Why does Climate Change relate to desertification?
The interrelationship among drought, land degradation and desertification (DLDD) and climate change is reflected in the objectives of both Conventions, and provide the basis for mutual integration. Article 4, paragraph 2 (a) of the UNCCD and article 4 paragraph 1 (c) of the UNFCCC explicitly support common actions in dryland ecosystems. The aim of UNCCD to address DLDD in the climate change negotiation and implementation processes, is based on Article 8, paragraph 1 of its Convention and on the 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018), specifically operational objective 1, outcome 1.1 and operational objective 2, outcome 2.5. The rationale for this support is also contained in several decisions on synergies, including Decision 8/COP.9 and the current work programme of the secretariat.
UNFCCC decision 1/CP.16 recognizes that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. It calls for scaled-up overall mitigation efforts that allow for the achievement of desired stabilization levels and affirms that adaptation must be addressed with the same priority as mitigation.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that developing countries affected by DLDD are able to confer the required priority to DLDD in their adaptation and mitigation actions at nationals and regional levels. Parties may wish to consider the following DLDD issues during the AWG-LCA negotiations:
a. A broad range of SLM practices and technologies have the potential to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase resilience / adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change. To the extent that carbon is sequestered in soil or greenhouse gas emissions are limited, soil carbon sequestration could be used as nationally undertaken NAMAs. SLM actions can be used by themselves or as part of other broader-ranging actions on mitigation / adaptation projects or programmes to be supported nationally or internationally.
b. Drylands have the potential to increase soil carbon stocks: for countries affected by DLDD such actions could become an important part of their mitigation portfolios. Effective mitigation action in soil would require that the carbon sequestered can be measured, reported and verified (MRV) and sufficient technical capacity would be needed to enhance carbon storage and/or maintain land resource / carbon sequestration practices as well as the ability to monitor carbon stocks. This could be relevant for NAMAs and for soil carbon sequestration financing.
c. There is a possibility to develop appropriate methodologies to allow for feasible and reliable MRV of sequestered carbon in drylands, sound monitoring of related carbon stocks and appropriate consideration of the environmental and social consequences of implementing soil-related mitigation actions.
d. As the REDD-plus agreement allows countries a flexible definition of "forest" in the context of national circumstances, countries may decide on the type of forests to include in the regime, on the basis of established country-driven character (for example, low cover and tropical dryland forests, including their soil pool).
Forests and tree cover combat land degradation and desertification by stabilizing soils, reducing water and wind erosion and maintaining nutrient cycling in soils. Sustainable use of goods and services from forest ecosystems and the development of agroforestry systems can, therefore, contribute to poverty reduction, making the rural poor less vulnerable to the impacts of land degradation. Desertification and the associated loss of vegetation, causes biodiversity loss and contributes to climate change through reducing carbon sequestration.
f. Parties may include in their NAPAs measures that respond to the challenges of DLDD and climate change by addressing a broad array of laws, regulations and programmes that are intended to support, fund and regulate water resources availability for human and animal consumption, industrial, agricultural and environmental purposes among others
It is necessary to raise awareness on the existence of missing information for decision-making. The efforts of the AWG-LCA on these matters could benefit joint actions supporting the objectives of both UNFCCC and UNCCD.