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DESIGNATION OF A PERMANENT SECRETARIAT AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR ITS FUNCTIONING

The Chair invited comments on the draft decision on Designation of a Permanent Secretariat (A/AC.241/WG.I(VII)/L.1) submitted by the G-77 and China. The draft decision's annex would: institutionally link the Permanent Secretariat to the UN Secretariat; invite all institutions concerned with desertification to support the Secretariat; and recommend that the General Assembly should continue providing funding arrangements for core staff, operating expenses and the cost of conference services for the COP.

Spain said it would be premature to adopt the decision because delegates should know specific offers of the UN Secretary General and others before making a decision. The UK agreed, noting that an early decision might cut off offers from other organizations.

Uganda, on behalf of the G77 and China, said its proposal could be left pending, but should be seen as one possible solution. He asked that the draft decision be held for future consideration.

The Chair proposed a substitute draft decision that was amended by the US, Tunisia and Brazil. The draft decision was adopted. It: "Requests the Secretary General of the UN to submit to the Committee, at its next session, a report on the nature of administrative arrangements that can be provided and on support from the UN to the Permanent Secretariat without being fully integrated in the work programme or management structure of any particular programme."

Delegates then considered amendments to the Annexes of the document on Designation of a Permanent Secretariat (A/AC.241/34). The Chair noted that decisions had not been made on relevant international organizations, thus consideration of Annex I was premature.

On Annex II, describing categories of information requested from countries interested to host the Permanent Secretariat, Germany, supported by Mauritania, Antigua and Barbuda, Morocco, and the US, proposed deleting all amendments. Senegal, Guinea and Benin said the amendment to paragraph 10 on additional financial support from the host government should remain.

Germany suggested adding a reference to financial support for the INC process as a criterion. Several delegations supported the German suggestion, but Mauritania said the paragraph gives weight only to rich countries. The Chair suggested changing the reference from "financial support" to "support". The amended Annex II was adopted.

In formal session, the Chair reviewed the Working Group's decisions -- adoption of procedural decisions on the Global Mechanism and Designation of a Permanent Secretariat, and requests for revised documents for the next session on Financial Rules and the Programme and Budget.

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