Qatar to champion food security issues in the drylands

Press Release

Bonn, Germany, 9 June 2011 – A special event expected to establish a Global Drylands Land Alliance (GDLA) is planned for the eve of the UN High level meeting to be held on 20 September 2011. The special event, to be co-hosted by the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) and the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), was one of the outcomes of meetings held by the chief executives of the two institutions on 15-17 May 2011 in Doha, Qatar.

During his meeting in Doha at the invitation of the QNFSP, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, recalled that the Convention’s aim for the future is “to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and provide a global framework to support the development and implementation of national and regional policies, programmes and measures through scientific and technology excellence. The vision and mission of the GDLA would be to achieve food security and sustainable development in the world’s drylands at national, regional and global levels. Building a global alliance of governments, research and development institutions, NGOs and the private sector to partner in the sustainable development of the drylands and food security worldwide is a step in that direction.”

Mr. Fahad Al-Attiya, Chairman of the QNFSP, with Mr Gnacadja, UNCCD.

Mr. Fahad Al-Attiya, Chairman of the QNFSP, said the Global Drylands Land Alliance is a partnership “to catalyze the UNCCD process and implementation” and demonstrate the shared vision and mission of the Alliance and the Convention’s Ten-Year Strategy. He concurred that the alliance can constitute a tool to achieve the UNCCD vision and mission. Mr. Gnacadja and Mr. Al-Attiya committed to work hand-in-hand to ensure that drylands issues receive the required attention from the world leaders.

Mr. Gnacadja also met with Mr. Ahmad Bin Abdullah Bin Z. Al-Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar. Mr. Gnacadja commended the leadership of the Government of Qatar in championing the dryland issues, including those related to food security.

Minister Al-Mahmoud expressed Qatar’s commitment to play its role in these respects, stressing that the world has become a global village. Mr Al-Mahmoud and Mr. Gnacadja underscored the historic nature of the upcoming High level meeting on desertification and discussed the future role that Qatar could play in UNCCD processes. Minister Al-Mahmoud said his Government was committed to playing a leadership role on these matters.

Mr. Gnacadja visited other Qatari institutions, particularly those involved in environment and energy resources, including the Qatar Foundation, where he held exchanges on the Qatar Sustainable Water and Energy Utilization Initiative (QWE), the Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute (QEERI) and the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP).

He urged them to advance the agenda of the GDLA by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by five upcoming milestones, namely, the UN General Assembly’s High level meeting (20 September 2011), the UNCCD tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (Changwon, South Korea, 11-20 October 2011), the Rio Plus 20 Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 4-6 June 2012), the Food Security Summit (Doha, November 2012) and the eleventh session of the UNCCD COP (September 2013).

In September 2010, the Office of the Heir Apparent of Qatar hosted a similar side event on the margins of the General Assembly meeting on the Millennium Development Goals.

For more information on the UNGA High level meeting contact:

Melchiade Bukuru
UNCCD New York Liaison Office
Tel: +1 917 367 4081

For all other media-related inquiries, contact:
Wagaki Mwangi
UNCCD Secretariat
Tel: +49 228 815 2820