Daily report for 5 October 2001
UNCCD COP 5
Plenary met in the morning for the first COP-5 NGO dialogue and in the afternoon to adopt the report of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on legal matters, and hear the progress reports of the CST and the COW. The CST met in the morning to adopt outstanding decisions and conclude its work. The COW met in the afternoon and began consideration of the review of the Global Mechanism (GM) in CCD implementation. The contact group on legal matters concluded its work, while the programme and budget contact group resumed its work in an evening session. The contact group on the committee for the review of implementation did not meet due to delays in the submission of written proposals by regional groups and, with the contact group on programme and budget, continued working over the weekend.
COP-5 President Basset opened the afternoon session by inviting the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to make a short statement. The FAO reinforced its close links with the CCD in combating desertification, food insecurity and poverty. He noted FAO’s cooperation with the GM in launching NAPs, and its continued support for synergies with other conventions.
Delegates then turned to the accreditation of NGOs (ICCD/ COP(5)/9/Add.1), which was agreed without objection.
OPEN NGO DIALOGUE: Welcoming participants, COP-5 President Basset noted the importance of dialogue between NGOs and government delegates and invited the NGO representatives to make their presentations.
Emmanuel Seck (ENDA-Tiers Monde) emphasized: NGO’s role in NAP development; NGO potential to raise awareness of the CCD within the WSSD; the need for synergy between the different environmental conventions; and the need to include women in decision-making processes. Christian Comeliau (University Institute of Development Studies of Geneva) elaborated on a world system conceptual framework within which the CCD and sustainable development are implemented. He called for an evaluation of how the market incorporates basic needs, and for emphasis of social needs.
Deiter Imhof (Swissaid) highlighted: the links between monoculture and desertification; the negative effects of capitalistic production on the environment and biodiversity in developing countries; and the need for agricultural reform. Ruth Mubiru (Uganda Women Tree Planting Movement) elaborated on the gender, poverty and desertification nexus within the African context and proposed anti-desertification strategies including education, sensitization, public awareness, capacity building, women’s access to land and education for girls.
Presenting on synergy among the conventions, Venkat Ramnayya (Youth for Action) and Yves Corriveau (Solidarité Canada-Sahel) stressed the need for synergy at international, regional and local levels. They said the CCD should address concerns arising from other non-Rio multilateral processes such as the WTO, and the development of indicators and benchmarks to monitor NGO involvement in the NAPs.
Rogatien Biao of BENIN stressed the NGOs and civil society roles in CCD implementation. He proposed the creation of North-South NGO partnerships and NGO-government partnerships in preparing for the WSSD, and called on NGOs to launch a public awareness campaign to highlight the links between poverty, environmental disaster and globalization. Maryam Niamir-Fuller (GEF) underlined the role of the GEF as the single most important provider of support for global environmental concerns, but highlighted constraints in implementing enabling activities including, lack of capacity at the country-level, unrealistic timetables for project implementation, and lack of participation mechanisms.
SENEGAL stressed the New Africa Initiative as the best way forward for sustainable development in Africa. NIGER said laws should be made gender sensitive in some countries, and with MOROCCO, called for international support of NGOs. SWEDEN emphasized that land tenure and women’s empowerment are important for CCD implementation. INDIA stressed that NGO participation, particularly of women, must be built into the national decision-making process. The ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY stressed the role of civil society in the decision-making process and KENYA highlighted benefits from involving the National NGO Coordinating Committee in its NAP. NORWAY supported the role of NGOs in making land degradation a key issue at the WSSD.
AD HOC GROUP OF EXPERTS ON LEGAL MATTERS (AHGE): AHGE Chair Patrick Szell (UK) presented the group’s draft decision on the resolution of the questions of implementation and on arbitration and conciliation procedures, which was adopted ad referendum. The decision: decides to convene at COP-6 to examine further and make recommendations on procedures and institutional mechanisms for resolution of questions of implementation and on arbitration and conciliation procedures based on a new working document; requests the Secretariat to prepare a new document for use in this work; and invites Parties to submit their views by 31 January 2003.
REPORT OF THE COW: Reporting on progress, COW Chair Mohammed Jabbari (Iran) said the Programme and Budget contact group had not made significant progress and would meet again to clarify outstanding issues. On the progress of the committee to review CCD implementation, CRIC Chair Franklin Moore (US), noted that delegates’ views were being compiled into a bracketed/ alternative text.
REPORT OF THE CST: Chair Philbert Brown (Jamaica) said the CST had established contact groups related to improving efficiency and effectiveness of the CST and the CST-6 topic. The CST had adopted draft decisions (ICCD/COP(5)/L.1-10), to be transmitted to the COP, on: survey and evaluation of existing networks; roster of experts; review and implementation of scientific and technological aspects of national reports; traditional knowledge; early warning systems; dryland degradation assessment (LADA) and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the CST; future programme of work of the CST; programme of work for the group of experts; and benchmarks and indicators.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
REPORT ON THE GLOBAL MECHANISM : GM Managing Director Per Rydén presented the report (ICCD/COP(5)/ 3 and 4) and stressed that the GM needs more financial and human resources to fulfill its expanding activities, which include: collecting and disseminating information; promoting actions for cooperation and coordination; and mobilizing and channeling financial resources. He added that the GM is working to create opportunities with donor Parties, governments and others. Welcoming delegates’ suggestions that land degradation become a GEF focal area, he said the GM would assist countries in accessing funds for GEF projects. He also suggested conducting an independent external review of the GM’s operational strategy and work for the COP-6 GM review.
The EU stressed the importance of enhancing the GM’s response capacity, particularly in relation to coordination with the GEF, and avoiding duplication of IFAD and FAO activities. The G-77/CHINA requested the GM to mobilize additional resources and supported a gradual staff increase. Noting that the GM is a young body that needs "care," CHINA, ICARDA/CGIAR and GRULAC, noted their fruitful collaboration with the GM.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DRAFTING OF THE REPORT TO THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES: The CST met in the morning to conclude adoption of draft decisions for the COP. The discussion addressed the programme of work of the CST, the programme of work for the group of experts, and benchmarks and indicators (ICCD/COP(5)/ L.8-10).
On the programme of work of the CST, the EU proposed language to clarify the content of Parties’ submissions on best practices, and language to limit the number of intersessional CST Bureau meetings for planning and organizational purposes. CANADA proposed the invitation of reports on innovative research.
On the programme of work for the group of experts, delegates debated the role of regional groups in forwarding Parties’ recommendations for consideration by the CST Bureau. SENEGAL proposed that regional or subregional groups synthesize Parties’ recommendations for submission to the Secretariat. The US, supported by SWITZERLAND and others, proposed that Parties submit their proposals directly to the Secretariat to accelerate the process and obtain the broadest possible range of proposals. Incorporating concerns of ERITREA that certain Parties would benefit from regional group support, and those of BELGIUM anticipating difficulties in reaching agreement on synthesis within a region, the CST adopted a proposal stating that submissions should be solicited from both country Parties and relevant organizations.
Discussion also addressed how the group of experts might begin work before the next session of the CST, given that this session did not adopt its program of work and terms of reference due to time constraints. The US, with others, noted with regret that the CST lacked time to fully debate this matter and proposed empowering the CST Bureau to independently develop the group of experts’ programme of work on a one-time basis. Noting historical precedents, the US further proposed, with NORWAY and FRANCE, that the group of experts operate without terms of reference for the time being.
Regarding benchmarks and indicators, BURKINA FASO, supported by SENEGAL and others, proposed inserting an operational paragraph encouraging South-South cooperation for information exchange and capacity building. ARGENTINA proposed that GRULAC be mentioned as one of the entities encouraged to continue to work on benchmarks and indicators. RIOD, supported by GERMANY, proposed that development of indicators on involvement of civil society in CCD implementation be requested.
Delegates were then informed of problems related to the draft decision on the effectiveness and efficiency of the CST, which had been adopted Thursday. Chair Brown noted that some Parties felt that not all issues had been appropriately covered. An additional preambular paragraph on links and synergies between the CST and other CCD bodies, as well as with other conventions, was added. The US raised technical concerns related to the decision annex establishing a group of experts under the CST. Noting the decision had already been adopted, Chair Brown proposed consultations between the US and the CST Bureau, in order to revise the decision in the COP Plenary.
Chair Brown thanked delegates and the Secretariat, and closed the CST at 1:15 pm.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The CST officially concluded its work Friday without fully resolving its major issue of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the CST. Last-minute interventions by the US made it clear that a draft decision related to the "group of experts," which will be established under the CST, would be re-opened in Plenary. Possibilities of resolving the outstanding issues were blocked by procedural difficulties, as the decision in question had been pushed aggressively through the approval process on Thursday. Consultations with the CST Bureau continued past the close of the CST session. Some observers noted that by failing to resolve the issue of efficiency and effectiveness, the CST had once again demonstrated the need for reform in this very area.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: A special high-level segment of Heads of State, Ministers and Heads of inter-governmental organizations will meet in Conference Room XVIII at 9:30 am and 3:00 pm. Among the high-level participants to make statements on the status of the implementation of the convention are the Presidents of Venezuela and Cape Verde, and the Prime Ministers of Mozambique, Niger and Benin.