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Summary report, 6–17 January 1997

10th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee of the International Convention to Combat Desertification

The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Convention to CombatDesertification (INCD) met for its tenth session at UN Headquarters in New York, from6-17 January 1997. This was the last scheduled session before the first Conference of theParties (COP-1), which will be held from 29 September to 10 October 1997 in Rome. Atthe end of the session, however, delegates felt it was necessary to hold a resumed sessionof INCD-10 from 18-22 August 1997, in Geneva, to address technical issues related tooutstanding arrangements for COP-1.

INCD-10 was devoted to the preparation for COP-1. Although most delegates werepleased with the progress made at this session, some participants also sensed a lot ofambivalence. The sense of urgency that the coming into force of the Convention toCombat Desertification (CCD) on 26 December 1996 should have brought about wasabsent. Key issues, such as functions of the institutions to host the Global Mechanism,the physical location of the Permanent Secretariat and the size and composition of theCOP Bureau, were passed on to the COP.


The Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) was adopted on 17 June 1994, andopened for signature in Paris on 14-15 October 1994. The Convention entered into forceon 26 December 1996. The CCD takes an innovative approach in recognizing: thephysical, biological and socioeconomic aspects of desertification; the importance ofredirecting technology transfer so that it is demand driven; and the involvement of localpopulations in the development of national action programmes. The core of theConvention is the development of national and subregional/ regional action programmesby national governments in cooperation with donors, local populations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


During its 47th session in 1992, the UN General Assembly, as requested by the UnitedNations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), adopted resolution47/188 calling for the establishment of the INCD. At the organizational session of theINCD in January 1993, delegates elected Bo Kjelln (Sweden) Chair of the Committee.The INCD met five times between May 1993 and June 1994, during which delegatesdrafted the Convention and four regional implementation annexes for Africa, Asia, LatinAmerica and the Caribbean, and the Northern Mediterranean. The Convention wasadopted on the closing day of INCD-5 in Paris, along with resolutions recommendingUrgent Action for Africa and interim arrangements for the period between adoption of theCCD and its entry into force.


INCD-6 was held in New York from 9-18 January 1995. The Committee reachedagreement on its work programme for the interim period and the mandates of the twoWorking Groups and the Plenary.

Delegates at INCD-7, which took place in Nairobi from 7-17 August 1995, reviewed thestatus of ratification and implementation of the Resolution on Urgent Action for Africaand Interim Measures. The Committee discussed and provided input on the structure andelements that should be considered in preparation for COP-1.

INCD-8, held from 5-15 February 1996 in Geneva, reviewed the status of ratificationsand the implementation of the Resolution on Urgent Action for Africa and InterimMeasures. The Committee began negotiations on some of the Secretariat’s texts onpreparations for COP-1. Delegates requested the Secretariat to prepare new texts fornegotiation at INCD-9, based on their discussions and on the programme and budget forINCD-10. Some delegations revisited the question raised at INCD-7 regarding the needfor two-week sessions of the Committee in the future.

INCD-9 was held in New York from 3-13 September 1996. During this session, theworking groups continued to prepare for COP-1. Delegates addressed outstanding issuesrelated to preparation for COP-1, except for programme and budget. Delegates’ generalimpression was that good progress was made, especially concerning scientific andtechnological cooperation, even though several of the most important, primarily financial,issues remained unresolved.


Monday, 6 January 1997, marked the beginning of the tenth session of the Committee. Itwas the INCD’s first meeting since the Convention came into force and the last scheduledmeeting prior to the first Conference of the Parties, which will take place from 29September - 10 October 1997 in Rome, Italy. At the conclusion of the two-week session,delegates agreed to resume INCD-10 for five days in August 1997 in Geneva.

One Bureau member, Ren Valry Mongb (Benin), was not able to continue hisfunctions on the Bureau and was replaced as Vice-Chair by Fassassi Yacoubou (Benin).The other Bureau members continued to be: Bo Kjelln (Sweden; INCD Chair); AlokJain (India; Vice-Chair); Jos Urrutia (Peru; Vice-Chair); Anatoli Ovchinnikov(Uzbekistan; Rapporteur); Mohamed Mahmoud ould El Ghaouth (Mauritania; WorkingGroup I Chair); Mohammad Reza Jabbary (Iran; Working Group I Vice-Chair); ErwinOrtiz-Gandarillas (Bolivia; Working Group I Vice-Chair); Franklin Moore (US; WorkingGroup I Vice-Chair); Takao Shibata (Japan; Working Group II Chair); David Etuket(Uganda; Working Group II Vice-Chair); and Samvel Baloyan (Armenia; Working GroupII Vice-Chair).

The INCD-10 agenda included preparations for the first Conference of the Parties on thefollowing issues: physical location and administrative arrangements for the PermanentSecretariat; the Global Mechanism; financial rules; programme and budget; rules ofprocedure; and scientific and technical cooperation.


INCD Chair Bo Kjelln (Sweden) opened the session on Monday morning, 6 January1997. He noted with satisfaction that the Convention had entered into force since the lastINCD session. The programme of work and agenda (A/AC.241/62) were adopted. ThePlenary was then adjourned until Tuesday afternoon so that regional groups could meet.

When the Plenary reconvened, Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai, UN Department ofPolicy Coordination and Sustainable Development, said that the CCD deals with coredevelopment issues, provides the opportunity to integrate environment and developmentat the point at which action takes place and provides a test case of our capacity toimplement the ambitious programmes that are negotiated at the international level.

Chair Kjelln noted that the CCD had entered into force on 26 December 1996, 90 daysafter the 50th ratification by Chad. He noted that the central issues at this session were:the functioning and host organization of the Global Mechanism; the work programme,budget and role of the Permanent Secretariat; and the enabling of the Committee onScience and Technology to meet in conjunction with COP-1. Kjelln pointed out the linkbetween the INCD process and the meeting of the Commission on SustainableDevelopment in April, and the UN Special Session of the General Assembly for reviewof the implementation of Agenda 21, to be held in June.

Salif Diallo, Minister of Environment and Water of Burkina Faso, noted that action inAfrica had been slow, but said that African ministries were committed to implementingthe CCD. He urged developed countries to raise awareness about the CCD and called forthe realization of the spirit of partnership in the Convention. He also highlighted theimportance of the Global Mechanism. Without it, the CCD would lose its innovativecharacter and sisterhood with the Conventions on Biodiversity and Climate Change.

Mongolia’s Minister of Nature and the Environment, Tsohiogiin Adyasuren, noted theimportance of the World Food Summit, which was held in November 1996, andemphasized the strong link between poverty alleviation, food security issues anddesertification. In Mongolia, combatting desertification, biodiversity and decentralizationare being dealt with in an integrated manner.

INCD Executive Secretary Hama Arba Diallo said 60 countries have acceded to orratified the Convention. He updated delegates regarding preparatory measures andnational and subregional action in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Thirty Africancountries are already at work establishing national frameworks. An Asian regionalmeeting will take place in Beijing in May 1997.

The Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, EllenJohnson Sirleaf, highlighted aspects of UNDP’s CCD-related support. She said theGlobal Mechanism should be viewed as a flexible and dynamic instrument that can beused by the Parties to anticipate emerging and changing priorities. She reiterated UNDP’sreadiness to host the Global Mechanism, or any other hosting arrangement that may bedecided upon.

IFAD’s Assistant President, Economic Policy and Resource Strategy Department,Shigeaki Tomita, reviewed IFAD’s CCD-related activities. He said IFAD has beensupporting the establishment of enabling frameworks at the local level and thatinvestment in research and technology transfer for the drylands has become anincreasingly significant part of IFAD’s operations. He said the Global Mechanism mustgo beyond a clearing house function to actively solicit and facilitate the participation offinancing institutions and the private sector in implementing the Convention. The IFADExecutive Board has taken note of the possibility that IFAD might be called upon toconsider a more detailed proposal from the INCD.

Tanzania, on behalf of the G-77 and China, stated that the test of the partnership calledfor in the CCD lies in the mobilization of sufficient financial resources, provision of newand additional funding, and the transfer of ecologically sound technologies. Comparingthe CCD to the Conventions on Biological Diversity and Climate Change, he stated thatthe CCD should not be relegated to a second-class convention. Thus, establishing a globalfinancial mechanism for the CCD, with interest and priority equal to the GEF, will placethe CCD on a par with the other two conventions.

The Netherlands, on behalf of the EU, along with Cyprus, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia,Slovenia and Iceland, was pleased that the Convention had entered into force. All thenecessary preparations for the implementation of the CCD should be made before the UNSpecial Session in June 1997.

On behalf of the International NGO Network on Desertification (RIOD), MichaelAngstreich of the Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development stressed that pastefforts to mitigate desertification were negatively influenced by: the minimal allocationof resources by national governments to environmental programmes; a legacy of coloniallegislation; the introduction of market economies through economic structural adjustmentprogrammes; and limited participation by local populations. He pointed out thatpartnership-building processes have not even started in many countries and stated that theGlobal Mechanism can ensure a result-oriented implementation of the CCD.


Delegates considered the resolution on urgent action for Africa and interim measurestaken in other regions during two Plenary meetings on Wednesday, 15 January. Delegatesheard 47 statements from country delegates, intergovernmental and non-governmentalorganizations. Russia stated that desertification is taking place in Europe and suggestedadding an Annex on European countries.

URGENT ACTION FOR AFRICA: Executive Secretary Diallo called delegates’attention to an overview he had prepared that takes stock of actions taken.

Activities on the development and implementation of National Action Programmes(NAPs) were the central issues addressed in most statements. Morocco is setting up aNAP and a partnership between the State and groups of villages. The Gambia hasconducted zonal and divisional level consultations for the NAP. Botswana said its NAPprocess will culminate in a national forum process to discuss arrangements for itsimplementation. South Africa is creating capacity to plan and monitor its NAP. France issupporting NAPs in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Chad, with co-financing from the French Global Environmental Facility.

Delegates also discussed specific CCD-related projects. Egypt said projects, includingbetter water harvesting and irrigation techniques, will increase the country’s inhabitedarea from five to 25 percent by 2025. Denmark and Burkina Faso presented their jointBurkinabe Sahel project, which gives high priority to the participation of communitiesand uses an integrated approach in addressing issues on food security and environmentalrestoration. A student campaign in Eritrea included the planting of millions of trees.Algeria carries out research on desertification trends using satellite imagery and plans todevelop government-NGO partnerships. Senegal has created a desertification informationsystem on the Internet. Norway is funding UNSO, the ILO and LDCs, especially inAfrica, on desertification initiatives linked to poverty reduction, food security and theparticipation of women, indigenous peoples and grassroots organizations. Japan isdeveloping desertification control technologies appropriate for local communities, such asunderground dams, in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.

National Environmental or Desertification Funds (NDFs) are being considered orestablished in a number of countries, including Niger, Kenya and Senegal. Benin has setup an NDF and is eager to mobilize funds to translate plans into reality. Uganda, amongothers, called for support for the development of an NDF.

Many called on partners to provide financial assistance and coordination of their NAPs.Zambia and others stated that efforts have been constrained by a lack of resources. TheEU encouraged African countries starting NAPs to explore the advantages of the chef-de-file concept. Canada said it is a donor country’s responsibility to play the role ofchef-de-file at a technical and political level. Germany noted the growingwillingness of donors to become genuine partners and regretted that official bilateral andmultilateral negotiations on development cooperation often do not properly refer to theConvention.

NGO efforts were recognized by some, such as Cameroon, which paid tribute to its new,but energetic, NGOs. Switzerland suggested a greater role for universities, scientists andNGOs.

Public awareness campaigns are underway in most of the African countries that spoke. Inmany cases, these were connected with World Desertification Day. Togo said it haslaunched a national information and sensitization programme, but the NAP is still in theidentification phase.

Legislative changes or reviews are contemplated or in force in a number of countries. TheGambia has revised its national forest policy to enable community forest management.Ethiopia reviewed all policies and strategies by the Environmental Protection Authority.Eritrea’s national activities include decentralization and further democratization of thepolitical system. New government structures have also been contemplated or created,including Ghana’s national committee on desertification.

The integrated nature of the Convention and implementation was noted by a number ofspeakers, including Burundi, who noted close connections between biodiversity, climatechange and desertification. His country has integrated the implementation of the threeconventions into a national strategy.

Subregional activities were also discussed. CILSS noted activities to devise a subregionalaction programme and to consider a methodology for organizing transborder villageprojects. The OAU noted that participants in subregional meetings appreciated the valueof the exchange of experiences. IGAD is planning two subregional workshops on scienceand technology and regional prioritization. France is supporting regional scientificcooperation in West Africa. Mauritania brought together 15 African focal points in aworkshop.

Additional comments included the EC’s statement that the Commission is undertaking areview of the various Community CCD-related policies. Sweden said the commitmentsmade at the World Food Summit relate to desertification problems and how to solvethem. He also said the concept of environmental refugees has become more crucial andthat the Convention has a role to play.

NORTHERN MEDITERRANEAN REGION: Portugal, on behalf of Italy,Spain, Greece, Turkey and France, described coordination of activities under Annex IV.A meeting will be held in 1997 on benchmarks and indicators. Spain said it is preparing aNAP and is committed to the CCD process.

LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN REGION: Five delegates from LatinAmerica and the Caribbean discussed national and regional activities. Haiti takes acomprehensive approach to sustainable development, after ratifying the biodiversity,climate change and desertification conventions. Brazil is elaborating a National Plan toCombat Desertification and establishing a National Network on Desertification. Brazilhas been active in fostering technical cooperation with other affected countries.Argentina’s national activities have included bringing together NGOs involved withdesertification and developing an advisory group in the area of science and technology.Mexico has adopted a new environmental law, and is drafting a forest law and a technicalassistance agreement. A committee to combat desertification is being coordinated by anNGO. Bolivia’s national actions include: ratification of the Convention; establishment ofa NAP; work to mitigate poverty; and organization of awareness campaigns.

ASIAN REGION: Four delegates from the Asian region reported their activities.Kazakstan called attention to reports on the national preparatory activities to combatdesertification and the international conference to combat desertification in countries witheconomies in transition. Israel highlighted national, subregional, regional andinternational activities, including development of orchards that will be irrigated by wastewater, the experts meeting on synergies in implementing the Rio Conventions and the RioForest Principles, and the creating of an international school for desert studies. China hasreviewed its projects to combat desertification, which resulted in increased funding forthose projects that performed well. Syria’s ratification instrument will soon be deposited.National activities include a greenbelt and an afforestation project.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND NGOS: UNDP, UNEP andNGOs also made statements on this agenda item. UNDP stressed the importance ofensuring coordination, capacity building and local participation. With the financialassistance of Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, France, Australia, Sweden, theNetherlands and Switzerland, UNDP is facilitating projects in Africa, Latin America andAsia including: small grants for local community and public education initiatives; 20NAPs; and 18 NDFs, mainly in Africa. UNEP said it is still an active participant insupport of the CCD and, in particular, to the interim and urgent measures in Africa.UNEP is in the process of revising its desertification atlas and continues to serve as thesecretariat for the African Deserts and Arid Lands Committee. The NigeriaEnvironmental Study Team, on behalf of RIOD (NGO Network on Desertification),called on Governments of affected developing countries to allow NGO participation inthe NAP process and of developed country partners to provide funds.


The Convention entered into force on 26 December 1996, 90 days after the fiftiethcountry ratified it. Burundi and Argentina submitted their instruments of ratification onthe first day of INCD-10, bringing the total number to 60. Executive Secretary Diallopointed out that in order for countries to participate as Parties to the Convention at COP-1, they have to submit their instruments of ratification by 29 June 1997. A number ofcountries indicated that their ratification processes were being completed. The countriesthat have ratified or acceded to the Convention, in chronological order, are: Mexico, CapeVerde, the Netherlands, Egypt, Senegal, Ecuador, Lesotho, Finland, Togo, Tunisia,Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Peru, Sudan, Canada, Sweden, Denmark,Switzerland, Niger, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Spain, Micronesia, Israel,Portugal, Panama, Lebanon, Algeria, the Gambia, Malawi, Germany, Libya, Oman,Bolivia, Mauritania, Eritrea, Benin, Norway, Mongolia, Central African Republic,Gabon, Botswana, Turkmenistan, Zambia, Laos, Haiti, Chad, Swaziland, Nepal, the UK,Jordan, Morocco, India, Ghana, Myanmar, Burundi and Argentina.


On Wednesday, 15 January, delegates considered NGO accreditation. INCD ChairKjelln noted that the accreditation of the 23 new NGOs contained in documentsA/AC.241/9/Add.13 and Corr.1 would bring the total to 360. The accreditations wereapproved. Following adoption, Oman, on behalf of the Arab countries, and supported bySyria and Iran, expressed their reservation on the decision to accredit EcoPeace because ithas activities in Arab countries under occupation.


On Monday, 13 January, delegates addressed the extrabudgetary funds. ExecutiveSecretary Diallo introduced the relevant documents. A/AC.241/69 contains: a report onthe financial expenditures from the UN regular budget up to September 1996; a table onstaffing; a report on the status of contributions to the Trust Fund up to 24 October 1996;and the expenditures from the Trust and Special Voluntary Funds. An update on thecontributions made to date is provided in document A/AC.241/69/Add.2. Pledges madebut not received by countries and other UN organizations and agencies are contained indocument A/AC.241/69/Add.1. Document A/AC.241/69/Corr.1 contains corrections.

Diallo thanked several countries, including Antigua and Barbuda and China, for theirfinancial contributions to the Funds, as well as the UN System, bodies and agencies thathave provided other forms of resources and support to the Secretariat.

Delegates’ comments related to the role of the Secretariat, in particular awareness raising.The EU said the countries should own the Convention and the driving force should notcome from outside a country. He noted that the COP will give more guidance to theSecretariat on ways and means to perform its role. The G-77 and China thanked countriesthat made contributions. Benin added that nothing in the CCD indicates that theSecretariat should play a subsidiary role. Bolivia thought resources were well spent andsaid desertification has to become part of countries’ political agendas. The three countriesthat are bidding to host the Permanent Secretariat also highlighted their contributions, inparticular their history in anti-desertification activities.

In response to the comments, the Executive Secretary stressed the need to ensure thatactivities at national and regional levels are effective, and added that the InterimSecretariat was awaiting a decision from COP-1 on the Permanent Secretariat’s role.Chair Kjelln said the Secretariat’s role will be clearly spelled out once the still pendingissues are resolved, but there is still time since the Permanent Secretariat will start itsoperations no later than 31 December 1998, as decided by the General Assembly.

The Plenary adopted a draft decision mandating the Executive Secretary to make use ofthe Special Voluntary and the Trust Funds to support the participation of developingcountry delegates and NGOs at COP-1.


Consideration of the physical location for the Permanent Secretariat primarily took placein the corridors. Multimedia displays for the bidding countries, Canada, Germany andSpain, advertised the benefits of each country’s bid. In addition, each country hosted areception for Heads of Delegation, where mayors and other dignitaries gave slide showpresentations and otherwise promoted their offers.

One Plenary was dedicated to the issue. Chair Kjelln said that, as agreed at INCD-9,discussions had continued informally. During the first week of INCD-10, an informalgroup comprised of the three Governments involved, members from the main Bureau andthe Chairs of the two Working Groups met and expressed satisfaction with the relevantdocument (A/AC.241/63) and the way the exhibits from the three countries had beenhandled. The contact group requested further clarification on footnote 7 (UNConsolidated Post Adjustment Calculation) relating to the Canadian offer, to enableprecise comparison with Murcia. This will be issued as a corrigendum at COP-1. Theinformal group agreed on the selection procedure used at COP-1 for the Biodiversity andClimate Change Conventions and agreed to consult further on the modalities for follow-up and the details of the procedures to be followed at COP-1. During the closing Plenary,Chair Kjelln noted that the contact group would continue to discuss the matter at theresumed session of INCD-10.


Working Group I, chaired by Mahmoud ould El Ghaouth (Mauritania), considered fouragenda items: designation of the Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for itsfunctioning — administrative arrangements; identification of an organization to house theGlobal Mechanism; programme and budget; and financial rules of the COP, its subsidiarybodies and the Permanent Secretariat. The Group adopted two of the draft decisions, butforwarded the decisions on the Global Mechanism (GM) and the financial rules to theclosing Plenary for consideration and adoption. Most of the Group’s work was carried outthrough informal meetings and consultations.


The discussion on administrative arrangements was based on document A/AC.241/64,which provides responses to the questions raised by delegates after INCD-9 regarding theoffers made by the UN Secretary-General and UNEP’s Executive Director. TheSecretariat noted that the institutions could not address questions on the budget andstaffing because they are the prerogative of the COP. The Chair also presented his draftdecision from INCD-9, as well as that of the G-77 and China from INCD-7(A/AC.241/WG.I/ VII/L.1).

Through informal consultations, the Group accepted the offer from the UN Secretary-General and used the Chair’s draft decision as a basis for negotiations. The focus ofinformal consultations was to develop text that would guarantee autonomy of thePermanent Secretariat with regard to management structure and activities, while ensuringit enjoys the benefits and privileges accorded to the UN system under the UN Charter. Alegal expert from the UN Office of the Legal Counsel provided informal clarifications onthis matter.

During the adoption of the report, the EU suggested replacing “administrativearrangements” with “necessary services” because the former is too narrow. Severaldelegations did not agree, arguing that “necessary services” was vague and that theprocess would also require the Secretary-General to revise his offer. It was agreed to referto “administrative and support arrangements,” as stated in the Secretary-General’s offer.

The Group adopted the draft decision, which: accepts the offer of the UN Secretary-General to provide administrative and support arrangements; requests the Secretary-General to appoint the Executive Secretary of the CCD, after consulting with the COPthrough its Bureau; states that the CCD should not be fully integrated into the workprogramme and management structure of any particular department or programme of theUN; decides to review these arrangements no later than COP-4; requests the ExecutiveSecretary to pursue the issue of allotment of overhead to defer administrative expensesand to report the results to COP-2; and expresses appreciation to the UN system andagencies that have supported the Interim Secretariat. The G-77 and China draft decisionwas withdrawn.


Discussion on the Global Mechanism (GM) was mainly conducted through informalmeetings and consultations, which exclusively focused on the fourth function of the GM— mobilizing and channelling of financial resources. A core group met during the secondweek, chaired by Pierre-Marc Johnson (Canada). Johnson, along with Bolong Sonko ofthe Gambia, drafted the negotiating text on the GM when there was an impasse duringnegotiations on the Convention at INCD-5.

The Working Group began discussion of the GM on the basis of Annex I of decision 9/6,as contained in document A/51/76/Add.1. They agreed to start with the bracketedparagraph 4 on the functions (mobilization of resources), for which three options weretransmitted from INCD-9. Delegates initially expressed different views on which textshould be used for negotiation. The Group quickly decided to conduct its work in anopen-ended, informal working group and started a paragraph-by-paragraph reading of allthree options. Little progress was made, prompting the establishment of a core group,with representatives from various regional and interest groups. The G-77 and China andthe EU each drafted and circulated a non-paper on the issue under discussion. The G-77and China text formed the basis for discussion.

The prolonged debate was rooted in divergent views regarding whether the GM should orshould not mobilize resources for the implementation of programmes and projects of theCCD. There was agreement, however, for the EU proposal that the GM could mobilizeresources for activities to catalyze resource mobilization. Some delegates argued that theConvention explicitly states that mobilizing resources is the role of the Parties, not theGM. Others felt that without a proactive GM to mobilize resources, the Conventionwould be dysfunctional. Other concerns related to the manner in which the negotiatingtext was structured, despite the fact that the paragraphs were lifted from the CCD, andthat having a GM that disburses financial resources for implementation would requiredisbursement rules, for which provisions are lacking in the CCD.

The core group informally circulated an eight-paragraph informal text just before theclosing Plenary. This informal text indicates consensus on the GM’s functions to:promote actions leading to the mobilization and channelling of resources at all levels;promote the use of existing bilateral and multilateral financial mechanisms; encourage theprovision of support at all levels to enable countries to meet their obligations; increase theefficiency and effectiveness of existing financial mechanisms; play a catalytic role inensuring the availability of resources for projects and programmes; and promote andfacilitate the transfer, acquisition and adaptation of technologies, as well as the use ofindigenous and traditional knowledge. Three paragraphs remain unresolved regardingwhether the GM can: direct resources mobilized through multilateral and bilateralorganizations to countries, including new and additional resources; mobilize its ownresources; and mobilize resources from the Global Environment Facility.

When Chair El Ghaouth presented his draft “enabling decision” for adoption to WorkingGroup I, the G-77 and China asked for time to study it. Instead it was transmitted to thePlenary where it was adopted. The decision: approves the text in Annex I, with theexception of paragraph 4, on the functions of the GM and selection criteria for the hostinstitution; transmits the Annex to COP-1; invites IFAD and UNDP to submit to theSecretariat revised versions of any new elements of their offers, including the proposedadministrative operations, proposed budgetary implications for the functioning of theGM, and the possibility of co-hosting, by 1 May 1997; and requests the InterimSecretariat to compile these submissions in a document for presentation at COP-1.


The Executive Secretary introduced the draft programme and budget (A/AC.241/65),which seeks further guidance from the INCD to help shape the Secretariat’s final budgetproposals. 1999 is expected to be the first full year in which the Secretariat would befinanced by a “core” budget. Envisaged staffing requirements for 1999 are 34 posts. Thebudget includes two special-purpose funds, the Supplementary Fund, to support theparticipation of NGO representatives, and the Special Fund, which would finance travelof affected developing country delegates.

The G-77 and China had not developed a common position yet, but later made astatement indicating they approved of the Secretariat’s document.

Staffing requirements were a concern for the OECD group of countries. They supportedcurrent staffing levels as the basis for the establishment of the Secretariat. Uganda, Beninand Antigua and Barbuda noted the expanded activities that are envisaged and called for alarger staff. Bolivia and Brazil were concerned about the criteria for determining howmany staff would focus on each region. The Executive Secretary responded that thecriteria took into account the number of countries covered in each regional annex. Tunisiasaid more staffing was needed for the implementation of the regional annexes.

The OECD group of countries and Benin requested information regarding seconded stafffrom international organizations. The Executive Secretary noted that internationalorganizations are currently cutting their staffs.

In response to several inquiries about costs for the Global Mechanism, the ExecutiveSecretary noted the need to know who is responsible for the costs. The G-77 and Chinaproposed that the cost of the Global Mechanism be met by the host institution. TheOECD group of countries and the G-77 and China looked forward to a fully-costedpreliminary budget.

The OECD group of countries noted several times that the participation of NGOs isimportant, but expressed unease with the creation of a special fund for their participation.Benin, Tunisia, Haiti and Indonesia stressed the importance of support for NGOs and theExecutive Secretary noted that someone must shoulder the responsibility for NGOparticipation. The G-77 and China supported both the Special and Supplementary Funds.

The OECD group of countries supported the establishment of a working capital fund, thelevel of which should be reviewed regularly. Benin, supported by Tunisia, said UNpractice is well established and should be retained. Antigua and Barbuda stated that theproblem experienced by the Convention on Biological Diversity with its working capitalfund was due to host institution-Executive Secretary relations. Benin asked what the linkbetween the Regional Coordination Units and the Secretariat would be, and the ExecutiveSecretary asked for suggestions for arrangements.

The Chair concluded that he would prepare a procedural draft decision taking intoaccount the views expressed and inviting the Secretariat to submit a full-fledged budgetto COP-1. The decision (A/AC.241/WG.I(X)/L.3) requests the Secretariat to circulate, atleast 90 days before COP-1, the necessary draft decisions related to the programme ofwork and budget of the COP, as well as detailed budget estimates for the biennium 1998-1999. The Interim Secretariat will take full account of comments made at INCD-10 andearlier sessions as well as any comments from Member States received by 15 February.


The financial rules, as contained in Annex I of decision 9/8, in document A/51/76/Add.1,were considered briefly during one meeting. The only substantive discussion related toRussia’s suggestion to amend Rule 10. The amendment would provide for delegates “inspecial cases of other particularly interested and affected Parties” to receive support forparticipation at meetings of the COP and its subsidiary bodies, from the Special Fund tobe created to meet this need for representatives of developing countries. The Rule was notamended, but it was agreed that consultations on the issue should continue. In view of theconsensus reached to take the offer of the UN to host the Permanent Secretariat, delegatesdeleted all references to UNEP and its Executive Director. The rules were adopted, asamended, by the Working Group.

The draft decision (A/AC.241/WG.I(X)/L.4) recommends that COP-1 should adopt thefinancial rules attached to the decision.


Working Group II, chaired by Takao Shibata (Japan), addressed the rules of procedure ofthe COP and the organization of scientific and technological cooperation. Duringmeetings of Working Group II, Uganda spoke on behalf of the G-77 and China. Overall,the documentation provided by the Secretariat was commended for its high quality.


Delegates considered the outstanding language in the revised negotiating text of the rulesof procedure of the COP (A/AC.241/48/Rev.2). Seven rules contained bracketed text. Therules on notification of sessions, participation of specialized agencies, method of votingfor general matters and the determination of the authentic text in case of differences in thetranslations were resolved. The question of the size and composition of the Bureauattracted protracted debate, including several informal consultations.

Under the notification of sessions (Rule 5) it was agreed that the Permanent Secretariatshall notify all Parties of the dates and venue of “an ordinary session,” and thatnotification of the date and venue of an extraordinary session shall be pursuant to rule 4,paragraph 3 (when extraordinary sessions can be held) “and paragraph 4" (if held atwritten request). On the participation of UN specialized agencies (Rule 6), it was agreedto keep the brackets until it has been decided whether the Global Mechanism should behoused by one or several organizations.

The method of voting for general matters (Rule 51) shall be “in the order used orestablished by the rules of procedure of the General Assembly,” which is in Englishalphabetical order. Rule 58 now states that official documents of the sessions shall bedrawn up in one of the official languages and translated into the other official languages.

The Chair opened debate on: Rule 22, paragraph 1, election of officers to the COPBureau; Rule 31, election of officers to subsidiary bodies; and Rule 46, on majorityvoting. He had hoped that by resolving Rule 22, the other two would be solvedautomatically. However, delegates seemed reluctant to resolve the issue of the size andcomposition of the Bureau. Initially, there was disagreement on whether there should bethree or nine Vice Presidents on the COP Bureau, as suggested by the UK and US and theG-77 and China, respectively. This would make the total number of Bureau members fiveor 11, including the COP President and the Chairperson of the Committee on Science andTechnology. The UK pointed out that the number would then also be the same forbureaus of subsidiary bodies, such as the Committee on Science and Technology or adhoc panels, and suggested adding the specification of “four” Vice-Chairpersons toRule 31. The US could agree to nine members if it was also agreed that “everygeographical region shall be represented by at least two members” in Rule 22, paragraph1. The G-77 and China objected, stating that, considering the aims of the Convention,Africa should not be restricted to only two seats on the Bureau. Spain wanted to retain“adequate representation of affected Country Parties in regions referred to in theimplementation annexes of the Convention.” Some delegations from countries that areaffected but not included in any annex disagreed with Spain’s proposal because it isexclusive and conflicts with the geographical representation mentioned above.

During the second week of the session, informal consultations appeared to be movingtoward 11 Bureau members, if it were stated in Rule 31 that subsidiary bodies’ bureauswould have five members (four Vice-Chairpersons). There also seemed to be agreementto delete the reference to two members per geographical region, since there is a referenceto equitable geographical distribution in the already agreed, unbracketed text. Despitenumerous attempts by the Chair in formal and informal talks, these issues were notresolved and were passed to the COP.

The draft decision, A/AC.241/WG.II(X)/L.1 (Rules of procedure of the COP), wasadopted with the amendment that the number of the document that will contain the finaldecision will be left blank so that an amendment can be made later when all, or parts, ofthe outstanding issues in Rule 6, paragraph 1, Rule 22, paragraph 1, Rule 31 and Rule 47,paragraph 1 (previously Rule 46), are resolved. Delegates also added language that thebracketed language on Bureau size be provisionally applied.


Document A/AC.241/66, on a draft proposed programme of work for the Committee onScience and Technology (CST), suggests four priority areas: networking of institutions;benchmarks and indicators; inventories of traditional and local knowledge; andestablishment of research priorities. Regarding networking, the G-77 and China suggestedidentifying potential networks in addition to existing networks. India called attention toregional networks.

Document A/AC.241/INF.4 reports on work being done on benchmarks and indicators.The UK suggested that the informal group that prepared the report: be continued andexpanded; extend its work to other regions in addition to Africa; and develop guidelineson ways to apply and use indicators. The Working Group decided to ask delegations,international and non-governmental organizations to send the Interim Secretariat viewson how to conduct work on inventories of traditional and local technology, knowledge,know-how and practices as well as on the establishment of research priorities. The NGOworking group on the CST proposed a group to focus on local area development. SouthAfrica noted the importance of the bottom-up approach and supported the NGO proposalcalling for a consultative group on local area development. It would work in the samemanner as the group on benchmarks and indicators and give input to the CST. The Chairand the UK suggested that the CST could discuss the proposal at COP-1.

Document A/AC.241/67, report on the work of other bodies performing work similar tothat envisaged for the CST, contains: two areas of cooperation (Convention provisionsand methods of cooperation); and bodies identified for cooperation purposes (scientificcommittees and panels, international organizations and NGOs).

Egypt, supported by Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal, suggested the appointment of a groupof experts to take an inventory on how the CST could benefit from other bodies.Tanzania, supported by Kenya, Senegal and the UK, suggested that the report shouldinclude regional and subregional bodies and that the Interim Secretariat could forward aninventory of such bodies to COP-1. The UK said there were international organizationsmissing from the list and noted that the methods of cooperation need to be examined bythe COP before giving them to the CST. India suggested that the CST should beinstructed to facilitate the transfer of environmentally sound technology.

The Chair said that the INCD could ask the Interim Secretariat to call together an expertgroup to take an inventory and to consider regional and subregional bodies. This groupcould operate similarly to the open-ended consultative process on benchmarks andindicators. Delegations were asked to submit their suggestions on this issue to the InterimSecretariat by 15 March.

Working Group II adopted draft decisions A/AC.241/WG.II(X)/ L.2-6. Document L.2reports on modalities and timing of future work for the CST on inventories of research,traditional and local technology, knowledge, know-how and practices and on theestablishment of research priorities. Document L.3 is a report on work of other bodiesperforming work similar to that envisaged for the CST. Document L.4 is a report on workbeing done on benchmarks and indicators.

Document L.5 addresses work to be undertaken by the CST on networking of institutions,agencies and bodies. It requests the Interim Secretariat to solicit proposals from anindicative list of competent organizations, contained in Annex II of the same document,to undertake a survey and evaluation of existing networks, institutions, agencies andbodies willing to become units of a network that shall support the implementation of theConvention. The decision also requests the Interim Secretariat to circulate summaries ofproposals from such organizations before COP-1. It finally recommends that the CSTreview the terms of reference in Annex I and make any recommended changes to theCOP, and that the CST recommend for COP consideration and approval an organizationto complete the survey. Annex I contains the draft terms of reference and the proposedorganization of work to be undertaken on networking of institutions, agencies and bodies.

Document L.6, on the organization of the work of the CST, invites delegations tocontribute comments on subjects to be discussed at the first meeting of the CST by 17March 1997.


INCD Chair Kjelln called delegates to order at 11:55 am on Friday, 17 January. Heannounced that the core group negotiating the Global Mechanism, chaired by Pierre-MarcJohnson, was still meeting and that the G-77 and China had requested time to meet duringthe morning. The Plenary would therefore reconvene at 3:30 pm to consider the draftdecisions and report of the session.

Equatorial Guinea elaborated on the environmental activities and problems in his country.Improper land use is a threat to the forests and the country experiences months of greatprecipitation as well as of serious drought. He stated there is a shortage of data and fewNGOs are involved in their efforts.

The Plenary reconvened at 4:30 pm. Delegates first considered the draft decisionsforwarded by the Working Groups.

WORKING GROUP I: Working Group I Chair Mahmoud ould El Ghaouthintroduced the Group’s draft decisions, as contained in A/AC.241/WG.I(X)/L.1/Rev.1,L.2, L.3 and L.4.

Decision L.1/Rev.1, Designation of a Permanent Secretariat and arrangements for itsfunctioning: administrative and support arrangements, was adopted.

The Chair said the Working Group used two mechanisms to negotiate text on the GlobalMechanism, the full Group and a core group. Pierre-Marc Johnson reported on the workof the core group. The group met regularly for three days, but the text will require furtherwork at COP-1. They produced nine paragraphs of text for the bracketed paragraph 4,regarding mobilizing and channelling financial resources. Three issues remainoutstanding. One contains the options “as agreed in the Convention”/“consistent with theConvention” in reference to new and additional resources. The second contains optionsfor qualifying the mobilization of funds, undertake actions “leading to” or “for” themobilization. The third is more substantive because it relates to the functioning of theGlobal Mechanism as it intervenes in the flow of resources. The G-77 and China and EUand like-minded countries each submitted a formulation. One calls for the GlobalMechanism to “direct and guide the resources mobilized for the purpose of theConvention, including its own resources, made available from bilateral and multilateralsources,...” The other for it to “guide and direct, as requested and as appropriate, theallocation of resources mobilized for the purpose of the Convention, including resourcesmade bilateral and multilateral sources through the host or otherorganizations...” The decision notes that the INCD approved the text in Annex I “with theexception of paragraph 4.” Chair El Ghaouth said the paragraph was transmitted from thecore group to COP-1.

During adoption of L.2, Identification of an organization to house the Global Mechanism,the G-77 and China proposed asking IFAD and UNDP, in the revised versions of theiroffers, to include “the proposed budgets for the functioning of the Global Mechanismthey would provide on a biennium basis.” Greece said the OECD and like-mindedcountries were not prepared to accept the new proposal. Following a 40-minute break,agreement was announced to include “proposed budgetary implications for thefunctioning of the Global Mechanism.”

The G-77 and China then asked if any consultations would be taken on paragraph 4 ofAnnex I and, if so, when. Chair Kjelln said he has a mandate to undertake consultations,but could not say what form they would take. Bolivia indicated concern that the Annexwas being sent directly to the COP while he had understood that there was a possibilitythat it could be completed at a resumed session of INCD-10. The Chair said he did notthink there was much possibility for the Committee to make any more progress.Delegates adopted L.2.

The procedural decision in L.3 on the programme and budget, calling on the InterimSecretariat to submit a draft in mid-July, was adopted.

The UN planning and budget division issued an oral statement during adoption of L.4,Financial Rules of the COP, indicating that it was the UN Secretariat’s understanding thatthe reference to the UN in paragraph 7 (contributions to a general fund) does not implyany obligation on the UN to contribute to the core budget, subsidiary bodies or thePermanent Secretariat. The decision was adopted.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II Chair Takao Shibata reported that theGroup had successfully concluded its work in the form of six draft decisions(A/AC.241/WG.II(X)/L.1-3, L.4/Rev.1, L.5/Rev.1, and L.6).

In L.1, Rules of Procedure of the COP, delegates reached agreement on 59 of 63 rules.Chair Shibata stated there was broad agreement regarding the size of the Bureaus for theCOP and its subsidiary bodies: 11 members for the COP Bureau, including the Presidentand the Chair of the CST, and five for its subsidiary bodies. Related numbers, nine andfour respectively, are bracketed. Chair Shibata proposed calling on the COP “toprovisionally apply Rules 22 and 31” (regarding both bureaus). He said this was the samemechanism used in the Climate Change Convention COP and would allow a bureau to beelected. The UK suggested that the COP apply Rules 22 and 31 “in relation to the size ofthe Bureau.” L.1 was adopted as amended.

The five remaining decisions related to the initial work programme of the Committee onScience and Technology. Decisions L.2, L.3, L.4/Rev.1, and L.5/Rev.1 were all adoptedwithout comment. They are respectively entitled: reports on modalities and timing offuture work on inventories of research, traditional and local technology, knowledge,know-how and practices and on establishment of research priorities; report on work ofother bodies performing work similar to that envisaged for the CST; report on work beingdone on benchmarks and indicators; and preparatory measures to put in hand work onnetworking of institutions, agencies and bodies.

Chair Shibata introduced a number of amendments that the Working Group had agreed toin L.6, Organization of the work of the CST, which was adopted as amended.

The Committee then considered the INCD Chair’s draft decisions.

PARTICIPATION OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL AND INTERGOVERNMENTALORGANIZATIONS: The Chair presented this draft decision, as contained inA/AC.241/L.36, which recommends to COP-1 procedures for the accreditation of NGOsand according of observer status to intergovernmental organizations at COP sessions. Afootnote expresses a reservation on the accreditation of one NGO. Syria, supported byOman and others, re-affirmed their reservation on the accreditation of an NGO,EcoPeace. Benin suggested explicitly naming the NGO. The Chair said the footnotewould mention the name of the organization. Other comments related to corrections ofthe names of some subregional intergovernmental organizations. The decision wasadopted.

USE OF THE SPECIAL VOLUNTARY FUND AND TRUST FUND: TheChair noted that informal consultations had been held on the draft decision(A/AC.241/L.37), which is a recommendation to the General Assembly that would:enable the head of the Interim Secretariat, under the authority of the Secretary-General, touse the Special Voluntary Fund and the Trust Fund to support the participation at COP-1of developing country delegates and NGOs, respectively. The only amendment was thespecification that it is for participation at COP-1. The decision was adopted.

DRAFT AGENDA FOR THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: Thedraft decision (A/AC.241/L.38) is the “draft provisional” agenda for COP-1. It containsseven agenda items and 20 sub-items. The former include the election of the presidentand other officers, rules of procedure, credentials of delegations and the adoption ofrecommendations to the COP. The sub-items are the recommendations, conclusions anddecisions transmitted by the INCD to the COP for action. Some delegations rejected theUK’s suggestion to amend sub-item (h), on the programme of work of the Committee onScience and Technology, with “approval of terms of reference for work to be undertakenon networking of institutions, agencies and bodies, and selection of a contractor to carryout this work.” However, it was agreed that, this being a draft provisional agenda, the UKcould raise the issue at COP-1. After a brief discussion, another UK proposal to amendsub-item (k) to replace “approval” of the roster of experts with “establishment” wasaccepted because the process of appointment suggests the experts must be approved bygovernments. It is also the language used in the Convention (Article 24, paragraph 2).The decision was adopted.

A representative of the Director-General of the FAO thanked the Committee foraccepting their offer to host COP-1. He also thanked delegations that had recognized thequestion of food security, and the recently concluded World Food Summit, as concernsrelevant to the CCD.

RESUMED SESSION OF THE TENTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE:Chair Kjelln noted that during the Plenary, several conflicting references had been maderegarding the possibility of a resumed session of INCD-10. He said although significantprogress was made at INCD-10, he still needed a meeting to effectively address theoutstanding technical issues in order to organize COP-1 efficiently. Although he hadcontemplated a two-day pre-COP meeting in Rome for this purpose, the constraints forfacilities and cost of the meetings would be too high. Thus, a resumed session of INCD-10 will be held in Geneva from 18 to 22 August 1997. He noted that the 50th Session ofthe General Assembly had made financial provisions for such an eventuality. The EUstated that the technical issues could be effectively handled by the extended Bureau.However, if a resumed session was preferred, EU members would be represented throughtheir Missions in Geneva. Several countries, including Tanzania, on behalf of the G-77and China, Benin and Bolivia, agreed with the Chair, noting that not all member countriesare represented in the extended Bureau. The Chair proposed a draft decision that statesthat “in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 4, in resolution 50/112 of theGeneral Assembly and paragraph 3 of resolution 51/180 of the General Assembly, theCommittee decides to convene a resumed tenth session between 18-22 August inGeneva.” The decision was adopted.

Mauritania said he regretted the EU statement. He reminded delegates that theFramework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) also addresses desertification issuesand hoped that the willingness demonstrated in implementing the FCCC will match thatdirected to the CCD. Benin, as Coordinator of the African Group, said the representationof the EU at the resumed session of INCD-10 through its Missions in Geneva would beinterpreted as a boycott of the Session. The Chair noted that, in accordance with theirrequests, the relevant statements would be put on record.

The Committee then adopted the draft report of INCD-10, prepared by RapporteurAnatoli Ovchinnikov (Uzbekistan), as contained in A/AC.241/L.35, and authorized himto finalize the decisions made in the closing Plenary.

Syria, supported by Iran and Oman, raised his concern regarding an informal documentcirculated in the Asian Group, in which Israel was erroneously included as a member. Hesaid that since the Interim Secretariat had included Israel in the Asian Group, the Groupwas unable to meet during the second week. Oman added that his delegation had sent aletter to the Secretariat requesting clarification on this matter. The Executive Secretaryresponded that the Secretariat had not tried to establish any formal group, and stressedthat countries can form any form of affiliation, such as the JUSCANZ and “jus-cannots.”He said the approach of this Convention was regional and therefore Israel had beenincluded as an affected country in the Asian Annex, not as a member of any formallyestablished group.

Chair Kjelln concluded this “first part of the tenth session,” and stated that thisConvention is about the people who are living far away in the drylands. In this rapidlychanging world the CCD represents the fundamentals; it is about sand, land, sun, waterand people. He emphasized that the Convention is a great achievement and that throughthe urgent action for Africa and interim measures in other regions, it is already beingimplemented.

The Chair, as well as the EU and African Group, thanked all who were involved in thisnegotiating process. Chair Kjelln declared closed the first part of INCD-10 at 8:00 pm.


Many INCD-10 participants suggested that the end of this session marks the beginning ofthe implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, with the firstmeeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-1) only eight months away. In spite of thedifficulty encountered in negotiating the Global Mechanism, many delegates felt the issueprompted them to reflect more critically on the crucial elements needed for the effectiveimplementation of the Convention. Several delegates emphasized three aspects that theyconsider the foundation of the Convention: partnership, participation and resources.Delegates also reflected on decisions taken on scientific and technological cooperation, aswell as those that will be taken at COP-1.

PARTNERSHIP AND PARTNERSHIP BUILDING: Most delegates agree thatpartnership, as called for in the Convention, is the most significant accomplishment of theCCD. One delegate called it “the magic word.” The spirit with which this Conventionwas negotiated demonstrates that if good projects are prepared, funds will be available. Adelegate argued that, assuming no additional funds were made available, implementingthe Convention can make a significant difference if the funds presently allocated todesertification and drought activities are re-directed. However, delegates also expressedcaution on the need to recognize that partnership, which is also often referred to ascoordination, will be constrained by certain factors.

The Convention alludes to three forms of coordination: between the countries in theSouth; between developing and developed countries; and with other Conventions.Combatting desertification on a small scale will have no effect. Partnership amongdeveloping countries is therefore essential, but they may find it difficult to coordinatetheir work because it will require improved relations on other levels. Coordinationbetween donors will require the North to move away from the political meaning ofcoordination, which is viewed as a way to exercise power. Collaboration between thethree Rio Conventions is necessary to ensure that they are all focused on sustainabledevelopment objectives.

Another concern is the difficulty of building partnerships between groups that have verydifferent interests, which could easily degenerate into a battlefield. The discussion on theGlobal Mechanism reflected this tension.

PARTICIPATION: Many delegates agreed that the most innovative aspect of theConvention is the recommendation for involvement of civil society. If affectedgovernments make genuine efforts to ensure the participation of affected populations, theimpact will not only be great but there will be a real incentive for developed countries toprovide resources. However, problems may arise from a number of sources.

First, the transformation in the lives of the people in the drylands will not be immediate.It will take time to convince development agencies that dryland development is not justabout soil conservation and that drylands have economic value. Second, patience is anecessary element for genuine participation to take place. Third, different players in theConvention have different views about what participation is all about. The perception ofparticipation among governments in the South differs from that in the North. Thesedifferences must be clearly understood.

Some NGOs were critical of their participation in policy-making. They argued that if theywere facing obstacles in the “NGO-friendly” INCD process, the constraints forcommunities and local populations would be multiplied. As in many otherintergovernmental processes, NGOs were allowed to make interventions just before theclose of INCD-10 meetings, often after the issues they intended to raise had beendiscussed and decisions taken. However, some countries have made remarkable progress.Some developing countries now have NGOs on their delegations and in one country, anNGO is the convener of the national coordinating committee. In many others, NGOs areinvolved in the national steering committees and desertification funds.

FINANCIAL RESOURCES, A LEGITIMATE CONCERN?: Apart from thelack of passion with which the subject was negotiated, the discussion on the function ofmobilizing financial resources was reminiscent of the discussion on the GlobalMechanism at INCD-5. While the core group was embroiled in discussions on whether ornot the Mechanism will have resources of its own to fund the implementation of projectsor programmes, most delegates thought the more important issue was whether there willbe any resources at all, irrespective of the process of mobilization.

Many argued that donors have demonstrated during the interim period that resources willbe available if affected countries can practically demonstrate their political will anddevelop projects within the provisions of the Convention. However, most NGOs doubtedthat they would be able to access funds, in particular at the national and regional levels,for activities that are within their area of competence. This concern was confirmed duringthe interim period. They called for a workable mechanism to be put in place.

For some delegates, underlying the debate on financial resources was the fundamentalquestion of development assistance. The polemic displayed the long standing tensions ondevelopment assistance that are also evident in the other Rio Conventions. Thus, theConvention provides developing countries, in particular in Africa, with the opportunity toalter the game on the bilateral and multi-lateral levels, not through empowering theGlobal Mechanism to mobilize resources, but through the emerging concept of chef-de-file.

The delay in reaching agreement on this function caused some to speculate that it was astrategy to ensure that the COP would vote on this decision. Some developed countrydelegates expressed concern that they had convinced their governments to ratify theConvention because the GM would not be an institution that finances the implementationof programmes and projects, a position that is now being challenged.

Nevertheless, most delegates agreed that the matter, as a political issue, can only beresolved at the political level at COP-1. A few disagreed, noting that delaying importantdecisions, including what character the Global Mechanism assumes and the country thathosts the Permanent Secretariat, will hold the implementation of the Convention hostage.This delay could result in some of the institutions involved in overseeing theimplementation starting operations as late as 1999.

The overall impression of the INCD process thus far is that developing countries mayhave been too optimistic in their hopes for additional development assistance through thisConvention. On the other hand, some donors had initially assumed they could providesuch resources, but the economic recession has created social situations that deeply affecttheir foreign policies, leading to decreases in development assistance. This has resulted ina magnified North-South tug of war on financial issues during the critical stages of thenegotiations. Some feel that the solution to this problem is to take what is there and makethe best of it. Developing countries need to understand that more funds may not beforthcoming and developed countries need to recognize that it is difficult for developingcountries to demonstrate commitment and results if they lack the necessary resources forimplementation. The Convention may also assure that further cuts in official developmentassistance, in particular for dryland areas, are curtailed.

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS NEEDED IN THE CST: Although steady progresshas been made since the start of discussions on scientific and technological cooperation,some delegates questioned the value of spending so much time discussing institutions andnetworking. First, information requested from the institutions on the projects andactivities they are undertaking will take a long time to compile and, by the time it isready, be out of date. Second, institutions are often reluctant to provide this type ofinformation. The first priority of the CST is to survey and identify networks betweenexisting organizations.

Some sensed a deficiency in the discussions dealing with the more practical aspects ofimplementation that relate to the “science of ensuring participation.” They argued thatalthough this constraint emanates from a lack of methodologies providing a logicalprocess that would culminate in local populations’ assuming ownership of theConvention, consideration of provisions to learn from success stories and experiences oflocal populations would be useful.

FROM NEGOTIATION TO IMPLEMENTATION: When INCD Chair Kjellnconcluded the session, he emphasized that, despite the fact that this phase of thenegotiations has focused on words, the core of the Convention really deals with people inthe drylands and the improvement of their conditions. Some participants suggested that,despite the Chair’s assurances, the link between the macro and micro levels was weak.

An example of where delegates seem to have lost focus on the core issue in theConvention is the negotiations in Working Group II on rules of procedure. The amount oftime spent on the size and composition of the Bureau seemed disproportionate to theimpact it will have on the outcome of this process. This was also one of the outstandingissues that led to the need for a resumed tenth session. Some said it was a questionprimarily for professional diplomats who have negotiated similar issues in the context ofother conventions and who lack first-hand knowledge about the activities and conditionsin the field.

The numerous criteria required for the composition of bodies working with science andtechnology is also a source of tension. While there is a preference for small groups toachieve efficiency, the requirements to ensure a fair representation of all interest groupswill be difficult to reconcile. This difficulty led several to believe that ad hocpanels were not likely to be established any time soon. Scientific ad hoc panels in theBiodiversity and Climate Change Conventions have not been set up. NGOs recognizedthis fact and, in an attempt to make a contribution to the first CST session, proposed anopen-ended consultative group to study local area development.

The Convention entered into force on 26 December 1996, and will now be implemented.The Convention is described as innovative because it supports the bottom-up approach.However, the whole negotiation process is itself an example of a top-down process and inthe implementation of the Convention, local populations will still have to be convincedthe Convention will benefit them.

Most delegates re-affirmed the need for the involvement of all actors. NGOs and theirinternational network, RIOD, have an important role to play linking the macro and microlevels. The affected country Parties have to ensure the necessary enabling and policyenvironment. Donors have to provide and assure better coordination of their resources.These are the lessons the interim measures and the urgent action for Africa havedemonstrated, in addition to the need to maintain the momentum of a Convention thatstill seems to lack a high political profile. This momentum should enable a smoothtransition into the post COP-1 implementation period.


FORUM ON CILSS/ECOWAS SUBREGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME:CILSS will host a subregional forum for West African countries in Niamey, Niger, from12-15 February 1997, to develop a subregional action programme. Contact: Aboupakai orCiss Meriam Issa, CILSS, BP 7049, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; tel: +226 03-62-51;fax: +226 31-19-82/31-58-37.

IGAD WORKSHOP ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: IGAD, incollaboration with UNSO, will host a subregional workshop on science and technology inNairobi, Kenya, from 17-19 February 1997 to create a subregional technical committee.Contact: Tekeste Ghebray, Executive Secretary of IGAD, P.O. Box 2653, Djibouti,Republic of Djibouti; tel: +253 35-40-50; fax: +253 35-69-94 or Dr. L. Deng, UNSOBureau for Africa, Nairobi, Kenya; tel: +254 (2) 21-75-97; fax: +254 (2) 21-37-48 / 33-18-97.

FORUM ON SADC SUBREGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME: SADC willhost a forum in Maru, Lesotho, from 3-5 March 1997, to develop a subregional actionprogramme for Southern Africa. Contact: Mansour N’Diaye, CCD Secretariat, GenevaExecutive Center, 11/13 Chemin des Anmones, CH-1219 Chtelaine, Geneva,Switzerland; tel: +41 (22) 979-9419; fax: +41 (22) 979-9030/31; e-mail:mn’

THIRD REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CCDIN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Cuba is hosting a regionalconference in Havana, Cuba, from 11-12 March 1997, for Latin American and Caribbeancountries to prepare for CCD COP-1 and define a regional action programme. Contact:Herminia Serrano Mndez or Maria Nery Urquiza Rodriguez, Centro de Gestin eInspeccin Ambiental del Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologa y Medio Ambiente de Cuba,Calle 20 Esq. 18A Playa, Havana, Cuba; tel: +537 22-75-73/20-70-80; fax: +537 32-18-71.

WEST ASIAN SUBREGIONAL MEETING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OFTHE CCD: The League of Arab States’ Arab Center of the Studies of Arid Zonesand Drylands (ACSAD) is hosting a subregional meeting in Damascus, Syria, from 9-11April 1997, to initiate the subregional action programme for West Asian countries.Contact: Gilani Abdelgawad, Director of Soil Division, Doma-Syria, 2440 ACSAD,Damascus, Syria; tel: +249 (11) 47-21-76/47-21-83; fax: +249 (11) 471-1402.

TECHNICAL SUBREGIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OFTHE CCD IN THE MAGHREB: The Maghreb Arab Union (UMA) will host asubregional conference in Rabat, Morocco, in mid-April 1997, to create a subregionaltechnical unit in support of the CST and CCD in the Maghreb. Contact: Mustapha Tlili,General Secretariat of the Maghreb Arab Union, 27 Rue Okba, Agdal-Rabat, Morocco;tel: +212 (7) 77-26-82; fax: +212 (7) 77-26-93.

ASIAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THECCD: China will host a regional ministerial conference in Beijing from 13-15 May1997, to develop the Regional Action Framework for Asia drawing on national actionprogrammes. Contact: Ms. Longjun Ci, China National Committee for theImplementation of the CCD, 18 Heplingli Dongjie St., Beijing, China, 1000714. Forregistration and logistical information, contact: Rui Zheng, Director, Division ofInternational Programmes, Ministry of Forestry, China; tel/fax: +86 (10) 642-13184; e-mail:

FORUM ON THE MAGHREB SUBREGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME: InMay 1997 the Maghreb Arab Union will host a forum in Tunis, Tunisia, bringing togethergovernment, NGO and IGO representatives to develop a regional action programme forthe Maghreb. Contact: Mustapha Tlili, General Secretariat of the Maghreb Arab Union,27 Rue Okba, Rabat, Morocco; tel: +212 (7) 77-26-82; fax: +212 (7) 77-26-93.

INTER-REGIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OFINDEPENDENT STATES: The Commonwealth of Independent States will host aninter-regional conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in August 1997, to develop asubregional action programme. Contact: Anatoli Ovchinnikov, Deputy,Hydrometeorology at the Cabinet of Ministers, 72 St., Tashkent, Uzbekistan; tel: +737(12) 35-69-56; fax: +737 (12) 33-20-25 / 33-20-50.


FORUM ON CILSS/ECOWAS SUBREGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME:CILSS will host a subregional forum for West African countries in Niamey, Niger, from12-15 February 1997, to develop a subregional action programme. Contact: Aboupakai orCiss Meriam Issa, CILSS, BP 7049, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; tel: +226 03-62-51;fax: +226 31-19-82/31-58-37.

IGAD WORKSHOP ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: IGAD, incollaboration with UNSO, will host a subregional workshop on science and technology inNairobi, Kenya, from 17-19 February 1997 to create a subregional technical committee.Contact: Tekeste Ghebray, Executive Secretary of IGAD, P.O. Box 2653, Djibouti,Republic of Djibouti; tel: +253 35-40-50; fax: +253 35-69-94 or Dr. L. Deng, UNSOBureau for Africa, Nairobi, Kenya; tel: +254 (2) 21-75-97; fax: +254 (2) 21-37-48 / 33-18-97.

FORUM ON SADC SUBREGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME: SADC willhost a forum in Maru, Lesotho, from 3-5 March 1997, to develop a subregional actionprogramme for Southern Africa. Contact: Mansour N’Diaye, CCD Secretariat, GenevaExecutive Center, 11/13 Chemin des Anmones, CH-1219 Chtelaine, Geneva,Switzerland; tel: +41 (22) 979-9419; fax: +41 (22) 979-9030/31; e-mail:mn’

THIRD REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CCDIN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Cuba is hosting a regionalconference in Havana, Cuba, from 11-12 March 1997, for Latin American and Caribbeancountries to prepare for CCD COP-1 and define a regional action programme. Contact:Herminia Serrano Mndez or Maria Nery Urquiza Rodriguez, Centro de Gestin eInspeccin Ambiental del Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologa y Medio Ambiente de Cuba,Calle 20 Esq. 18A Playa, Havana, Cuba; tel: +537 22-75-73/20-70-80; fax: +537 32-18-71.

WEST ASIAN SUBREGIONAL MEETING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OFTHE CCD: The League of Arab States’ Arab Center of the Studies of Arid Zonesand Drylands (ACSAD) is hosting a subregional meeting in Damascus, Syria, from 9-11April 1997, to initiate the subregional action programme for West Asian countries.Contact: Gilani Abdelgawad, Director of Soil Division, Doma-Syria, 2440 ACSAD,Damascus, Syria; tel: +249 (11) 47-21-76/47-21-83; fax: +249 (11) 471-1402.

TECHNICAL SUBREGIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OFTHE CCD IN THE MAGHREB: The Maghreb Arab Union (UMA) will host asubregional conference in Rabat, Morocco, in mid-April 1997, to create a subregionaltechnical unit in support of the CST and CCD in the Maghreb. Contact: Mustapha Tlili,General Secretariat of the Maghreb Arab Union, 27 Rue Okba, Agdal-Rabat, Morocco;tel: +212 (7) 77-26-82; fax: +212 (7) 77-26-93.

ASIAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THECCD: China will host a regional ministerial conference in Beijing from 13-15 May1997, to develop the Regional Action Framework for Asia drawing on national actionprogrammes. Contact: Ms. Longjun Ci, China National Committee for theImplementation of the CCD, 18 Heplingli Dongjie St., Beijing, China, 1000714. Forregistration and logistical information, contact: Rui Zheng, Director, Division ofInternational Programmes, Ministry of Forestry, China; tel/fax: +86 (10) 642-13184; e-mail:

FORUM ON THE MAGHREB SUBREGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME: InMay 1997 the Maghreb Arab Union will host a forum in Tunis, Tunisia, bringing togethergovernment, NGO and IGO representatives to develop a regional action programme forthe Maghreb. Contact: Mustapha Tlili, General Secretariat of the Maghreb Arab Union,27 Rue Okba, Rabat, Morocco; tel: +212 (7) 77-26-82; fax: +212 (7) 77-26-93.

INTER-REGIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OFINDEPENDENT STATES: The Commonwealth of Independent States will host aninter-regional conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in August 1997, to develop asubregional action programme. Contact: Anatoli Ovchinnikov, Deputy,Hydrometeorology at the Cabinet of Ministers, 72 St., Tashkent, Uzbekistan; tel: +737(12) 35-69-56; fax: +737 (12) 33-20-25 / 33-20-50.


PAN-AFRICAN CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CCDAND PROGRESS SINCE RIO: The CCD Secretariat will host an African regionalworkshop in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18-21 March 1997, to develop a regionalprogramme of action and prepare for the UNGA Special Session and the CCD COP-1.Contact: Mansour N’Diaye, CCD Secretariat, Geneva Executive Center, 11/13 Chemindes Anmones, CH-1219 Chtelaine, Geneva, Switzerland; tel: +41 (22) 979-9419; fax:+41 (22) 979-9030/31; e-mail: mn’

SECOND AND THIRD TECHNICAL WORKSHOPS FOR FIFTEEN FOCALPOINTS OF THE CCD: The CCD Secretariat is facilitating the second technicalworkshop for 15 focal points in Asmara, Eritrea, in April 1997 and the third workshop inMaseru, Lesotho, in May 1997. Contact: Mansour N’Diaye, CCD Secretariat (see above).

INTERNATIONAL FORUM OF MAYORS ON DESERTIFICATION ANDURBANIZATION: The City of Rome and the CCD Secretariat are hosting meetingsin Rome, Italy, in October 1997 concurrently with COP-1, to discuss strategies fordecentralized cooperation in implementing the CCD in cities. For more information,contact: N. Mattana, CCD Secretariat, (see above); e-mail:


SECOND REGIONAL NGO CONFERENCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OFTHE CCD IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: NGOs from the LatinAmerican and Caribbean region will meet in Havana, Cuba, from 7-8 March 1997, todevelop a regional networking mechanism, project proposals, and prepare contributionsfor COP-1 and the regional programme of action. Contact: Miguel Torrico, ComitNacional Pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora (CODEFF), Sazie 1885, Casilla 3675,Santiago, Chile; tel: +562 696-1268; fax: +562 696-8562.

FIRST NGO WORKSHOP ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CCD INANGLOPHONE WEST AFRICA: Thirty NGOs from Anglophone West Africa willmeet in Kano, Nigeria, in April 1997 to familiarize themselves with the CCD, set up asubregional NGO network, and prepare action plans. Contact: Dr. E. Okpara, TheNigerian Environmental Study/Action Team (NEST), UIPO Box 22025, Ibadan, Oyo-State, Nigeria; tel/fax: +234 (2) 810-2644; e-mail:

SUBREGIONAL NGO WORKSHOP ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THECCD IN NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES: An NGO workshop in Issyk-Kul(Warm Lake), Uzbekistan, in May 1997, will bring together NGOs from 11 countries ofCentral Asia and the Newly Independent States to discuss subregional NGO networkingand technical cooperation. Contact: Oleg Tsaruk, Executive Director, InternationalCentral Asian Biodiversity Institute, 11a-10 Gaydar Pr., Tashkent, 700105 Republic ofUzbekistan; tel: +737 (12) 91-3935; e-mail:

SUBREGIONAL NGO WORKSHOP ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THECCD IN THE MAGHREB: A workshop will be held in Tunis, Tunisia, in May1997, for Maghreb NGOs to familiarize themselves with the CCD, establish asubregional NGO network, develop project proposals, and contribute to the CST, NAPsand emerging NGO-government partnerships. Contact: Michael Cracknell or NabihaMegateli, ENDA Inter-arabe, 6 Rue Imam Termadi, Ksar Said 11, 2009 Tunis, Tunisia;tel: +216 (1) 515-217; fax: +216 (1) 582-783; e-mail:

NGO FORUM ON EMPOWERING LOCAL COMMUNITIES ANDINSTITUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DRYLAND DEVELOPMENT: TheInternational NGO Network on Desertification (RIOD) will facilitate an NGO Forum inRome, Italy, from 29 September - 10 October 1997, to bring together NGOs as a parallelevent to CCD COP-1. Contact: Baudouine Kamatari, Global Focal Point of RIOD,Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI), P.O. Box 72461, Nairobi, Kenya; tel:+254 (2) 56-20-15 / 56-04-76; fax: +254 (2) 56-21-75; /


EXPERT MEETING ON SYNERGIES BETWEEN THE CONVENTIONS ONBIODIVERSITY, CLIMATE CHANGE, DESERTIFICATION AND THE RIOFOREST PRINCIPLES: Israel will host a meeting in the Negev on 17 March 1997,to enable 40 legal, policy making and scientific experts to discuss the synergies betweenthe Rio Conventions and the Forest Principles. For more information and nomination ofparticipants, contact: Prof. Uriel Safriel, Director, The Jacob Blaustein Institute for DesertResearch, Ben-Gurion University, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel 84990; tel: +972 (7) 653-2010; fax: +972 (7) 655-4306; e-mail:

SECOND AFRO-ASIAN EXPERT MEETING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OFTHE CCD: Niger will host a meeting on implementing the CCD in Niamey, Niger,from 27-30 May 1997 for African and Asian experts. Contact: Harouna Oumarou,Conseiller, Secrtariat Excutif du CNEDD, P.O. Box 578, Niamey, Niger; tel: +227 72-25-59/72-31-89; fax: +227 73-58-59.

RESUMED TENTH SESSION OF THE INC OF THE CONVENTION TOCOMBAT DESERTIFICATION: A resumed session of INCD-10 will be held inGeneva, Switzerland, from 18-22 August. Contact: CCD Secretariat, Geneva ExecutiveCenter, 11/13 Chemin des Anmones, CH-1219 Chtelaine, Geneva, Switzerland; tel:+41 (22) 979-9419; fax: +41 (22) 979-9030/31; e-mail:

FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES OF THE CONVENTIONS TOCOMBAT DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT: The first meeting of theConference of the Parties to the CCD (COP-1) will be held in Rome, Italy, from 29September - 10 October 1997. For more information, contact the CCD Secretariat (seeabove).