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168 Countries Affected by Desertification, Country Reports Show

14/04/2013 - (Bonn, Germany) Desertification, the degradation of the land in the world’s dryland areas, now affects 168 countries that are Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the latest reports submitted by the Parties show. This is much higher than previous estimations of 110 countries. 

Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD made the revelation today during the opening of the eleventh session of the Convention’s subsidiary body that reviews progress in the Convention’s implementation – the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC). CRIC 11 is meeting from 15-19 April in Bonn, Germany.
“We are at the half-way point of implementing the 10-year strategy for 2008-2018. Preliminary results from the latest reporting shows that some of the targets have been met, but the policy-related targets are far from being achieved,” Gnacadja said.
 “This interssessional meeting of the CRIC is vitally important. It gives Parties and observers a chance to discuss and learn from each other about what works and what needs more work in terms of addressing drought and land degradation in drylands,” said Mary Rowen, Chair of CRIC 11.
 “We are at a point where we are examining our impact indicators and are also looking at progress on some of our process indicators. We are looking forward to a robust and lively exchange of views on implementation of the first four operational objectives of the 10-year strategy,” she added.
These first four operational objectives are advocacy, awareness raising and education, the alignment of national policy frameworks with the 10- Year Strategy, science, technology and knowledge, and, lastly, capacity building.
 “We will also be discussing investments at the country implementation level and look forward to gaining a better understanding of national and multi-national financial flows. In addition, we will discuss how best to engage the private sector as we move forward,” she said.
 In 2007, Parties to the Convention adopted the 10-Year strategy and framework for the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018) to streamline their work. They also agreed to apply the Results Based Management (RBM) approach to measure and assess progress.
 The approach obliges all stakeholders, from the secretariat, Parties to civil society organizations, to report their achievements every two years using qualitative and quantitative data built on a standardized template for a better assessment of what progress is made overall.
In 2009, Parties also agreed to use the indicators on poverty and land cover to assess the impact of their sustainable land management activities on affected populations and ecosystems. The most recent reports are the first to contain this data.
In the first reporting cycle, 2010-2011, 112 countries submitted the reports by the deadline. In the 2012-2013 cycle, a total of 80 reports were submitted by Parties.
“This is the second reporting cycle using performance indicators. With these reports we can now carry out a trend analysis that tells us how we are doing,” Gnacadja said.
“This is also the first time that Parties have provided data on the impact of their activities on poverty and change in the land cover in the areas affected by desertification. Less than half of the Parties submitted this information by the deadline for submission, but it is still a good start. It provides a baseline from which to assess improvements” he said.
CRIC11 Chair Rowen said the session “will strive to encourage exchange of information and ideas among participants so that at the forthcoming Conference of the Parties to be convened later this year, Parties can take decisions based on the information gained that will support measures to enhance the implementation at national, sub-regional and regional level in line with the Convention's strategic framework.”
 CRIC 11 will end Friday, 19 April, with recommendations for action by the Conference of the Parties.
During the opening session, Hon. Pohamba Shifeta, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Namibia, made the offer to host the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties in September 2013.
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For more information contact:
Wagaki Mwangi, UNCCD Press and Media Officer,, +49-228 8152820, +49-(0)-173-2687593 (cell).



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