The eleventh session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) has opened on Monday, 15 April 2013. The CRIC Chair Ms. Mary Rowen (United States of America) has opened the session. Mr. Stefan Schmitz on behalf of the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Mr. Dirk Niebel said that land and soil need to take a center stage in the SDG and post2015 debate and highlighted the need to combat land degradation in the drylands. Mr. Kwang-su Ryu on behalf of the COP10 President Mr. Don Koo Lee said the time has come to commit to a land degradation neutral world.
UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Luc Gnacadja said that the Parties at the CRIC11 will complete the first assessment of implementation of Convention against the strategic and operational objectives. He praised a web-based reporting portal PRAIS and said that the work is ongoing to further improve it. Mr. Gnacadja said that the UNCCD Secretariat continues to advocate for a further involvement and support to the civil society organizations (CSOs) and expressed gratitude to all Parties that provided support during the CRIC 11 preparation.
During the opening session, Hon. Pohamba Shifeta, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Namibia, Minister offered to host the upcoming meeting of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties in September 2013.
In the morning, the plenary considered the report on the implementation of the activities relating to advocacy, awareness raising and education, at a session moderated by a former ABC News journalist, Mr. John McKenzie. Drawing on country experiences, they focused on the lessons learned from both positive and negative experiences, and recommendations for action. The session emphasized the importance of messaging, ensuring that it is timely, relevant, compelling and simple. Some noted the difficulty of the concepts associated with the Convention. Many underscored the importance of targeting primary and secondary education while others questioned the performance indicators on awareness raising. The plenary also considered the importance of targeting policy-making, including Parliamentary committees, the value of working with mainstream, alternative and community media and the need to use episodes of extreme weather to raise awareness.
In the afternoon, the session reviewed challenges and opportunities, stemming from the NAP alignment process and the related capacity-building activities. Several delegates showcased their national experiences in aligning their NAPs to The Strategy. Main challenges identified were the lack of funding to carry out the activities set out in the NAP; lack of capacity in setting up linkages with other sectors such as biodiversity, climate change and forestry; difficult dialogue with other line ministries; and the need to mainstream the NAP into national development frameworks and poverty reduction strategies. It was recommended to capitalize on the synergies with the other Rio Conventions, which are to be fully integrated in any process related to DLDD. It was also recommended to improve the involvement of the private sector.
After the CRIC11 opening session, UNCCD launched Capacity Building Marketplace, an innovative and interactive virtual one-stop shop to build capacity of the stakeholders to implement the Convention. “The global marketplace is the place, where demand and supply of capacity building come together in an easy way enabling the mutually rewarding exchange and interchange,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja during the launch. The virtual market will collect needs identified by Parties and other stakeholders in the UNCCD process and will disseminate available and emerging capacity building opportunities. It will provide a wide range of free services, including securing scholarships, fellowships, volunteerism, e-learning, university courses, and other forms of knowledge sharing. The Capacity Building Marketplace can be accessed at: unccd.int/marketplace
The participants of the side-event, hosted by the Korean Forest Service and the UNCCD, discussed and reviewed the progress of the Changwon Initiative, which was launched at COP10 in 2011. The Changwon Initiative aimed to 1. Enhance the scientific process of the UNCCD; 2. Mobilize additional resources and facilitate partnership agreements; 3. Support a global framework for the provision of best practices on SLM, specifically the Land for Life Award. Parties hailed the initiative as an activity that breathes new life into the implementation of the UNCCD, allocating USD 1.2million to the UNCCD for various activities in its first phase. Some expert speakers emphasized that the initiative’s focus on impact indicators and Zero-net land degradation were the most important aspects of the initiative. Several participants emphasized resource mobilization, especially reaching out to the private sector, as a key component of the initiative that needs additional growth. The Land for Life Award was discussed as an innovative program for recognizing best practices that should be continued.
The draft reports compiled by the UNCCD secretariat from the day’s sessions will be reviewed by a contact group that will meet Tuesday evening from 7:30pm. It will not negotiate the report, but rather review the content for accuracy.
German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) presented the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) project during the side-event in the evening.