Summary report, 21–25 October 1994

UN General Assembly Discussions on UNCCD

The 49th United Nations General Assembly held its debate onAgendaItem 89(d), "Elaboration of an international convention to combatdesertification in those countries experiencing serious droughtand/or desertification, particularly in Africa," on Friday, 21October and Tuesday, 25 October 1994. Although the debate on thisissue was held in the General Assembly plenary, action will betaken in the Second Committee. In connection with this item, theGeneral Assembly had before it the report of theSecretary-Generalon the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (documentA/49/477)and a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the reports oftheIntergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Elaboration of anInternational Convention to Combat Desertification (INCD) on itsthird, fourth and fifth sessions (A/49/84 and Addenda 1 and 2).

During the course of the debate, most Governments noted that thisConvention was innovative in its recognition of the physical,biological and socio-economic aspects of desertification. TheConvention also recognizes the importance of redirectingtechnologytransfer so that it is demand driven. The involvement of localpopulations in the development of national action programmes wasalso cited as an innovative provision. Most delegates stressedthatpolitical commitment is essential at this stage if the Conventionis to be a success. Developing countries specifically mentionedtheneed for new and additional financial resources. While many werepleased with the fact that 87 nations signed the Convention inParis at the ceremony on 14-15 October 1994, they urged moreGovernments to sign the Convention in New York and called forrapidratification and entry into force.


The President of the General Assembly, Amara Essy (C“ted'Ivoire),opened the debate by reminding delegates that the problem ofdesertification is not a new subject for the UN system. Theinternational community must now ensure the effectiveimplementation of the Convention. Nine hundred million peopleareaffected by desertification and in Africa alone hundreds ofthousands of hectares have been lost to desertification, causingfood shortages and poverty. He stressed the need for urgentactionfor Africa and appealed to all States that have not already donesoto sign the Convention during this session of the GeneralAssembly.The text of the Convention is at the Department of Legal AffairsTreaty Section and is open for signature in accordance withArticle33 of the Convention.

Ismat Kittani, on behalf of UN Secretary-General BoutrosBoutros-Ghali, noted that at the signing ceremony in Paris on14-15October 1994, 87 nations and one regional economic integrationorganization signed the Convention to Combat Desertification. TheConvention was adopted on 17 June 1994 after 13 months ofnegotiations. At the signing ceremony, over 60 high levelGovernment officials gave statements on the need for earlyimplementation in Africa. The Convention breaks new ground ininternational environment and development law through its trulyintegrated approach, which stresses community level participationand equal weight to the physical, biological and socio-economicaspects of desertification. The system of national, regional andsubregional action programmes is also innovative. The key to thesuccess of the Convention will be the political will of theaffected countries themselves. The Secretary-General is committedto mobilizing sufficient funds to implement the Convention. Heurged all countries to sign the Convention as soon as possibleandhoped that a strong consensus will emerge in the Second Committeeto allow the INCD to continue its work and promote rapidratification of the Convention.

In his introductory remarks, INCD Chair Bo Kjell‚n (Sweden)commented that the Committee managed to produce a robustConventionthat is coherent, legally consistent, innovative and balancedbetween the perception of desertification as a global problem andthe obvious need for specific recognition of regionaldifferences.Although there was disappointment over the relative lack ofprecision in the financial provisions of the Convention, theglobalmechanism in the Convention may turn out to be a useful tool. Hestressed the importance of implementing the resolution on urgentaction for Africa and called on developed countries as well asinternational and multilateral organizations, agencies andprogrammes to provide enabling funds to support partnerships atthenational and subregional levels in Africa. He urged the GeneralAssembly to adopt a resolution on interim arrangements, whichwouldinclude the convening of further sessions of the INCD in 1995 and1996 and the continuation of the interim Secretariat to providethenecessary support for the work of the Committee. The sixthsessionof the INCD, to be held in New York in January 1995, will focusonthe work programme for the interim period and the preparation forthe first session of the Conference of the Parties. The INCD willalso help prepare for the discussion of desertification duringthethird session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Hewelcomed the debate in the General Assembly and said that theConvention will lead to real action on the ground that willbenefitthe people living in the drylands.

ALGERIA (ON BEHALF OF THE G-77 AND CHINA): Amb. RamtaneLamamra expressed satisfaction with the Convention. Inparticular,the G-77 and China are pleased with the Convention's legalframework that provides a multidimensional, action-orientedapproach to combat desertification worldwide. He expressedconcernabout the continuing problems with the availability of fundingandthe slow pace of the transfer of technology. The G-77 and Chinaarecommitted to combatting desertification in Africa. He pointed tothe excessively low rates of rainfall and continuing encroachmentof desert sands that directly affect the survival of over 185million people. He also stated that 65 million hectares ofAfricanland has been lost to desertification. He emphasized that thetenuous position of Africa warrants immediate action. He urgedsignatory countries to ratify without delay, and hoped that thelinks between the developed and developing countries provided forin this Convention could serve as the basis for new prospects ininternational cooperation.

GERMANY (ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION): Gerhard W.Henzesaid that combatting desertification is a central element in theEU's development cooperation programmes. The funds allocated forthis purpose through the Lom‚ Convention in 1992 alone amountedtoUS$1.9 billion. Concrete, action-oriented and effectiveprogrammesto combat desertification are urgently needed. The root causesandconditions that determine the conduct of land users must be takeninto consideration. The process of elaborating national actionprogrammes in developing countries is of the utmost priority. Aclosely coordinated effort between donor countries and affecteddeveloping countries is imperative. The quick follow-up to thesigning of the Convention, in particular the resolution on theurgent action for Africa, must be ensured.

CANADA: Amb. John Fraser stressed the need for anintegratedapproach to combatting desertification. The affected countrieshavethe responsibility of assuming the leadership role in their ownaction plans, while the donor countries are there to providefinancial and technical support. The Canadian InternationalDevelopment Agency will commit $4 million for urgent assistancetoAfrica as well as an additional $100 million foranti-desertification programmes in Africa over the next fiveyears.

MAURITANIA: Amb. Hamoud Ould Ely supported the unanimousadoption of the Convention and the identification of the need forurgent action for Africa. He stated that the very number ofsignatories to the Convention is testament to the greatsignificance of the need for action. The growing awarenessworldwide is a result of the global nature of the phenomenon ofdesertification. He expressed concern over the constant delays inaction and added that because of the scope and immediacy of theproblem, no more delays can be tolerated. In Africa, the fullimpact of this phenomenon is accompanied by food shortages,famine,rural exodus and external debt. Remedies cannot be limited tohumanitarian operations.

INDIA: Amb. T. P. Sreenivasan announced that India signedthe Convention in Paris on 14-15 October 1994. The urgency andmoral imperative for tackling the problem of desertification anddrought lies in the fact that it affects some of the poorestpeoplein the world. The most satisfying feature of this Convention isthat it reflects a basic concern of the developing world andseeksto tackle real human problems. The Convention also correctlydistinguishes between deserts and lands prone to desertificationand drought. Nearly 40% of India's land is threatened withdesertification in one way or another. Adequate financial andappropriate technological resources need to be made available ifthe implementation of this Convention is to become a reality.

AUSTRALIA: Richard Rowe announced that Australia signedtheConvention in Paris on 14-15 October 1994. Desertification is animportant domestic issue for Australia since 70% of the continentis arid or semi-arid, receiving less than 500 millimeters ofrainfall annually. He stressed the need to ensure that theprovisions of the Convention are converted into effective andpractical action. Australia already supports various programmesinAfrica. In Paris, the Australian Treasurer announced a specialcontribution of up to A$250,000 over several years to combatdesertification in Africa. Australia also plans to undertake ajoint feasibility study with the World MeteorologicalOrganizationfor the establishment of a network linking the two droughtmonitoring centres in Nairobi and Harare with the African CentreofMeteorological Application for Development in Niamey.

NORWAY: On behalf of the Nordic countries, Amb. ArneH"nningstad said that the Convention provides a framework foraffected countries and peoples, as well as relevant organizationsand donors, to address the serious problems caused by landdegradation and the increasing imbalance between people andavailable resources. All strata of society must be involved intheConvention's implementation. The Nordic countries will activelyparticipate by reviewing development cooperation in areas such aspoverty alleviation, land degradation and freshwater in light ofthe provisions of the Convention. He urged countries that havenotalready done so to sign and ratify the Convention to ensure itsentry into force as soon as possible.

ISRAEL: Amb. Israel Eliashiv welcomed the coordinatedactivities aimed at supporting the effective implementation oftheConvention and the urgent measures for Africa. Israel haslauncheda campaign against aridity with results that are being sharedwithother nations. Israel has already initiated its activities underthe Convention by elaborating a master plan for an internationalcenter for combatting desertification. He invited all countriestojoin Israel in the venture of desert research and share itsexperience in finding solutions to desertification. Israel andJapan will host an international seminar on water management in1995 and Israel will host an International Workshop on Arid LandCrops in November 1994. He expressed hope that peace willeventually embrace all neighboring countries so they can achieveacomprehensive settlement in the region and dedicate their effortsand resources to sustainable development.

BENIN: Amb. Ren‚ Val‚ry Mongbe said that in spite of theobstacles, pressure and sleepless nights, negotiators were abletocope with their task and complete the Convention. But the pathahead is a long one. The resolution on urgent action for Africaurges African countries to take steps to elaborate nationalactionprogrammes and recommends that African countries and donorsstrengthen their partnerships. Countries must show their firmcommitment to the resolution of this problem. With regards totechnical assistance, the African Annex mentions the need to givepreference to African experts whose services will be cheaper thanthose of foreign consultants. Now the time has come to joinactionswith words. He urged all States to continue to be guided by theSpirit of Rio.

BANGLADESH: Amb. Reaz Rahman said that Bangladesh fullysupports the need for priority to be accorded to affected Africancountries. A host of preventive actions should constitute thecoreof any effective strategy since prevention and reduction of landdegradation is more economical than reclamation of desertifiedland. Bangladesh signed the Convention in Paris and attachesparticular importance to the implementation of preventivemeasuresfor lands that are not yet degraded. The role of NGOs is criticalfor effective implementation and follow-up. With regard to themeans of implementation, Bangladesh supports the idea of theglobalmechanism and hopes that it will be successful in themobilizationand channelling of substantial financial resources, including thetransfer of technology on a grant basis or on concessional termstoaffected and threatened developing countries.

LIBYA: Amb. Mohamed A. Azwai said that desertification isone of the most important problems facing Africa. The need tocombat desertification is now widely recognized and Libya hopesthat the Convention will enjoy the necessary political andfinancial support. Desertification is rendered more acute by lackof groundwater. Libya has established a special institute tocombatdesertification, but efforts have been hampered by two factors --the mines planted during World War II and the unjust embargo thathas paralyzed research projects.

FRANCE: Herve Ladsous said that the signing ceremony heldinParis exceeded all expectations. As a result of this Convention,donors can become true partners with the countries in need.Francewill make implementation of the Convention one of its priorities,with assistance committed to reducing the effects ofdesertification at FF$1 billion per year, plus a contribution tothe GEF.

IRAN: The representative said that INCD-6 in January 1995isof significant importance to ensure progress in combattingdesertification. The implementation of the Convention depends onthe provision of substantial new and additional financialresources-- between US$10 and 22.4 billion, as estimated by UNEP. Asdecidedduring the negotiations, the GEF will serve as a financing sourcefor the Convention, but the GEF replenishment is insufficient. Hedescribed Iran's problems with desertification, which areaffectedby population growth, overgrazing, uncoordinated exploitation ofwater resources and deforestation.

BARBADOS: Amb. Besley Maycock, on behalf of the 12 Statesofthe Caribbean Community, supported the call for prompt action tocombat desertification. The Convention represents a major advancein combatting desertification. It is a balanced document thataddresses physical, biological, social and cultural issuesrelatedto desertification. Important recognition is given to the effectsof desertification and drought on affected developing countriesandthe relationship to important socio-economic issues. The focus onthe elaboration of action programmes is important. The CaricomStates expressed hope for the necessary political will during theimplementation stage to ensure the early and effective operationofthe Convention once it enters into force.

MONGOLIA: The representative said that this Conventionrepresents a solid basis for future activities. A concertedresponse of all actors at the national and international levelsisneeded to implement the Convention. Mongolia signed theConventionin Paris and looks forward to its early entry into force. One ofthe significant aspects of the Convention lies in its addressingfood security and other socio-economic causes of desertification.The momentum created by the adoption of the Convention must besustained. NGOs and local populations must be involved in theformulation of national action plans. He stressed the importanceofnew and additional resources and expressed hope that the globalmechanism will help mobilize these resources.

TUNISIA: Amb. Slaheddine Abdellah said that the bindingnature of this Convention is a positive step in theimplementationof the commitments undertaken in Rio. Tunisia, whose borders aresurrounded by desert, has true hope in the achievement of theobjectives of this Convention. At the OAU Summit in Tunis in June1994, African States committed to setting up the necessarystructures for the application of the Convention and the AfricanAnnex. Affected countries need technical and financial support.Theinternational community, in particular the donor countries, needsto afford the importance due to desertification as a worldwideenvironmental problem that extends beyond the borders of thecountries affected.

UGANDA: The representative said that Uganda used to be agreen land with no droughts, famine or poverty where thelivelihoodof the people was sustainable. Today, food security cannot betakenfor granted and poverty has led to unsustainable use ofresources.This situation typifies the phenomena that is taking placeworldwide. There is insufficient funding available for combattingdesertification. The case for new and additional funding iscompelling and must be recognized. He appealed to theinternationalcommunity to support early implementation for Africa with regardtofinance and technology. Uganda will sign the Convention shortlyinNew York. Effective measures have to be put in place for theentryinto force and the interim secretariat should undertaketransitional activities on issues such as the financial mechanismand the Committee on Science and Technology.

NIGERIA: The representative underscored the continuedrelevance of international efforts to combat desertification anddrought. The most significant accomplishment of the INCD is theinternational attention that has been mobilized arounddesertification. The negotiations have linked those affected withdesertification with donors, UN agencies, IGOs and NGOs and havelaid the foundation for future global partnership arrangements.Nigeria looks forward to the Convention's entry into force andcalls on the international community to provide the necessaryfinancial and technological assistance.


TANZANIA: Amb. Daudi N. Mwakawago welcomed the adoptionandsignature of the Convention and expressed hope that it will enterinto force without delay. Tanzania believes that theinternationalcommunity has the ability to avert the catastrophe ofdesertification and drought, as was demonstrated in Eastern andSouthern Africa two years ago. The fight against desertificationmust be an integral part of socio-economic development programmesaimed at satisfying people's immediate and long-term needs. Theinternational community should take measures to reduce theexcessive burden of debt on developing countries and to checkdeteriorating rates of exchange and improve internationaleconomicrelations so as to increase and maintain the quality of life.Particular attention should be directed at increasing financialandtechnical assistance to help poor developing countries implementtheir strategies for development of arid, semi-arid and drysub-humid zones. The international community, together withinternational and sub-regional organizations, should mobilize theexisting network of institutions, agencies and bodies in order toeffectively organize the gathering, analysis and distribution ofdata in the observation and forecasting of drought anddesertification. He urged the developed countries, along withinternational and multilateral institutions, to provide supportforthe implementation of the resolution on urgent action for Africa.

SUDAN: The representative said that the considerablepolitical commitment achieved in Rio still engages the attentionofthe international community, particularly the developingcountries.Sudan participated in the negotiations of the Convention toCombatDesertification in all its phases, including the signing ceremonyin Paris, and attaches great hope to the Convention. Sudan hasestablished a supreme council on environment and naturalresourcesto implement the Convention. Widespread grassroots reforestationcampaigns are currently underway to combat desertification. WhileSudan welcomes the Convention, there is concern that it willremaina "dead letter" if it does not have the necessary financing.

PHILIPPINES: The representative said that the number ofsignatures testifies to the Convention's importance andacceptance.Subregional, regional and international collaboration isessentialto mitigate the effects of drought. Countries in South Asiasuffering from drought should have been considered as affectedcountries under the Convention. The prevention of drought helpsprevent land degradation and desertification. The Philippineswillpursue this issue at the first meeting of the Conference of theParties. The Philippines joined the Convention in the hope thatdrought-affected countries in South Asia will not be left out ofthe Convention.

PAKISTAN: Mir Mushtaq Ali Talpur said that the signing ofthe Convention in Paris is proof that the international communityis committed to dealing with drought and desertification. Failureto deal with these problems accelerates impoverishment of thepopulations in dry lands and exacerbates famine and droughtrelief,thereby diverting resources from addressing long-term developmentissues. In Pakistan, land erosion and desertification havebroughtmisery to those affected and has led to rural-urban migration.Pakistan hopes that the implementation of the Convention willhelpthe Africans in their efforts to alleviate some of their economicproblems, which are the direct result of desertification anddrought. Substantial new and additional resources are neededsincenearly US$22 billion will be required annually for the next 20years to finance the rehabilitation of land and halt the declineinfertility. Adequate technology and know- how are also critical.Pakistan has undertaken its own remedial measures, includingreforestation and the digging of tube-wells. He welcomed thedecision that UNSO will now deal with the needs of all countriesfacing drought and desertification.

JAPAN: Amb. Shunji Maruyama announced that Japan signedtheConvention in Paris. The focus must now shift to promptratification, entry into force and implementation. To assistAfricain implementing the Convention, Japan has increased itsdevelopmentassistance in a wide range of areas from healthcare andsanitationto human resources development. Japan has increased thecooperationit has provided to UNDP, the African Development Bank and theWorldBank. Japan has also announced a plan to increase ODA forenvironmental projects from US$7 billion to US$7.7 billion overthefive-year period from 1992 through 1996. The African Programmeforthe Supply of Potable Water provides grant aid for thedevelopmentof groundwater and water-supply systems. Approximately US$250 toUS$300 million in such aid has been allocated for fiscal years1993through 1995. To assist in the implementation of the Convention,Japan will: strengthen the dialogue it conducts with affectedcountries on whether projects carried out with Japanese ODA areactually helping to combat desertification; dispatch surveymissions to countries severely affected, particularly in Africa,toclarify needs in the field; and be actively involved in thedevelopment of programmes of action in the most affectedcountries.

CHINA: The representative said that almost half of China'spopulation lives under the threat of desertification. The ChineseGovernment has put enormous human and material resources tocombatting desertification and hopes that the internationalcommunity will help them combat desertification more effectively.The rights and obligations under this Convention are not balancedbetween developed and developing countries. The shortage offinancial resources is a major element in the lack ofdesertification prevention. This will cast a cloud over theimplementation of this Convention. He urged the internationalcommunity to help developing countries with financial resourcesandtechnology to assure implementation of the Convention.

BRAZIL: On behalf of the Rio Group (Argentina, Bolivia,Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela), Amb. Ronaldo MotaSardenberg noted that desertification and drought affects 75% ofthe land surface in Latin America. Out of 200 million poor inLatinAmerica, 40 million are poor because they live in desertifiedareas. Major amounts of resources and international cooperationareneeded to combat desertification. The Rio Group recognizes thattheproblem is of extreme importance in Africa and stresses the needfor preventive measures. Many developed countries are departingfrom the Spirit of Rio and the concept of shared butdifferentiatedresponsibilities. The Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventionscontain broader commitments with regard to the transfer oftechnology and finance. Political will is needed to break thecycleof drought, desertification and poverty.

THE GAMBIA: The representative said that The Gambia hassuffered from extreme periods of drought and expansion of theSahara Desert. Serious efforts to combat desertification throughallocation of greater resources have yielded results, but havenotarrested the situation. Africa remains the most affected regioninthe world. The Gambia will continue to review and improve itsnational action programmes and coordinate its efforts with otherparties at the regional and subregional levels, however, morefinancial and technical resources are needed. The success of theglobal mechanism will be based on the contribution of theparties.He called on the international community to cooperate in theimplementation of the Convention. He also expressed support fortheadoption of a resolution to enable the secretariat to functionduring the interim period.

SENEGAL: Amb. K‚ba Birane Ciss‚ said the negotiation ofthisConvention was an African initiative that the internationalcommunity joined. The global dimension of desertification anddrought is now a fact and priority is now recognized for Africa.The innovations introduced by the Convention include that actionwill be carried out at all levels with the participation of thepopulations concerned, as well as intergovernmental andnon-governmental organizations. Only concrete results in thefieldwill allow measurement of success. Sufficient financial andtechnical resources are needed, however, the bilateral andmultilateral commitments announced at the signing ceremony arepromising.

UNITED STATES: Herman Gallegos said that the US signed theConvention in Paris and has been among its strongest supporterssince the beginning. The US has identified US$500 million incurrent or planned projects that can be utilized to support theConvention. With regard to urgent action for Africa, he said thatAfrican countries have to decide how they will use the Conventionto meet their own anti-desertification plans and programmes. Withregard to future INCD meetings, the US believes that there is nolonger a need for a two-week meeting in January and a two-weekmeeting in May. He called for reducing the January meeting to oneweek, cancelling the May meeting and postponing a decision onmeetings in 1996 until the January session. With regard to theresponsibilities of the secretariat, the US believes that thesecretariat's role can not be broader than the provisions inArticle 23. The secretariat should not assume the burden ofreviewing preparation of action programmes and other activitiesunder the urgent action resolution.

ETHIOPIA: The representative urged countries that have notsigned the Convention to do so as soon as possible and thosecountries that have signed the Convention should expedite theratification process. He appealed to partners in developedcountries to make available adequate, timely and predictablefinancial resources and technical assistance, especially for theleast developed and African countries. It is imperative to ensureeffective participation of developing countries during theinterimperiod. He also called for contributions to the voluntary fund.Ethiopia has finalized a national conservation strategy and aforestry action programme, which includes the participation ofpeople at all levels. The secretariat for the Convention shouldbelocated in Africa and its location should be the subject ofdiscussion at the first Conference of the Parties.

KENYA: Amb. Francis K. Muthaura hoped the ratificationprocess would be completed as soon as possible so that theConvention can enter into force. A critical element in thesuccessof the strategy is the financial mechanism, with the emphasis onmultiple-source financing. The concrete responses that theConvention will be able to attract from donor countries andinternational organizations will determine the impact of theConvention on local efforts to combat desertification and achievesustainable development. He supported the call for two interimmeetings each in 1995 and 1996 and one meeting in 1997. He calledfor more contributions to the voluntary fund to help delegationsparticipate in the work of the INCD during the interim period.

BOTSWANA: Constance Mompei noted that socio-economicfactors, including an unevenly distributed but rapidly growingpopulation, concentrated livestock rearing activities and poorarable farming practices aggravate the already vulnerablelandscapeof Botswana. In 1990, the Government established the BotswanaNational Conservation Strategy Agency that aims to increase theeffectiveness of natural resources management and integrate thework of the many sectoral ministries and interest groupsthroughoutBotswana. Regional cooperation is essential and Botswana hasstarted to consult with its neighbors to prepare the Kgalagadi/Namib Action Plan to combat desertification.

BURKINA FASO: The representative said the Conventionensuresa balance between the globality of desertification and thespecificnature of certain regions. Burkina Faso has put together anationalenvironmental programme. While Africa is not the only placeaffected by desertification, it is the most serious. Only a jointstrategy in combatting desertification can be considered as abeginning. The necessary resources must be provided and theinstitutional, financial and follow-up machinery must becomeavailable as soon as possible.

ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY: The representative welcomedthe completion of the Convention. The effects of desertificationand drought in Africa must be checked if the continent is to havea firm basis for sustainable development. The Convention isuniquebecause of its concern for the establishment of action plansthrough a participatory process and its encouragement of theintegration of action programmes with policies for sustainabledevelopment. The Convention will be meaningful only if it iseffectively and promptly implemented. He called on theinternational community to ratify and implement the Convention.


Eighty-seven countries signed the Convention to CombatDesertification at a ceremony in Paris on 14-15 October 1994.Aftersigning the Convention, Governments -- many represented by theirMinisters of Environment -- announced their plans forimplementingthe Convention. Many countries suffering from desertificationpledged to step up their national programmes. Some announced thatthey were setting up national action committees to coordinatetheirefforts with those of non-governmental organizations, localcommunities, international agencies and donor governments. Anumberof OECD countries announced aid packages, mostly to bereallocatedfrom existing development funds, and to be used primarily toassistAfrican countries in halting dryland degradation. The UnitedStatespledged US$500 million in current or planned projects to fightdesertification in Africa. The European Union said that US$443million was recently added under the Lom‚ Convention to fightdesertification, on top of the US$7.6 billion already committed.Germany pledged DM5 million in technical cooperation to be addedbefore the end of 1994 to the DM1.8 billion already committed tocombatting desertification. Canada pledged over $100 million,drawnfrom exisiting development aid, to be directed over the next fiveyears to fight desertification, especially in West Africa.Denmarkannounced that US$200 million has been allocated for the nextfiscal year toward a new fund for international environment andemergency assistance, with a goal of targeting one half percentofGNP to this fund by the year 2004. This is above the 1% of GNPalready spent on ODA. France said that above the FF1 billioncommitted for desertification, FF440 million will be allocatedforbilateral financing of projects related to desertification andother areas under the scope of the GEF. Also in 1995, France willlaunch a programme to develop new energy sources for Africa,sincethe cutting of trees for fuelwood is one of the major causes ofdryland degradation. Japan pledged an increase from US$7 to 7.7billion in ODA for environmental projects in developing countriesfor the period 1992-1996. The Convention remains open forsignatureat United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Signatories to the Convention

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Costa Rica
  • C“te d'Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Eygpt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • European Union
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Haiti
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Libya
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Mauritania
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Niger
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Korea
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Spain
  • Sudan
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zaire
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe