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Welcome back, Canada

Canada Deposits its Instrument of Ratification to Re-Join the UNCCD Statement of Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD Yesterday, the Government of Canada communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations its accession to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). We welcome the action Canada has taken to rejoin the Convention, which will become a full party after 90 days, on 21 March 2017. The international community is facing new and growing challenges to its peace and security, wealth and sustainable development. No country is immune. No country can face these challenges alone. Many of these challenges stem in large part from the crises poor rural people are facing in meeting their daily needs of food, water, energy and income, and made worse by climate change. Canada’s contribution will take us further and faster in ensuring that the 2.8 billion people affected by land degradation today have the means and knowledge to avoid further degradation of their land and to recover what they have lost. Canada’s scientific expertise and practical experience in combatting desertification and drought can benefit rural households to improve their food and water security, and ensure every child has a fighting chance for a better life.  Further information About the Convention List of ratification Media release by the Government of Canada (external link)English  Français

Welcome back, Canada
Colombia advances on the SDG 15 agenda on “life on land” through the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management

According to the National Institute for Hydrometheorological and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), 40% of the national territory presents some degree of soil degradation by erosion. Additionally, it is estimated that 24% of land in Colombia is susceptible to degradation by aridity. Within the affected areas are the Colombian main cities, irrigation districts and regions with the highest population density. “Sustainable land management is a responsibility that concerns all sectors of society, so I invite you to join efforts and create joint actions aimed at protecting this natural resource that fulfills vital functions for human survival" said the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Luis Gilberto Murillo during a national event to celebrate World Soil Day, held on December 5th. In order to address this issue, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, together with other national and regional actors, are working in the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management. This policy seeks to promote sustainable soil management in a context in which biodiversity, water and air protection, land and disaster risk management converge, contributing to the sustainable development and the well-being of all Colombians. This policy proposes the implementation of a plan of action and the development of six strategic lines such as institutional strengthening and harmonization of standards and policies; education, training and awareness; strengthening of environmental and sectoral planning tools; monitoring of soil quality; research, innovation and technology transfer and preservation, restoration and sustainable use of the soil. Moreover, Colombia has been advancing in the assessment of soils, through the development of soil inventories, assessment of land use conflicts and degradation by erosion and salinization, among other aspects. The promotion of sustainable soil management in the region will contribute to addressing the global challenges and the fulfillment of Colombian international commitments, including: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Commitments to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, especially efforts to achieve the national Land Degradation Neutrality targets (currently under preparation) Eradication of hunger and malnutrition and ensuring food security for a growing population Adaptation and mitigation to climate change, especially in the light of the Paris Agreement, which contains a firm commitment to address climate change and at the same time attributes to the agriculture sector a leading role in this process The Aichi Targets, which highlight an important agenda for preserving biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services.

Colombia advances on the SDG 15 agenda on “life on land” through the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management
Be inspired by the 15 amazing young activists!

The UNCCD Land for Life Youth Social Media Activists Challenge semi finalists' result is out. 15 semi finalists were selected to be considered for the finals. Check here  to find out more about their activism.  The Challenge aims to recognize young people efforts in protecting natural resources and promoting environmental/ land resources justice. The selected finalists will be  recognized by UNCCD secretariat for their work and will be tasked to spread the UNCCD messages, in particular, creating awareness on land related issues among young people through social media. Currently, we are launching a public voting / polling to select the finalist candidates from 9 Dec - 22 December 2016. You are invited to have your say on who qualifies for the finals by casting their vote here :  http://woobox.com/6avg72. The public votes will be counted as part of the final decision of the winners. Related link: Land for Life programme

Be inspired by the 15 amazing young activists!
UNCCD Marketplace Writers Competition winner meets Monique Barbut

Russian national and one of the winners in the recently concluded Marketplace Writers Competition, Ms. Olga Sazonova paid a visit to the UNCCD Secretariat where she was welcomed by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Monique Barbut.  Mrs. Barbut presented to Ms. Sazonova the prizes she won for placing third in the Competition with her story “Бесценные «услуги» природы” which is loosely translated in English as, “Invaluable services of nature.” Mr. Sazonova received a certificate, a UNCCD package and a cash prize for her efforts. In presenting the prizes, the Executive Secretary expressed hearty congratulations to Ms. Sazonova and thanked her for participating in the competition. She encouraged her to help promote the UNCCD in her own country and in particularly to do her part to educate Russian speaking peoples on the concept and importance of Land Degradation Neutrality. Mrs. Barbut recalled Ms. Sazonova’s academic achievements thus far, impressing upon her that she could use her skills in both English and Russian to help people have a clearer understanding of the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought. In her response, Ms. Sazonova thanked the Executive Secretary for the opportunity to meet with her and remarked how happy and excited she was to be among the winners of this international competition. She assured the Executive Secretary that she was wholly committed to the issues of sustainability; explain that it was one reason why she is in pursuit of a second Master’s in the subject. She promised not only to participate in future Marketplace competitions, but to spread the word among her friends and colleagues. She underlined that this was indeed a special occasion for her as she considers it a great honor and privilege to meet the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. Attending the presentation were Ms. Yoon-kyoung Cho, who organized and administered the competition; Mr. Jijo Karthikeyan who provided technical assistance; and Dr. Richard Byron-Cox, Head of the Marketplace, who conceived the idea of the Marketplace Writers Competition. They too thanked Ms. Sazonova for participating in the completion, and in congratulating her reminded that the Capacity Building Marketplace is always open to the world free of cost!

UNCCD Marketplace Writers Competition winner meets Monique Barbut
Critical juncture in global efforts to combat desertification and mitigate drought effects

Bonn, Germany, 17 February 2011 – The UN’s top official on matters of drought, land degradation and desertification, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, claims that we are at crucial moment in history. “At the end of this year, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will, for the first time, have the tools to support national monitoring and vulnerability assessments on the biophysical and socioeconomic trends” in countries affected by these challenges. “You cannot improve what you cannot measure,” he said, so for the assessment to be conducted from 2012, “the UNCCD and its stakeholders will for the first time in history of the Convention be enabled to measure actions taken to materialize the UNCCD vision.” Executive Secretary Gnacadja made the remarks yesterday at the opening of the global gathering of scientists tasked by the Parties to the Convention, with providing guidance on how countries should measure the changes in land cover and poverty among the populations that live in the world’s drylands. The scientists drawn from governmental, non-governmental, international, intergovernmental organizations are attending a three-day meeting of the second special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-2) of the Convention taking place at the World Conference Center Bonn, Germany. Noting that the scientists are driving the agenda of the UNCCD process, Mr Gnacadja urged them to move the Convention to the realm of measurability. “There is a need to start already considering the development of possible targets, which will bring higher credibility to the process,” he added. At their meeting in 2009, the Parties agreed to assess the impact of the Convention through two mandatory and nine optional indicators. It called on the Committee on Science and Technology, through its Bureau, to guide the secretariat of the Convention to refine the methodologies and approaches that will be used with these indicators.  To this end, Professor Klaus Kellner of South Africa and current chair of the CST Bureau called for the active involvement of scientists from both the countries affected and not affected by desertification in the work of refining the indicators, setting up an effective system to manage knowledge and organizing the 2nd UNCCD Scientific Conference that will take place in 2012. In this way, he said, scientists will offer their best. The outcomes of the second special session of the CST will advance work on these issues, and the resulting recommendations forwarded to the tenth session of the UNCCD’s Conference of the Parties (COP 10), which will take place from 11-21 October 2011 in Changwon City, Republic of Korea. CST S-2 ends on Friday this week. About UNCCD Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. The Convention focuses on all the world’s drylands, home to over 2 billion people, 50% of the world’s livestock and accounting for 44% of all cultivated ecosystems. The Convention’s 194 Parties are dedicated to combating land degradation and mitigating the effects of drought in the drylands by improving the living conditions of the affected populations and ecosystems. For more information, contact: Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Secretariat email: wmwangi@unccd.int Cell: +49 173 268 7593

Critical juncture in global efforts to combat desertification and mitigate drought effects
Making a paradigm shift in the fight against desertification and drought

Bonn, Germany, 16 February 2011 – “The international community’s battle against desertification and the effects of drought is on the threshold of a paradigm shift,” Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has said, ahead of a global conference on the Convention opening today at the World Conference Center Bonn, in Germany. “During the last four decades, initiatives to combat desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought lacked defined impact indicators. That is set to change when we meet next week to clarify the benchmarks to be used, going forward, to assess progress both in terms of the immediate action to be taken and long term change,” Mr. Gnacadja added. The second special session of the Committee for Science and Technology (CST S-2) which will take place from 16-18 February will focus on the methodologies to be used to measure changes in land cover status and the proportion of the population living above the poverty line in areas affected by desertification. These are the two mandatory indicators to measure impact agreed upon at the 2009 Conference of the Parties to the Convention. The CST is a subsidiary body of the Convention. “For nearly four decades, scientific consensus about the scope of land degradation and its global impact on livelihoods have been elusive. So, although countries and experts have been monitoring phenomena such as desertification, land degradation and drought, we cannot collectively determine its impacts because there is no harmonized approach or agreement on how to approach these assessments,” according to Professor Klaus Kellner, Chair of the CST 9 Bureau. “What the CST embarked on in 2008, and the focus of this session in particular, is to make progress towards developing this kind of a framework,” he said. “A framework that any country should can apply, and whose results can provide a basis for comparison across time and countries. In the long-term, the data would be aggregated at various levels and provide clarity about the scope of desertification globally or regionally. Data aggregation would enable parties to decide on the targets to aim for to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the drylands,” Prof. Kellner added. The meetings are path breaking for another reason. For the first time in the history of the Convention, the reports on the actions countries, civil society organizations and international organizations have taken to combat desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought will be based on one template with performance indicators, known as the Performance Review and Assessment of Implementation System, PRAIS. The reports, to be reviewed at the ninth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation (CRIC 9) meeting of 21-25 February, are expected to provide the baseline for future performance assessments. “The development of PRAIS marks a defining moment for the Convention. At last, a clearer picture on the global state of investment and public expenditure into sustainable land management is starting to emerge. Precious data on the volume, source, geographic distribution and sectoral allocation of financial resources is now available, arming countries with the necessary tools to increase domestic budgetary allocations, and seize innovative opportunities at the national and international levels’’ adds Mr. Christian Mersmann, Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD. CRIC is a subsidiary body of the Convention. The PRAIS was jointly developed by the UNCCD secretariat, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) in close consultation with the regional groupings of the Convention. The recommendations from the CST S-2 and CRIC 9 will be transmitted to the tenth session of Conference of the Parties (COP 10) for consideration when it meets in Changwon City, Republic of Korea, in October 2011. Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. The Convention focuses on all the world’s drylands, home to over 2 billion people, 50% of the world’s livestock and accounting for 44% of all cultivated ecosystems. The Convention’s 194 Parties are dedicated to combating land degradation and mitigating the effects of drought in the drylands by improving the living conditions of the affected populations and ecosystems.

Making a paradigm shift in the fight against desertification and drought