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WORKING GROUP I

Working Group I completed its third reading of the text. The brackets around Articles 11, 12, 13 and 14 bis were removed during this reading. The Group did not discuss Articles 15 and 16 since they are related to the financial issues, which are being discussed by the contact group under the leadership of Pierre-Marc Johnson (Canada) and Bolong Sonko (The Gambia).

ARTICLE 11 -- FIELDS TO BE COVERED IN NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: The Chair circulated new text for Article 11 that eliminated the list of fields and said that guidelines for the fields to be covered in national action programmes shall be set out, as appropriate, in the Regional Implementation Annexes. The US commented that Working Group II is considering moving elements out of the regional annexes and back into the Convention and should be consulted before Article 11 is finalized. Brazil, Uzbekistan, India, Peru, Uruguay and Austria supported the Chair's proposal. Benin argued that some of the fields from the original text should be included. Kenya, Mali and Cameroon insisted that this list should be included in the Convention and not only in the annexes.

When the session reconvened in the afternoon, the G-77 and China proposed new text that would replace Article 11 and appear as Article 10 paragraph 3. This proposal included a chapeau and an abbreviated list of fields to be covered. Delegates amended this proposal to read: "Taking into account the situation and requirements specific to each affected country Party, national action programmes include, as appropriate, inter alia, measures in some or all of the following priority fields as they relate to combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought in affected areas and their populations: promotion of alternative livelihoods and improvements of national economic environments with a view to strengthening programmes aimed at eradication of poverty and ensuring food security; sustainable management of natural resources; development and efficient use of various energy sources; [demographic policies;] institutional and legal frameworks; strengthening of capability for assessment and monitoring, including hydrological and meteorological services and capacity building, education and public awareness."

Canada, supported by several other delegations, proposed the addition of "sustainable agriculture practices" to this list. Not everyone agreed. The Chair decided to include it, pending further discussion.

ARTICLES 12 AND 13 -- SUB-REGIONAL AND REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: Based on Monday's discussions, the Chair proposed new simplified formulations of these articles. Syria preferred the original Article 12, which listed specific measures to be taken. Bangladesh, supported by a number of delegates, said it could support the Chair's proposal if it was amended to include reference to the management of shared resources. During a lengthy, yet productive, discussion, delegates produced compromise text that contains brackets only around two words, upon the insistence of Syria and the US. The revised Article 12 is now called "Sub-Regional and Regional Action Programmes" and reads: "Affected country Parties shall consult and cooperate to prepare, as appropriate, in accordance with relevant regional implementation annexes, sub-regional and/or regional, action programmes to harmonize, complement and increase the efficiency of national programmes. The provisions of Article 10 shall apply mutatis mutandis to sub-regional programmes. Such cooperation [may] include agreed joint programmes for the sustainable management of transboundary [natural] resources, scientific and technical cooperation and strengthening of relevant institutions."

ARTICLE 14 -- MEASURES TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF DROUGHT: Saudi Arabia insisted that sub-paragraph (f) on cloud seeding remain in brackets, although others thought the paragraph was better suited for the article on research. The US insisted that the entire article remain bracketed until resolution of the definition of "drought."

ARTICLE 14 BIS -- INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: The EU agreed to remove the brackets.

ARTICLE 21 -- CAPACITY BUILDING, EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: Three versions of paragraph 4 (education and training centres) remain in brackets. The Chair suggested submitting all three versions to Paris, however, Algeria reported that the G-77 and China were working on a new formulation. The discussion was suspended.

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