Central and Eastern Europe included in global anti-desertification work

An international meeting on the threats posed by the growth of the world's deserts has resulted in a decision to encourage Central and Eastern European countries to join in anti-desertification efforts.

Delegates at the third meeting of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) have adopted a draft decision to create a new regional implementation annex for Central and Eastern Europe. The African Group, represented by Benin, has urged Central and East European countries to accede in large numbers to the convention in order to strengthen the international efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought.

Australia is close to ratifying CCD and has expressed interest in becoming actively involved, possibly hosting a future international meeting of the Convention.

CCD delegates meeting in Recife, Brazil (see related story) have been seeking ways to increase funding for anti-desertification work and to link such work with other international environmental conventions, including the Kyoto Protocol. Budget negotiations have been slow, with many delegates from countries that have developed national anti-desertification plans frustrated by a seeming unwillingness to link funding to countries’ readiness to implement relevant projects.

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