Table of contents
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
- 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
- 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
- Item 7: Further steps on a "road map"
- Item 8: Interregional level: Information on possible interregional
- 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
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
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
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:
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
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