When weary delegates to the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the elaboration of an international convention to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, left UNESCO headquarters at 8:00 am on Saturday, 18 June 1994, many were too exhausted to realize their accomplishment. After thirteen months of work and five two-week negotiating sessions the international community had just adopted the Convention.
During the two-week session, which took place in Paris from 6-17 June 1994, delegates negotiated the remaining bracketed text in the Convention, finalized the four regional annexes (Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, and the Northern Mediterranean) and adopted resolutions that recommend urgent action for Africa and interim arrangements for the period between adoption and entry into force, which could take at least two years. There were times during this session that delegates thought they would never reach agreement on the financial provisions of the Convention. After three all-night sessions capped by a closing Plenary that did not even begin until 4:00 am, the Convention was finally adopted. Few delegates were totally pleased with the outcome, yet most were hopeful that this Convention could have some impact on the 900 million people around the world affected by desertification.