UN Conference on Desertification Concludes With Success
Bonn, Germany, 19/04/13 – A major conference of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), convened onto assess progress in the implementation of the Convention’s 10-Year Strategy and to find ways to enable affected countries to better address desertification and drought, concluded today with success.
The eleventh session of the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention (CRIC11), one of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies, took place from 15-19 April in Bonn, Germany.
“This has been a very constructive discussion, where we’ve looked at what really works and where the roadblocks are. We have heard clearly from the Parties that there are too many indicators and some of them need to be revised,” Chair of CRIC 11 Mary Rowen said.
“As someone, who has been involved with this Convention since 1998, I see great progress in making our efforts sustainable economically, ecologically and socially.”
“The latest reporting has showed that 168 countries have declared themselves affected by desertification, whereas in the 1990s the number was 110 countries. This means that either desertification is spreading or our understanding of being affected has increased,” UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said.
Mr. Gnacadja highlighted the key achievements by the Parties, noting they have already met the overall target in awareness raising and there is a very positive trend in the number of countries that have established their financing strategies.
One of the remaining challenges, he said, is translating the increased awareness into national polices through the alignment of national action programmes with The Strategy.
“There has been an interactive and theme and action-oriented exchange of experiences and we can expect the impact in the years to come. We look forward to seeing how the Conference of Parties in Namibia in mid-September will take all the discussions into consideration and make informed decisions,” Gnacadja said.
CRIC11 reviewed the first four operational objectives, of The Strategy, namely, advocacy, awareness raising and education; the alignment of national policy frameworks with the 10- Year Strategy; science, technology and knowledge; and capacity building.
It also reviewed investments at country-level and ways to engage with the private sector and civil society organizations.
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, to Parties and 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 2012 reports reviewed at CRIC11 are the first to contain this data.
CRIC11 Chair Rowen stated that the Committee on Science and Technology will provide guidance on the recommendations to the Parties with regard to the impact indicators and the challenges faced by affected countries in their implementation.
The final report from CRIC11 with recommendations will be transferred for consideration and decision to the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), which will take place in Windhoek, Namibia, from 16 to 27 September 2013.
The announcement of hosting the COP was made at the conference by Deputy Minister for Environment and Tourism of Namibia, Mr. Pohamba Shifeta, at the opening of the CRIC11.
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