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INFORMAL WORKING GROUP ON THE AFRICAN REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION ANNEX

The Group first considered Articles 13, 14, 16 and 18 and referred unresolved issues to an informal contact group. The Group then completed a second reading of the text, which was adopted ad referendum. The Group noted that as the French text did not correspond to the English text, the agreements reached were merely on the basis of the English text of document A/AC.241/15/Rev.4. Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11 and 12 were all adopted, while discussion of Articles 13 and 18 was deferred.

ARTICLE 16 -- TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION: Cameroon reported back on the putative consensus that had been reached on Monday. The proposed text in (a) refers to limiting the cost of support measures and backstopping overhead costs, which should represent an appropriately low proportion of the total costs of the project. In (b), reference is made to "giving preference" to the utilization of competent national, regional and sub-regional experts. This was the subject of heated debate, involving charges of bad faith negotiating on the part of the EU, who insisted that the changes read out by Cameroon did not reflect the agreement reached in the contact group. The EU was opposed to the reference to "giving preference." Apparently, tentative agreement had been reached in the contact group, however, the EU representative was unable to obtain support from the rest of his group. The Chair reprimanded the EU for charging that the proposed text was not the same text as was agreed to the previous day. He insisted that the EU should have "come clean" and acknowledged that this was not a consensus text. The Chair asked Cameroon to reconvene the contact group. Cameroon declined, arguing that he was not prepared to work under these conditions. It was decided that the interested parties would meet directly with the Chair.

ARTICLES 13 -- CONTENT OF REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME and 14 -- ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME: Australia reported that consensus could not be reached on the EU proposal for "as appropriate" in the chapeau. The G-77 insisted that the reference did not make any sense. Australia was asked to reconvene the contact group.

ARTICLE 18 -- COORDINATION AND PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: The US reported that agreement could not be reached on paragraph 3 (consultative processes). The Chair said that he would discuss the matter with the Secretariat.

ARTICLE 5 -- COMMITMENTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF DEVELOPED COUNTRY PARTIES [AND OTHER PARTIES]: This article was adopted, pending agreement on financial matters.

ARTICLE 6 -- STRATEGIC PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The Group noted inconsistencies in the Convention, including in paragraph 2, where the words "local communities" and "local populations" are used interchangeably. The matter will be dealt with by the legal clean-up squad.

ARTICLE 8 -- CONTENT OF NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: The US pointed out that sub-paragraph 2(b)iii differed from the texts printed before 31 March. The Group adopted the article, but requested the Secretariat to refer to the earlier versions and, if the US observation was correct, the issue would be addressed later.

ARTICLE 9 -- PREPARATION OF NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES AND IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION INDICATORS: The Group substituted "donor country Parties" with "developed country Parties" since the former category does not exist.

ARTICLE 14 -- FINANCIAL RESOURCES: The Chair reported that this Article, which had been forwarded to the Johnson-Sonko Group, was referred back to this Group on the assumption that the two outstanding paragraphs, 3 and 4, could be resolved here. Paragraphs 1 and 2 were adopted without debate. In paragraph 3, delegates adopted the phrase, "...developed country Parties, and other developed Parties shall continue to allocate significant resources and/or increase resources and other forms of assistance to African affected country Parties..." No agreement was reached on the issue of debt cancellation or alleviation, in spite of Nigeria's proposed compromise text, "...including the alleviation of the debt burden." An informal group will handle this matter. Paragraph 4 was left pending the Johnson-Sonko Group discussions.

ARTICLE 15 -- FINANCIAL MECHANISMS: Although the entire article is bracketed, agreement was reached on paragraph 3, which now reads: "simplified procedures, to the extent possible, for funding shall be adopted."

ARTICLE 16 -- TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION: The delegates agreed to delete "strengthen" and "in accordance with national policies."

ARTICLE 17 -- TRANSFER, ACQUISITION AND ACCESS TO ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGY: The only outstanding matter concerned the brackets around "as necessary," which, at the suggestion of the EU, were removed and the text adopted.

ARTICLE 19 -- FOLLOW-UP ARRANGEMENTS: The EU expressed concern regarding sub-paragraphs a, b and c, and pointed out that the US had made a proposal in the chapeau, which had been rejected simply because the text was not bracketed. The Chair said that the Plenary had agreed not to re-open unbracketed text. France reminded him that the postponement of discussions now would only postpone the pain.

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