Tuesday, 3 September 1996, marked the beginning of the ninth session of the Committee. The purpose of this nine-day session was to continue preparations for the first Conference of the Parties, which is tentatively scheduled to take place in late 1997. During the session additional NGOs were accredited (A/AC.241/9/Add.12) and three Bureau members were added to replace members who were unable to attend the INCD. Anatolii Ovchinnikov (Uzbekistan) was appointed Rapporteur of the Committee, Alock Jain (India) was elected to the Bureau, and Samvel Baloyan (Armenia) was elected Vice- Chair of Working Group II. A panel on women and desertification was held during the second week of the session, with presentations from NGOs regarding women and access to credit, land tenure and awareness raising.