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INFORMAL PLENARY

@HEADINE 3 = Kjell‚n opened the informal session and described the four types of problem areas that remain in the text of the Convention (A/AC.241/15/Rev.3): issues related to financial resources and mechanisms; issues related to categories of countries; points related to institutional and legal issues; and the inclusion of an article on principles. There are also a number of other sets of brackets that do not relate to these four issues and Kjell‚n proposed that the Committee address these first.

PREAMBLE: In paragraph 23, (relationship between this convention and the conventions on climate change and biodiversity), the US agreed to remove the brackets.

ARTICLE 1 -- USE OF TERMS: Paragraph 2 (possible establishment of a glossary) was deleted after the Secretariat explained that UNEP has already commissioned a dictionary of terms related to desertification, and this paragraph is no longer necessary.

ARTICLE 8 -- RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS: The Secretariat reported that its legal adviser suggested deleting paragraph 2 (the rights and obligations of Parties). Article 30 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties covers this issue, thus obviating its presence in this Convention. India argued in favor of its retention because this Convention is different from the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. Australia, Colombia, Benin and Bolivia supported its deletion. India said it would have to consult further on this point.

ARTICLE 10 -- NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: Saudi Arabia agreed to move paragraph 3(f) on cloud seeding to Article 17 on Research and Development.

ARTICLE 11 -- SUBREGIONAL AND REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: The brackets in this paragraph were easily removed, however, a lengthy discussion followed when the EU proposed deleting reference to regional action programmes or retaining it in brackets, pending the outcome of the discussions on annexes. Numerous delegations took the floor to object to this proposal, since this issue was hotly debated at INCD-4 and should not be reopened now. The EU agreed to revisit the issue and report back to the Committee.

ARTICLE 15 -- REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION ANNEXES: This article was bracketed pending the elaboration of the regional annexes. Most delegates supported deleting the three sub-paragraphs that listed obligations and retaining the chapeau, which listed elements for incorporation in action programmes. Canada proposed moving this to Article 9 bis. Egypt proposed moving it to Article 29 (Status of Annexes). China, Brazil and Benin, however, argued that the article should remain where it is. Canada and Egypt agreed and the amended text of Article 15 was accepted.

ARTICLE 16 -- INFORMATION COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND EXCHANGE: The brackets in the chapeau were removed, however, a lengthy discussion followed when the US proposed reorganizing sub-paragraph (g) so that the phrase "subject to their respective legislation and/or policies" is moved to the end of the paragraph. This would ensure that the entire sub-paragraph, which addresses exchange of information on local and traditional knowledge, is subject to legislation and or policies. The Chair asked Ethiopia to hold consultations on this matter and report back in the morning.

ARTICLE 17 -- RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: In paragraph 1, brackets were in the phrase: promotion of technical and scientific cooperation "through...appropriate...[existing] international institutions." Numerous countries, including Benin, Niger and the US, wanted to delete "existing," but the EU wanted to retain it. Switzerland proposed returning to this matter after agreement was reached on institutional arrangements.

Saudi Arabia's proposal on cloud seeding, which had been in Article 10, was inserted as a new sub-paragraph 1(g). It was amended to read: "enhance water availability in affected areas, including through cloud seeding."

ARTICLE 18 -- TRANSFER, ACQUISITION, ADAPTATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY: Canada proposed amending sub-paragraph 2(a) to read "make inventories of such technology, knowledge and know-how and practices and its potential uses with the approval and participation of local populations." Brazil objected. Discussion is expected to continue on this article on Tuesday.

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