An informal plenary meeting was convened at 9:00 pm. Kjelln announced that the purpose of this meeting was to go through the text of the Convention and to indicate where the agreements are, what is to be expected and what is outstanding. During the course of this review, the Chair of the Legal Experts Group, Fred Mallya, pointed out some of the changes that his Group has suggested.
There are a number of paragraphs and articles that were still under discussion by the group addressing issues related to financial resources and mechanisms. These include the following: paragraphs 13 (0.7% GNP for ODA) and 18 (new and additional resources) in the Preamble; Article 4, paragraph 2(h) (provision of financial resources); Article 6 (obligations of developed country Parties); Article 9, paragraph 2 (provision of assistance); Article 13, paragraph 1(b) (cooperation mechanisms); Article 20 (Financial Resources); and Article 21 (Financial Mechanisms).
Kjelln also noted that there were a number of other outstanding issues and that he would provide compromise text that would be circulated in the morning. This text would include the following: paragraph 19 in the Preamble (attention to the former Soviet Union); Article 3 (Principles); Article 4, paragraph 3 (affected developing country Parties eligible for assistance); Article 5, paragraph 2 (affected developed country Parties are not eligible to receive assistance); Article 26, paragraph 7 (communication of information); and Article 36 (Entry into Force).
The Chair also noted that there were several issues that have been resolved in the past few days. Furthermore, some issues generated a number of comments and proved that they are still contentious.
ARTICLE 1 -- USE OF TERMS: In paragraph (j), the bracketed phrase "or sub-region" is deleted in the definition of regional economic integration organization. In paragraph (k), the text now reads: "Developed country Parties means developed country Parties and regional integration organizations constituted by developed countries."
ARTICLE 8 -- RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS: After consultations with the UN legal office, it was decided to delete the brackets and retain paragraph 2, which addresses the rights and obligations of any Party under an agreement it has entered prior to entry into force of this Convention.
ARTICLE 9 -- BASIC APPROACH: In paragraph 1, it was agreed that the Permanent Secretariat, instead of the Depositary, will be notified of intentions to prepare national action programmes.
ARTICLE 10 -- NATIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: The Chair announced that the US had submitted a proposal to add the following to paragraph 4: "national population policies affecting human settlement patterns and land degradation." When the Chair said he would include this in his proposal on Friday, Malaysia protested and said that this was a clean text and last minute proposals should not be included. Argentina added that it could not accept such a proposal. Later in the evening the issue arose again. The US claimed this was not a new proposal but that he had proposed it in Geneva and it was lost along the way. G-77 members claimed that their Group had rejected this proposal. The US agreed to meet with other delegations following the Plenary, for further discussion on this issue.
ARTICLE 16 -- INFORMATION COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND EXCHANGE: After lengthy negotiations in sub-paragraph (g) (information exchange on local and traditional knowledge), the phrase "subject to their respective national legislation and/or policies" was retained in the second line rather than at the end of the paragraph.
ARTICLE 22 -- CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: When the Chair announced that he would make a proposal on sub-paragraph 2(g) (preparation of a budget for the COP), Germany requested an opportunity to provide input. The Chair said he would meet with interested delegations following the Plenary.
The Chair then read out what he thought was the formulation for paragraph 8: "The Conference of the Parties may request competent national and international organizations which have relevant expertise to provide it with information relevant to Articles 16(g), 17(c) and 18(2)(b). The US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand commented that the contact group did not agree to this formulation and this paragraph should be deleted. The Chair said that he did not understand the confusion and would have to come back to it.
ARTICLE 24 -- SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: The new text for this article was distributed. It establishes a Committee on Science and Technology and states that the COP will establish and maintain a roster of independent experts. The COP may, as necessary, appoint ad hoc panels to provide information and advice through the Committee on specific issues regarding science and technology.
ARTICLE 26 -- COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION: The brackets in paragraphs 1 (timetable for submission of reports) and 5 (reports on the provision of financial resources) were deleted.
ARTICLE 37 -- RESERVATIONS: This article is still bracketed.
REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION ANNEXES: The Chair noted that most of the changes made to the annexes were technical in nature. In the African Annex he noted the following points. Article 5 (Commitments and obligations of developed country Parties) will be brought into line with the main Convention. The financial provisions in Articles 14 and 15 will be resolved pending the outcome of the financial contact group. The main outstanding problem is the language in Article 18.3 regarding the role of the Secretariat in convening consultative groups. On this point, the Chair will attempt to find a solution. Mali expressed concern regarding the "supersonic speed" at which the African Annex was reviewed. He then proceeded faster than the speed of light to present the African Group's proposals for the deletion of brackets throughout the text. The Chair commented that Mali must have had the wrong text since most of these brackets had already been removed. Mali also acknowledged that Article 8 (content of national action programmes) was deliberately intended to be long since it is provides the technical "rules for the road," which must be spelled out as clearly as possible.
In the Latin American Annex, the Chair noted that the changes to be made are strictly of an editorial nature.
In the Asian Annex, the Chair noted that Article 7 (financial resources and mechanisms) will be resolved pending the finance group negotiations. As well, the Chair will take up consultations on Article 8 (cooperation and coordination mechanisms).
In the Northern Mediterranean Annex, Portugal expressed the need to review the new text to ensure consistency with the agreements reached by the informal working group. He was particularly concerned about some incongruencies in Article 9 (coordination with other sub-regions and regions).
DRAFT RESOLUTIONS: The Chair then announced that the draft resolution on interim arrangements (A/AC.241/L.20) had been agreed to without amendments. This text, which will have to be supplemented by a UN General Assembly resolution, authorizes more meetings of the INCD pending the entry into force of the Convention.
The Chair also introduced the draft resolution on urgent action for Africa (A/AC.241/L.22), which was distributed in the afternoon. France and Norway commented that the resolution in its present form is too complex and, as a result, the action for Africa would take too long. Senegal requested an opportunity to review the draft resolution in a small group with full interpretation. The Chair said that he would make the necessary arrangements.
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