Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the international legally binding agreement, which promotes a global response to desertification, land degradation and drought. Developed as a result of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the UNCCD is a unique instrument that focuses attention on land degradation and the social and economic problems it causes. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.
The Convention’s 194 Parties are working to improve the living conditions in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to actively encouraging the participation of local populations in combating desertification and land degradation. It seeks to facilitate cooperation between the countries of the North and the South, paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries in the areas of technology transfer and knowledge.
Additionally, as the dynamics of land, climate and biodiversity are so intimately connected, the UNCCD works closely with the other two ‘Rio Conventions’, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to meet these complex challenges with an integrated approach and the best possible use of natural resources.