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Regional activities (decision 12/17)

89. The Committee approved a draft decision on the programme of action on the African environment and the African subregional environmental groups submitted by the African Group. A representative of the secretariat said that the decision had no financial implications.

90. The Committee approved a draft decision on the strengthening of the Regional Office for Africa submitted by the African Group.

91. The representative of Morocco emphasized the need for subregional offices to bring UNEP closer to individual countries and foster co-operation, notably through the clearing-house and suggested that a pilot subregional office should be set up as a first step. In that context he drew attention to his Government's offer to provide facilities for the establishment of a subregional office for North Africa.

92. The representative of the Ivory Coast said his delegation had accepted the draft decision in the interests of consensus. However, it wished to place on record its formal disagreement with the reference to the establishment of subregional focal points, since the draft text on the subject prepared by an expert group meeting had not yet been submitted to Governments for approval. That should be done at the forthcoming African environmental conference. On the other hand, the Ivory Coast attached high priority to the establishment of subregional offices.

93. The Assistant Executive Director said that subregional offices had not been budgeted for, and would cost between $60,000 and $100,000 each. UNEP would require a clear mandate before any action to establish them could be considered.

94. The Committee also approved a draft decision on regional activities in Asia and the Pacific submitted by the Asian Group.

95. The Assistant Executive Director said that the secretariat could not increase the allocation of funds to one budget line unless it had precise indications as to the size of the increase and which programme or programmes should receive reduced allocations to offset it.

96. Finally, the committee approved a draft decision on regional and subregional programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean submitted by the Latin American Group.

97. Two delegations expressed the view that there should be no restriction on the currencies to be used for additional support.

98. The Assistant Executive Director said that the financial implications of implementing paragraph 6 would be $300,000 for subparagraph (a), $90,000 for subparagraph (b) and $110,000 for subparagraph (c).

99. In plenary, the draft decision was adopted by consensus. The Council confirmed the Executive Director's understanding that the qualification "within available resources" applied to the whole of paragraph 1 in decision 12/17 c

100. Concerning paragraph 5 of decision 12/17 D, the Executive Director pointed out that a group of high-level financial experts had already prepared for the General Assembly a comprehensive report on financing within the framework of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification. Accordingly, he proposed to comply with the request made to him by updating the existing repay proposal.