The morning and afternoon meetings chaired by Takao Shibata (Japan) dealt with Rules 1 to 9 of the Rules of procedure for the COP (A/AC.241/48) and Communication of information and review of implementation (A/AC.241/49).
RULES OF PROCEDURES FOR THE COP: A/AC.241/48 is the same as document 38 except for brackets resulting from discussions held at INCD-7.
Rule 2: Austria suggested deleting the bracketed text regarding CCD's entry into force in paragraph (a), which was accepted. Australia suggested bracketing paragraph (h) since it is still unclear whether the ad hoc panels on science and technology will be subsidiary bodies. The Chairman referred to precedents in other conventions and the paragraph was retained.
Rule 4: In paragraph 1, dates of sessions, Egypt suggested deleting the bracketed text "In accordance with the provisions of the Convention." This was accepted. Zimbabwe suggested changing the text in <M>paragraph 3 to state that support from two thirds, not one third, is required to hold an extraordinary session. Based on precedent the paragraph was retained. On <M>paragraph 4, Egypt suggested that an extraordinary session should be held within 45, not 90 days. Austria, supported by US, the UK, Japan, Kenya, Uganda, Armenia and Zimbabwe, preferred 90 days, which was accepted.
Rule 5 (notification of meeting times and venues): Delegates discussed whether this rule should distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary sessions. No agreement was reached.
Rules 6 and 7 (observers): A discussion was initiated by AMU, which said regional and sub-regional organizations with observer status in the UN should be mentioned because the CCD emphasizes the importance of participation at all levels. Egypt suggested in Rule 6, paragraph 2 that observers' participation could be objected to by two thirds of the Parties and not one third. This was followed by suggestions to merge the two rules on participation of UN and specialized agencies, and other bodies or agencies. Finally, the Chair concluded it was necessary to retain the same language as in Article 22 of the CCD. Thus, it was decided to keep the one third vote. As it is not determined whether one or more organizations will house the GM it was decided to bracket "the" and add a bracketed "s" at the end of "organization" in Rule 6, paragraph 1.
Rule 8: Austria said the language entitles observers to be represented by observers and suggested deletion. Switzerland's proposal to delete "so that they may be represented by observers" in the last line was accepted.
Rule 9: It was agreed that the Permanent Secretariat shall prepare the agenda of each session in agreement with the President, as proposed by Egypt.
COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION AND REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION: The Chair said that the document on Procedures for Communication of Information and Review of Implementation (A/AC.241/49) should be considered as a negotiating text. The Secretariat introduced the document, noting sections on presentation and content of reports, a timetable in which affected Parties report every fourth year, and methods and criteria for review of reports by region.
Venkat Ramnayya of the Indian NGO Youth for Action, said the procedures do not sufficiently address institutional mechanisms, community involvement or capacity building. He suggested ensuring women-to-women communication, utilizing traditional knowledge, reporting at various levels and a report section on women's participation.
Iran suggested adding language to paragraph 2 (objectives of procedures) "to ensure that each party has undertaken its" CCD obligation. The UK said COP will evaluate whether countries meet obligations. A Party might communicate that it has not met its obligation. The objective of the reporting document should be to meet the procedures. India said one CCD reporting obligation is for donors to demonstrate how they have mobilized financial resources, so the amendment was appropriate. The Chair said it is not necessary to elaborate the objective of procedures. The paragraph, and the preceding introduction in paragraph 1 were agreed. The Chair also noted that paragraphs 3-7 (general obligation to report) were taken from CCD Article 26 and they were adopted.
Germany, supported by Uganda, said the reference in paragraph 10 (format and content of reports) to indicators was premature, and that the reports could be overwhelming for the Secretariat and difficult to compare. He suggested this discussion should be withheld until the Secretariat compiles a report on the development of standard indicators by UNSO and others. The Chair said the paragraphs would be deferred until INCD-9, and the Group would request a report on indicators.
Paragraph 12 (official languages) was agreed, as were paragraphs 13-5 (timetable). Paragraphs 16-17 (compilation and synthesis) were amended to refer to trends "or characteristics" emerging in implementation.
Paragraph 18 (review process) was adopted with minor amendments. Uganda said COP should produce conclusions of the review process, not the Secretariat as described in paragraph 19 (periodic reports). Senegal questioned in which languages the Secretariat's conclusions would be available. The Chair said paragraph 20 (official documents) does not yet refer to the report described in 19, so it would not necessarily be translated into all languages. Paragraph 19, and the references to numbered paragraphs in 20 were bracketed.
Paragraph 21 (availability of reports) was accepted with deletion of references to specific means of distribution. The UK said the requirement to collect contact information in paragraphs 22-23 (institutional information) was excessive. The paragraphs were accepted with reference only to focal points and coordinating bodies. Delegates added a reference to least developed countries to paragraph 24 (assistance in preparation). They also amended the language on facilitating assistance and "compilation and communication" of information from CCD Article 23.
The Chair said he had received a response to an enquiry on whether the GEF could assist affected countries to collect information for CCD. The GEF said that it provides financing for preparation of national strategies and communications in GEF focal areas and thus could assist indirectly.
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