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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 04 No. 126
Friday, December 11 1998

CCD COP-2 HIGHLIGHTS

THURSDAY, 10 DECEMBER 1998

COP-2 delegates adopted two draft decisions during a brief morning Plenary and dialogued with NGOs about the NAP process during the afternoon. They also negotiated draft decisions throughout the day in non-groups and met in the COW during the evening, where they adopted all decisions.

PLENARY

Delegates heard two statements and adopted two decisions. SUDAN noted that participatory approaches were central to national activities to combat desertification and affirmed its commitment to mobilize all resources. He called on donors to support these efforts. JAPAN announced that it had become a Party to the CCD Thursday. He called on the US and other non- Parties to conclude the process of accession to Party status.

Delegates adopted the CST draft decision on traditional knowledge (ICCD/COP(2)/L.4/Rev.2) as introduced by CST Chair Jabbari (Iran). The decision requests the Secretariat to complete its compilation of traditional knowledge and explore ways to link the CST's work on traditional knowledge with that under other conventions. It also appoints an ad hoc panel to identify threats to traditional knowledge, strategies for integrating traditional and modern knowledge and mechanisms for promoting successful approaches and requests UNEP to address networks on traditional and local knowledge in its survey of networks. Delegates also adopted the draft decision on the date and venue of COP-3 (ICCD/COP(2)/L.27), which shall be held in Recife, Brazil from 15-26 November 1999.

DIALOGUE WITH NGOS: SWEDEN addressed participants at the beginning of the dialogue to inform them of EU efforts, following from last Thursday's dialogue and Friday's informal dialogue on preparing and launching NAPs, to propose a draft decision on NAPs and support donors should give the process. He said a joint text had not yet been reached and urged NGOs to encourage developing country Parties to clearly identify their priorities.

Octavio Perez Pardo (Argentina) Co-Chaired the NGO Dialogue with Venkat Ramnayya (Youth for Action, India). Ramnayya introduced the dialogue on the process of developing NAPs and noted the importance of an enabling environment, including decision-making power and technological access and choice. On civil society and community participation, Masse Lo (ENDA) said participation is higher and NAPs are better when civil society is well organized and has a tradition of NGO activities. He recommended information promotion and awareness raising strategies to facilitate local community involvement and linking NAPs with national development plans. He also noted that the dependence of coordinating mechanisms on external financing compromises long-term viability and proposed partnerships between NGOs and the UN High Commission for Refugees.

On participation of affected populations, particularly women, in the NAP process, Louabe Sock (Womens Caucus of RIOD) said women have been heavily involved in NAP preparation in the developing world, particularly in Africa. She discussed a Senegalese case study on women's role in this regard and called for more attention to women's voices at all levels. A representative of SCOPE/RIOD-Asia discussed NGO's role in promoting community-based organizations (CBOs) in NAP preparation. He highlighted the need to explore ways to mobilize CBOs to participate in implementing the CCD and noted that NGOs can play a role in linking CBOs with national and international communities.

On capacity building for CBOs, NGOs and governments, Naftali Onchere (EcoNews Africa) identified ways to enhance local capacity, including improved local networks, assistance to women and strengthened local-level informal institutions. He said priority issues and needs include: insecurity due to natural resource usage; infrastructure, especially key roads and telephone lines; training of paramedics; development and harnessing of water resources; technologies that are cheap and adaptable to local conditions; and a revised educational curriculum in step with employment opportunities. On partnership arrangements, Jurgen Gliese (NGO German Working Group on Desertification) discussed a report on institutional issues for partnership. He noted that partnerships are generally determined by the concerned institutions' legal status, policy mandates, operational levels and financial and human resources. He said partnerships are subject to dynamics that call for continued "product improvement." On the experience of NAPs and civil society in Central Asian countries, Oleg Tsaruk (RIOD-Central Asia) highlighted the CCD's unique call for a wide range of civil society participation at all stages of NAP preparation and implementation. He presented the NGO experience in NAP preparation in Central Asia and expressed his concern over the lack of NGO participation in the NAP process.

Delegates and NGOs then discussed the presentations. TURKMENISTAN questioned the RIOD-Central Asia NGO's claim to represent his region and noted that few NGOs exist in his country. TAJIKISTAN noted that its NAP development has just started and wanted NGOs to join the process. KAZAKSTAN's RIOD and government representatives noted that NGOs have developed in recent years and participate in environmental activities. UZBEKISTAN said the main point is to make improvements, not who makes them. KYRGYSTAN said we can only be successful if we find consensus.

HAITI, supported by SENEGAL, said the NGO dialogues have been instructive for government representatives and suggested that the Secretariat assist in making them systematic and regular. The Network of Sustainable Development for Africa recalled NGOs' active and historical role in the whole CCD process, noting the importance of building partnership between governments and NGOs. Ramnayya summarized the dialogue and recommended: awareness- raising workshops and pilot projects at the local level; a special NGO dialogue session at CST-3; political will and support to integrate local communities and women into the NAP process; and convening a preparatory meeting before COP-3 for NGOs.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

The COW reconfirmed its earlier adoption of a resolution expressing solidarity with Central America (ICCD/COP(2)/L.7) as well as the following draft decisions for transmission to the Plenary: administrative and support arrangements for the Secretariat, including interim arrangements (L.30); outstanding rules of procedure (L.35); headquarters agreement of the Permanent Secretariat (L.31); adjustment to the Convention budget and programme for 1999 (L.28); ordinary sessions of the COP (L.5); collaboration with other conventions (L.34); and resolution of question, annexes on arbitration and conciliation procedures (L.33).

The COW also adopted the following: report on the Round Table of Parliamentarians (L.40); the Secretariat’s medium-term strategy (L.38); programme of work for the COP (L.36); procedures for the communication of information and review of implementation (L.37); review of implementation of the Convention (L.39); regional implementation annexes and interregional programmes and platforms of cooperation (L.12/Rev.1); regional cooperation between countries of Eastern and Central Europe (L.32); the GM (L.18); and the MOU between the COP and IFAD regarding the GM.

The decision on the Report of the Round Table of Parliamentarians includes the Declaration as an annex to the COP-2 report. The decision on the Secretariat’s medium-term strategy decides to consider the issue further and requests the Executive Secretary to elaborate a new document based on comments and proposals made during COP-2 as well as Parties' written submissions received by 30 April 1999, and to submit that document and a compendium to the COP for consideration. TUNISIA clarified that document ICCD/COP(2)/6 (medium-term strategy for the Secretariat) would also be included.

The decision on the programme of work for COP-3 calls for a review of, inter alia, reports on implementation of affected African country Parties and progress made in the formulation and implementation of SRAPs and RAPs in Africa. It calls for COP-4 and, if necessary, COP-5 to review reports on implementation of affected country Parties of regions other than Africa and progress made on the formulation and implementation of SRAPs and RAPs in regions other than Africa. The decision on procedures for the communication of information and review of implementation calls on interested organizations to provide technical and financial support to assist affected African country Parties for the compilation and communication of information to be submitted to COP-3.

The decision on review of implementation of the Convention noted that additional time was needed to address this issue and invites Parties to make submissions to the Secretariat by 30 April 1999 for compilation and consideration by COP-3. The decision also requests the Secretariat to include decision 10/COP.1 in the COP-3 agenda and to transmit to COP-3 the draft decision contained in document ICCD/COP(2)/L.9 proposed by the G-77/China, which establishes a Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Convention.

The decision on regional implementation annexes welcomes the launching of RAPs, encourages affected developing country Parties to pursue the formulation and implementation of activities for interregional implementation, requests the Executive Secretary to facilitate assistance for the effective and efficient implementation of RAPs, and calls on the international community to support RAPs and SRAPs. The decision on regional cooperation between countries of Eastern and Central Europe urges observer countries from Eastern and Central Europe to take steps to become Parties, takes note of informal consultations aimed at producing an additional regional implementation annex to the Convention and invites the countries to submit a draft for consideration by COP-3.

In the decision on the GM the COP, inter alia: notes with concern that the GM did not begin operating on 1 January 1998 as indicated in decision 24/COP.1; requests IFAD to pursue modalities of collaboration between itself and the NGO community as well as with other interested organizations; requests the GM to establish a consultative and collaborative process with NGOs as well as with the private sector; requests cooperation between the GM and the Convention Secretariat to avoid duplication and enhance the effectiveness of the CCD's implementation; noted the financial support provided on a voluntary basis and reiterates its appeal to governments, all interested organizations and the private sector to make promptly further voluntary commitments necessary to support the functioning of the GM; and decides to undertake at COP-3 the first review of the policies, operational modalities and activities of the GM and take appropriate action on this basis.

The draft decision on the MOU between the CCD COP and IFAD regarding the modalities and administrative operations of the GM decides to transmit to COP-3 the draft decision ICCD/COP(2)/L.19 submitted by G-77/China and calls on those to whom the draft MOU is addressed to act, pending its entry into operation, as if it were already there. In response to MAURITANIA's inquiry on Rule 47 (1) (majority voting absent consensus), the Secretariat noted that the draft decision contains bracketed references to "a simple majority" and "two-thirds majority." The whole paragraph is also bracketed. The report requests consideration of this outstanding issue at COP-3.

IN THE CORRIDORS

The reported deadlock on the MOU between IFAD and the COP as well as Sweden's suggestion to the NGO community to lobby G- 77/China delegates to change their position on an EU-proposed draft decision regarding support for NAPs left a number of participants speculating about the state of the partnership embodied in the CCD and the implications for its future. Despite these mid-day discouragements, most delegates seemed pleased with the outcome of the contact groups and the COW.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary is expected to convene at 9:30 am to take action on final decisions and adopt the report of COP-2.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (enb@iisd.org) is written and edited by Changbo Bai (changbo.bai@gte.net), Angela Churie (churie@l.kth.se), Tiffany Prather (tprather@iisd.org) and Lynn Wagner, Ph.D. (lynn@iisd.org). The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. (pam@iisd.org) and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI (kimo@iisd.org). Digital editing by Andrei Henry (ahenry@iisd.ca). Logistics by Molly Rosenman (mrosenman@iisd.ca). French language version by Mongi Gahoum (Mongi.Gadhoum@enb.intl.tn). The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation, the Government of Canada (through CIDA) and the United States (through USAID). General Support for the Bulletin during 1998 is provided by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Office for Environment, Forests and Landscape, the European Community (DG-XI), the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Ministry for the Environment in Iceland. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://www.iisd.ca/. The satellite image was taken above Dakar (c)1998 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to (enb@iisd.org).

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