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Intersessional working group for the mid-term evaluation of the Strategy - IWG

 At COP 8 in 2007, the UNCCD Parties adopted a 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention (“The Strategy”). The Strategy contains four strategic and five operational objectives to guide the actions of all UNCCD stakeholders and partners. Parties also decided that an independent mid-term evaluation of The Strategy should be undertaken at COP 11 in 2013. The evaluation would review progress made in implementing The Strategy and make appropriate recommendations on improving performance and furthering implementation.
 
At COP 10 in 2011, Parties adopted the terms of reference for the mid-term evaluation and decided to establish an ad hoc Intersessional Working Group (IWG) to prepare recommendations on the evaluation under the direction of the Bureau of the COP. The IWG consisted of 14 members, comprising the President of the COP, the Chairperson of the CRIC, the Chairperson of the CST, two members from each of the five regional groups, and one representative from civil society organizations accredited to the COP. It met four times: 26–27 March 2012, 31 October–3 November 2012, 22–24 April 2013 and 24–25 June 2013. It completed its report in its last meeting on 25 June, and the report is contained in document ICCD/COP(11)/21.  

The findings and recommendations of the IWG

The overall finding of the IWG was that there has been some progress towards achieving the objectives contained in The Strategy, but less than what was hoped. Many improvements were considered to be needed if The Strategy is to be implemented successfully. The IWG noted that the objectives of The Strategy remain relevant and continue to be consistent with Parties’ needs, priorities and policies, although the operational objectives could be updated to reflect recent developments and address problems observed in the evaluation. The group further noted that progress is being made towards achieving several of the objectives of The Strategy, but for some of the objectives, there is not sufficient evidence to show the extent of progress made. The increasing global attention to the importance of addressing DLDD issues was considered to indicate that the prospects for accelerating the achievement of the objectives are improving. 
 
In general, the IWG concluded that the adoption of The Strategy has contributed to a more focused, targeted and intense UNCCD process, and it has also led to efforts in the systematic monitoring and assessing of progress made. The IWG further considered that while numerous problems and challenges remain to be addressed, evidence suggests that there is a high likelihood of continued long-term benefits from implementing the Convention by way of The Strategy.
 
The IWG made 37 specific recommendations under the following five themes:
a) Strategic and operational planning and reporting
b) Policy and programme improvements
c) The Committee on Science and Technology
d) The Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention, and
e) Regional coordination mechanisms.  

Mid-term evaluation at COP 11

The IWG report was considered at COP 11, and it was noted that almost all of the 37 recommendations were directly related to other agenda items under the COP, CST or CRIC.  With the aim to facilitate the negotiation process and to ensure coherent and consistent COP decisions, those IWG recommendations that were relevant to other agenda items were transferred to related negotiations and dealt with therein. These recommendations, as adopted/modified in the negotiations, became part of the respective decisions.
 
 Those IWG recommendations that were not directly related to other agenda items formed the basis of a stand-alone decision on the mid-term evaluation. In this decision, COP 11 noted that the Strategy will expire in 2018 and requested the Executive Secretary, in consultation with the COP Bureau, to propose for consideration by COP 12 a process and potential terms of reference for developing a new strategy and plans to further improve the implementation of the Convention. 

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