This year’s COP of the UNCCD in Windhoek, Namibia allows showcasing some of the intrinsic interactions of desertification and the scientific insights to debate how these insights can be translated into law and policies. At the same time this proposed workshop intends to highlight how other areas of economic, social and environmental law interact with the desertification regime.
The main objective of the Side Event is to discuss the role of desertification and related science in sustainable development law, i.e. how desertification as a sustainable development challenge is relevant in modern domestic legal systems and international law.
“The Parties shall, according to their respective capabilities, and subject to their respective national legislation and/or policies, protect, promote and use in particular relevant traditional and local technology, knowledge, know-how and practices and, to that end, they undertake to:…
(b) ensure that such technology, knowledge, know-how and practices are adequately protected and that local populations benefit directly, on an equitable basis and as mutually agreed, from any commercial utilization of them or from any technological development derived therefrom;…”
Article 18.2(b), UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, 1994
The UNCCD is a key sustainable development convention. Its aim is to combat desertification and inequity in the world. The Convention is widely ratified but to combat desertification effectively it is necessary to translate scientific insights into concrete legal rules and policies. Sustainable development as a legal concept can provide a useful yardstick for such exercise.
• Especially in developing countries, government officials, businesses, and representatives of the civil society will be directly affected by desertification and how to translate desertification science into laws and policies. However, desertification is not just an issue for environmental law or environmental authorities. The main challenge lies in the interaction of very different areas of law such as agriculture, land and water tenure as well as human rights when combatting desertification.
• Existing approaches to the challenge are not homogenous in terms of sustainability awareness and even after desertification has been introduced as a problem into a legal system; it is often challenging to address the interaction between different areas of law. Often the understanding about which provisions and mechanisms to use is lacking and internal negotiation processes can be challenging.