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Budget consultations ahead of UNCCD COP16

The international community has recognized the importance of addressing land degradation and building resilience to drought as the basic conditions for food and water security and for achieving the objectives on climate change and biodiversity. This acknowledgement has translated into a growing demand on the UNCCD secretariat and the Global Mechanism for information, policy guidance, convening of partners and measures to facilitate implementation and resource mobilization, along with an evolving intergovernmental negotiations agenda in the meetings of the COP and its subsidiary bodies. However, the growth in the workload has not been reflected in core resources provided to the secretariat and the Global Mechanism to support Parties in their efforts to implement the UNCCD.  During its meeting on 13 November 2023, the Bureau of COP 15 considered, among other matters, the status of the UNCCD core budget. As background, the UNCCD secretariat provided information showing that although the Convention process has significantly evolved during the last decade, the budget has remained at the same level. The secretariat also presented how during the 2022-2024 budget triennium, high inflation has further decreased the real value of the budget.   The COP Bureau recognized the severity of the budget issues and noted that the situation should be thoroughly considered in the decision on the next biennium budget, to be made at UNCCD COP16 in December 2024 in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Bureau proposed that the secretariat organize an informal meeting for information-sharing and discussion toward the next UNCCD COP. Two such informal online consultation meetings took place on 13 March and 22 May 2024, both of which were chaired by Ms. Marine Collignon of France. In these meetings, the UNCCD secretariat presented detailed information about the status of the current UNCCD budget and potential elements for the next budget 2025-2026, and Parties were invited to comment and ask questions. The meetings were open to all Parties, and the documents that were provided for them are available through the link on right.  Guided by the feedback that was received during the informal online consultation meetings, the secretariat is now preparing the official budget documentation to be submitted for the consideration of COP16.  In line with the document deadlines for the COP, this documentation is scheduled to be available as an advance copy in early September. After that, the budget matters may be discussed, if Parties so wish, in the regional meetings preparatory to the COP.  Further informal online consultations may also be organized, if needed.  For comments and questions concerning the UNCCD budget process, please contact Mr. Somarajan Pillai spillai@unccd.int and Ms. Satu Ravola sravola@unccd.int.   

Budget consultations ahead of UNCCD COP16
New horizons in land restoration: 18 nations spearhead the next phase of LDN TSP

The rollout of the second phase of the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP 2.0) represents a key phase in combating land degradation worldwide, as 18 countries from several regions step up their land restoration commitments ahead of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP16). This significant advancement has become the focus of the recent workshop on "Strengthening land restoration targets and commitments" in Doha, Qatar, emphasizing the global community's renewed commitment to sustainable land management. Conducted on the sidelines of Expo 2023 Doha this February, the workshop saw the gathering of UNCCD National Focal Points, lead country consultants and key international organization representatives, such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, German Development Cooperation and G20 Global Infrastructure. The workshop fostered the engagement of countries actively working on strengthening their LDN targets by introducing new tools and guidelines for integrated land use planning, and facilitating the identification of priority restoration areas that align with national policy objectives. The workshop also offered an opportunity to explore operational synergies with major environmental initiatives, putting a strong emphasis on the importance of enhancing LDN target monitoring and reporting mechanisms. “The LDN TSP 2.0 represents a unique opportunity for 18 champion countries to showcase in an innovative and bold way to bring UNCCD implementation efforts to the next level in direct response to the global land degradation crisis, paving the way for other countries to follow, ” remarked LDN TSP Team Lead Pedro Lara Almuedo. The goal of the LDN TSP 2.0's is to help countries refine their national targets towards actionable and measurable initiatives. The program stresses the importance of improving land governance by utilizing spatial mapping and monitoring to effectively combat land degradation. The progress and insights achieved through the programme will be shared at the UNCCD COP16 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this December. With 131 countries engaged in the LDN TSP since 2016, over 450 million hectares committed to restoration and 106 countries having published their LDN targets, the workshop's impact sets the stage for significant contributions at COP16 to tackle regional challenges and propel the global efforts against desertification. Land Degradation Neutrality is essential for achieving SDG 15.3, offering co-benefits like poverty reduction, food security, women's empowerment, environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and sustainable management on natural resources. LDN also aids in climate change mitigation and adaptation by transforming degraded lands into carbon sinks. The LDN TSP 2.0, championed by the 18 countries – Argentina, Benin, Central African Republic, Georgia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Republic of Moldova, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia and Türkiye – aims to demonstrate progress and guide further actions beyond COP16 in response to the urgent need for accelerated global efforts to restore productive land.  

New horizons in land restoration: 18 nations spearhead the next phase of LDN TSP
Green jobs for women in Burkina Faso and Senegal

Burkina Faso and Senegal are leading a significant shift towards a future that's both sustainable and inclusive, according to new research released by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and UN Women. Filled with valuable insights for policymakers, NGOs and the private sector, the technical briefs focus on the unique opportunities and challenges facing women entrepreneurs and job seekers in the evolving green economy in these two African nations. At the heart of this transformation is the Great Green Wall Initiative, an ambitious project spanning the Sahel that aims to restore 100 million hectares of land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon, and create 10 million jobs by 2030. This massive undertaking is not only an environmental mission, but a pathway to economic revitalization, particularly in promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. “The green transition in Burkina Faso and Senegal is a beacon of hope for gender equality and women's empowerment. It calls for an integrated approach that links green economy goals with gender equality objectives. The Great Green Wall Initiative is a testament to these efforts, combining environmental restoration with economic and social empowerment. By unlocking green jobs for women in key sectors and advocating for gender-responsive policies, these countries aren’t just building a sustainable future; they’re paving the way for a more just and equitable world,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. Despite being a significant part of the workforce in both countries, women in Burkina and Senegal face many obstacles. They earn less than men, are less represented in leadership positions, and are mostly found in the informal sector. Starting formal businesses remains a challenge due to limited resources, such as capital and technology. Women also bear the heavy burden of unpaid care work, particularly in rural areas, which limits their opportunities for income and education. But there's a silver lining. Both countries have immense potential to create green jobs in areas such as agriculture, forestry, energy and waste management. It is estimated that around one million jobs can be created in these sectors, the majority of which will be for women. Opportunities abound in under-exploited areas such as non-timber forest products, the transformation of subsistence agriculture, solar energy and composting in waste management. These sectors offer rewarding and sustainable opportunities, especially for women. To unlock this potential, comprehensive strategies are essential. These include improving women's access to education and training, especially in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); developing climate-resilient technologies for women's cooperatives; facilitating access to green finance; and addressing the burden of unpaid care work. In addition, promoting women's networks in the green economy and establishing innovative value chains centered on non-timber forest products are critical steps. Nearly half of the world's smallholder farmers are women, but they own less than 20 per cent of the world's land. In Senegal, where rural women make up about 70 per cent of the labour force and are responsible for 80 per cent of the country's food production, they own a disproportionately low 10 per cent of agricultural land. Similarly, in Burkina Faso, women make up 60 per cent of the labour force and produce about 70 per cent of the food, but their land ownership is also limited to 8 per cent. Moreover, in both countries, most women access land through their husbands and face difficulties in having their tenure rights recognised and effectively protected. Investing in women’s equal access to, use of and control over land and associated assets is a direct investment in their future and the future of humanity and the planet. Women are instrumental in providing security and stability in rural communities with great potential to contribute to land restoration activities. For more information, contact Mr. Gilles Amadou Ouédraogo gouedraogo@unccd.int  

Green jobs for women in Burkina Faso and Senegal
قضايا الأراضي تتصدر جدول أعمال جمعية الأمم المتحدة للبيئة 

نيروبي، 1 مارس/آذار 2024 - كانت مساهمة الأراضي السليمة في التصدي للتحديات العالمية المتمثلة في تغير المناخ وفقدان التنوع البيولوجي والتنمية المستدامة محور الدورة السادسة لجمعية الأمم المتحدة للبيئة التي اختتمت أعمالها اليوم في نيروبي.   وشهد الاجتماع الذي استمر أسبوعًا اعتماد أول قرار على الإطلاق لجمعية الأمم المتحدة للبيئة بشأن تدهور الأراضي، فضلاً عن الإعلان عن شعار وشعار المؤتمر السادس عشر للأطراف في اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر (UNCCD COP16)، الذي سيعقد في الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية في الفترة من 2 إلى 13 ديسمبر/كانون الأول 2024.  وفي حديثها في الحدث الرفيع المستوى حول مكافحة تدهور الأراضي من أجل المناخ والتنوع البيولوجي، أشارت ليلى بنعلي، رئيسة وكالة الأمم المتحدة للبيئة في دورتها السادسة ووزيرة التحول الطاقي والتنمية المستدامة في المملكة المغربية: "الأرض هي القاسم المشترك الوحيد بين اتفاقيات ريو الثلاث، ولا يمكننا تحقيق أهدافها إلا من خلال استعادة الأراضي. نحن بحاجة إلى البناء على ما يوحدنا بدلاً من البناء على ما يفرقنا والبدء بحلول عملية وذات مصداقية عندما يتعلق الأمر بالأراضي وصحة التربة".  إعلان شعار مؤتمر الأطراف السادس عشر "أرضنا. مستقبلنا"، قال الأمين التنفيذي لاتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر إبراهيم ثياو: "ستكون الدورة السادسة عشرة لمؤتمر الأطراف في اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر لحظة مهمة للأرض، أي ما يعادل باريس بالنسبة لاتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر. ومن الأهمية بمكان أن يكون هناك تقارب وتآزر بين مؤتمرات الأطراف الثلاثة - التنوع البيولوجي وتغير المناخ والتصحر، والتي ستعقد جميعها هذا العام".   وللمرة الأولى، اعتمدت وكالة الأمم المتحدة للبيئة قراراً يدعو إلى تعزيز الجهود الدولية لمكافحة التصحر وتدهور الأراضي، واستعادة الأراضي المتدهورة، وتعزيز الحفاظ على الأراضي والإدارة المستدامة للأراضي، والمساهمة في تحييد تدهور الأراضي وتعزيز القدرة على التكيف مع الجفاف. وستحتل هذه القضايا مركز الصدارة في مؤتمر الأطراف السادس عشر لاتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر.  وقال السيد أسامة إبراهيم فقيها، نائب وزير البيئة والمياه والزراعة في المملكة العربية السعودية، نيابة عن رئاسة مؤتمر الأطراف السادس عشر: "إن الأرض ليست مهمة لحياة الإنسان فحسب، بل هي مهمة أيضًا للتنوع البيولوجي والحفاظ على التوازن الدقيق لبيئتنا. علينا أن ندرك أهمية الأرض والعناصر الطبيعية الأخرى في كوكبنا، حيث أن 24 في المائة من انبعاثات غازات الاحتباس الحراري مرتبطة بمختلف مخططات استخدام الأراضي".   وتهدف الحكومة السعودية من خلال المبادرة السعودية الخضراء إلى زراعة 10 مليارات شجرة وحماية 30% من أراضي المملكة.  اقتباسات إضافية:  قال عزيز عبد الحكيموف، وزير البيئة وحماية البيئة والتغير المناخي في جمهورية أوزبكستان، التي استضافت الاجتماع لاستعراض التقدم المحرز في تنفيذ اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر في نوفمبر الماضي: "في كل دقيقة تفقد أوزبكستان تسعة أمتار مربعة من الأراضي الخصبة، وهذه مشكلة كبيرة لأي بلد يواجه تدهور الأراضي. من المهم الجمع بين الإرادة السياسية والعلم والتمويل لمواجهة تحديات تغير المناخ وتدهور الأراضي وفقدان التنوع البيولوجي".  وقالت ماريا هيلينا سيميدو، نائبة المدير العام لمنظمة الأغذية والزراعة للأمم المتحدة (الفاو) "الأرض هي المكان الذي يبدأ منه الغذاء، وبدون الأرض لا يمكننا إنتاج الغذاء أو إطعام الكوكب. نحن بحاجة إلى نهج شامل، وتجنب التجزئة، والاستثمار في التحولات المستدامة لنظمنا الزراعية والغذائية لضمان الأمن الغذائي ومعالجة تغير المناخ وفقدان التنوع البيولوجي".  وقالت السيدة هندو أومارو إبراهيم، رئيسة جمعية نساء الشعوب الأصلية في تشاد وشعوبها "الشعوب الأصلية، التي تشكل 5 في المائة من سكان العالم، تحمي 80 في المائة من التنوع البيولوجي في العالم. فهم حراس النظم الإيكولوجية وسادة استعادة الأراضي باستخدام المعارف التقليدية. إن الوصول المباشر إلى التمويل، وتنسيق السياسات، وصنع القرار الشامل، أمور ضرورية لتمكين المجتمعات المحلية وتنفيذ مشاريع ناجحة لاستعادة الأراضي".  واختتمت بطلة الأراضي في اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر باتريسيا كومبو من كينيا، التي أدارت الحدث الرفيع المستوى في الدورة السادسة لاتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر: "يمثل تدهور الأراضي تحدياً عالمياً يتطلب عملاً متضافراً على جميع المستويات. ولن نتمكن من استعادة النظم الإيكولوجية للأراضي وضمان الأمن الغذائي والتخفيف من آثار تغير المناخ إلا بالعمل معاً".  لمزيد من المعلومات:   المكتب الصحفي لاتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر، press@unccd.int، +49 228 815 2820، https://www.unccd.int/، @unccd  التسجيل والصور متاحة: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_oSZoVZJF8  للمزيد من المعلومات عن الدورة السادسة لجمعية الأمم المتحدة للبيئة والدورة السادسة عشرة لمؤتمر الأطراف في اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصحر، يرجى زيارة الموقعين التاليين: https://www.unep.org/environmentassembly/unea6 و https://www.unccd.int/cop16  نبذة عن اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصَحُّر     تُعدُّ اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصَحُّر بمثابة الرؤية العالمية للأرض والصوت المُعبِّر عنها. ونعمل في إطارها على توحيد الحكومات والعلماء وصُنّاع السياسات والقطاع الخاص والمجتمعات حول رؤيةٍ مشتركة واتّخاذ إجراءات عالمية بغية استصلاح أراضي العالم وإدارتها من أجل استدامة البشرية والكوكب. إنَّ اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لمكافحة التصَحُّر هي أكثر من مُجرَّد معاهدة دولية وقَّعها 197 طرفاً، بل تُشكِّل التزاماً متعدد الأطراف بتخفيف آثار تدهور الأراضي اليوم والنهوض بالإشراف على الأراضي في الغد من أجل توفير الغذاء والمياه والمأوى والفرص الاقتصادية لجميع السكان بطريقةٍ مُنصفة وجامعة.  

قضايا الأراضي تتصدر جدول أعمال جمعية الأمم المتحدة للبيئة 
UNEA-6 Multilateral Environmental Agreements Day: Keynote by Ibrahim Thiaw

Madame President, Dear UNEP Executive Director, Excellencies, Presidents and chairs of COPs Ministers, Dear colleagues Executive Secretaries of MEAs, Honorable Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to start by thanking the President of UNEA (my sister Leila Ben Ali) and the Executive Director of UNEP (my other sister Inger Andersen) for dedicating an entire day of UNEA6 to the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). This is a real credit to UNEP. UNEA is one of the important platforms to discuss these issues. Thirty years after the signing of the Rio conventions, and more than fifty years after the creation of some of the MEAs represented here, we must face the facts: the implementation of these treaties cannot be done in silos. We cannot be effective if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Even less so if all the work done by the national focal point for one convention is ignored, or worse, brushed aside by another focal point. Putting things in order therefore begins at home, at the national level. International partners and development agencies, where appropriate, should play their part. MEA secretariats should help engineer cooperation and technical support. In this respect, institutions such as UNEP and Assemblies such as UNEA have a historic responsibility and a critical role to play in harmonizing the work and focus of the various MEAs as we face a multitude of interconnected crises. About the triple planetary crisis, indeed we face a climate crisis, a pollution crisis and a nature crisis. I would be remiss, as head of the UNCCD, not to insist that the nature crisis includes the immense crisis of land and drought, which is currently affecting more than 3 billion people, causing food insecurity, water scarcity and forced displacements. Action on the land is a powerful force for unity. The health of the land determines the food we eat, the water we drink, the quality of the air we breathe, the clothes we wear and many other services that contribute to our well-being. But the damage we inflict on our land poses a serious threat to world peace, and to the global economy. Similarly, the links between land and pollution are obvious. Air pollution is amplified by sand and dust storms. While plastic pollution affects rivers, lakes and oceans, the bulk of the stock stays in land affecting food production, people and the earth system as a whole. The good news is that there are solutions to these serious problems. They are well within our reach and this is literally in our hands. Make no mistake: the best solutions are those that tackle several challenges at once. We must slow down and adapt to climate change, protect and restore nature and biodiversity, reverse land degradation and desertification, and end pollution and waste. We don’t have the luxury of dedicating Monday to climate or pollution, Tuesday to biodiversity and only think that we can wait until Wednesday to tackle Land degradation. These issues are like communicating vessels and we have to address all these challenges at once! The scientific community is increasingly moving from sounding the alarm to signposting solutions that require concerted efforts. However, progress on turning commitments into transformative action must accelerate. Rapidly. Coherently. Consistently. Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, 2024 represents a new opportunity for us all: The three Rio conventions will hold their COPs consecutively at the end of this year. We already had a successful CMS COP a few days ago. At the UNCCD COP16 in Saudi Arabia - in December – we will embark on a unique journey – one that brings all communities of policy and practice to join forces towards a common goal: that of making land healthy again. Parties assembled in Riyadh at UNCCD COP16 will present a groundbreaking action agenda for all MEAs to reverse degradation and to accelerate efforts to restore 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030. Healthy and productive land is the operational link between climate action and biodiversity conservation. Linking up action on land will allow us to take advantage of the synergies that build resilience, mitigate the impacts of climate change, safeguard biodiversity, provide food security for billions around the world, and transform the way we manage the environment and consume its bounty. And this is everyone’s effort. We must ensure that the work on each MEA commitment dovetails with and amplifies the work of the others. By forging synergies with UN entities and conventions, we can amplify our impact, leverage resources, and foster greater coherence in our collective response to global environmental challenges. For example: aligning land degradation neutrality targets with nationally determined contributions and the new biodiversity targets can maximize the impact of nature-positive investments and significantly diminish the huge gap between commitment and action. After all, we are facing one single global challenge – the sustainability of the planet and striving for an environment of peace and prosperity. Martin Luther King Jr once said: “We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now”. So, while MEAs have individual mandates, they ultimately have the same ambition: protecting the people and the planet. Let us make 2024 a pivotal year for environmental multilateralism. The science is clear and sobering. Long-term planning and cooperation are of the essence. But urgent action is needed. Recent years have proven that environmental multilateralism is working. It remains our best shot at tackling the complex and interconnected environmental challenges. Let’s take it! Thank you.

UNEA-6 Multilateral Environmental Agreements Day: Keynote by Ibrahim Thiaw
UNCCD Executive Secretary visits Japan to strengthen collaboration ahead of COP16

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw concluded his two-day visit to Japan to strengthen cooperation with key government and international partners ahead of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this December. During the visit, he signed cooperation agreements with two key international partners – United Nations University (UNU) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). He also had meetings with Ambassador Takeshi Akahori from the Foreign Ministry and senior officials at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Japan has been a signatory to UNCCD since 1998. On 20 February, UNCCD Executive Secretary also joined UNU Rector Professor Tshilidzi Marwala for a public conversation exploring the relationship between land degradation and human security such as famine, conflicts and environmental crises, as well as the role of international cooperation and the UNCCD in combating desertification, land degradation and drought. "The collaboration with UNU and ITTO to strengthen the delivery of scientific knowledge and improve the resilience of the vulnerable populations and ecosystems will be important to support UNCCD Parties in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought,” Mr. Thiaw said. “These issues will be front and centre at the upcoming UNCCD COP16. We look forward to working together on the road to Riyadh and beyond." United Nations University (UNU), which unites 13 scientific institutes in 12 countries around the world works on collaborative research and education, aiming to contribute, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples, and Member States. UNU and the UNCCD have jointly worked on publications around topics of sustainable land management, ecosystem restoration and disaster risk reduction. Future cooperation will focus on aligning approaches on sustainable land and water management, as well as financial inclusion and social protection in the context of ecological restoration. “Desertification is an urgent, complex issue that negatively impacts the lives and livelihoods of 3.2 billion people worldwide. Combating desertification requires partnerships and shared expertise. Working in collaboration, UNU and UNCCD will be able to strengthen research, advocacy and capacity building to further support the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States as we work to reverse desertification and confront related critical issues,” Professor Marwala concluded. Also in Tokyo, the UNCCD and International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) committed to another four years of joint work on the sustainable management of tropical forests under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru and UNCCD Executive Secretary Thiaw. The overall objective of the new MOU is to support ITTO member countries and Parties to the UNCCD in restoring and maintaining tropical forest landscapes while promoting the sustainable production of timber and other products and ecosystem services. ITTO is an intergovernmental organization promoting the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests. ITTO’s membership represents about 90% of the global tropical timber trade and more than 80% of the world’s tropical forests.

UNCCD Executive Secretary visits Japan to strengthen collaboration ahead of COP16