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High Level Segment and SLM Business Forum Open Simultaneously in Windhoek

​Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia, Marco Hausiku, opened the High-Level Segment of the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) opened this morning, in Windhoek, Namibia.

Delivering the statement the President on behalf of Prime Minister Hahe Geingob, he stressed the significance of COP11, including the responsibility to ensure that comprehensive and concrete steps are taken towards a world without land degradation, enhancing performance in the implementation of the UNCCD strategy over the next five years and leaving behind a legacy that is significant and meaningful in terms of impact, at all levels from the local to the international. He also paid tribute to the work of out-going Executive Secretary Gnacadja and welcomed incoming Executive Secretary, Ms Monique Barbut. 

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UN Secretary General Ban also sent a message. He recalled the commitment of world leaders at Rio+20, who acknowledged the threat of desertification, land degradation and drought in all regions, and especially for developing countries.  “As we define the post-2015 development agenda,” he said, “we need to be able to measure progress towards the commitment to halt and reverse land degradation.”

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Luc Gnacadja, outgoing UNCCD Executive Secretary, said the post-2015 development agenda is a unique opportunity to establish a new paradigm in land stewardship to underpin that bold vision. He encouraged Parties and other stakeholders to build a stronger UNCCD for a land-degradation neutral world because it is crucial for the drylands of today and tomorrow.

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Following the opening session with opening statements delivered by all regional groups, and by a CSO and a youth representative, ministers held two round table sessions of interactive dialogue. The first focused on the role of the UNCCD in achieving a land-degradation neutral world in the context of sustainable development. The second was on overcoming the hurdles of scaling up and disseminating good practices in the context of the UNCCD implementation process.

On the same day, the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Business Forum opened for its two-day meeting, also in Windhoek, which was attended by Mr. Calle Schlettwein, Minister of Trade, Namibia.

Opening the event, Executive Secretary Gnacadja said government should provide the right set of incentives and a fair and appropriate regulatory framework, but businesses should play their part too. 

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“Degraded lands are like to underperforming assets. Managing land and soil sustainably is a matter of resource efficiency which should make sense for business actors,” he added.

Throughout the day, delegates also met in contact groups to finalize negotiations on pending issues, including the COPs role in the translating the vision of a Land-Degradation Neutral World into reality.

Read the Press Release Issued

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