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COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Joke Waller Hunter said that the CSD"s consideration of Chapter 12 of Agenda 21 is closely linked with the work underway in the context of the Convention to Combat Desertification. Benin reported on the negotiations of the Convention, which was adopted in June 1994 and opened for signature in October in Paris. Over 900 million people in more than 100 countries are affected by desertification, which does not mean solely the advancing of deserts, but rather the degradation of arable lands in arid and semi-arid lands. As called for in Chapter 12 of Agenda 21, an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee was established in 1992 to negotiate the Convention, which is the first instrument to be negotiated out of the Rio process. The Convention establishes the principles that underlie international and regional action to combat desertification and articulates the obligations. The national action programmes outline the specific action to be taken. A global mechanism was created to mobilize financial resources for the implementation of the Convention. The GEF may also play a major role in this regard. He also noted that the Convention has regional implementation annexes for Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Northern Mediterranean. Priority was ensured for Africa through a special resolution. The next meeting of the INCD will be held in New York from 9-20 January 1995.