementation Annex for Africa with many issues resolved over the weekend in a Contact Group chaired by Benin.
EXTRA-BUDGETARY FUNDS: INCD Executive- Secretary Arba Diallo reported that due to lack of funds and bureaucratic obstacles within the UN in processing the funds, only 27 out of the expected 70 participants from the LDCs were sponsored for this session. He said that an additional US$400,000 is required to ensure the participation of these countries at the Paris session, of which only US$116,800 is currently available. To eliminate delays in processing the funds, the Secretariat said that donors should clearly indicate that the funds are for the INCD. Bolivia and Benin stressed the importance of LDC participation in the final, critical phases of the negotiations. France, Sweden, Finland and UNEP all pledged additional funds. Diallo thanked Norway and Switzerland for their support for NGO participation.The Netherlands requested that future reports should indicate clearly the source and use of Secretariat funds.
BURKINA FASO: Anatole Tiendrebeogo, Minister for Environment and Tourism, questioned certain government views regarding the sufficiency of resources to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. The amount of funds and mechanisms necessary to resolve these problems must be determined. He said that removing Article 11 (fields to be covered in national action programmes) from the Convention amounts to reducing it to a framework Convention.
IFAD: Bahman Mansuri said that from their experience: African countries lack the financial capacity for long-term investment; resource degradation and poverty are interlinked and solutions should provide for long-term investment for conservation in arid and semi-arid areas; to deal with poverty, the critical factor is how resources are spent; and a consultative process between donors, IGOs, NGOs and governments is necessary.
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