Johns Muleso Kharika joined the UNCCD secretariat in January 2017 and serves as Chief of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Unit. His primary function is to oversee and lead the work of the Convention’s two subsidiary bodies namely, the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC), and the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) including the Science-Policy Interface (SPI).
In this role, Mr Kharika manages and facilitates periodic reporting by country Parties of the status of implementation of the Convention and assessment of information submitted to the Conference of the Parties (COP). He provides general supervision for the management and maintenance of all geospatial data on indicators for the UNCCD that further inform the secretariat’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) reporting related to land degradation (SDG target 15.3). He is also tasked with facilitating the linkages between scientific knowledge relating to desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) with implementation, planning and policies to ensure that findings and opportunities produced by science are properly channelled to benefit field activities to effectively implement the Convention. His role extends to provide support to countries within the five Regional Implementation Annexes of the UNCCD to implement the Strategic Plan and Framework 2018-2030 through its regional coordination units andpromotes cooperation with scientific platforms and institutions working on issues relevant to DLDD. Furthermore, Mr Kharika manages the capacity-building functions of the Convention and drives the secretariat’s innovation agenda.
Recently, the Executive Secretary has tasked him with facilitating the design, implementation and management of a data centre that builds on national reporting, leverages other secretariat and GM data, for a data-driven transformation in order to contribute to the overall mission of the UNCCD as well as the United Nations Secretary General’s “Data Strategy for Action by Everyone, Everywhere”.
Mr Kharika has previously practiced as a Landscape Architect acquiring a broad range of experience spanning from strategic to detailed design and implementation of built environment projects – thereby developing expertise in landscape appraisals and resource development; open space master planning and urban regeneration; historic landscape conservation and management; recreation, public realm and placemaking.
Before joining the UNCCD secretariat, he assumed roles that among others included: Identifying synergies of the three pillars of sustainable development and promoting the nexus gains approach for increasing overall resource use and efficiency; Ensuring that globally agreed targets in Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are interpreted and adapted to suit sub-regional, national and local situations; and advocacy for sustainable land management (SLM) practices to be context specific and aligned across sectoral categories.An avid lover of environmental issues sports, politics, and economics, he originally hails from a tea growing rural district in the south-eastern part of Malawi, but much of his professional life has been undertaken in South Africa. He has previously held positions in the private, public and development sectors gaining vast experience in management, policy making (specialising in both ‘science for policy’ and ‘policy for science’ processes), and international negotiations among other areas of competency.