MAURITANIA supported the G-77 and China"s statement on Tuesday on this item and expressed concern about the calls to reduce the role of the Secretariat. MOROCCO stated that urgent action for Africa corresponds to Article 7 of the African Annex and enables African countries, in collaboration with the international community, to implement those parts of the Convention that deal with programmes of action. The Interim Secretariat should play an effective role, in line with Article 18 of the African Annex, in particular in information dissemination and facilitating consultative processes in programme preparation.
TUNISIA outlined the measures it has taken to implement the resolution. A coordinating body comprising different sectors has been set up. Tunisia is also part of the sub-regional Maghreb Union that has developed a plan of action, containing eight technical projects, to combat desertification. It is also part of the African Contact Group mandated by the OAU to negotiate the implementation of the CCD with developed countries.
The PHILIPPINES, on behalf of the G-77 and China, proposed the creation of two working groups. One working group would deal with financial issues and the other with scientific and technological matters. The Plenary would deal with matters such as the COP"s rules of procedure, terms of reference for the Secretariat and information dissemination. The Plenary could also function as a working group of the whole or work through ad hoc<D> groups to address implementation of the resolution on urgent action for Africa. Therefore, the Interim Secretariat should prepare timely and adequate documentation and facilitate decision-making at the first COP. KENYA and the SUDAN supported these proposals.
ECUADOR said that, in her country, erosion has taken place and this has led to the creation of deserts. Ecuador supports the Convention and is planning to sign it in the coming days. GHANA said that the Interim Secretariat (IS) will need to function as a coordinating and facilitating body. The IS must also undertake public awareness programmes. A scientific working group, composed of scientists from developing and developed countries, should be convened to discuss problems as they arise.
NORWAY said that the IS should play the role of facilitator and coordinator and should start a bidding process for a host organization for the global mechanism and then provide INCD-7 with a paper on the advantages and disadvantages of each bidder. Drawing from the experiences of other conventions while being innovative, the IS should: draft the rules of procedure; prepare background documents on financial arrangements for the COP, subsidiary bodies and communication and information; and prepare a paper providing a legal analysis of the options and modalities of using existing organizations. She supported the establishment of two working groups with a pragmatic distribution of tasks. Norway prefers an informal Plenary, similar to the first INCD session, to deal with urgent action for Africa.
SWITZERLAND supported the idea of two working groups. The role of the IS should be differentiated from that of the Permanent Secretariat, which should not be operative but of facilitator and coordinator. UGANDA said that since the conclusion and signing of the Convention emphasis has been put on the question of information exchange, dissemination and public awareness. The Committee must go beyond this and look at the tangible actions that need to be taken with regard to Africa.
BOLIVIA reported that his country has created a ministry for sustainable development, based on economic development, social equity, rational management of natural resources, protection of the environment and broad popular participation. Bolivia is also working on its national action programme. The IS should promote public awareness. CHINA outlined the activities it had undertaken to combat desertification. It has: established a national committee that is assisted by three centres to oversee the implementation of the CCD; prepared a national programme of action; started a process to develop legislation to facilitate this process; and prepared public awareness programmes.
NIGER stressed that the resolution on urgent action for Africa should not be relegated to second place. He stated that while there are three levels of implementation " socio-technical, political and juridical " the implementation of the resolution provides for the first two, while awaiting the fulfilment of the juridical process. BRAZIL stated that this session should address the resolution on Africa and go beyond information sharing to collective, not just bilateral, action. Brazil, supported by COLOMBIA, also urged that action for other regions should also be discussed. BENIN outlined the seven activities it has undertaken since Paris which include: preparing an action plan; public awareness and training campaigns; provision of institutional frameworks to work out the national programmes; developing partnerships with the donor community; and resources mobilization.
PERU outlined the social and economic effects of desertification in his country, and appealed for guaranteed and predictable financial resources, as well as debt cancellation, in order to reverse this trend. CAMEROON said that the provisions of the Convention ensure a strong Secretariat. Cameroon has taken measures regarding the urgent situation in Africa, including holding a seminar to identify strategies and priorities. Cameroon should ratify the Convention at the next session of the National Assembly in June 1995.
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