UN conference to tackle rapid land degradation and worsening droughts to take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 13-17 November 2023
Bonn/Samarkand, 13 September 2023 – For the first time since its inception, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will convene one of its official meetings in Central Asia. The twenty-first session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 21) will reveal the latest global trends in land degradation and drought, and review how countries are progressing with land restoration.
It comes at a vital moment, when the world is witnessing an uptick in extreme weather events, with historic heatwaves and wildfires across Europe and North America, several failed rainy seasons in the Horn of Africa, and devastating floods, monsoons and cyclones in Asia. Land degradation contributes to these climatic changes and events and is simultaneously made worse by them.
Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “We are at a crucial juncture in our efforts to sustain life on land. Droughts, wildfires and heatwaves we have witnessed around the world are the symptoms of the deepening and interlinked climate and nature crises, with land at the heart of both. Since 2015, some 4 million square kilometres of healthy and productive lands have been lost—an area roughly the size of Central Asia. We must urgently stop further land degradation and restore at least 1 billion hectares to meet global land targets by 2030.”
The meeting will be held at the Silk Road Samarkand Congress Centre in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 13 to 17 November 2023. On 15 November, there will be a high-level event on sand and dust storms, many of which have occurred in Uzbekistan and surrounding countries and regions with increasing frequency and severity in recent years. In addition, the UNCCD Gender Caucus on 14 November will convene international experts to discuss women’s land rights as a prerequisite to the success of global land restoration and drought resilience efforts.
According to the latest UN data, between 2015 and 2019, at least 100 million hectares of healthy and productive land were degraded every year, affecting food and water security globally and directly impacting the lives of 1.3 billion people.
This adds up to 420 million hectares, or 4.2 million square kilometres, slightly over the combined area of five Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. If current trends continue, restoring 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030 will be necessary to achieve a land-degradation-neutral world. Alternatively, halting any new land degradation and accelerating existing commitments to restore 1 billion hectares can surpass the neutrality target.
CRIC21 will review progress in implementing the Convention’s strategic objectives on promoting sustainable land management, building drought resilience, supporting women's leadership in sustainable agriculture, and addressing forced migration due to land degradation and climate change. It will bring together representatives from 196 countries and the European Union which are signatories to the UNCCD, as well as civil society, academia and international organizations.
Notes to editors
Accredited media representatives are invited to attend and report on CRIC21 and associated events. Field visits where journalists can see land restoration and drought resilience projects will take place immediately prior to CRIC21.
Online registration for media representatives is available at the following link: www.unccd.int/cric-21-online-registration.
To register, please provide the following documents:
- One recent passport-sized photograph
- A valid press card
- A copy (picture and signature pages) of your passport (for foreign journalists) or national identity card (for local applicants)
- A letter of introduction from the bureau chief or company sponsoring your travel to the session. For freelance journalists, a letter is required from the media organization assigning you to cover the conference
- A duly completed accreditation form
Journalists who register online will be able to collect their accreditation at the Silk Road Samarkand Congress Center on presentation of a valid press card and an identity document.
For more information on the regulations governing visa applications and the introduction of reporting material into Uzbekistan, please consult the following link: https://e-visa.gov.uz/main_
For inquiries about media accreditation or coverage of the event, please contact: press [at] unccd.int
A dedicated press and media working space will be available at the conference venue.
Additional information and media updates on the Convention and CRIC 21 will be available on the host country CRIC 21 website and the UNCCD website.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 Parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.
Image: (c) Asia Development Bank