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WORKING GROUP II

PROCEDURES FOR COMMUNICATION OF INFORMATION: Delegates referred to A/AC.241/49/Rev.1, Procedures for Communication of Information and Review of Implementation, during their morning discussion. Youssef Brahimi of the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) presented a conference room paper (CRP) on benchmarks and indicators. The four sections of the text address the concept of indicators, implementation indicators, impact indicators and recommendations. Chair Shibata noted that the report was related to paragraph 10 (format of national reports) of the text on procedures for communication.

Benin wanted to make the CRP a committee document. Germany, supported by Tunisia and France, suggested establishing a working group on indicators. France announced an international programme on follow-up to provide information to North-South research teams. Benin proposed that the informal group could work between the end of INCD-9 and the beginning of INCD-10. He noted that the group that worked on the CRP (OSS together with several African countries) could form the nucleus of the group, and add representatives from other regions. Germany proposed that interested countries join the group. Senegal suggested coordinating the group’s work with work on indicators by other intergovernmental groups. Tunisia suggested participation by actors at the subregional level and Benin called for participation of civil society and NGOs. China stressed the importance of methodology for indicators. The UK suggested that the open-ended working group should focus on implementation indicators prior to INCD-10, so that paragraph 10 could be completed, and then on methodologies for impact indicators.

The Chair summarized the discussion, noting that the Secretariat should continue its work on indicators and involve other relevant countries and organizations, taking into account regional and subregional characteristics, prior to INCD-10. Voluntary contributions would be requested and no intergovernmental meeting would be convened. A Chair’s draft decision based on this discussion was distributed at the end of the day.

The Group then considered paragraphs 10, 11, 19 and parts of 20. The brackets were removed and text was adopted without any substantive changes.

ORGANIZATION OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COOPERATION: The Group completed consideration of A/AC.241/57, resolving all remaining text.

Procedures for the establishment of ad hoc panels: Delegates quickly reached agreement on paragraphs 2-8. In paragraph 3 (composition of panels) language was amended by the G-77 and China to reflect "a multidisciplinary approach, an appropriate gender balance and broad and equitable geographical representation." In 4 (number of panel members) the G-77 and China suggested that the number of members on any ad hoc panel shall not exceed twelve. Language already included in paragraph 3 on appropriate gender balance was deleted in paragraph 5 (importance of local and traditional knowledge). Paragraph 6 (the maximum number of panels) was amended by a combination of UK and G- 77 and China proposals to read: "The COP shall determine the number of ad hoc panels which, in principle, shall not exceed three at any one time." The heading for paragraphs 7 and 8 was changed to "Reports of ad hoc panels." Paragraph 8 (public access to panels’ work) was amended by the G-77 and China to read "Reports of ad hoc panels shall be in the public domain and, where appropriate, be disseminated through different mechanisms to all interested parties."

Establishment and maintenance of a roster of independent experts: The Group then returned to consider paragraphs 2 and 7, which were adopted ad referendum last week. The G-77 and China amended paragraph 2 (the diversity of experts) to include appropriate gender balance and broad and equitable geographical distribution. They also proposed deleting text stating that "each Party can nominate experts not only from its own country." The UK objected, emphasizing the need to make a distinction between the government appointed experts on the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) and the independent experts on the roster. However, the phrase was deleted. Paragraph 5 (CST representatives may not be on the roster as well) was deleted and 7 (disciplines to be represented) was adopted.

The Working Group also considered the future work programme of the CST. Delegates agreed to propose that the Plenary should ask delegations and agencies to submit suggestions on the work programme by the end of October. The Secretariat would be requested to compile these views and draft a report on the work programme of similar UN bodies, their work related to desertification and suggestions for collaboration, all of which would be submitted to INCD-10.

The UK observed that the CST work program shall follow that of the COP, and that it should include the implementation of Article 25 in the Convention (networking of institutions, agencies and bodies). Niger noted that experts need time to become familiar with the CCD. Canada warned that the Secretariat would not have time to make a thorough report on similar bodies. In fact, according to the CCD this is a task for the CST.

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