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During its 47th session in 1992, the UN General Assembly, as requested by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), adopted resolution 47/188 calling for the establishment of the INCD. At the organizational session of the INCD in January 1993, delegates elected Bo Kjell�n (Sweden) Chair of the Committee. The first session was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 24 May to 3 June 1993. The first week focused on sharing technical information and assessments, and the second week dealt with the structure, elements and objectives of the Convention.

The second session of the INCD met in Geneva from 13-24 September 1993. The Committee considered the compilation text of the CCD and agreed on the future programme of work, including the elaboration of regional instruments for Africa, Asia and Latin America. The third session of the INCD was held at UN Headquarters in New York from 17-28 January 1994. The two working groups focused on the draft negotiating text of the Convention. The INCD also discussed the regional instrument for Africa.

At the fourth session, which took place in Geneva from 21-31 March 1994, negotiations of the draft Convention continued and delegates also formally considered the Regional Implementation Annex for Africa. The Asian and Latin American regional groups produced their own draft regional implementation annexes. When the fifth session of the INCD met in Paris from 6-17 June 1994, delegates worked through the remaining bracketed text in the Convention and finalized four regional implementation annexes for Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Northern Mediterranean. The Convention was adopted on 17 June 1994, along with resolutions recommending urgent action for Africa and interim arrangements for the period between adoption of the CCD and its entry into force. The Convention was opened for signature at a ceremony in Paris from 14-15 October 1994.