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REPORTS TO THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

According to its multi-year thematic programme of work, the Commission on Sustainable Development"s (CSD) third session in April 1995, will review the implementation of all the Agenda 21 chapters that address land management. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the task manager for Chapter 12 (desertification) and has prepared a provisional version of its report to the CSD. Franklin Cardy of UNEP introduced this report and noted that it was prepared jointly with all relevant UN organizations, NGOs and some government representatives. He invited delegates to comment on the report and inform UNEP if there were any factual mistakes. All written and verbal comments were then included and the report was submitted on Monday, 16 January, to the CSD.

The Chair will also be presenting a report from the INCD to the CSD in April. It will cover how desertification relates to land degradation, Agenda 21 Chapters 10-15, as well as other elements of Agenda 21 in which such links can be made. He noted that this Convention supports Principle 1 of the Rio Declaration, which says people are at the center of development, since the Convention concerns over 900 million people and is based on a bottom-up approach and partnerships. He also noted the efforts to improve coordination of international assistance, and the integration and participation of NGOs in the process. Elements of the Convention that fit into the CSD"s consideration of other chapters of Agenda 21 include: food security; land use; the use of plant genetic resources; dryland forestry; water resources; and energy. He noted that when the Convention is examined in a broader framework, it has more stature and substance at the global level.

During the Plenary discussion, one delegate noted that the Chair"s report should also draw the linkages between this Convention, and the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions and the Statement on Forest Principles. Another delegate called for the inclusion of the links to international trade, since obstacles to market access to affected countries will hinder their efforts to combat desertification. Patterns of production and consumption should also be mentioned. The G-77 and China added that priority should be given to: the prevention of land degradation in vulnerable areas and the containment of degradation where it has already taken place; the fact that desertification and drought are global problems, not local problems; links between land degradation and climate change and biodiversity; and links to the mobilization of financial resources, transfer of environmentally sound technologies; and capacity building. Kjell‚n concluded that the reports by UNEP and the INCD to the CSD will supplement each other.

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