One of the problems in the early sessions of the INCD was how to address the problems of other regions that are affected by desertification and drought. The original mandate of the INCD was to give priority for Africa through a regional implementation annex. At the conclusion of INCD-2, delegates agreed to ask the UN General Assembly to extend the negotiating mandate of the Committee to enable it to negotiate annexes for Latin America and Asia. However, this posed two major problems: 1) representatives from these affected regions wanted their annexes to be completed by June 1994 so that they would enter into force with the Convention and the African annex; and 2) a number of countries expressed reticence at ratifying a Convention unless all the annexes were completed, since these countries would not know the full extent of their obligations.
These problems were solved, as these two regional groups undertook the first step of negotiating regional annexes on their own. In February, representatives from the Latin American and Caribbean Group gathered in Fortaleza, Brazil, and negotiated a Draft Regional Implementation Annex for Latin America and the Caribbean. Likewise, in early March, representatives from Asian countries gathered in Bangkok, Thailand, and drafted a Regional Implementation Annex for Asia. The two regional groups met throughout the first week of INCD-4 and, by the end of the first week, introduced copies of their annexes during an informal session of Working Group II.
The Latin American and Caribbean annex (A/AC.241/ CRP.7) is a concise four-page document and contains the following sections: 1. Diagnosis; 2. Thematic issues; 3. Programme of Action and Measures of Support; and 4. Institutional framework. Delegates praised the draft text for its brevity and clarity and supported it as a good basis for discussion. Specific concerns were raised by Northern governments regarding references in the Diagnosis section to: the linkages with economic trends; the mention of the global problem of desertification; and the links to biodiversity and climate change. Argentina said that the objections to the links with climate change and biodiversity were unfounded in light of recent GEF discussions, where these links were actually confirmed. He noted the various trade practices that distort international markets. Peru asked delegates to submit written comments to the Secretariat by 20 April to assist further drafting, which will take place from 3-5 May in Santiago, Chile.
The Regional Implementation Annex for Asia (A/AC.241/CRP.8) is a 5-page document that contains the following headings: A. Purpose; B. Particular conditions of the Asian region; C. Preparation, format and content of national action programmes; D. Organizational framework of sub-regional action programmes; E. Preparation, format and content of sub-regional action programmes; F. Coordination of sub-regional programmes and institutions at the regional level; G. Financial and technical cooperation; and H. Financial resources and coordination mechanisms. Delegates praised the annex during a brief discussion of the draft on the last day of the session. The US and the UK suggested that the draft should provide additional discussion of local involvement, with local communities and coordinated management of transboundary natural resources. It is possible that the Asian countries may hold further consultations on this annex in preparation for the June session of the INCD.
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