Desertif’Actions 2019 - We are the land defending itself!


Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – “We are the land defending itself!” Nearly 400 participants from 40 different countries, representing 240 organizations, met at the International Civil Society Summit Desertif’Actions from 19-21 June to address land, climate and biodiversity. The summit was organized by the associations CARI, SPONG and the UNCCD Secretariat. It also served as a preparatory meeting for the forthcoming 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP14), which will be held from 2-13 September this year in New Delhi.

The participants sent a strong message to the world through their outcome statement: “We are convinced that we, development actors, must raise awareness among forces present in the farming, pastoral, and oasis environments, as well as in many others, as we are all together citizens of the world: together, we are not defenders of the land fighting desertification, we ARE the land defending itself!”

The summit was opened by Mr. Bassiere Batio Nestor, Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change in Burkina Faso. Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, Ms. Juliette Compaore, President and the board of directors of the Secrétariat Permanent des ONG (SPONG) and Mr. Patrice Burger, President of CARI.

“The UNCCD is at the heart of the action. Civil society has an essential and multidimensional role to play,” Thiaw said in his opening statement. Noting that this is the 25th year of the UNCCD, he invited the participants “to look at the horizon of the next 25 years, reflecting on the roles and responsibilities of civil society in combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought.”

The Summit addressed the issue on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel, the importance of land rights and governance in achieving land degradation neutrality, the role of the pastoralist people to combat desertification and the ways to improve water management in the drylands. The outcome document of the Summit will be transmitted to the COP14 by the participants.