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Panel session 1

How the synergetic implementation of the CBD and UNCCD fosters action at the country level?

Ms. Yukiko Omura 

Dr. Spencer Thomas, Ambassador and Special Envoy of Multilateral-Environmental Agreements of Grenada, moderated this panel session. Dr. Thomas explained that synergy was the focus of the session, and then introduced the panelists: Mr. Gnacadja and Mr. Djoghlaf, representing the UNCCD and CBD respectively, Ms. Yukiko Omura, Vice President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mr. Sem Shikongo, Director Tourism, Directorate of Tourism, Namibia, representing his Permanent Secretary, and Ms. Hanna Hoffman, representing Ms. Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Dr. Thomas  

Framing the discussion, Dr. Thomas posed: what are the issues and activities that need to be pursued at the nexus among UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD at the international policy level and the national policy and operational level?

Ms. Hoffman 

Ms. Hoffman highlighted the participation of the UNFCCC in the Joint Liaison Group (JLG). The JLG brings together the secretariats of the three Rio Conventions and to explore opportunities for collaborative activities and increasing coordination. She also drew attention to the UNFCCC’s contributions to the UN system-wide initiative on land and outlined potential areas for collaboration at the national level.

Mr. Shikongo

 Mr. Shikongo’s presentation drew on a country perspective and experience in implementing the three Conventions. He highlighted some of the overlaps in the drivers of biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change. He observed that each of the Convention’s has a predominant focus UNFCCC on the global, CBD on the national and CCD on the local which he contrasted with the integrated approach with which communities approach environmental and natural resource management.

Mr. Gnacadja described the institutional overlaps between the designated CBD and UNCCD focal points, and also reported that in several countries, the ministries responsible for implementing the CBD and UNCCD are the same. He said achieving synergy required overcoming a particular mindset.

Mr. Djoghlaf drew attention to two recent CBD reports that showed the importance of synergy among the three sister Rio Conventions. Stressing the importance of the JLG, he said national-level JLG’s are needed because it is the level at which implementation takes place. He used examples of activities funded under the Global Environment Facility’s small grants programme in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique to demonstrate the benefits of synergy.

Among the issues raised by participants are: proposals for approaches at the country-level financing that could enhance synergy; the need to bring back small holders who had fallen off the national level agenda on synergy; organic farming as an strategy to foster synergy; the policy failure to promote synergy and the need for incentives to foster synergy as it will not happen by accident.


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