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FOURTH SESSION

The fourth session of the INCD was held in Geneva from 21-31 March 1994. The two working groups continued negotiating the draft text of the Convention. By the conclusion of the session the substantive problems that remained included: the need for an article on principles in the text; all matters related to financial resources and mechanisms; categories of countries; subsidiary bodies; reservations or exceptions open to the Parties; and the obligations of a withdrawing Party. In order to have a more productive dialogue on financial resources and mechanisms, the Chair invited Pierre-Marc Johnson (Canada) and Bolong Sonko (The Gambia) to undertake informal consultations among delegations on the provisions of the Convention related to finance. The objective of these consultations was to develop a new negotiating text on finance for the fifth session.

The fourth session was also the first time that delegates formally considered the Regional Implementation Annex for Africa. In general, developed countries thought that the annex was too long and contained a number of articles that were better suited to or already contained in the main Convention. The Africans felt that the level of detail was absolutely essential, otherwise the instrument would not achieve its objective of providing priority treatment for Africa. After a series of informal sessions, the unresolved issues in this heavily bracketed text included: the mandatory nature of the commitments to be taken by the Parties; the timetable for preparing action programmes; the necessity of regional action programmes; the role of the UN and other international institutions; financial arrangements; and follow-up and coordination.

The Asian and Latin American regional groups also produced their own draft regional implementation instruments. Although these annexes were not negotiated or even discussed in detail, initial reaction was positive. Delegates praised both annexes for their brevity and clarity and supported them as a good basis for further discussion.