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Fourth Conference of the Parties 
to the Convention to 
Combat Desertification
Bonn, Germany; 11-22 December 2000


Highlights from Monday, 11 December:

Opening Ceremony

The Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-4) to the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) opened today in Bonn, Germany. Delegates met informally in their regional groups in the morning and convened in an afternoon session for the official opening of the Conference. Opening statements were delivered by the CCD Executive Secretary, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Mayor of Bonn and the President of COP-3. The first Plenary meeting of the COP convened to elect the President of the session. It was then briefly suspended to allow the regional groups time to complete their nominations for the COP Bureau. As the groups were unable to complete their work, the meeting was adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Above photo (L-R): UNCCD Executive Secretary Hama Arba Diallo, H.E. Mr. Harri Holkeri (President of the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly), H.E. Mr. Johannes Rau (President of the Federal Republic of Germany,  H.E. Mr. José Sarney Filho(Minister of State for the Environment, Brazil), H.E. Mrs. Bärbel Dieckmann (Lord Mayor of Bonn)


Hama Arba Diallo, CCD Executive Secretary (Left), said that this was the first time a session of the COP was being held in the host country since the relocation of the Secretariat in early 1999. He said that COP-4 should constitute a defining step to move the implementation of the Convention from reporting to assessment to bring actions down to earth to address the concerns of the millions of people threatened by poverty and land degradation. 

RealAudio of Hama Arba Diallo's opening statement 

Left photo: H.E. José Sarney Filho, Minister of Environment of Brazil , who served as COP-3 President, noted with concern the unsustainable actions that characterize the behavior of the world economy. He stated that despite technological progress, world poverty was increasing.

RealAudio of H.E. José Sarney Filho's opening statement

Right photo: H.E. Harri Holkeri (Finland), President of the 55th session of the General Assembly, assured delegates of the Assembly's support for the CCD. He noted that the CCD is important because it focuses on areas where balance has to be reached between the needs of humans and ecosystems, and that dry ecosystems support the poorest of the poor. He recalled that the UN Millennium Summit resolved to prioritize the eradication of poverty, which affects 1.2 billion people.

RealAudio of H.E. Harri Holkeri's opening statement 

Left photo: H.E. Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn, welcomed COP-4 participants to the city, which is also the location of the CCD Permanent Secretariat. She noted that the presence of the German President clearly indicated the importance Germany attaches to this Convention.

RealAudio of H.E. Bärbel Dieckmann's opening statement 



H.E. Johannes Rau, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, officially opened COP-4 at 4:00pm. Noting that some developed countries were practicing eco-colonialism, he urged them not to shirk responsibility for short-term gains, to be self-critical enough to admit their failure to combat poverty and realize development in developing countries, to stick to the 0.7% GDP target for development assistance despite short-term difficulties in realizing it and to undertake their responsibility to provide the best technology, financial assistance, transfer of know-how and rules to assure competition.

RealAudio of H.E. Johannes Rau's opening statement 


All participants were consequently able to attend and enjoy the food and drinks outside the Plenary Hall at a reception hosted by the CCD Secretariat. This allowed delegates to interact informally, which some said contributed to developing a constructive and conducive atmosphere for the work in the days ahead.





ENB Summary of COP-3
ENB Coverage of COP-3
UNCCD Secretariat web site with COP-4 official documents and information for participants
Introduction to the CCD
Linkages desertification page
Other Internet Resources on Desertification

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