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PLENARY

INCD Chair Bo Kjell‚n opened the Plenary by reviewing progress to date in the informal groups on finance and the annexes. Informal consultations are also continuing on: legal cleanup of the Convention, priority action for Africa, the scientific and technical advisory body, Articles 31 and 32, and questions on intellectual property rights.

SWITZERLAND: C.G. Ducret announced that the Swiss Government will continue to support the co-location of Convention Secretariats (climate change, biodiversity and desertification) at the Geneva Executive Centre. In commemoration of the UN's 50th Anniversary, the Swiss will construct a building with free office space for the least developed countries to be available in 1997. In addition, the Palais Wilson will be renovated and become the Environment House, where international organizations will be located.

UNDP: UNDP Administrator James Gustave Speth announced a number of initiatives to support Convention implementation, including promotion of technical cooperation and capacity building efforts. UNDP offered to service the secretariat and assist governments to identify and mobilize new financial resources. UNDP will also: assist in the development of national action programmes; assist affected countries to meet human development concerns in the drylands; support sub-regional organizations; and contribute to the strengthening of the OAU's coordinating capacity. UNEP and UNDP will work together to catalyze resource mobilization and other activities for Africa during the interim period.

FAO: Deputy Director-General Howard Hjort, on behalf of FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, commented that 800 million people are not getting enough food and 50 million people are threatened by famine. Most of these people live in drylands. FAO will support the conversion of some INCD case studies into concrete action programmes. FAO will also strive to coordinate its programmes and the Convention.

WMO: N.A.G. Kove, on behalf of WMO Secretary-General G.O.P. Obasi, identified WMO's programmes that can support the implementation of the Convention, including: the World Weather Watch Programme; World Climate Programme; Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme; and Hydrology and Water Resources Programme. WMO also promotes: the use of alternative energy sources; the development of plans and policy measures for drought preparedness and prevention; and the development of early warning systems. WMO offered to host the secretariat in its new headquarters building to be completed in 1997.

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