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DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENT SECRETARIAT AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR ITS FUNCTIONING

The Secretariat introduced document A/AC.241/34, which analyses two separate but related issues; administrative arrangements for the functioning of the Secretariat and the physical location. He said there is need to consider administrative costs and overheads and the possibility of the Secretariat receiving services from various sources. Several countries have indicated their interest. As a follow-up, organizations interested in providing administrative arrangements and countries wishing to host the Secretariat should submit their written offers, using criteria contained in the Annexes.

Spain, on behalf of the EU, and supported by several delegations including Benin, Canada and Australia, said the Secretariat document provided a good basis for work. The process should be transparent.

Uganda, on behalf of the G-77 and China, presented a draft decision that focuses on the administrative arrangements. It suggests that: the Permanent Secretariat (PS) should be linked to the Secretariat of the UN; invites all international institutions to support the PS including by secondment of staff; the GA transfer the financial costs of the core staff and operating expenses of the Interim Secretariat to the PS; the GA should consider providing conference services for the COP and its subsidiary bodies; and these arrangements should be reviewed at COP-3.

There was general consensus to follow the Secretariat's proposals, but that timelines should be set for the written submissions and when the Secretariat would report back to the INCD. Some delegations also suggested that the two processes of identifying the organization and the location be considered separately. Morocco, Spain and WMO proposed additional criteria to the annexes.

Germany, Kenya, Spain and Switzerland indicated their interest to host the Permanent Secretariat.

Although several delegations considered the G-77 and China's proposal "interesting" and worthy of consideration, they questioned the wisdom of preparing a draft decision at this time. G-77 members argued that this was necessary in view of the fact that the CCD may enter into force in 1996 and the 1995 General Assembly will consider the biennial work programme that would cover CCD activities.

The Chair then read a draft decision on the location of the Permanent Secretariat, which delegates said should considered during the informal consultations during the second week.

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