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Posted on on October 12th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Secretary-General Ban Appoints Luc Gnacadja as Executive Secretary of the UNCCD for a Second Term.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has re-appointed Mr Luc Gnacadja (picture attached) as the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification for another three year-term, with effect from 1 October 2010.

“It is indeed a privilege granted to me and a responsibility to further advance our collective endeavors to service the Parties to the UNCCD in speeding up the effective implementation of the ten-year Strategy, “ Mr. Gnacadja responded on learning of his reappointment. “A lot has been achieved but there is a lot more to do in the months and years to come to meet the Strategy’s expected outcomes,” he added.

“Desertification has far-reaching consequences and impacts” Mr. Gnacadja said, stressing that the mainstreaming of desertification and drought issues into the policy framework at all levels is still the major hurdle to the implementation of the UNCCD.

Since the Parties agreed in 2009 on the way to measure the progress in implementation, the next major milestone is to the move towards target setting at all levels that will trigger action, cooperation and effective partnerships to improve the livelihoods of the affected populations and the conditions of their ecosystems, he said. In that regard, Mr. Gnacadja asserted, a comprehensive assessment of the cost of inaction will be crucial.

In his first three-year term, Mr. Gnacadja has already made his mark by steering the secretariat in the implementation of the Convention’s first 10-year Strategy approved by the parties in September 2007. During his tenure, the UNCCD process moved to the “realm of measurability” with the adoption of the performance and impact indicators to assess and monitor the implementation of the Convention. Also, the Global Environment Facility, the largest multilateral environment fund, amended its Charter to include the financing of country activities related to the Convention.

Mr. Gnacadja is credited with increasing global policy attention to the plight of the drylands, the threat desertification poses to global human well-being and the latent potential in the drylands to contribute to global sustainability.

Mr. Gnacadja has kept UNCCD away from some of the stinkiest aspects of the UN – the like of  keeping Israel out of debates when in effect it could be a main contributor to finding solutions to topics on the table. Under Mr. Gnacadja, the UNCCD is involved in the Ben Gurion University Sede Boqer conferences on arid lands, and who knows, someday the Arab kingdoms of deserts might participate as well – this in order to come to a place of learning about issues that can help them in a changing world run by elements of climate change that increases desertification, and calls for enhanced technologies to survive in the new climate.

The Third International Conference on Drylands, Deserts, and Desertification at The Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Sede Boqer, Israel – November 8-11, 2010.These meetings are held every other year.

Mr. Gnacadja was appointed Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the UNCCD in September 2007. An architect by profession and a native of Benin in West Africa, he served as Benin’s Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development from 1999 to 2005 and received the World’ Bank’s “2002 Green Award” in March 2003.

About the UNCCD
Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is
the sole legally biding international agreement linking environment, development and the
promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 194 signatory Parties (193 countries plus the European Union) work to
alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity and mitigate the effects of drought.

For more information, contact:
Wagaki Mwangi
Public Information and Media Officer, UNCCD
Tel: +49 (0) 228 815 2820

Luc Gnacadja in 2009

Luc-Marie Constant Gnacadja is a Beninese politician and an architect. Under President Mathieu Kérékou, he was Minister of the Environment, Housing, and Urban Planning from June 1999 to February 2005.

Gnacadja was the candidate of the Envol movement in the March 2006 presidential election, receiving 11th place and 0.68% of the vote.

Gnacadja was awarded the Green Award 2002 by the World Bank in March 2003.

In September 2007, Gnacadja was appointed as Executive Secretary of the  UNCCD by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, after he was endorsed by the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD. In applying for the position, Gnacadja was said to have been backed by Beninese President Yayi Bon

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