COP14: Science Day at Rio Conventions Pavilion

Ibrahim Thiaw at Science Day

New Delhi, India – Bringing science and policy together is a lot like trying to mix oil and water. It seems to be impossible. Science is reductionist. It reduces complex phenomena into their fundamental parts. Scientists are always testing hypotheses, calculating probabilities and reporting uncertainties. Policy making on the other hand is all about synthesis. Combining elements to try and form a coherent whole” said Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Executive Secretary, in his welcoming remarks at the Science Day on 5 September. 

Thiaw made the remarks in his welcome to the leading authors and co-chairs of five significant reports on land degradation published in just the past two years. 

The Special Report on Climate Change and Land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment also published by IPBES, World Atlas on Desertification by the European Union Joint Research Center and the Global Resources Outlook by the Intergovernmental Resource Panel.

The world’s top scientists and experts on each of these issues held a full, open day of consultations among themselves and with other stakeholders to prepare for the ministerial meetings starting next week. 

The studies follow different methodologies but conclude that the transformation of the land is significant and consequential. It is both a driver and outcome of climate change. It affects 3.2 billion people and may lead to the extinction of 1 million of species.

Key messages from Science Day will be transmitted to the ministerial roundtables with a view to inform the discussions, and stimulate and equip the science community, land managers and civil society organizations with practical ideas for advancing the achievement of the multiple benefits of pursuing land degradation neutrality.

The Science-Policy Interface (SPI) of the UNCCD organized Science Day, which was held at the Rio Conventions Pavilion of COP14. 

SPI works to translate current science into policy-relevant recommendations resulting from assessment and synthesis of current science. 

Photo by IISD/ENB | Ángeles Estrada

Read more: