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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 17th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 DLDD = Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought.

The high-level policy dialogue (the “Dialogue”) on the theme “Coping with today’s global challenges in the context of the Strategy of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification” (UNCCD), took place on Tuesday, 27 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany. The Dialogue was intended to facilitate a targeted exchange from a number of stakeholders on the ten-year strategic plan (“the Strategy”) and to foster awareness of and buy-in among relevant policy and decision makers. There were over 120 participants, including ambassadors, ministers, country representatives, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector. The Dialogue consisted of three segments, each of which comprised presentations and discussion among participants.

Above as reported by IISD from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) –                               UNCCD HIGH-LEVEL POLICY DIALOGUE in Linkages:   www.iisd.ca/vol04/enb04208e.html

Now We have a new PRESS RELEASE FROM A UNCCD Conference:
UN Desertification conference, Istanbul: “Without proper action, both in developing and developed countries, some 50 million people could be displaced by desertification and land degradation within the next ten years,” warns the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.

Istanbul, Turkey, 14 November 2008 - A major United Nations conference ended today with significant steps taken to combat desertification and land degradation as well as to mitigate the effects of drought, known as DLDD. Delegates from the 193 countries who are the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) took significant actions to resolve   difficult scientific problems within the Convention process. By drawing in the scientific and technological community more intensively to create indicators that can be used at national levels and beyond, the Convention will win more confidence of the stakeholders. In addition, the reporting process from the Parties is to be mainstreamed so that both affected countries and development partners can see where the Convention reaps large benefits and retain them, while eliminating less effective ones.

“The delegates here in Istanbul took a big stride to guide the next year’s ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) [the decision making body of the Convention]. We are all on the same page. But it has to be remembered that without proper action by stakeholders, both in developing and developed countries, some 50 million people could be displaced by desertification and land degradation within the next ten years,” said Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.

The Seventh Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 7) and the first special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST-S1) were held in Istanbul from 3 to 14 November.

At the first special session of the Committee for Science and Technology (CST-S1), the scientific advisory body of the Convention, delegates confirmed that promoting the participation of the national science and technology correspondents (STC) in the activities of the committee would enhance its work. The Committee, in consultation with STCs, is now moving forward to select a minimum set of indicators to measure the impact of the implementation of the Convention.

Mr. Gnacadja said that these indicators would be applicable to all countries so that a common standard can make analysis at the national, sub-regional, regional, and the global level feasible. It will also increase the effectiveness of the implementation of the Convention. The set of indicators will be finalized during regional scientific meetings next year towards the submission to COP9.

The ninth session of the CST (CST9) scientific conference will be held next year to ensure peer scientific review with which a Scientific Policy Dialogue is planned.

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At the seventh session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 7), which followed the CST-S1, the delegates agreed on reporting principles which measures the Convention’s implementation progress. Through the reporting process, affected countries and development partners would understand “what works, what doesn’t” in implementing the Convention. Assessment of national capacity to implement the Convention will be conducted in all regions in order to design a comprehensive capacity building approach.

The new reporting format will provide opportunities for affected country Parties to address their success and constraints in implementing the Convention in its 10-year strategic plan. For developed country Parties, future reporting should focus on providing information about how the Convention has been mainstreamed into their development cooperation strategies.

Another significant step was the concrete proposal to strengthen the involvement of integration civil society organizations in the review process.

“Recommendations made at the conference have several significant implications. First, the reporting guidelines will increase credibility of the Convention. Secondly, by Parties agreeing to the establishment of the workprogramme, taking a result-based management approach, the Convention will increase accountability. Further, the cooperation among the Convention institutions will increase efficiency of the implementation process of the Convention.” commented Mr. Gnacadja.   “This is a certain step-forward for making the Convention a systemic and worldwide response to global environmental issues affecting land and its ecosystems.”
The 10-year strategic plan, adopted at the eighth Conference of the Parties (COP8) in Madrid last year, is the response of the member Parties to change in the Convention’s environment. In response to the change, there is a need to restructure the UNCCD institutions for their institutional coherence; to strengthen the Committee on Science and Technology (CST); and to improve the review process of the implementation of the Convention with new and standardized reporting guidelines. Mr. Gnacadja hopes that, by taking these actions, Parties could agree and monitor qualitative and quantitative targets to be achieved towards the goals set out in the 10-year strategic plan. “Setting, achieving and monitoring targets on land improvement with incentive mechanisms could redefine the concept and the content of international development cooperation,” Mr. Gnacadja said, “that could be achieved from strong partnerships of all the stakeholders involved.”

The new recommendations would entail a wider use of the information generated by countries and would achieve a higher level of accountability as desired by the Parties, according to the UNCCD Executive Secretary. These will be addressed at the next Conference of the Parties in autumn 2009.

“The pieces have fallen together here in Istanbul to fight DLDD. Now is the time to act,” concluded Mr. Gnacadja.

Media interested in more information about the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification can call Marcos Montoiro at +49-228-815-2806 or send an e-mail to  press at unccd.int

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Developed as a result of the Rio Summit, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that has brought attention to land degradation to some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and people in the world. Twelve years after coming into force, the UNCCD benefits from the largest membership of the three Rio Conventions and is increasingly recognized as an instrument that can make an important contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty reduction.

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