Daily report for 25 March 1994

4th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee of the International Convention to Combat Desertification


The Plenary met briefly so that the Minister for Fisheries,Agriculture and Rural Mobilization of Cape Verde, Maria MoralesHelena Semedo, who is also the representative of the CILSS, couldaddress the Committee. The Minister stressed the need to addresspoverty eradication. On financial resources, she emphasized theneed to use available resources more efficiently, mobilize domesticresources and promote institutional reforms. Jean Camara, speakingon behalf of FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, said that theConvention had arisen from a need to ensure food security and theavailability of domestic energy among the affected communities, butalso because the potential contribution of the affected regions todevelopment cannot be ignored. He pointed out FAO's role incombatting desertification.


Working Group I completed its second reading of the text beforeadjourning early so that the G-77 could meet.

ARTICLE 4 -- GENERAL OBLIGATIONS: The Chair proposed newlanguage for paragraph 2(b), which was based on paragraph 2.3 ofAgenda 21: "give due attention, within the relevant global andregional bodies, to the situation of affected developing countrieswith regard to international trade, marketing arrangements anddebt, with the view of establishing an enabling internationaleconomic environment conducive to the promotion of sustainabledevelopment." Delegates will discuss this proposal during the nextreading.

ARTICLE 5 -- OBLIGATIONS OF AFFECTED COUNTRY PARTIES:Delegates agreed to remove the brackets around paragraph2, which states that affected developed country Parties are notentitled to receive financial assistance under this Convention.

ARTICLE 6 -- OBLIGATIONS OF DEVELOPED COUNTRY PARTIES [AND OTHERPARTIES IN A POSITION TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE]: The G-77 andChina restated their objection to the use of the phrase "and otherParties in a position to provide assistance." The EU, supported bythe US, said that it could not accept deletion of this bracketedphrase, and proposed deletion of sub-paragraph (c) on 0.7% of GNPfor ODA. Nothing was resolved.

ARTICLE 7 -- PRIORITY TO AFRICA: At the first reading, theG-77 and China proposed a new sentence on ensuring the provision offinancial assistance. Japan and the US asked for its deletion. TheG-77 and China argued that this sentence strengthens the entirearticle. It remains bracketed.

ARTICLE 8 -- RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CONVENTIONS: Thebrackets around the first paragraph on coordination with theactivities of other relevant conventions were deleted. The Chairnoted that the second paragraph (not affecting the rights andobligations of any Party under agreements entered before thisConvention enters into force) was not necessary since it isuniversally accepted international law. The paragraph was deleted,however, later in the day Nigeria requested that it be retained andthe paragraph is still in brackets.

ARTICLE 9 -- BASIC APPROACH (ACTION PROGRAMMES): At thefirst reading, the EU proposed an alternative for paragraph 1(development of national action programmes). The US and Kenya stillhad some questions about this proposal and both alternatives remainin brackets.

ARTICLES 12 AND 13 -- SUB-REGIONAL AND REGIONAL ACTIONPROGRAMMES: At the first reading, China proposed a replacementfor both of these articles that refers to regional implementationannexes. Mali and Benin said that this proposal is problematicbecause of the need to distinguish between sub-regional andregional programmes. Both versions of Article 12 and Article 13remain in brackets.

ARTICLE 14 -- MEASURES TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF DROUGHT:The bracketed text (food aid) was deleted from sub-paragraph (c).The second version of sub-paragraph (d) (establish alternativelivelihood projects) was retained. The brackets aroundsub-paragraph (e) (irrigation programmes) were removed, however,the brackets around the Saudi proposal for cloud seeding insub-paragraph (f) remain.

ARTICLE 14 BIS -- INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: The bracketsremain, even though the EU and Canada called for its deletion sinceinternational cooperation is spelled out throughout the Convention.

ARTICLE 15 -- SUPPORT FOR THE ELABORATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OFACTION PROGRAMMES: Canada suggested that this article should bepart of Articles 22 and 23. Sweden pointed out that the group onfinancial resources is trying to determine if all the financialprovisions should be in Articles 22 and 23 or throughout the text.

ARTICLE 16 -- COORDINATION IN THE ELABORATION AND IMPLEMENTATIONOF ACTION PROGRAMMES: Brazil, India, Bolivia, Iran, Canada andMalaysia called for the deletion of paragraph 3 since monitoring isone of the tasks of the COP. The US suggested deleting the firstsentence, which refers to monitoring, and appending the secondsentence to paragraph 2. The sentence, as amended by Malaysia,reads: "...priority will be given to coordinating activitiesrelated to international cooperation to maximize efficient use ofresources and better facilitate the implementation of nationalplans and priorities pursuant to the Convention."

ARTICLE 21 -- CAPACITY BUILDING, EDUCATION AND PUBLICAWARENESS: The brackets were initially deleted fromsub-paragraph 1(f) on training in the use of alternative energysources. Then Saudi Arabia arrived and proposed alternative text.Cameroon and the EU did not accept the Saudi proposal, so theSaudis reinstated the brackets around the original language. Allthree versions of paragraph 4, on education and training centres,remain in brackets.


Working Group II completed its first reading of the African Annexand second reading of Articles 1, 26 and 27 of the Convention. Inresponse to delegates' frustration on Thursday afternoon, the Chairproposed a new procedure for work on the implementation annex forAfrica. She requested that the African Group provide the unofficialOAU document, Implementation Annex for Africa (OAU/INC-D/REV.II),as a basis for informal discussions, and then resume discussion ofthe Secretariat's text (A/AC.241/19) on Monday afternoon. Canadasupported this strategy, but Mauritania disagreed. At thesuggestion of Gambia, the Working Group adjourned briefly in orderfor the Africans to consult. Thereafter, the Africans expressedtheir preference to table their amendments during the reading ofthe Secretariat's text. De Lattre conceded on the understandingthat a Contact Group be established to produce new text over theweekend.

ARTICLE 7 -- ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK OF SUB-REGIONAL ACTIONPROGRAMMES: Cameroon said that the Central African sub-regionwas omitted in paragraph 1. The EU proposed new text forsub-paragraphs 2(b) and (c) and the deletion ofsub-paragraph (e).

ARTICLE 8 -- PREPARATION AND FORMAT OF SUB-REGIONAL ACTIONPROGRAMMES: Egypt suggested that the article be deleted, butMauritania objected, saying the text was drafted by the AfricanStates. The EU and African Group proposed new text forsub-paragraphs (b) and (c), respectively, regardingthe evaluation process and seeking guidance from Agenda 21. The USsaid sub-paragraph (g), calling for the development of jointaction programmes, should be deleted, while the African Groupwanted paragraph 2, which outlines the contents of theprogrammes, deleted as this is covered elsewhere. The US, however,wanted sub-paragraphs 2(c) to 2(f), dealing withissues of strategy, measures, assessment and coordinationmechanisms, retained.

ARTICLE 9 -- CONTENT OF SUB-REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMMES: TheAfrican Group proposed a new chapeau, outlining the areas of focus,with the priority areas of Article 9 to be listed assub-paragraphs (a) to (h). The EU also proposed newtext for paragraphs (e),(f) and (g).

ARTICLES 10 (ORGANIZATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR REGIONAL ACTIONPROGRAMMES), 11 (CONTENT OF THE REGIONAL ACTION PROGRAMME) AND 12(STRENGTHENING OF UNITED NATIONS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS):Canada proposed the deletion of these articles since 10 and 11 arehierarchical and superfluous, while 12 does not belong here. The EUconcurred with regard to Articles 10 and 11, paragraph (b)(i),(ii), (iii) and (c)(iii). The African Group proposed a newformulation for Article 10 paragraph 2, calling for financialsupport for the OAU by the COP, and Article 12.

ARTICLE 13 -- FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL COOPERATION: Beninsuggested that the entire article be divided into three separatearticles on financial resources, financial mechanisms and technicalcooperation.

Paragraph 1: ZERO, on behalf of the NGOs, said thatresources must be mobilized at the community level. This positionwas endorsed by Canada, who proposed that the Parties establishNational Desertification Trust Funds in affected countries needingassistance, involving national governments, donors and NGOs. The EUsuggested the deletion of paragraph 2 and proposedalternative text for paragraph 3, regarding the impact ofthe Convention of all financial and technical cooperationprogrammes. Benin objected to the EU text and proposed alternativetext that stipulates the necessary measures to be undertaken byParties. Benin said that paragraph 5 should form part of anew article on financial mechanisms. The EU suggested deletingparagraph 6. Benin said that it should become the newarticle on financial resources.

ARTICLE 14 -- COORDINATION AND PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: Beninsuggested that the article be divided into two because it containstwo separate ideas. He suggested that paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 shouldbe merged into an article on coordination and partnershipagreements and that paragraph 4 should be titled "Follow-upmechanisms." Benin also requested the inclusion of a specificarticle on technology transfer. The EU then suggested a change toparagraph 1 regarding collaboration between affected AfricanParties and developed country Parties. The EU also proposed newtext for paragraph 2 that calls for cooperation to maximizeefficient resource use. Benin preferred the original text.Delegates agreed to delete paragraph 4.


ARTICLE 1 -- USE OF TERMS: The Chair noted that the listing ofcountry Parties will not be done, but that the categories will beaddressed later. It was agreed that the glossary would be left tothe Conference of the Parties to develop.

ARTICLE 18 -- INFORMATION COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND EXCHANGE:Norway reported that the sub-working group had succeeded inremoving all the brackets except one remaining in the chapeau. TheUS noted changes to sub-paragraph (g) regarding local andtraditional knowledge.

ARTICLE 26 -- ADVISORY PANEL ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT:The G-77 suggested new text, while Norway reminded delegates thatthe proposed text from Prof. al-Kassas' working group representedconsensus language and should be adopted.


At 6:00 pm Working Group II met in a informal session to considerthe Regional Implementation Annexes for Asia and Latin America. TheAsian annex, which was orally presented by India, has six sectionsincluding: the purpose; particular conditions of the Asian region;preparation, format and content of the national and sub-regionalaction programmes; and coordination and financial resources. TheLatin American annex, which was presented orally by Panama, hasfour chapters: diagnosis; thematic areas; programme of action andimplementation; and technical, scientific and financialcooperation. Delegates made general comments related to timeschedules, sub-regional divisions and coordination processes. The4-page Asian annex was distributed during the course of themeeting. The English version of the Latin American annex will beavailable during the week.


A small working group has been established under the coordinationof Pierre-Marc Johnson (Canada) and Bolong Sonko (Gambia) to workon Articles 22 and 23 on financial resources and mechanisms. Sincethere is general agreement that the current formulation of thesearticles cannot serve as the basis for productive negotiations, itis up to this group to draft new text for consideration in Paris.Regional groups have been asked to submit proposals to thecoordinators.


PLENARY: The Plenary will meet this morning to considerAgenda Item 3, Review of the situation as regards extrabudgetaryfunds (A/AC.241/20). The Plenary will also hear progress reportsfrom the Chairs of the two working groups.

WORKING GROUP I: When the Group convenes this afternoon, itwill begin its third reading of the text. Look for revised text tobe circulated in the morning. The Chair, Ahmed Djoglaf, may also announce that the Group will meet informally on Tuesday in hopethat greater progress can be made on some of the more problematic articles and paragraphs.

WORKING GROUP II: Working Group II will commence a second reading of the Regional Implementation Annex for Africa that willhave been revised by the Contact Group over the weekend. There will be an evening session today, and if necessary, another one tomorrowto enable the Group to complete the second reading of the African Annex and sections of the main text of the Convention.