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GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION

The Philippines, on behalf of the G-77 and China, introduced the draft resolution on the Convention to Combat Desertification in the Second Committee on 14 November 1995. The final resolution (A/C.2/50/L.54), which emerged from informal consultations, was adopted by the Second Committee on 5 December 1995. It is expected to be formally adopted by the General Assembly Plenary before Christmas.

One of the more contentious issues in this resolution was the number and duration of future meetings of the INCD. Several countries did not feel it was necessary to specify the dates of the sessions in 1997 and thought it premature to set the dates of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties when there were only 16 ratifications out of the 50 needed for the Convention to enter into force.

The final resolution decides that: the INCD will continue to prepare for the first session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention and, for this purpose, will have two sessions in 1996, each of up to two weeks' duration, the eighth session to be held in Geneva from 5-16 February and the ninth session in New York from 3-13 September. The resolution also decides to convene the tenth session of the INCD in New York from 6-17 January 1997 and, pending the entry into force of the Convention, to convene as necessary a further session in 1997, of up to two weeks' duration, the exact date and venue of which shall be determined at a later stage. Upon entry into force of the Convention, a session of the Conference of the Parties will be convened in the second and third weeks of June 1997 or, alternatively, in the second and third weeks of August 1997, the exact dates and venue to be determined at a later stage.

The resolution also: requests all countries, the UN system, appropriate scientific and business communities, trade unions, relevant NGOs and other interested groups to take action for the prompt implementation of the Convention and its relevant regional annexes upon entry into force; urges all countries and relevant actors to take actions to implement the resolution on Urgent Action for Africa; decides that the work of the INCD and the Interim Secretariat will continue to be funded through existing UN budgetary resources; and urges States and interested organizations to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Secretariat and the Special Voluntary Fund for the participation of developing countries. The resolution also welcomes the arrangements concluded between the Interim Secretariat and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to support activities in affected developing countries, and invites the Interim Secretariat to conclude similar arrangements with other relevant organizations, such as UNDP, UNEP, FAO and UNESCO.

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