The implementation of the UNCCD needs agreed, scientifically-sound and practical methodologies for monitoring and assessing its impacts on the dryland’s ecosystems and on the livelihood of its population, as well as its contribution to global environmental benefits (i.e.: strategic objectives 1, 2 and 3 of The Strategy
). Quantitative measures on the status and trends of desertification and land degradation are required to support policymakers and environmental managers in monitoring the effectiveness of their activities and in identifying national and global priorities for action. The text of the UNCCD notes that DLDD “is caused by complex interactions among physical, biological, political, social, cultural and economic factors”. Therefore, monitoring and assessment of DLDD must effectively address complex human-environment interactions.
Given the importance of this topic and upon the adoption of The Strategy, the COP mandated the CST to advise on how best to measure progress on the achievement of strategic objectives 1, 2 and 3 of The Strategy. Since 2008, the CST has been working on the development and refinement of a set of impact indicators
to measure the impacts of the Convention against these strategic objectives. As the design of an effective monitoring and assessment system mast cater for the information needs of a diverse group of users (including local, national, regional and global policy makers, scientists, land managers etc), the iterative process for the refinement of the indicators was designed to be open, participatory and formative and involved so far more than 100 technical experts. The identified impact indicators have also been tested through pilot impact indicator tracking exercises at national level.
In the biennium 2012-2013, the concentrated effort will be on the measurement of land cover status and poverty rate, the two impact indicators identified as mandatory for reporting
by affected country Parties. The next reporting cycle is therefore expected to provide some preliminary evidence on and increase awareness about linkages between DLDD, poverty and ecosystem services.
Important recommendations on ways to improve the global monitoring and assessment of dryland degradation to support decision-making in land and water management emerged from the UNCCD 1st Scientific Conference
, which was held in Buenos Aires in 2009.
The Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA
) project, conceived upon a request by the UNCCD COP, developed tools and methods to assess the baseline condition of land degradation at global and national scale. These assessments are integrated with and supplemented by detailed local assessments focusing on root cause analysis of land degradation and on local (traditional and adapted) technologies for sustainable land management.
The UNCCD also collaborated to the preparation of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA
) and of the synthesis report on “Human Well-being and Ecosystem Services: A Synthesis Report on Desertification”.
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