INCD Chair Bo Kjelln opened the Plenary and invited the Tunisian Minister of the Environment and the President of IFAD to speak. He also provided an update on the negotiations.
TUNISIA: Mohamed Mehdi Mlika, Minister of the Environment and Land Management, said that in Tunisia the negative effects of desertification are profound -- 20,000 hectares are lost annually. Through its strategy to combat desertification, Tunisia has managed to save some 100 villages from encroachment of sand. The strategy also has a preventive dimension, which includes reforestation, dune fixation, and management of pastoral areas, river basins, etc. The recently concluded OAU Summit, chaired by Tunisian President Ben Ali, adopted a resolution on the elaboration of this convention, which called for the installation of the secretariat in Africa.
IFAD: Fawzi H. Al-Sultan, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, said IFAD has been trying to build the development of the small farm economy on the basis of more sustainable patterns of resource use. He described IFAD's Special Programme for Sub-Saharan African Countries Affected by Drought and Desertification, which has financed 42 projects in 24 countries, focusing on the small farmer and local farm community. IFAD's Special Programme can directly support the process of development of National Action Plans and channel additional resources necessary for the full implementation of the Convention.