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Regional meeting for strengthening cooperation in the field of land resources management in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)

15-16 December 2003, Minsk, Belarus

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Региональное совещание по усилению кооперации в области управления земельными ресурсами в Центральной и Восточной Европе в рамках действий по реализации Конвенции ООН по борьбе с опустыниванием состоялось  15-16 декабря в Минске. Я принимал участие в этой встрече в качестве представителя неправительственной организации - Фонда развитие и окружающая среда -базовой организации   Региональной программы LEAD CIS. Фонд и LEAD CIS будут принимать активное участие в реализации ряда решений совещания.
Список участников и отчет о совещании, подготовленные Секретариатом Конвенции прилагаются.

Н.Глазовский
Директор Региональной программы


REPORT

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION
AGENDA ITEM 1 : Election of Chairman and adoption of the agenda
AGENDA ITEM 2: Implementation of the UNCCD at regional level
AGENDA ITEM 3: Regional level: strengthening regional cooperation in CEE in the field of land resources management

a) Scientific cooperation/networking

b) Technology/savoir faire/expertise

c) Training/capacity building

d) Documentation/materials/ publication

AGENDA ITEM 4: Subregional level: Identification of options for sub-regional/transboundary/joint priority activities in the field of land resources management.
AGENDA ITEM 5: Legislative and institutional framework for land resource management in CEE in the context of the UNCCD
AGENDA ITEM 6: Information from international organizations working in CEE on land management
AGENDA ITEM 7: Further steps on a "Road Map"
AGENDA ITEM 8: Inter-regional cooperation
AGENDA ITEM 9: Adoption of conclusion. closure of the meeting
Attachment I
Attachment II
List of Participants

INTRODUCTION

Further to the Workshop for Central and Eastern European focal points on regional cooperation activities within Annex V of the UNCCD held in Geneva, Switzerland, 11 July 2003, the UNCCD Secretariat in cooperation with the Ministry for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus organized from 15-16 December, 2003, in Minsk, Belarus a Regional meeting for strengthening cooperation in the field of land resources management in CEE.

The general objectives of the meeting were to strengthen regional cooperation in the management of land resources and to support the implementation of the UNCCD in the CEE region. The attached background document, which was prepared for the meeting in Minsk, provides information on a history and background related to the activities undertaken at the regional level by the CEE countries in the context of implementing the UNCCD (see attachment I to the report).

The meeting was opened by Mr. V. Podolyako, the first Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus. The welcoming statements were made by Mr. Gregoire de Kalbermatten, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNCCD Secretariat and Mr. Kevin McGrarth, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Belarus.

AGENDA ITEM 1 : Election of Chairman and adoption of the agenda

Mr. V. Savchenko, head of Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus was elected as a chairman of the meeting. The following agenda was adopted:

- Item 1: Election of Chairman and adoption of the agenda

- Item 2: Implementation of the UNCCD at regional level

- Item 3: Regional level: strengthening regional cooperation in CEE in the field of land resources management

- Item 4: Subregional level: Identification of options for sub-regional/transboundary/joint priority activities in the field of land resources management

- Item 5: Legislative and institutional framework for land resource

- management in CEE in the context of UNCCD

- Item 6: Information from organizations working in CEE on land management

- Item 7: Further steps on a "road map"

- Item 8: Interregional level: Information on possible interregional cooperation

- Item 9: Adoption of conclusion. Closure of the meeting

The meeting was attended by representatives of 14 country Parties to the UNCCD (Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Russian Federation and Ukraine), two observers (Estonia and Serbia and Montenegro) from the CEE region and representatives of the UNDP office in Belarus, the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States of the UNDP (UNDP/RBEC), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Mechanism (GM) of the UNCCD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Belarus and Russian Federation also participated in the meeting.

AGENDA ITEM 2: Implementation of the UNCCD at regional level

Presentations on the regional approach to cooperation under the provisions of the Convention and panorama of regional cooperation under the UNCCD annexes, including the Annex V were made by representatives of the UNCCD Secretariat.

AGENDA ITEM 3: Regional level: strengthening regional Cooperation in CEE in the field of land resources management

A representative of the UNCCD Secretariat made a general introduction on regional cooperation between the CEE countries. The process of launching this cooperation is described in the attached background document, Part II-"History and background". Tools for regional cooperation, i.e. "Activity Master" and "Regional cooperation kits", prepared by the UNCCD Secretariat, were presented. For details on these tools see the attached background document, Part III- "First preparatory phase: establishment of tools for regional cooperation in CEE".

In addition to these tools, the UNCCD Secretariat presented to the participants the results of the second preparatory phase (see the attached background document, Part IV- "Second preparatory phase: selection of areas for regional cooperation in CEE (November 2003)") for regional cooperation, i.e. in the field of scientific cooperation/networking, technology/savoir faire/expertise, training/capacity building and on documentation/publications/materials. On the basis of additional detailed information provided by the CEE countries, these results were compiled in a form of consolidated lists/tables of selected areas, which were distributed to the participants.

a) Scientific cooperation/networking

Consolidated list of selected thematic areas for scientific cooperation/networking was discussed. During the meeting these areas were prioritized by the focal points (see the attached conclusions of the meeting, Part I (a)). Country representatives introduced their respective institutions, which they proposed as host institutions for the three first selected priority areas. In order to assist them, the UNCCD Secretariat prepared and distributed a proposal on the draft terms of reference for a host institution for scientific cooperation/networking on priority thematic area in CEE. A representative of the UNCCD specified the role of a host institution. After informal consultations two host institutes from Romania and Belarus were identified. One Russian institute was also proposed to serve as a host institution. The UNCCD Secretariat was requested to prepare a concept note on methodology for establishment and functioning of a regional thematic network. For decision on scientific cooperation/networking see attached conclusions of the meeting, Part I (a).

b) Technology/savoir faire/expertise

Consolidated list of selected thematic areas for cooperation on technology/savoir faire/expertise, compiled by the UNCCD Secretariat was also discussed and these areas were considered as priority areas (see Table I of the attached conclusions of the meeting). The UNCCD Secretariat invited interested countries to provide it with more detailed information on technology and expertise available to be used at a regional level. Following discussion a decision on this issue was adopted (see the attached conclusions of the meeting, Part I (b)).

c) Training/capacity building

Consolidated list of selected thematic areas for cooperation on training/capacity building compiled by the UNCCD Secretariat was presented and discussed and these areas were considered as priority areas (see Table II of the attached conclusions). Several proposals on organizing training were made. The interested countries were invited to prepare and submit to the UNCCD Secretariat draft project proposals on organizing training on regional/sub-regional level in relevant areas. For decision on this issue see the attached conclusions of the meeting, Part I (a) and (c).

d) Documentation/materials/ publication

Information on received proposals for establishment of reference centers (RC) for documentation/ materials/ publication in CEE region was presented by the UNCCD Secretariat. A proposal on draft terms of reference (TOR) for a RC in selected thematic areas for CEE, as prepared by the UNCCD Secretariat, was distributed for consideration. Representatives of different countries described their possibilities to provide reference centers in specific areas. More information was needed to select priority areas and corresponding RCs. For a decision on this issue see the attached conclusions of the meeting, Part I (d).

Agenda item 4: Subregional level: Identification of options for sub-regional/transboundary/joint priority activities in the field of land resources management.

Three Working groups (WG-I on transboundary cooperation, WG-II on subregional cooperation in the Balkans and WG-III on subregional cooperation in Transcaucasus) were established to discuss relevant cooperation activities. The results of discussions within the Working groups were presented to the Plenary. For relevant decisions see the attached conclusions of the meeting, Part II.

AGENDA ITEM 5: LEGISLATIVE AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR LAND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN CEE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE UNCCD

A representative of the UNCCD Secretariat introduced the item by recalling recommendations of the CRIC-1 on institutional and legislative issues. Presentation on legislative and institutional framework for land resource management in Belarus was made by representative of Belarus. The national focal points were invited to share their views on possible approaches to strengthening regional cooperation on legislative and institutional issues.

During the discussion references were made to concrete major problems in implementing environmental legislation in CEE, i.e. a lack of capacities and of funds. The UNCCD Secretariat was requested to organize training on capacity building and a seminar on unification of environmental legislation. Representatives of Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic offered to support regional activities in legal and institutional issues through organizing training programmes. For relevant decision see the attached conclusions, Part I (e).

AGENDA ITEM 6: INFORMATION FROM INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS WORKING IN CEE ON LAND MANAGEMENT

Presentations were made by representatives of: the UNDP/RBEC on the UNDP activities in the CEE region; the FAO on its priorities for strengthening cooperation in land resource management in CEE; the EBRD on the priorities and eligibility of funding of projects related to land resource management. The representative of the GM made an overview of activities of the GM in mobilizing resources and building partnership. The need for broadening the funding base for UNCCD actions was underlined. Decision on this issue is contained the attached conclusions of the meeting, in Part IV.

Agenda item 7: FURTHER STEPS ON A "ROAD MAP"

The participants shared their views on further steps aimed to continue the identification of the elements of a Regional Action Programme (RAP). They invited the UNCCD Secretariat to pursue its assistance to the Annex V countries in following up on the forthcoming steps of the RAP preparation.

AGENDA ITEM 8: INTER-REGIONAL COOPERATION

The participants were provided with information on the work undertaken by the UNCCD Secretariat on building up a interregional cooperation with participation of the states of Central Asia as a follow-up to international conference held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1977. A request was addressed to the UNCCD Secretariat to reanimate the activities on developing interregional cooperation with participation of Central Asian states. A representative of the UNCCD Secretariat provided information on the activities of the Annex IV countries and potentiality for interregional cooperation between Annexes IV and V.

AGENDA ITEM 9: ADOPTION OF CONCLUSION. CLOSURE OF THE MEETING

At its final plenary meeting held on 16 December 2003 the meeting adopted conclusions as contained in attachment II. The meeting was declared closed.

Attachments to the report

I. Background document on regional cooperation between the Central and Eastern European countries in the context of the UNCCD

II. Conclusions of the meeting