On 12 May Rio Conventions Pavilion hosted its first-ever Food Day at UNCCD COP15 Rio Conventions Pavilion, where representatives of international organizations, civil society and the indigenous leaders discussed the science and approaches that can help reshape our relationship with the land to secure the future of our food. We cannot achieve Land Degradation Neutrality, biodiversity or climate targets without changing the way we produce and consume food. The advantage of the current generation, stressed the UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw, is that we can be the leaders of this change. Agroecological approaches that emerged from the 2021 Food Systems Summit can enhance productivity and resilience, reduce emissions and chemical inputs while also meeting people’s needs. The recently published 2nd edition of the UNCCD Global Land Outlook presents the scenarios of the future, and the “business-as-usual” scenario will lead us to the future that no-one wants. With the agricultural sector as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases, we urgently need to invest in land restoration and sustainable land management, restoring the land area five times as large as the United States if we want to secure the future of our food and the health of our planet. If we restore nature, we can provide more than one-third of climate mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 °C by 2030. As the food tastes better when it is shared at a common table, so the approaches to reshaping our food systems need to be shared as well, helping us reduce environmental and humanitarian crises and create a nature-positive future. The meeting participants highlighted that powerful change can only take place when the efforts of the UN conventions for land, biodiversity and climate as well as their partner agencies are integrated, particularly in planning and reporting. In the spirit of sharing, the indigenous activists from Kenya and Chad presented the perspectives of their communities for whom land is their culture, identity and life-giving source. They stressed that securing women’s right to secure and equal access to land is a key incentive for sustainable land management, together with strong legislation adapted to the needs of ecosystems and local communities. The evidence is strong that community-led initiatives bring lasting results, improve access to livelihoods for women and youth, reduce conflict and encourage responsibility for sustainability. Stay with us for more thematic days coming up at the UNCCD COP15 Rio Convention Pavilion: https://www.unccd.int/cop15/rio-conventions-pavilion
Announced by the Chair of the CST, Mr. Masuku Bongani from Eswatini, the CST15 of the UNCCD opened on 11 May 2022 with UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw highlighting that science has a unique role in creating sustainable future of land resources by providing evidence, informing the decision makers and mobilizing action. Mr. Thiaw recognized the commitment of the Bureau of the CST and the Science Policy Interface (SPI) members over the 2020-2021 biennium to enhance the scientific foundation for policy development, as evidenced in the assessments 1) on the role of integrated land use planning and landscape management in achieving Land Degradation Neutrality; 20 on approaches for monitoring and assessment of the resilience of the ecosystems and population to drought and 30 the comprehensive analysis on two IPCC reports. The future work programme of the SPI for 2022-2023 includes assessments on sustainable land use systems and historical regional and global aridity trends and future projections. In the first plenary of the CST15, after the adoption of the agenda, the Committee on Science and Technology commenced its thematic dialogue with the SPI on the outcomes achieved in the biennium 2020-2021, starting with the evidence resulting from its two assessments on the integrated land use planning and landscape management, and the assessment on resilience of ecosystems and population to drought. To continue work on these two key topics, the CST contact group was established and held its first meeting to discuss the draft decision text to be submitted to the COP for consideration. On 12 May, the second plenary of the CST continued a thematic dialogue on the SPI’s comprehensive analysis on the IPCC reports. A follow-up plenary discussion reconvened on the issue of science-policy-interfacing modalities, accessibility to and dissemination of the best practices and the proposed SPI future work programme. The afternoon session of the fourth plenary of the CST15 addressed the joint report by the CST and the CRIC on reporting modalities on land degradation and drought for implementation of the UNCCD Strategic Framework 2018-2030, which guides parties in the next cycle of national reporting. The second topic of the 4th plenary is the procedural matters on the programme work of the CST16. The CST-CRIC joint contact group meeting continues its work on 13 May until completion of all draft decisions. Then the CST contact group will continue its negotiation. The last plenary of the CST15 is scheduled in the afternoon of 13 May to adopt the report to the COP including the CST draft decisions and the vice chairs of the CST16. The chair of the CST will be elected at the final meeting of the COP15. To promote the key role of scientific evidence-based policy-oriented recommendations in UNCCD implementation, drought resilience and sustainable land management, the Science-Policy Interface will be hosting a Science-Day at the UNCCD COP5 Rio Conventions Pavilion on Saturday 14 May.