General concern was expressed on the increasing deterioration of the global environment, as regards global warming, ozone layer depletion, desertification, fresh water depletion, biodiversity loss and deforestation. On the other hand, a growing confidence on the benefits of the newly established international instruments was recorded.
1. The entry into force of the Conventions on Climate Change and Biodiversity will provide new impetus to the programmes of mitigation of the greenhouse gas emissions and spur the international community to counter the alarming loss of the Earth's genetic patrimony. With respect to the Climate Convention, a converging view emerged on the potential of joint-implementation schemes for transferring energy-saving technologies to non-OECD countries; however, joint implementation should be used as a mechanism for further reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, not as a resort to help stabilize emissions by the year 2000 at their 1990 levels.
2. The negotiating process for a Convention to fight the scourge of desertification in the most threatened areas of the Earth (such as Africa, including the Mediterranean Southern rim) must be accelerated. Financing the implementation of the future Convention is a matter of concern; also GEF's funds might be used, so long as projects show a clear link with the protection of one of the global commons already covered by the GEF.
3. The lack of binding instrument for the conservation and good management of the world forests was deplored. The establishment of an intergovernmental Task Force on Forests, to include both boreal and tropical forests, is a first and urgent step for further negotiations aimed at a Global Forestry Convention: a broad support emerged on this Malaysian-Canadian initiative which has the merit among others, to take into full account the sovereignty rights of the holding countries.
4. The increasing depletion of freshwater resources, especially in areas of the world where water problems can lead to regional tensions, must be tackled through greater international and sub-regional cooperation.
5. Putting science and technology at the service of global environment is a common priority, to be pursued through the strengthening of the technological cooperation. Developed as well as developing countries should encourage the launching of well-defined programmes of technology partnership. In this context, more permanent and stable support for existing multilateral research initiatives is necessary.
6. The role of the Global Environment Facility is essential to the sustainable management of the global commons . The success of the ongoing negotiation on the GEF restructuring and replenishment is crucial to this aim.
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