Dear colleagues, Alarmed again by the worldwide extreme heat-wave, drought and water scarcity, the world is at a critical moment. We are at the critical important moment to move forward from the COP commitments and decisions to actions. Among them is the decision to further scientific guidance. But the major task of this Committee on Science and Technology (CST) Bureau meeting is the renewal of Science-Policy Interface (SPI). 217 applications received – symbolizes the raising awareness of the importance of Land and drought issues and the interlinkage between land, and climate change and food, water and energy of our daily life. This is a fundamental step to ensure highly competitive and qualified, full geographically represented and gender balanced expertise to join in the UNCCD’s science policy interface and to dedicate to Land and Drought agenda. So I have three key messages related to that: First, Keep addressing key bottlenecks that require focused science if we are to help countries address DLDD, achieve LDN, and enhance drought resistance Second, Consider innovation, because innovation starts with current science I see some young scientists around the table - I hope the promising young generation could also play a role to bring more innovative views in the process of science policy interfacing. Last but not least - Do all you can to achieve gender parity in the SPI membership. It will not be easy, but is absolutely necessary. To enable synchronization with and joint efforts of all relevant processes, we need to improve cooperation with relevant scientific bodies and panels including major reports of IPCC, IPBES, ITPS, IDMP and UNEP-IRP. I am glad to know, there are also quite some female scientists. This a good basis for you to achieve gender parity in the SPI membership, which will not be easy, but is absolutely necessary. I am glad that the CST bureau will also discuss on the CST’s intersessional workplan, including improvement of the Role of CST and SPI in translating science into policy and communication messages to general public. We all know without involvement of public, there will be no transition to sustainable development. I am looking forward you discussion and guidance on how we can maximize participation of the Science Technology Correspondents (STCs) into the work of CST and CRIC. The STCs are working on science on ground, who are understanding more on the social economic and ecological realities, scientific demand, and challenges in the communities. Their voice need be heard, their contributions are of valuable for transition on ground. I wish you a successful meeting.
In recent yeas, water scarcity and drought have been seriously affecting the Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe, with major impacts on the economy and welfare of people. To address the growing concern over the negative impacts of water scarcity, national focal points, country representatives and scientists gathered for an online Drought Dialogue on 13 July 2022. Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the dialogue to discuss the development of national drought plans and facilitate the exchange of effective approaches to drought preparedness and drought impact monitoring. Following the UNCCD COP mandate, the secretariat of the convention and the Global Mechanism are implementing a Drought Initiative, with the input from the Science-Policy Interface. The initiative aims to support UNCCD country Parties in their efforts to establish effective national drought action plans and improve the resilience of ecosystem and people to drought. To date, more than 70 countries are engaged in the process of designing national plans of action, including five countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Contributing to these efforts, the outcomes of the Drought Dialogue will support the production of a technical brief that will aim to address the gaps and needs of the region to building drought resilience with available knowledge and solutions. It will also include a number of case studies, initiatives and good practices on drought risk mitigation from a broad range of stakeholders: governmental, non-governmental, private sector, civil society and international organizations. The technical brief will follow the path laid out by the recent Global Land Outlook 2 Central and Eastern Europe thematic report “Ecosystem restoration for green recovery and a sustainable future,” which offers a comprehensive analysis of commitments under international and national initiatives promoting land and ecosystem restoration to address the impacts of drought.