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CLOSING SESSION

The Plenary met for the final time at INCD-4 on Thursday afternoon, 31 March 1994. Delegates adopted the draft provisional agenda for the fifth session, which will take place from 6-17 June 1994 in Paris. The agenda includes: adoption of the organization of work; the elaboration of an international convention to combat desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa; review of the situation regarding extra-budgetary funds; organization of the sixth session; and the adoption of the Convention and Final Document. The Committee also adopted the report of its fourth session, as contained in document A/AC.241/L.17 and the reports of the two working groups, documents A/AC.241/WG.I/L.3 and A/AC.241/WG.II/L.3.

On behalf of the G-77 and China, Algeria expressed satisfaction with the impetus given to the negotiations and the constructive spirit at this session. He stressed that the G-77 and China attach great political significance to this process. He also reiterated the importance of financial and institutional machinery and the need for a specialized fund and an independent secretariat. The G-77 and China also called for high-level ministerial participation at the final session in Paris. Algeria closed by thanking NGOs for their active participation.

Australia, on behalf of the OECD countries, said that their goal has always been to reach agreement on a strong convention within the mandate given to the INCD by the UN General Assembly. She assured everyone that this remains their objective and that the OECD countries will work hard and in a cooperative spirit in Paris. India, on behalf of the Asian Group, and Bolivia, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, expressed their regions' hopes that all the regional annexes would be adopted in June.

In his closing statement, INCD Chair Bo Kjell‚n said that he saw five main clusters of problems that must be addressed in Paris: 1) a general review of the text of the Convention with particular focus on the outstanding issues; 2) financial issues; 3) the three regional annexes (Africa, Asia, and Latin America); 4) the drafting of resolutions on the interim period and the need to ensure urgent action for African drylands; and 5) organization and technical details, such as the manner in which the INCD will conclude its work and questions about when and how the Convention should be opened for signature.

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