Executive Secretary’s Corner: September 2021

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Great Green Wall Accelerator: This dynamic team has started coordinating efforts among donors, implementing partners and strategic partners, through ongoing consultations, to implement a harmonized results management framework. The expected result is an online platform with various functionalities, such as: monitoring or matchmaking and the integration of innovative technologies to systematize data collection and analysis. The framework is built on the willingness of stakeholders to be held accountable toward their commitments to GGWA. It will ensure Great Green Wall stakeholders are on a path toward a common vision and objectives that can benefit millions of people through new job opportunities and an urgently needed land-based recovery.

LDN targets: Development of the Transformative Projects and Programmes (TPP) by countries that have set their national voluntary Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets is progressing well. In many cases, the work is ambitious. It will contribute not only to achieving LDN and land restoration, but will also have components on response to drought, climate change, gender, capacity building and other challenges. Online consultations with stakeholders and partners for both national and regional TPPs are under way. They include regional and multi-country TPPs.

Reporting platform: The reporting platform for the upcoming UNCCD reporting cycle (2022) is being developed, with the support of the Global Support Programme (GSP). The Global Environment Facility (GEF) recently approved this new phase (GSP-III) to support finalization and completion of a new reporting portal, capacity building and other relevant activities. UNEP will implement while UNCCD executes it. The new online reporting portal will be launched in the last quarter of 2021. The Global Mechanism presented the new reporting framework on Strategic Objective – 5 through online sessions held on 6 & 7 July 2021. Many government representatives participated and provided their valuable inputs.

Drought Toolbox: The work supporting the activities of Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on drought and enhancement drought toolbox is in progress, with various inter-agency agreements in the process of being finalized. This work is supported by the Global Environment Facility’s "Enabling Activity project for implementing UNCCD COP Drought Decision," which is implemented by FAO and executed by FAO and GM/UNCCD. The initiative was officially launched at an inception workshop held during the second quarter of 2021, in collaboration with implementing and participating agencies.

Things to look forward to:

Return to office: During the past 18 months, staff adapted remarkably well to the COVID-19 restrictions and embraced and handled new working methods, despite the challenges of working virtually and the travel limitations. In September, we will start returning to the office at 50 per cent capacity. We will continue to observe the guidance issued by our host Government and the Secretary-General and to prioritize the health and safety as we make this transition. As we look forward to a healthy and productive autumn ahead, let me share some of the achievements and highlights since my last message.

Tenth Anniversary of Changwon Initiative: On 12 October 2021, UNCCD and the Republic of Korea will launch the celebration of this milestone event in a virtual format. The Changwon Initiative was launched at COP10 in 2011. It has played a vital role in the birth and establishment of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) concept, process and activities, and setting up of the Land for Life Award. The celebration is a moment to recognize past achievements and map the way forward for making the Initiative an accelerator of LDN implementation in the coming years. More information on the Changwon Initiative can be found at this link.

Restoring Balance with Nature Campaign: The three Rio Conventions (CBD, UNCCD and UNFCCC) are joining forces to ensure that all of us take actions in our own backyards to change the course of history by restoring balance with nature. This joint campaign will be launched in the last quarter of the year.

Public outreach: As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration gains momentum, the Convention is reviewing its communications approach to align it with the public sentiment for action on the land. We are developing an integrated communications strategy with two aims. First, to give the public an intuitive and simple experience with our web presence. Second, to give the UNCCD a fresh and dynamic look, ensure consistency in our messaging and improve our outreach to the public through both the social and mainstream media. These changes will also take place later this year.