The bottom-up approach
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification fosters the creation of an enabling environment that promotes action at the local level, the implementation of a cooperation framework built upon partnership agreements and the promotion of activities integrated into a coherent development strategy with a view to enhancing the involvement of civil society in the intergovernmental and decision-making process.
The Convention breaks enshrines a bottom-up approach to emphasize the importance of full participation, and especially underlines "the important role played by women". It also stresses "the special role of civil society, including the private sector" and gives them an important role in ensuring implementation.
Civil society bodies, including the private sector, are very much key cooperating partners, which have shown commitment to the UNCCD throughout the negotiation process. This exemplary cooperation contributes significantly to the successful implementation of the Convention, in recognising that one of the many strengths of the civil community is that they are the voice and interface of grass roots realities, and that this convention aims at the improvement of the livelihoods for marginalized populations, particularly those communities most threatened by drought and desertification; it is therefore paramount that the contribution that can be facilitated by civil society at large is an integral and substantive part of the official programme of work of the Conference of the Parties.
To date, nearly 200 civil society organisations are accredited with observer status to the Conference of the Parties. The participation of these entities in the implementation of the Convention and their contribution to the various meetings is a necessary component of the successful implementation of the Convention through its Ten Year Strategic Plan.