ARTICLES 18 (INFORMATION COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND EXCHANGE), 19 (RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT) AND 20 (TRANSFER, ACQUISITION, ADAPTATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY): The Group considered and adopted Articles 18, 19 and 20, based on the results of the Contact Group chaired by Cameroon. All the brackets in these articles were eliminated, except for the references to the categories of countries, which will be resolved upon agreement of Article 1.
REVISED NEGOTIATING TEXT OF A REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION ANNEX FOR AFRICA (WORKING PAPER)
The Working Group then made preliminary comments on the Implementation Annex for Africa, synthesized by a Contact Group chaired by Benin, based on last week's discussions of document A/AC.241/19.
SCOPE: It delineates the areas as arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid, was left in brackets. The UK said the text should be deleted because it was not necessary.
PURPOSE: The chapeau and paragraph (c) were approved with minor changes but (a) and (b) remain bracketed. The UK, supported by other developed countries, wanted (a) deleted, as it is inappropriate for regional groups to decide on the degree of assistance to be provided by the Parties.
PARTICULAR CONDITIONS OF THE AFRICAN REGION [AND BASIC APPROACH]: The UK did not understand the reasoning behind "and basic approach" in the title. France thought the title should read "existing particular conditions." Benin and others disagreed and the brackets remain. Australia, Sweden and the US wanted to delete the first sentence (adopting a basic approach) in the chapeau. It remains bracketed. Sub-paragraphs (a), (c), (e) and (h) were agreed to. There was no agreement whether there is an "increasingly" frequent recurrence of severe drought and, thus, sub-paragraph (b) still contains brackets. Benin amended (d) to include "assistance in the form of grants, subsidies and loans on concessional terms." The US objected to the term "subsidies." Brackets remain in (f) since there is no agreement to use demographic "trends and factors" or "pressures." Brackets also remain in (g). The Africans want to "improve institutional and legal frameworks," while others feel that it is a descriptive article and should read "inadequate... frameworks."
COMMITMENTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF AFRICAN COUNTRY PARTIES: Australia, supported by Japan and Norway, suggested the deletion of this article. They felt that it was duplicative of the Convention and, thus, ill-suited to the annex. Benin acknowledged that while the Convention contains general commitments, each annex should contain region-specific commitments. Cameroon questioned the justification of non-African nations in questioning the appropriateness of African countries choosing to undertake specific commitments. The UK said that if non-African countries are to be Parties to the annex, then it was appropriate for them to comment on the article. Despite Uganda's impassioned appeal, the article was bracketed.
Paragraph 1: Germany and France suggested that sub-paragraph (a) should be rephrased to state: "combating desertification should be the central strategy..." There were no comments on (b) and (d). The US suggested expansion of (c) to include other bodies. In (e), Norway suggested replacing "emergency plans" with "contingency plans." The UK suggested removal of the words "and other natural disasters," since they are outside the scope of the Convention.
Paragraph 2: Germany, supported by the UK, suggested deletion of the chapeau. The UK suggested that it should be rephrased: "African country Parties shall aim to:" The US suggested deletion of reference to "prolonged drought" in sub-paragraph (e).
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