The Science-Policy Interface: Mandate extended and membership renewed

How SPI works

18 January 2018 – Bonn, Germany – The new Science-Policy Interface (SPI) members of the UNCCD have been selected, and will meet for the first time on 15 and 16 February 2018 in Bonn. 

The selection process was led by the 5 regional officers elected at the 13th Session of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties held in September 2017, in Ordos, China, to form the Bureau of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST). 

This five-member, science-focused Bureau, together with the SPI’s 15 independent scientists drawn from all corners of the world, bring broad disciplinary expertise from the social and natural sciences. SPI observers include representatives of UN agencies and international and civil society organizations that work on thematic areas relevant to the UNCCD.

The SPI is an innovative platform that facilitates dialogue between scientists and policy-makers and ensures delivery of policy-relevant information to the UNCCD.

The 25 experts will bring the latest science to bear on critical issues by contributing both a wealth of knowledge on desertification, land degradation and drought and extensive experience in translating science to inform decision making. In particular, SPI will focus on land-based interventions that support national drought planning and reduce migration pressures. It will address the pivotal role soil organic carbon can play in sustainable land management by simultaneously increasing productivity, sequestering carbon and conserving biodiversity. And it will deal with the implementation of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) to ensure it is, at once, transformative and safeguards land tenure through responsible land governance and integrated land-use planning.

For this new term, the SPI is dedicated to ensuring future policy recommendations have a firm scientific foundation and that the scientific community is well-informed of the issues warranting further research. 

An external assessment of SPI completed prior to COP 13 noted the effectiveness of the SPI in ensuring both scientific independence from politics and the smooth integration of science into the policymaking process. This assessment contributed to the decision to extend the mandate of the SPI, which will be reviewed again in 2023. 

The SPI was established in 2013 at the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties in Windhoek, Namibia. Two of its most notable products that influenced important policy decisions taken at UNCCD COP 13 are the Scientific Conceptual Framework for Land Degradation Neutrality and a technical report titled, Sustainable Land Management Contribution to Successful Land-Based Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.

The renewed SPI will meet in Bonn, Germany from 15 to 16 February, 2018.


See also:

Members of the SPI:

  • Mariam Akhtar-Schuster 
  • Nichole Barger 
  • Ermias Betemariam
  • Jean-Luc Chotte
  • Annette Cowie
  • María Angélica Fernández 
  • Carl Kojo Fiati 
  • Marijana Kapović Solomun
  • Zahurul Karim
  • German Kust 
  •  Rattan Lal
  • Armando López Santos
  • Graciela Metternicht
  • André Francisco Pilon
  • Omer Muhammad Raja
  • Ahmet Senyaz 
  • Mark Svoboda
  • Peter Verburg
  • Graham von Maltitz
  • Ana Vuković 

Observers to the SPI:

  • Jonathan Davies (representing IUCN)
  • Jian Liu (representing UN Environment)
  • Eduardo Mansur (representing FAO)
  • Marioldy Sanchez Santivanez (representing CSOs)
  • Robert Stefanski (representing WMO)