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Call for CSO representative to the SPI


The Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is herewith inviting accredited Civil Society Organizations to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to nominate their representative for a position of observer within the Science–Policy Interface (SPI).

In accordance with decision 23/COP.11, paragraph 1, the COP decided to establish the SPI to facilitate a two-way science–policy dialogue and ensure delivery of policy-relevant information, knowledge and advice on desertification/land degradation and drought (DLDD).
According to its mandate, the SPI it is expected to:
• Deliver tasks assigned to SPI by the Committee on Science and Technology (CST);
• Analyze, synthesize and translate relevant scientific findings and recommendations from DLDD-related scientific conferences, including upcoming UNCCD scientific conferences, the roster of independent experts, as well as from relevant stakeholders and networks into proposals to be considered by the CST for the consideration of the COP;
• Interact with existing scientific mechanisms, in particular the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils and other new and existing scientific networks and platforms; and
• Assist the Bureau of the CST in organizing the UNCCD scientific conferences and assessing their results.
The SPI intends to transform scientific advice into a policy-relevant format before it enters the negotiation process of the COP. The SPI will operate up to the end of the thirteenth session of the COP, at which time it will be reviewed. The terms of reference of the SPI as adopted by the Bureau of the CST are available here

Civil society has proved to be of an outstanding value in the science-policy interface processes as providers of practical experience and articulators of needs of local communities affected by land desertification and degradation. Respecting the significance of such contribution and recognizing the demand to increase participation of CSOs in the UNCCD processes, the SPI shall include one selected CSO representative to participate at the respective body as an observer.


It is expected that the CSO observer will participate in all SPI meetings and have access to materials related to the work of SPI. He or she will be able to contribute to the SPI sessions, represent the views and needs of the civil society, and propose recommendations. The CSO observer will not, however, be able to vote on the decisions of the SPI.
Besides its regular engagement/interaction with CSO Panel, the CSO observer will  consult with the CSOs and provide them reports on the progress and work of the SPI. 


The following criteria will be taken into account in selecting the CSO observer to the SPI:
• Proven track record working with the civil society sector;
• Proven commitment in combating land degradation and desertification ;
• Experience in environmental issues with emphasis on land degradation and drought issues from both scientific and policy side, and interest representation;
• Experience in providing advisory assistance to different stakeholder groups in the communication of multidisciplinary and other knowledge;
• Ability to communicate, promote and incorporate science into policy development processes and in synthesizing information for non-specialists; 
• CSO should be member of a reputable international NGOs/CSOs network related to environment and sustainable development
• Experience in international negotiations would be considered an asset;
• Proficient in English language;
• Computer literate and able to use online communication tools required to ensure participation in SPI activities conducted electronically.



Candidates fulfilling the competence requirements listed below are invited to apply for membership to the SPI by submitting their application electronically to the UNCCD Secretariat.


The application will consist the following:
• Completed SPI CSO Observer Application Form,
• Curriculum Vitae (four pages maximum);
• Cover letter describing their expected contribution to UNCCD goals and SPI processes;
• Letter of support by the accredited CSO to which the candidate is affiliated;
• Description of the organization’s mandate, scope and governing structure with reference to documentation available on its website;
• Any other information outlining how the organization is fulfilling the criteria mentioned below.
All requested documents should be written in English, and submitted in PDF or Word format to the UNCCD secretariat CSO Liaison Officer at by the requested deadline.  Incomplete applications or applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered for the selection process.



The applications submitted in response to this call will be reviewed by the CSO Panel taking into account the requirements and criteria for selection. The finalists selected by the CSO Panel will be presented to the community of accredited CSOs through existing social communication platform (Google groups) and other means of communication. The SPI CSO observer will be selected from the proposed finalists through an election process among the accredited CSOs. 


The call for application opens on March 14th, 2014 and will end on April 4th, 2014 at 24:00 CET.


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