Daily report for 9 October 2001
UNCCD COP 5
Delegates met for a second day in the High Level Special Segment, which included a morning session dedicated to an interactive dialogue on the nexus between poverty and the environment, and an afternoon session for general statements by country representatives and other participants.
HIGH LEVEL SPECIAL SEGMENT
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE: COP-5 President Charles Basset informed delegates that this session would address the "poverty-environment nexus," and asked them to share experiences in best practice and indicate priority actions for governments and donor countries.
Many speakers highlighted the links between desertification and poverty, and the need to integrate desertification-related goals and actions within the broader development agenda. Delegates also discussed: financing and funding; regional and subregional planning; stakeholder participation and local involvement and empowerment; and land ownership and productivity.
On funding issues, SWAZILAND said financing is needed to address land tenure. SWEDEN said developed countries’ environmental agencies should have direct access to their finance ministers when addressing CCD implementation, while developing countries should mainstream their legal and institutional systems in relation to land management. MAURITANIA urged industrialized countries to implement their financial and technology transfer obligations under the CCD. The AFRICAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE ENVIRONMENT (AMCEN) highlighted developed countries’ obligations and noted, with appreciation, the GEF’s consideration to fund land degradation. SOUTH AFRICA stressed the benefits of public-private partnerships, and BENIN supported credit provision for local initiatives. BURKINA FASO highlighted factors undermining NAP prioritization, including the debt problem. EGYPT called for technical assistance for developing countries in determining potential economic returns on rehabilitated land as an aid to assist in planning.
Several delegates noted that regional and subregional planning provide useful frameworks and facilitates local action. Many speakers also highlighted the need for multi-stakeholder participation and a multi-sectoral approach, focusing particularly on local involvement and empowerment. DENMARK supported inclusion of affected rural communities in decisionmaking, and SOUTH AFRICA outlined public mobilization strategies to promote local initiatives. BENIN noted its efforts to encourage local citizens’ input in identifying sustainable income-generating initiatives, and BELGIUM supported assistance to communities through, inter alia, provision of resources and project planning.
Several speakers underscored the value of education and public awareness raising. GHANA called for greater support to rural communities, women and children. INDIA encouraged a people-centered approach to decisionmaking, and CANADA said local community measures should integrate health, literacy and water management programmes.
On land tenure and productivity, SOUTH AFRICA highlighted its land redistribution policies. BURUNDI linked poverty to low productivity of capital, adding that, as soil is the primary asset of many countries, degradation is a priority issue. LESOTHO outlined its efforts to revive and support productive traditional farming systems. ERITREA elaborated on the relationship between overgrazing and social and financial considerations, and stressed the value of encouraging attitude and behavior change. LEBANON proposed government assistance in establishing cooperatives to support cost sharing among smallholder farmers. SWITZERLAND stressed issues of food security and job creation.
Addressing other matters, KAZAKHSTAN and BENIN highlighted linkages with other multilateral environmental agreements, while GHANA raised trade-related issues, particularly problems of market access. SENEGAL noted linkages with urban migration and poverty. SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES and AMCEN underscored the challenges of mitigating population pressures. AUSTRALIA reported on its National Landcare Program, noting its integration of and focus on community ownership. NIGERIA drew attention to its model village approach, where best practices are demonstrated and replicated in neighboring villages. The WORLD BANK recommended further integrating sustainable development considerations into national poverty reduction strategies and the need for political will.
In his closing remarks, COP-5 President Basset said the dialogue session had proved very informative and useful, and indicated that an informal Chair’s summary would be available Wednesday.
GENERAL STATEMENTS: KENYA expressed concern at the lack of progress in combating desertification and, with CUBA, reported on NAP implementation efforts. BURKINA FASO expressed regret at the lack of support from development partners for its NAP, and disappointment over some delegations’ attitudes toward the CRIC, CCD budget and developing country interests in general.
NIGERIA noted the failure of the CCD to obtain sustained funding and its impact on NAP implementation. MOROCCO outlined elements of its NAP and urged support for countries currently experiencing drought. IRAN offered to share its experience on sustainable management of rangelands. GHANA called for developed country support through debt forgiveness and debt-for-nature swaps. MADAGASCAR supported the work of the GM and the establishment of a CRIC.
ERITREA highlighted efforts to improve, inter alia, the economic environment, monitoring and assessment, and early warning systems. He also noted the use of UNDP seed money for a national desertification fund. LESOTHO reported progress in implementing, inter alia, range management and grazing, land reclamation and social forestry. The SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY emphasized the need for international participation in regional and subregional activities. SIERRA LEONE highlighted the impact of conflict on land degradation and reported on national policies to reverse the process. He requested that the GEF and GM assist Africa in CCD implementation.
UGANDA elaborated on the causes and effects of land degradation in its northern "cattle corridor," outlined its responses, and noted a planned partnership meeting to address resource coordination. SWAZILAND urged the strengthening of the GM. The GEF called on COP-5 to ensure thorough representation of CCD concerns at the WSSD. Noting Islamic religious teachings and Sharia law principles as the basis of its environmental policies, SAUDI ARABIA highlighted activities to support environmental conservation, including during the World Day to Combat Desertification
MONACO drew attention to the role of international governance in achieving coherent policies on environmental protection and supported a substantial increase in financial resources for the CCD. SOUTH AFRICA called for steps to involve women, youth and disabled people and said the upcoming WSSD is a "unique opportunity" to review progress since Rio. KAZAKHSTAN noted the impact of land degradation on people’s health and economic well-being, and highlighted various factors in his region’s land degradation, including chemical and nuclear contamination. KYRGYZSTAN highlighted its efforts to implement the CCD, including projects to develop mountain areas and to promote eco-tourism through the designation of 2001 as the Year of Tourism. TUNISIA outlined its ongoing cooperation with the GM and the Sudano-Sahelian Observatory, and successful development of indicators to track NAP implementation.
DENMARK pledged to continue support within the GEF Council for opening a financing window for desertification and announced the allocation of an additional 0.5% of GDP for "environment, peace and stability" initiatives. He added that Denmark will be presiding over the EU during the WSSD. Noting its 200 million franc annual contribution to combating desertification, FRANCE underscored efforts to improve expertise and scientific and technical capacities within regions. JAPAN urged a determined effort by each Party to proceed along the CCD process and supported, inter alia, scientific and technical cooperation, proper consultative mechanisms and multi-stakeholder participation. MEXICO highlighted the linkages between desertification, food security and poverty, and underscored the upcoming Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey, Mexico, as an opportunity to mobilize resources for sustainable development. BOLIVIA highlighted efforts to alleviate problems of environmental degradation and socio-economic marginalization that contribute to urban migration in the remote American Plateau and Grand Chaco jungle areas. GUINEA urged developed countries to prioritize desertification in their aid programmes and to mobilize the necessary resources.
The WORLD BANK called for mainstreaming environmental concerns in poverty reduction strategies in the Bank’s lending and non-lending strategies, and said it is putting special emphasis on building partnerships with civil society, the private sector, bilateral and multilateral organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders. The CONVENTION ON MIGRATORY SPECIES noted a convergence of objectives with the CCD and plans to develop a memorandum of understanding and a joint work programme. PERMANENT INTERSTATE COMMITTEE FOR DROUGHT CONTROL IN THE SAHEL (CILSS) noted ongoing work in its region to combat desertification through a SRAP and NAPs, and supported a CCD subsidiary body on implementation. The ARAB MAGHREB UNION urged international organizations to strengthen coordination to assist affected countries in implementing the Convention. An NGO representative called on Parties to consider civil society as a partner in CCD implementation.
Since Saturday, the contact group on the committee for the review of implementation (CRIC) has met three times to negotiate the Chair’s proposed and revised draft decision on the establishment of a CRIC. The text, compiled from regional positions submitted Friday and revised following informal consultation on Saturday: decides to establish a provisional CRIC as a subsidiary body of the COP and to adopt the CRIC’s terms of reference (TOR) that are to be reviewed at COP-7; requests the Secretariat to compile, synthesize and analyze, along thematic priorities, the regional reports submitted by Parties from regional meetings held in Africa and to facilitate the preparation of regional inputs from the review process; and invites financial contributions for regional meetings for the regional assessment process. The CRIC’s TOR covering mandate and functions, composition, frequency of meetings and organization of work, nature of the review process and methodology, outcome, and transparency of work are annexed to the decision.
Negotiations have so far only dealt with the draft decision and the TOR’s mandate and functions, and have focused on whether: the CRIC will be a provisional or permanent body; COP-7 will be reviewing the CRIC or its TOR; the review will also include that of the CST, the GM and CCD Secretariat; and the review of financial resources will emphasize giving priority to Africa. Consensus was reached to add provisions on technology transfer and on the assessment of the GM’s efficiency in channeling resources for CCD implementation.
The working group on programme and budget continued its deliberations on the CCD’s core budget on Tuesday, but little progress has been made as proposed budget increases range from 0% to 20%.
IN THE CORRIDORS
A document prepared for the upcoming Meeting on the Third Replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, “CEO’s Initial Note on Structures, Processes and Procedures of the GEF,” caused a stir in the corridors on Tuesday. The document suggests making the GEF an “independent legal personality.” As some participants became aware of the proposal, a number expressed skepticism that it could be endorsed by the GEF Council, noting that separation from the World Bank would necessitate the establishment of a headquarters and additional resources, which could be difficult to realize. Some participants were concerned that the suggestion comes at a time when wider questions are being raised about international environmental governance due to the proliferation of independent environmental bodies. The GEF meeting will take place in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 11-12 October. The proposal can be found on-line at: http://www.gefweb.org/Replenishment/Reple_Documents/R.3.16_CEONoteonGEFStructureProcesses_Procedures.doc.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
HIGH LEVEL SPECIAL SEGMENT: The Special Segment will resume for its final session from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in Conference Room XVIII to hear 31 general statements on CCD implementation.
PLENARY: The Plenary will meet from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in Conference Room XVIII for the second NGO open dialogue on the inclusion of NGOs within the official COP work programme.