The first meeting of the UNCCD’s Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on the follow up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”) took place in Brussels, Belgium on 10-11 February 2014. After the welcome by the host, the European Commission (EC), the EC DG Environment Director General Karl Falkenburg and UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut gave their opening remarks. This was followed by a presentation of the UNCCD secretariat to provide background information on the concept of land degradation neutrality for the participants.
for the meeting was adopted and the discussion moved to the substantive issues of the IWG, notably the first two of the three main tasks of the IWG as set out in paragraph 1 of decision 8/COP11.
Breakout groups were utilized to enrich the plenary discussion and initiate the development of working documents to inform the work of the two task forces established: task force 1 to address the definition of land degradation neutrality (LDN) will consist of Russia (coordinator), Mexico, Iran, Bosnia, Swaziland, and Lebanon; task force 2 to outline the options for achieving LDN will consist of China (coordinator), Cuba, Georgia, Samoa, Italy, Colombia and Iceland.
The first IWG meeting concluded with the adoption of the final revised Terms of Reference and Programme of Work
which outline its modalities of work, including the participation of observers. The UNCCD secretariat will continue to explore options for the funding and hosting of the next IWG meeting tentatively scheduled for July 2014.