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New York, United States, 31 January 2012 – On 24th January 2012, Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes, Drylands Ambassador visited the New York Liaison Office of the UNCCD. She was accompanied by Brenda C. Mendoza, Director, Public Relations from the Miss Universe Organisation. This is the first visit by Miss Universe to the UNCCD secretariat since her appointment as Drylands Ambassador. She was received by the officer in charge Ms. Nandhini Iyer Krishna who is also a joint staff of the UNCCD and CBD. Miss Universe received a detailed briefing on the work of the UNCCD Convention secretariat, and the importance of issues relating to Drought, Land Degradation and Desertification as part of her assumption of her duties as Drylands Ambassador. Miss Lopes is the first Miss Universe to be appointed as Drylands Ambassador and in that capacity will take a lead in raising international awareness about desertification, land degradation and drought, causes and possible solutions. Miss Lopes comes from the African region where desertification, is the foremost environmental challenge. Part of her home country of Angola is threatened by desertification. She hopes to advance the cause by promoting a land degradation neutral world. By ensuring that land we lose due to degradation is compensated by the land we reclaim or improve we can make sure that we are good stewards of the land for future generations for whom we hold it in trust.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 13 January 2012 – The United Nations has released the draft document that will be negotiated by governments and adopted by the heads of state and government during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June 2012. The 20-page document, which will serve as a decision-making framework, highlights national and international political determination to pursue a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. The zero draft, as it is referred to, calls for enhanced support by the international community in the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The document recognizes the economic and social significance of land and its impact on growth, food security and poverty eradication. It highlights the intensity of land degradation and desertification on most of Africa’s arable land as a serious challenge to sustainable development. The zero draft also highlights the need to support partnerships and initiatives for the safeguarding of soil resources and scientific studies aimed at raising global awareness of the economic benefits of sustainable land management. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hopes that the UNCSD, popularly known as Rio Plus 20 (Rio+20), would result in an agreement with Sustainable Development Goals. The UNCCD has called for Rio+20 to put an end to the unrelenting pace of land degradation by agreeing on a goal and target. The draft also outlines the urgent need for the engagement of all major stakeholders – civil society, governments and private sector – in order to eradicate poverty, achieve food security, guarantee effective water and energy management, public health, inclusive and equitable growth. Notes to Editors: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20, will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The Conference will result in a political document, which will renew political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and address new and emerging challenges.
Bonn, Germany, 25 January 2012 – The Minister of Rural Development and Agriculture of Cape Verde, Ms. Eva Ortet, visited the secretariat on 23 January 2012. During the exchange with the Executive Secretary the discussion focused on the significant efforts and successes achieved by the Rep. of Cape Verde in the areas of reforestation, land reclamation and the integrated management of scarce water resources. They also discussed preparatory activities at the Rio + 20 Summit (June 2012), and the possible role of the CPLP countries that are all facing desertification, land degradation and recurrent droughts.
25 January 2012, Bonn, Germany, 25 January 2012 – Hon. Dr. Haroun Kabadi, President of the National Assembly of Chad and recently elected Chair of the Steering Committee of the UNCCD Parliamentarian Forum was joined by Madame Khadidja Hassaballah and Mr. Keda Ballah, Members of the National Assembly for in-depth discussions with Luc Gnacadja at the UNCCD secretariat. The consultation covered practical measures needed to follow up on the declaration made by the 9th Parliamentarian Round Table, held at COP 10 in Changwon; upcoming activities of the Steering Committee of the Parliamentarian Forum; the role of the UNCCD at UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) and operationalization of the Convention in Chad.