The Plenary met in the afternoon, and the Secretariat introduced UNEP/CBD/COP/CW/L.7, a draft decision and annex on the physical location of the permanent secretariat submitted by Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. Canada said that while the COP appreciated offers from Kenya, Spain and Switzerland to host the permanent Secretariat, it needed a transparent, systematic, clear, and open process to make the selection. Australia called for detail beyond what is contained in the existing proposals. She also recommended that the COP consider offers from other governments, and that it should not decide on a location until COP-II. She noted that the process proposed was similar to the one used by the GATT in its determination of the location of the World Trade Organization, as well as the selection process used by the Climate Change Convention. The Bahamas questioned how the location could be decided when no consensus can be reached and no decision has been made yet on rules of procedure for decisions. Uganda agreed that additional countries might want to host the secretariat but recommended additional transparent discussion on guidelines for selection. Cameroon cited the need for a basic document outlining eligibility criteria. Spain, supported by Uruguay, Kenya, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Slovakia, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil and Italy, recommended that the COP decide without further delay on a location because the cities in the existing submissions were well known and needed no further study. He said the draft decision violated Rule 35 requiring draft decisions to be submitted 24 hours in advance, noting he had only learned of the proposal in the morning. Kenya said one reason COP-I had been located in the Bahamas was to provide a neutral site for deciding on a secretariat location. He said the draft decision had been submitted at the 11th hour and that the criteria in its annex were extremely biased. Burkina Faso said regional groups or other interested parties should have an opportunity to discuss the draft decisions with its sponsors. The Chair proposed to initiate discussions on the draft decision and promised to report on conclusions of the consultations at the next Plenary.
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