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CLOSING PLENARY

The closing Plenary took place Friday morning, 13 September 1996. The Executive Secretary updated the Plenary on CCD ratification, noting that the relevant instruments of Haiti and Zambia had just been received. INCD Chair Bo Kjell�n then invited the Chairs of the working groups to present the reports of their respective groups.

WORKING GROUP I: Chair Mahmoud ould El Gaouth (Mauritania) presented reports on: the identification of an organization to house the Global Mechanism; administrative arrangements for the Permanent Secretariat; draft financial rules of the Conference of the Parties, its subsidiary bodies and the Permanent Secretariat; and the future and potential location of the Permanent Secretariat. He noted that the issue of the budget was not on the INCD-9 agenda and will be discussed at INCD-10. All of the Group’s agreements were reached late Thursday night, 12 September, and were provided to the Plenary in English only, without document numbers.

On the Global Mechanism, the Chair drew attention to the report, which was annexed to the draft decision that transmits the INCD-9 deliberations to INCD-10. El Gaouth pointed out that the third bracketed option of paragraph 4 titled “Promoting actions leading to the mobilization and channeling of substantial financial resources to all levels,” does not reflect the changes made by the Group, and he provided the necessary corrections.

With respect to the designation of a Permanent Secretariat, he reported that the issue regarding the physical location had been taken up by the INCD Chair. He presented the Group’s decision on administrative arrangements calling on the UN Secretary-General and UNEP to answer questions posed by INCD members regarding their bids for consideration at INCD-10.

He also presented a draft decision on the financial rules that transmits the revised text to INCD-10. He pointed out that Rule 23 (decision procedures) contradicted the rest of the text. He said that, pending Working Group II’s discussions on the rules of procedure, Working Group I would request deletion of Rule 23, but it will remain bracketed until INCD-10.

WORKING GROUP II: The Chair, Takao Shibata (Japan), presented the Working Group’s five draft decisions. He said draft decision A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)/L.1, procedures for communication and review of implementation, will be taken by COP-1.

The draft decision on the organization of scientific and technological cooperation (A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)/L.2) has three recommendations to COP-1: the terms of reference of the committee on science and technology; procedures for the establishment and maintenance of an independent roster of experts; and procedures for the establishment of ad hoc panels.

Draft decision A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)L.3 refers to the preparations needed to facilitate discussion at INCD-10 on the possible work programme of the CST. It invites members to provide comments on the programme of work and requests the Secretariat to prepare a report.

Draft decision A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)/L.4 relates to the continuation of work on the development of benchmarks and indicators to measure progress in the implementation of the Convention. Shibata also presented a procedural draft decision, A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)/L.5, requesting the Secretariat to prepare a revised text on the rules of procedure for the COP for discussion at INCD-10.

ADOPTION OF DECISIONS AND INCD-9 REPORT: Kjell�n noted that the issues had advanced in such a way that there was already agreement on text to be submitted to COP-1, adding that it was not envisaged at the start of the preparations for the COP that the progress attained so far on the CST would be realized by this time. He intimated that the setting up of the Intergovernmental Panel of Experts on Desertification by the General Assembly in 1992 set the tone for adding the CST dimension to the CCD. Kjell�n then invited delegates to adopt the decisions.

Working Group II’s draft decisions on communication of information, the Committee on Science and Technology and the work on benchmarks and indicators, were adopted.

Spain objected to the draft decision to the COP on the organization of scientific and technological cooperation (A/AC.241/WG.II(IX)/L.2), stating that: Spain had objected to its adoption and transmission to COP-1; and there was no consensus in the working group with regard to paragraph 6 on the composition of the Bureau. He said the document should be negotiated at INCD-10 before submission to COP-1. Kjell�n was reluctant to re-open discussion on the paragraph. Eventually, Spain agreed that the document be adopted for transmission to COP-1 with a footnote on the first page stating that: Spain is not party to the decision because of a reservation on paragraph 6; and Spain has the right to raise the issue at INCD-10. Spain advanced similar concerns with respect to the rules regarding election of officers for the COP and subsidiary bodies during the adoption of the decision on the rules of procedure for the COP. The Chair said the revised text for INCD-10 will contain both the current rule and Spain’s alternative in brackets. The draft decision was then adopted.

The Plenary then addressed the draft decisions agreed to in Working Group I. The text on the GM was adopted with the changes the Chair had read to reflect the agreement reached by Working Group I on 12 September. The decisions regarding administrative arrangements and financial rules were also adopted.

The Chair then presented a number of other draft decisions to the Plenary. Delegates adopted a draft decision regarding the designation of a Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for its functioning: physical location (A/AC.241/L.31). On the draft decision regarding the venue of COP-1 (A/AC.241/L.32), the Netherlands indicated it had intended to offer to host COP-1, but supported Italy and the FAO’s invitation, which delegates adopted. The Chair noted that the draft decision regarding maintenance of the interim arrangements to support the Convention beyond the first COP (A/AC.241/L.33) requested the General Assembly to consider supporting the interim CCD Secretariat through 1998. The present arrangements extend until the end of 1997, but since COP-1 will take place at the end of 1997, there will be little time for the transfer from the interim to the Permanent Secretariat. The decision was adopted.

In presenting the draft decision on the organization of future work of the Committee (A/AC.241/L.34), the Chair said: it was his firm conviction that the INCD should be terminated at the tenth session; that the programme of work for INCD-10 should be structured to allow sufficient time for group consultations at the beginning of the session; and that the text authorized the Chair to organize consultations he deems necessary for the appropriate preparation of COP-1. The decision was adopted.

Rapporteur Anatolii Ovchinnikov (Uzbekistan) presented the draft report of INCD-9 (A/AC.241/L.30) and stated it would be updated based on the actions just taken at the closing Plenary. Delegates adopted the report and authorized Ovchinnikov to incorporate the day’s proceedings. Kjell�n said a Chair’s summary of the discussion on urgent action for Africa and interim actions elsewhere would be included as an annex to the report.

CONCLUDING REMARKS: In his closing statement, Kjell�n noted that negotiations on the Global Mechanism are not easy because it is a new concept and is linked to broader issues such as transfer of resources to developing countries. He hoped to conduct consultations on the institution to host the Global Mechanism, which will pave the way for a decision at the next session. He pointed to the outstanding organizational issues, such as the physical location and administration of the Permanent Secretariat, the Global Mechanism and financial decisions, and said the Interim Secretariat is preparing a document on what needs to be decided at COP-1. Kjell�n also noted that unexpected progress had been made during this session and said that the discussion on urgent action shows that the CCD is a living document around which action has already been taken.

Costa Rica, on behalf of the G-77 and China, said his group had shown flexibility on the Global Mechanism, but since others had no proposals the issue was left pending. He urged participants to arrive at the next session with the political will to resolve these issues and to make INCD-10 more constructive. Ireland, on behalf of the EU, said it was important to come to INCD-10 prepared to solve the outstanding issues. Australia looked forward to concluding the negotiations at INCD-10.

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