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The permanent secretariat of the Convention was established in Article 23 of the UNCCD. It has been located in Bonn, Germany since January 1999, and moved from its first Bonn address in Haus Carstanjen to the new UN campus in July 2006.
In line with Article 23 of the UNCCD, the key function of the secretariat is to service the sessions of the COP and its subsidiary bodies. This includes a multitude of tasks, ranging from the preparation of substantive documentation to logistical arrangements for the sessions.
The ten-year Strategy specifies the mandate of the secretariat for the period 2008-2018. According to The Strategy, ..." Successful implementation of this strategic plan requires a strengthening of the core servicing, advocacy and agenda-setting and representation functions of the UNCCD secretariat – with commensurate capacity and resources – in order to support Parties, the COP and the subsidiary bodies of the Convention in fulfilling their respective roles. The secretariat has a lead role for operational objective 1 [on advocacy, awareness raising and education] and specific outcomes of operational objectives 2 and 3 [on policy framework and science, technology and knowledge, respectively] as well as a support role in other operational objectives [on capacity building and financing and technology transfer]...".

Current priorities of the secretariat

The current results-based framework for the secretariat is presented in its 2012–2015 workplan.  The overall aim of the secretariat remains to service the COP and its subsidiary bodies in a manner that enables well-founded decision-making and successful action in advancing the implementation of The Strategy. Particular attention is paid to

(a) Increasing the political momentum: Active promotion of the UNCCD, notably by linking scientific findings with political decision-making, will  support growing global commitment to sustainable land management.   

(b) Moving towards global target-setting: 2012 national reporting on progress made in meeting the ten-year strategy will lead to the first systematic impact assessment under the UNCCD. Follow up to this assessment and further development of the reporting tools represent opportunities to introduce specific targets for the achievement of concrete results in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought.

(c) Improving conditions for national implementation: Regional cooperation and coordination, efficient information exchange and targeted capacity-building are critical for national success in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought.

In order to efficiently carry out its tasks, the secretariat will improve its knowledge-management functions and place particular emphasis on building and strengthening partnerships with programmes and institutions that have proven capacities to contribute to different aspects of The Strategy. ​

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