Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 04 No. 168
Monday, 1 September 2003
CCD COP-6 HIGHLIGHTS
FRIDAY, 29 AUGUST 2003
Delegates met in formal and informal meetings,
contact groups, and an Open Dialogue Session (ODS). The CST met to
complete its work regarding the creation of ad hoc panels of
experts, future programme of work, other matters, improving the
efficiency and effectiveness of the CST, and traditional knowledge.
The ODS with NGOs considered water resources management and its
relationship to the CCD. In the evening, delegates convened in the
CRIC to approve draft decisions and elect officers other than the
CRIC Chair. Informal consultations on the programme and budget and
on the CRIC draft decisions continued throughout the day, while
contact groups on the outcomes of the WSSD were held in the morning,
and on Regional Coordination Units (RCUs) in the afternoon.
OPEN DIALOGUE SESSION
COP President Simeón Negrín welcomed participants
and introduced the first ODS theme addressing water resources
management. CCD Executive Secretary Diallo said participation of
civil society in an effective and efficient manner is fundamental
for the successful implementation of the CCD. Juan Luis Mérega,
Fundación del Sur, Argentina, moderated the dialogue. He highlighted
aspects of water resources, including scarcity, pollution, irregular
distribution, mismanagement, and privatization. He then introduced
speakers presenting case studies on the ODS theme.
Florent Ouedraogo, Association des Volontaires
pour le Développement, Burkina Faso, described a pilot project on
low-pressure irrigation aimed at addressing water resource
management and also increasing agricultural yields. Tanvir Arif,
SCOPE, Pakistan, described a water harvesting project which aims to
mobilize communities to manage water resources, secure participation
of stakeholders, and repair traditional water points.
Clement Ouedraogo, Eau Vive, Burkina Faso,
presented a case study on the problems of water extraction systems
and their rehabilitation in Burkina Faso. He underscored the need to
maintain water resources and supplies, and to support local
communities in repairing wells. Patrice Burger, French NGO Working
Group on Desertification, said that water resources are poorly
distributed and that irrigation, agriculture, population pressures,
and tourism are increasing water demand in the Mediterranean region.
Mounir Bencharig, AREA-ED, Algeria, underscored the importance of
water conservation, awareness campaigns, local water committees, and
the treatment and reuse of wastewater for agriculture, as measures
to protect water resources in Algeria’s oases. Paula Duarte,
Associação Paraibana dos Amigos da Natureza, Brazil, presented a
project in the northwest of Brazil to promote water access to
communities in semi-arid areas. She said the project aims to
strengthen the participation of civil society, promote local
cultural value, and empower women.
President Simeón Negrín then invited participants
to comment on the presentations and the theme of the dialogue.
FRANCE, UGANDA and ISRAEL underscored the need for cooperation
between countries who share transboundary water resources.
MAURITANIA stressed the relationship between the CCD and the Ramsar
Convention. BURKINA FASO and NIGER highlighted the importance of
drip irrigation. SWITZERLAND supported wastewater irrigation and
studying traditional systems that are integrated into different
cultures. PAKISTAN and ITALY underscored closer coordination between
NGOs and governments. UGANDA urged the involvement of local
authorities, and the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC stressed participation of
the private sector and NGOs.
KENYA highlighted a programme supporting
community initiatives for the sustainable utilization of water in
seasonal rivers. BRAZIL said that the relationship between water
management and programmes to combat desertification should be
addressed in the CCD process. FRIENDS OF THE EARTH said that water
privatization has led to the diversion of water resources from rural
to urban areas. On water availability for consumption, GAMBIA
underscored the importance of considering attitude and behavior. In
conclusion, President Simeón Negrín said efforts to improve water
management must be enhanced and noted the value of including NGOs in
BENCHMARKS AND INDICATORS: The draft COP
decision on benchmarks and indicators was approved with a minor
IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE
CST: The EU suggested deleting an annex containing a two-year
work plan for the Group of Experts (GoE), citing insufficient
prioritization of listed tasks. He proposed that the GoE prioritize
the tasks on the basis of comments and recommendations made at
CST-6, and according to deliverables and the tasks’ relevance to the
GERMANY emphasized that the tasks did not reflect
the discussions held during CST-6. BRAZIL, opposed by BELGIUM and
GERMANY, said that Parties, rather than the GoE, should prioritize
the experts’ tasks. Regarding the EU’s proposal that the GoE
implement its work plan based on sound financial planning, Chair
Valentini said the CST does not have the mandate to set a budget,
but that it must first identify priorities before the COW can
determine an appropriate budget. David Mouat, Coordinator of the
Facilitation Committee of the GoE, noted that the GoE has worked,
and continues to work, without a budget, and cautioned Parties not
to reduce the list of tasks. ITALY suggested the GoE prepare a
financial proposal, and NIGER proposed that the GoE approach donors
for funding. FRANCE noted the need to maximize existing financial
resources. A contact group was convened to draft priorities for the
GoE’s work plan.
The revised draft decision, including priorities,
was presented to the CST in the afternoon. An NGO representative
proposed adding text to the draft decision emphasizing NGO
participation, and delegates agreed to include it in the preamble.
ARGENTINA, MOROCCO, MEXICO and COLOMBIA expressed concern over the
provision that the GoE would use only English, as this would limit
discussion. Delegates agreed to add "primarily in English." The WMO
proposed its inclusion in the list of international agencies with
which the GoE would develop synergies. Delegates agreed, and the
draft decision was approved with the amendments.
TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE: SAINT LUCIA, for
GRULAC, suggested amending the draft decision to invite Parties and
relevant organizations to submit views, case studies, and lessons
learned on how traditional knowledge can contribute to the CCD’s
objective. JAPAN suggested adding a deadline for such submissions.
An NGO representative proposed the addition of text to ensure
adequate protection of the rights of traditional knowledge owners.
The draft decision was approved as amended.
FUTURE WORK PROGRAMME OF THE CST: The
Secretariat said that CST-7 could focus on items relating to COP-6
decisions. Chair Valentini said the future CST work programme should
reflect the topics of the eight draft decisions only. The EU
observed that future work should be based on best practice, an
integrated approach to addressing land degradation and
rehabilitation, and recommended relevant criteria.
CREATION OF AD HOC PANELS OF EXPERTS:
Welcoming the creation of the GoE, the EU said there is no need to
create new ad hoc panels, and delegates agreed.
OTHER MATTERS: CUBA suggested that the CST
consider having intersessional meetings similar to the CRIC, in the
future. The Secretariat said it would try to mobilize resources for
Chair Valentini thanked delegates and closed the
CST at 4:47 pm.
In the late night meeting of the CRIC, Chair El
Ghaouth noted that Parties had held informal negotiations throughout
the day, resulting in consensus draft decisions. Parties approved
the draft decisions with minor amendments and forwarded them to the
COP for adoption. The draft decisions address: an overall review of
the Secretariat’s activities and of the progress made by affected
country Parties in implementing the CCD; the review of the policies,
operational modalities and activities of the GM; the programme of
work of CRIC-3; the implementation of the Bonn Declaration to
enhance the implementation of the CCD’s obligations; collaboration
with the GEF; and further steps in the implementation of the CCD.
ELECTION OF OTHER OFFICERS: The EU requested
reconvening the CRIC after the COP Plenary in order to elect the
Chair of CRIC-3, prior to electing the CRIC Vice-Chairs. After
deliberations, Parties agreed to elect the three nominated
Vice-Chairs: for the Asian Group, Khaled Al Shara’a (Syria); for
GRULAC, Víctor del Angel González (Mexico); and for the Central and
Eastern European Group, Evgeni Gorshkov (Russian Federation).
Thanking participants for their work, Chair El
Ghaouth closed the CRIC at 12.07 am.
OUTCOMES OF THE WSSD: The contact group
convened for the first reading of the draft decision. Several
amendments were proposed, in particular: referring to the special
circumstances of small island developing States; addressing poverty
that "results from land degradation;" deleting reference to "the
lack of substantial financial resources" for CCD implementation;
adding reference to "promoting action at all levels" to strengthen
implementation; dropping reference to NAPs as "priority" tools;
deleting mention of the need for the CCD Executive Secretary to
"actively" participate in the follow-up to the WSSD outcomes; and
adding that he take part only in "relevant" sessions of the CSD. The
text concerning the GEF was bracketed pending final decision on this
issue in the CRIC.
REGIONAL COORDINATION UNITS: The contact
group on RCUs met in the afternoon to have an in-depth discussion of
the added value of RCUs. Views were expressed on the possibility of
duplication of work and rising costs, which might be avoided if
existing mechanisms were employed to perform the same functions.
Several delegates argued that the mandate of the RCUs was different
from the terms of reference of existing subregional and regional
organizations, and supported strengthening the existing RCUs. The
group requested more information from the Secretariat on the
operation of the three existing RCUs.
PROGRAMME AND BUDGET: The informal
consultations on the budget continued throughout the day, with
delegates participating in a question-and-answer session on the
Secretariat budget for the biennium 2004-5. Parties requested the
Secretariat to prepare several scenarios for the budget, including
addressing zero real and zero nominal growth, which will be
presented on Monday, 1 September.
IN THE CORRIDORS I
Just as delegates were making plans for weekend
outings on the sandy beaches of Santa Maria, some negotiations were
grinding down to a snailï¿½s pace in the Palacio de Convenciones. The
Secretariat faces a growing in-tray of requests for yet new
information and explanatory papers. The budget discussions are
stalled, with alternative scenarios to be produced for the
delegatesï¿½ perusal next week. Mercifully, the decision on the GEF,
after "bobbing in rough seas," reached land, at last. Strangely, in
the same weather, the colorful sails of the regional coordination
unitsï¿½ proposal are drooping. With the high-level segment dominating
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the deadlines for COP-6 are
approaching at Hurricane Mitch speeds.
IN THE CORRIDORS II
Following a late night CRIC session, delegates
appeared confused about the sequencing of elections of the Chair and
Vice-Chairs of the CCDï¿½s subsidiary bodies. Several observers noted
a lack of consultation and transparency regarding the election of
CRIC officers, with at least one delegate suggesting that some
Parties to the CCD are "fostering a tradition" of not following the
Rules of Procedure.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT: The high level segment
will take place from 9:45 am to 1:30 pm in Sala 1. The segment will
include an opening ceremony and statements by Heads of State and
Government, followed by statements by regional and interest groups,
and a representative of the NGO community.
ROUND TABLE: A round table meeting of Heads
of State and Government will take place in Sala 3 from 3: 30 pm to
6:00 pm and from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Delegates will address the
theme of "The UNCCD as a tool to achieve the Millennium Development
Goals as they relate to poverty eradication and food security."