Message from the UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw
As we close the curtains of the Ankara Initiative, which supported the UNCCD for many years, let me start by thanking the Government of Türkiye for your global efforts to advocate for, protect, sustainably manage and restore the land.
Since 2016, the Ankara Initiative has supported the UNCCD and its parties in building capacities and deepening their knowledge to successfully promote land restoration worldwide as an important solution to multiple challenges.
Since its inception, this initiative has meant an influx of much needed resources to promote the objectives or our convention. One is through policy development in the areas of tenure and gender, as well as capacity building for our national focal points, specifically from Africa. Another is the support to the youth and the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme.
More than a simple technical support, the Ankara Initiative has been part of the environmental diplomacy. Behind the concept of Land Degradation Neutrality, which was eventually embedded in the process of the Sustainable Development Goals under SDG 15.3, we have political and financial support of many countries, including Türkiye.
Sand and Dust Storms constitute a grave concern to many countries and communities. They affect human health and wellbeing, ecosystems and communities, and deteriorate economic conditions of millions of people around the world. The Ankara Initiative has been a door opener for many conversations and technical workshops.
We thank the Government of Türkiye once again for their invaluable support to the Convention. We look forward to a continued cooperation and collaboration.