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SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION:

Since the mandate of the Panel of Experts has expired and the Convention provides for a Committee on Science and Technology (Article 24), the INCD has to deal with how to prepare for the establishment of such a body. The resolution adopted at INCD-6 calls on the Secretariat to suggest to the INCD how it thinks that the interim work on scientific and technological issues should be conducted. The newly established Working Group II has the mandate to deal with: "organization of scientific and technological cooperation, in particular the terms of reference of the Committee on Science and Technology, the establishment and maintenance of a roster of independent experts, and the terms of reference and modalities of work of any ad hoc panels that the Conference of the Parties may decide to appoint." Nevertheless, there is still the question of the need for scientific and technical advice during the interim period. Some developed countries seem to be opposed to the establishment of an interim scientific and technological body. While there is precedent for such an interim body (the Interim Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (ISTAC), which held one meeting in support of the Biodiversity Convention), some believe that given the nature of the desertification and drought, such an interim body may not be necessary. Furthermore, given financial constraints, the question of the value of a scientific and technological body during this phase of negotiations must also be justified.