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AFTERNOON SESSION

Amb. Razali explained that the organizational session in February put together the agenda for this session. He expressed hope that the Commission can adopt the multi-year programme of work early so that they can then consider the other important items on the agenda, including the guidelines for national reporting, inter-agency coordination, financial resources and mechanisms, and technology transfer. He explained that two working groups will be created and chaired by two of the Vice Chairs.

Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, stated that UNCED was a process designed for negotiating an elaborate agreement at the intergovernmental level. The focus now has to shift from policy development to implementation. There is a need to recognize that the greater part of Agenda 21 is for implementation at the national level. He expressed satisfaction that many governments are setting up mechanisms for national coordination of the implementation of Agenda 21. The effectiveness of the follow-up to Rio will depend on maintaining a broad basis of involvement and interest. The work of the Commission must also ensure that the provisions of the chapters on finance and technology transfer are translated into concrete commitments.

The next speaker was Amb. Bo Kjell‚n, Chair of the INC to elaborate a convention to combat desertification (INCD). He described the results of the first session, which took place from 24 May - 3 June in Nairobi. The first week was devoted to sharing technical information and assessments. The second week focussed on the format and elements of the convention. The areas in which there appeared to be consensus included the need for a bottom-up approach; detailed commitments on scientific research and exchange of information; a fast start to the Convention; and the need to avoid duplication of existing conventions. Differences arose about the timing of negotiating a series of regional instruments, which all agree should form an integral part of the convention.

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