UN desertification summit dries up over cash

14th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 September 2007, MADRID - (AFP) - Despite agreeing that climate change and desert spread must be tackled together, a UN conference on desertification threatened to end without a concrete outcome on Friday as participants struggled to agree on funding, a spokeswoman said.

14 September 2007

MADRID - (AFP) - Despite agreeing that climate change and desert spread must be tackled together, a UN conference on desertification threatened to end without a concrete outcome on Friday as participants struggled to agree on funding, a spokeswoman said.

"It's still very undecided. It's not clear at this stage. It's all a question of money," the spokeswoman told AFP at the Madrid conference.

"It seems to be in terms of implementation of the ten-year plan. The budget contact group is looking at how the discussions are going about the ten-year strategy and the group on ten-year strategy is looking at the budget group," she added.

The spokeswoman said there were no plans for a final press conference, but the participants would release a short press release.

Participating nations in the Spanish capital were hoping to lay out a clear ten-year action plan to follow on from a 1994 UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCDD) which 191 nations signed in Paris, and provide some financial backing.

Spanish Environment Minister Cristina Narbona told Cadena Ser radio she was optimistic to the extent that "in all probability a strategic plan will be approved with concrete action to reduce global desertification."

On Wednesday, leading participants had urged action to combat desertification and climate change which are "very intimately related" according to Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

He added that "the application and concrete realisation of policies" is in short supply.

A representative of ecological organisation Greenpeace, an observer to the conference, told AFP Thursday it believed the conference was being treated as a "poor relation" compared with similar meetings on climate change and biodiversity.

Environmental experts say up to a third of the world's population is threatened by desertification, which has already affected some 200 million people.

[Copyright AFP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news 

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