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CLOSING PLENARY

The final plenary session of INCD-8 was convened on Thursday, 15 February. After adopting the reports of the two working groups and the report of the Committee, Kjell�n outlined a possible work plan for INCD-9.

WORKING GROUP I: Vice-Chair Erwin Ortiz summarized the four subjects discussed by Working Group I. He said progress was made on financial rules through an exchange of views, but the Group needed more information before taking an appropriate decision. After the exchange of views on the programme and budget, delegates also decided they did not have enough information and requested the necessary documents to be prepared for the last INCD before COP-1. Further regional group consultations are needed on the GM. He observed that more information, preparation, and work in regional and subregional groups was needed. Delegates requested that the Interim Secretariat provides further material on the GM.

Ortiz then presented the four draft decisions, noting amendments that had been agreed in the Group but were not reflected in the documentation. The Committee then adopted the following decisions: A/AC.241/WG.I(8)/L.1 on designation of a Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for its functioning, A/AC.241/WG.I(8)/L.2 on programme and budget, A/AC.241/WG.I(8)/L.3 on draft financial rules and A/AC.241/WG.I(8)/L.4 on the global mechanism.

WORKING GROUP II: The Chair, Takao Shibata, described the Group's work. Some brackets were removed from the rules of procedure, but delegates could not deal with a substantial part of the document. The communication of information and review of implementation were discussed and considerable progress was made. Thanks to an excellent document and the Interim Secretariat's preparations on scientific and technological cooperation, delegates completed consideration of draft terms of reference for the CST and forged a broad consensus on the roster of experts and ad hoc panels. He said the next INCD will a have draft decision on these two issues that already commands substantial agreement. The legal issues of conciliation and arbitration and of procedures to resolve questions of implementation were left to the COP.

The Committee then adopted the following draft decisions: A/AC.241/WG.II(8)/L.1 on scientific and technological cooperation, A/AC.241/WG.II(8)/L.2 on the draft rules of procedure and A/AC.241/WG.II(8)/L.3 on communication of information and review of implementation. Draft decisions A/AC.241/WG.II(8)/L.4 on conciliation and arbitration and A/AC.241/WG.II(8)/L.5 on procedures to resolve questions on implementation were adopted as orally amended.

Kjell�n said ongoing work by other conventions on conciliation and arbitration, procedures to resolve questions of implementation and the rules of procedure will provide guidance to the INCD. He then introduced the provisional agenda for INCD-9 which contains the following items: adoption of the agenda and organization of work; preparation for the COP; special action in Africa and other regions; status of signature and ratification; review of the situation as regards extrabudgetary funds; adoption of the agenda for INCD-10; and adoption of the report of the Committee. Following interventions by Costa Rica, on behalf of the GRULAC, and Senegal, he suggested changing the item on interim action taken in other regions to refer to "actions taken in the Latin American, Asian and Northern Mediterranean regions." The provisional agenda was adopted, as amended.

Greece, on behalf of OECD, suggested that because Working Group I would be occupied with the GM and Working Group II had cleared two legal matters from its agenda, it would be best to consider all legal items, including the rules of procedure and the financial rules, in Working Group II. Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said that while the idea was interesting, the Group needed time to consult. Cameroon, on behalf of the African Group, said a change in the distribution of Working Group tasks would cause difficulties for African delegations. If financial rules were moved to Working Group II, it would be difficult to follow because not all African delegations have legal specialists. The Chair said that this issue would be addressed at INCD-9.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT: Acting Rapporteur Jos� Urrutia (Peru) presented his draft report and its addendum on the status of signature and ratification, as contained in documents A/AC.241/L.29 and A/AC.241/L.29/Add.1, respectively. He said the changes in the Bureau would be reflected in the documents. The Report and Addendum were adopted.

INCD Chair Kjell�n presented his three summaries reflecting special action, as contained in document A/AC.241/CRP.16, preparation for the Conference of the Parties, as contained in A/AC.241/CRP.17 and review of the situation as regards extrabudgetary funds, as contained in A/AC.241/CRP.18. The documents are not negotiated texts, but are aimed at providing a picture of the negotiations and the salient points raised. The Committee authorized the Rapporteur to annex the papers to his report.

CONCLUDING REMARKS: Kjell�n noted that the status of ratification at present indicates that the CCD should enter into force this year. Thus, he will continue consulting on the venue of COP-1. However, there is concern that the Convention is still not sufficiently known. While progress was made during this session, much still remains to be done. Therefore, at INCD-9 priority will be given to negotiations on the preparations for the COP.

He then outlined a possible work plan for INCD-9, which will start on Tuesday, 3 September 1996. After a brief opening plenary, regional groups will have time to meet. The second day will feature a morning plenary for general statements, special action in the regions, the status of ratifications, the situation as regards extrabudgetary funds and accreditation of NGOs. The working groups will meet from Wednesday afternoon until Friday afternoon when the plenary will reconvene to review the progress of work. One session for regional consultations will be provided. Working Groups would continue to meet during the second week. Panels and written submissions could be organized for reporting work in the regions and on special subjects. As would be the case in the COP meetings, reports on special action in the regions could be done once a year.

Italy, on behalf of the EU, said reports on special action demonstrated a collective effort with affected countries and what needs to be done. Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said although discussions on the GM had been slow, they now have a sound position. Greece, on behalf of the OECD countries, said their proposed organization of work was primarily due to the UN's financial crisis.

South Africa said the environment- and science-focused Valdivia Group had established cooperation between NGOs and governments. Gabon, on behalf of the African Group, appreciated support from the international community and said the contents of the GM are important. China said the session was an encouragement for continued national desertification prevention. The League of Arab States stressed the importance of representation of Arab States in the institutions provided by the CCD. On behalf of the NGOs, Ruth Mubiru of the Uganda Women Tree Planting Movement, gave an account of NGO inputs provided at this session, which included the CST, energy, women and desertification, and communication procedures.

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