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INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON THE AFRICAN REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION ANNEX

ARTICLE 2 -- PURPOSE: Consensus was reached on sub-paragraph (a), which now reads: "identify measures and arrangements, including the nature and processes of assistance provided by developed country Parties, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention."

ARTICLE 4 -- COMMITMENTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF AFRICAN COUNTRY PARTIES: The group, tasked with the choice of verbs for paragraphs 1 and 2, decided to use "undertake" in paragraph 1 and "shall aim to" in paragraph 2.

ARTICLE 5 -- COMMITMENTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF DEVELOPED COUNTRY PARTIES: The contact group agreed to the following: "continue to allocate significant resources and/or increase resources to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought." Sub-paragraph (c) now reads: "assist them in strengthening capacities to enable them to improve their institutional framework, as well as their scientific and technical capabilities, information collection and analysis and research and development for the purpose of combatting desertification and mitigating the effects of drought."

ARTICLE 7 -- TIMETABLE FOR PREPARATION OF ACTION PROGRAMMES: Japan reiterated its concerns regarding the contradiction of setting out an obligation before the Convention actually comes into force. Benin reminded delegates that the thrust of the article is to enable countries to finalize action programmes in the interim period. Discussion was deferred pending the discussion on interim measures.

ARTICLE 9 -- PREPARATION OF NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES AND IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION INDICATORS: Benin reported that the African group had submitted shorter text in response to the concerns of many delegates. There was general support for the new text, although it was agreed that a contact group will ensure consistent language between the English and French texts.

ARTICLE 12 -- PREPARATION OF SUB-REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: Benin suggested deleting this article since its contents are covered elsewhere. The US proposed alternative wording: "a consultative process shall include review of national implementation and evaluation indicators to promote maximum comparability and consistency within the sub-region." Discussion was deferred, pending the outcome of Article 20.

ARTICLE 13 -- ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: Benin proposed deletion of the brackets in paragraph 1 (delegation of responsibilities to regional organizations). The EU, opposed by Benin, proposed that Articles 13 and 14 be replaced with Article 14(a) in the Secretariat's text. Canada supported the EU, and noted that many of the elements in Article 14 are coordination activities that do not necessarily require formal programmes. Discussion was deferred.

ARTICLE 15 -- STRENGTHENING OF ACTIVITIES OF UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS IN THE FIELD OF DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT: Discussion was deferred to allow regional groups to review the new African text that had been circulated.

ARTICLE 16 -- FINANCIAL RESOURCES: Benin presented the Article as amended by the African Group. Following an extensive debate on whether to proceed, due to the informal consultations within the Johnson-Sonko Group on financial resources and mechanisms, somewhat reluctant preliminary discussions were held. Paragraph 1 (mobilization and management of resources by affected country Parties) was adopted ad referendum. In paragraph 2 it was agreed that the inventory of funding resources will be at the national, sub-regional, regional and international levels. Benin's proposal on the cancellation or alleviation of their debts was bracketed. The US said the reference to ODA percentage in paragraph 3 should be replaced with the compromise text for Article 5. Benin agreed. However, the EU's preferred text makes a commitment "to provide substantial resources" to the affected country Parties.

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