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​UN Secretary General Designates New Executive Secretary for the UNCCD

Windhoek, Namibia, 18/09/13. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Ms. Monique Barbut as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for a three year-term, taking effect as of 1 October 2013.

Ms. Barbut has been committed to the issues of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought through her previous work as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

During her tenure, the Fourth GEF Assembly amended the GEF Instrument to list UNCCD among the treaties for which the facility acts in the role of financial mechanism. The GEF, as financial mechanism of the UNCCD, directly contributes to the implementation of the Convention, including its Ten-year (2008–2018) Strategic Plan and Framework, adopted by the Conference of Parties during the Eighth Session.

Ms. Barbut attended the first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP1) to the UNCCD as a delegate of the Government of France. She attended COP.9 in Buenos Aires as key note speaker and substantively contributed to its outcome.

Prior to joining the GEF, she served as Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics at the United Nations Environment Programme (2003-2006). From 1996 to 2003, Ms. Barbut held different positions in the Agence Française pour le Développement (AFD) there her work related to the French aid system particularly sustainable project financing activities in the French overseas territories, and activities relating to ex-post evaluation.

At the opening of the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the UNCCD held Monday, a large applause followed the COP10 President’s appreciation of the significant achievements and dedication of the outgoing UNCCD Executive Secretary, Mr. Luc Gnacadja. COP11 is his third and last COP as the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.

In his opening remarks at COP11, he expressed his appreciation to Parties for having granted him the immense privilege to serve this very resourceful Convention. During his tenure, Mr. Gnacadja has brought the Convention into a new dimension through more closely linking science and knowledge to policy development; advancing measurability and monitoring under the UNCCD as well as related capacity building; strengthening advocacy and outreach; and improving the institutional setup of the UNCCD, among others.

Rio+20 Conference constitutes a major milestone for the Convention as World Leaders committed to gear the Planet towards a land-degradation neutral world. This was achieved under Mr. Gnacadja’s tenure.

COP11 is under way in Windhoek, Namibia, and ends on 27 September.
 About UNCCD
Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 195 signatory Parties (194 countries and the European Union), work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity and mitigate the effects of drought.

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For more information contact:
Wagaki Mwangi
UNCCD Press and Media Officer
Cell: +264-811-616 824

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