Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 4 No. 135
Wednesday, 24 November 1999

HIGHLIGHTS FROM CCD COP-3

TUESDAY, 23 NOVEMBER 1999

COP-3 delegates heard 45 statements during morning and afternoon sessions of the Special Segment. They also briefly met in the COW during the morning to adopt a decision on an additional annex for Central and Eastern Europe. The Interparliamentary Round Table drafted a declaration based on their two days of discussions.

PLENARY

Forty-five officials addressed the Special Segment, including 9 Ministers and Deputy Ministers and one head of an international organization. Delegates also received a report on the Interparliamentary Round Table and adopted their declaration.

SWITZERLAND urged the COP to show greater imagination in finding appropriate solutions to improve the Secretariat’s work. PORTUGAL supported Secretariat action to help countries identify resources to support implementation and to use efficiently financial and human resources. SWEDEN expressed concern over proposals for subsidiary bodies and the Secretariat’s involvement in work beyond assisting countries in elaborating their NAPs. TOGO expressed hope that COP-3 negotiations would lead to greater support for the GM and Secretariat. HAITI supported setting the Secretariat’s operating budget at the level presented by the Secretariat and called for appropriate assistance to his region. LEBANON expressed hope that the Secretariat would adopt principles of justice and equity and ensure objectivity in providing assistance for implementation. VENEZUELA said the criteria of geographic distribution must be remembered, because although some regions may be more affected, others also have problems that should be recognized.

BELGIUM said comparisons between instruments is not productive and suggested giving the CST a greater role. NIGERIA expressed hope that COP-3 would reach tangible outcomes like a Recife Mandate.

SWITZERLAND said the implementation of NAPs depends on the GM’s role as an intermediary and cautioned the COP against micro-managing the GM and adopting bureaucratic decisions that will incur high administrative costs. ITALY and SWEDEN said financial resources should be sought to develop the GM. CHAD and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC said more resources need to be made available through the GM. SOUTH AFRICA called on the GM to release funds. BOTSWANA said the GM has not lived up to expectations and asked developed countries to “refrain from moving the goal-posts whenever the ball is in our control.” ECUADOR appealed to all to devise an effective finance mechanism to promote actions to combat desertification.

DENMARK stressed using existing institutions and mechanisms, including the GEF. TUNISIA said desertification is just as important an issue as climate change, ozone protection and biodiversity and it should also qualify for GEF funding. GERMANY noted that one of the CCD’s greatest challenges is to integrate into established fora of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation and emphasized the role of chef de file as an important means to coordinate and raise funds. DENMARK said that, whereas workshops and individual activities may have a value, there is a need to coordinate partners’ efforts.

NORWAY noted that the OECD countries are further from the goal of 0.7% of GNP for official development assistance than they were in 1992 and said that, while some point to the increase in private investments, these funds tend not to reach the poorest and most fragile environments. FRANCE affirmed its commitment to develop tools to improve the desertification component within its assistance programmes. ALGERIA and ETHIOPIA asked developed countries to maintain their commitment under the CCD and make more funds available. CILSS regretted the low level of participation at the COP by many countries.

VENEZUELA said that linkages between Rio conventions should be encouraged since their objectives are interrelated. NAMIBIA said such linkages ensure efficient use of resources. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA welcomed the Secretariat’s move to Bonn, noting this would ensure links with the other conventions. SWITZERLAND said the decisions of the WTO will have a great impact on the struggle against desertification and called for coordinated decision-making.

The UK emphasized the use of the national reports to examine lessons learned and to plan actions for the future. ZAMBIA stressed the importance of reviewing and evaluating implementation and supported creating a committee to do so. DENMARK emphasized the role of NGOs in CCD implementation. The EC, with CANADA and NORWAY, highlighted the role of women, and added that much remains to be done to include them in implementation processes. UNDP said much traditional knowledge is in the hands of women whose leading role must be recognized by involving them in implementation and decision-making. The GAMBIA emphasized the need to identify tools to integrate strategies for poverty eradication, as called for in the Convention, and highlighted the importance of adequate institutional structures for efficient and effective implementation.

GERMANY highlighted decentralization, participatory frameworks and the right of civil society to play a role in the use of natural resources. NORWAY highlighted the necessity of peace, democracy and respect for human rights for sustainable development. BELGUIM’s guiding principles for cooperation include good governance, human rights and strengthening populations. NIGERIA noted that his new government has restored freedom of expression and association and moved towards political stability, which are prerequisites for sustainable development.

GERMANY said affected countries should provide more evidence that the CCD will be used as an instrument for development within their countries. The UK is undertaking an outreach programme for its development assistance managers to discuss the implications the Rio Conventions have on their projects. The UK and CANADA suggested that developing country partners raise the Convention’s objectives in bilateral discussions. UNDP challenged member states to change the attitudes of bureaucrats and civil society regarding the management of drylands.

JAPAN highlighted its activities at the bilateral level, which have focused on reforestation and afforestation, training and integrated community forestry development. WMO expressed support for CST, to which it provides assistance on benchmark and indicators, traditional knowledge and EWS. SPAIN has created a center for desertification research, is training Latin American technicians in the management of river basins and is elaborating a NAP. CHILE and EGYPT offered their technical experience in dealing with drought prevention and desertification.

BOTSWANA noted that, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, his country’s education curriculum has changed to take into account environmental issues, including desertification. MOZAMBIQUE’s national efforts include the establishment of an intersectoral working group involving representatives from both the public and private sectors. DJIBOUTI highlighted that the structural adjustment programme it just signed with the IMF takes account of desertification. ECUADOR outlined national, sub-regional and regional activities, including efforts to develop a subregional programme in the Andes and plans to build gender considerations into all aspects of its NAP. RWANDA noted that displaced populations in his country continue to destroy areas such as fragile forests and he appealed for support. SYRIA said its national activities include development of a database, forestry programmes and awareness raising programmes. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO noted the environmental consequences of civil war and appealed to others to help his country catch up in its efforts to protect the environment. ISRAEL noted exchanges with the Mediterranean region to combat desertification and expressed regret that political considerations bar his country from contributing to Asian regional efforts. POLAND said it expects to ratify the Convention next year. RUSSIA affirmed its commit to the Convention.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

The COW met in a morning session to consider a draft decision on an additional regional implementation annex to the Convention for Central and Eastern Europe. COW Chair Ashe noted that the draft was agreed by consensus in informal consultations. Bo Kjellén (Sweden), who facilitated the informal consultations, said the process for accession of the Central and East European countries will encourage all countries to move to ratification and will facilitate cooperation and collaboration with other conventions in the region. BENIN, for the AFRICAN GROUP, urged the Central and East European countries to accede in large numbers to strengthen the combined efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought. ARMENIA, on behalf of the Central and East European countries, expressed gratitude to Bo Kjellén for his work and to the regional groups whose constructive attitude helped reach consensus during the discussions. The COW adopted the draft decision.

INTERPARLIAMENTARY ROUND TABLE

Parliamentarians continued discussing their contributions to CCD implementation on the second day of the round table session. COP-3 President Sarney Filho, speaking in part as a federal deputy himself, attached significance to the round table’s work and noted the importance of support from national parliaments to implement the Convention. Several Parliamentarians continued to emphasize the importance of harmonizing the three Rio conventions (FCCC, CBD and CCD), environmental education and the education of women. One member added the idea of transferring debt services for educational programmes, while another highlighted the sustainable management of forests. Parliamentarians then devoted the rest of the session to the consideration of their draft declaration.

The Round Table’s draft declaration underlines the Parliamentarian’s commitment to implementing the CCD by, inter alia: implementing legislation to combat desertification; strengthening educational, scientific and cultural policies through public awareness campaigns; promoting the active participation of civil society, local communities, youth and women; and supporting initiatives of international agencies and donor countries to mobilize financial assistance. In highlighting the fundamental role that education, science and culture play in the challenge to achieve sustainable development, they called for measures to combat desertification in the areas of environmental education, applied research, technology transfer and capacity building. The declaration also contains statements that call on Parties to promote cooperation at the local, national and regional level and between relevant international conventions and bodies. The Parliamentarians agreed to establish an open-ended high-level forum to meet at each CCD COP to share information on national initiatives and to monitor round table decisions in parliaments of countries Party to the Convention. Following several amendments, the declaration was adopted.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Delegates continued to consult intensively throughout Tuesday to try and resolve remaining outstanding issues by the COW Chair’s Wednesday deadline. They reported difficulties in agreeing whether to increase the Secretariat’s budget by 10% or 25% and on whether to establish a committee for the review of implementation. Progress was noted in the discussions to elaborate a draft decision on the Global Mechanism. Delegates also said discussions had begun on a possible Recife Mandate, but divergent views were expressed regarding the appropriateness of a Mandate under this Convention.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Special Segment will resume at 10:00 am in the Plenary Hall. A dialogue with NGOs on empowering women in the NAP process is scheduled for the afternoon.

COW: The COW is scheduled to meet in the morning to review draft decisions on outstanding issues.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Angela Churie achurie@yahoo.com, Jan-Stefan Fritz j.fritz@lse.ac.uk, Mark Schulman markschulman@hotmail.com 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 kimo@iisd.org. Digital editing by Leila Mead leila@interport.net. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission (DG-XI). General Support for the Bulletin during 1999 is provided by the the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Environment of Finland, the Government of Sweden, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at enb@iisd.org and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at info@iisd.ca 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/linkages/. The satellite image was taken above Recife (c)1999 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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