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Bonn, 15 August 2022 – Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), welcomed the announcement of Grenada’s former minister for climate resilience and the environment Simon Stiell as the next Executive Secretary to lead the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Stiell’s appointment was announced earlier today by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres following the endorsement by the UNFCCC Bureau. Ibrahim Thiaw, who in addition to his ongoing functions as UNCCD Executive Secretary has also served as UNFCCC Acting Executive Secretary since 17 July 2022 and was a member of the team that pre-selected Simon Stiell, said: “I warmly congratulate Simon Stiell on his appointment and look forward to his leadership in the years ahead and to working closely with him in preparing for the crucial UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh this November. As someone who hails from a vulnerable Caribbean island nation, Simon Stiell knows first-hand the profound and immediate impacts of climate change on finite land and water resources. At a time when we are seeing record-breaking heatwaves, severe droughts and devastating wildfires across many parts of the world, we must more than ever unite our efforts to build resilience and protect people and planet.”. “Land and climate are inextricably linked. Sustainable land management can be a big part of the climate solution that can help keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees—we cannot afford to miss this chance. Every fraction of a degree of temperature rise is a matter of life and death to millions, especially the most vulnerable people. Yet, no nation is immune, and all nations can work together to restore land and boost resilience to drought,” Mr Thiaw added. For more information, contact: UNCCD Press Office, Tel.: +49-228-815-2820 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org About UNCCD 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.
MEDIA ADVISORY Rising up from drought together is Spain’s call for Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June Bonn/Madrid, 13 June 2022 - Spain, one of the European countries most vulnerable to drought and water shortages linked to climate change, is hosting this year’s global observance of Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June. The event titled, “Rising up from drought together,” will take place at the Auditorio Museo Nacional Reina Sofia in Madrid. Drought is the theme for the Day this year. Media are invited to participate at the event organized by the Government of Spain and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), where renown scientists, issue experts, youth representatives and high-level policymakers from Spain and around the world will speak about: the role of science based on the drought risks identified for different climate change scenarios success stories of drought mitigation and adaptation in Spain and other countries. viable drought policies and their components Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain, Alain-Richard Donwahi, President of UNCCD COP15, Côte d'Ivoire, Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and Patricia Kombo, UNCCD Land Hero from Kenya are among the notable speakers (see full list below). Droughts are increasing in frequency and severity up 29 percent since 2000 and affecting an estimated 55 million people every year, according to the latest Drought in Numbers report from UNCCD. By 2050, drylands may cover between 50 to 60 percent of all land, with an estimated three-quarters of the world’s population living in these areas under conditions of severe water scarcity. The Horn of Africa, for example, is in its fourth year of drought. A similar drought in Southern Africa five years ago put 20 million people on the verge of starvation. This year Chile marked a record-breaking 13th year of drought. A prolonged drought in the United States that started in 2000 is the country’s driest period in over 1200 years. In the lead up to the 2022 Desertification and Drought Day, UNCCD launched Droughtland, a public awareness campaign featuring a fictional drought-stricken nation, to showcase solutions and rally global action to boost drought resilience. Detailed information, which includes the programme, media resources and background documents to facilitate coverage of the event, is provided below. Venue Auditorio Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Rondo de Atocha, Madrid, Spain. Webcast Link: https://bit.ly/3Nw1Wgt (in the floor language) Streaming through Twitter and Facebook: @unccd Time Friday, 17 June 2022 11:00-14:00 hrs (CEST) /09:00-12:00 (GMT/UTC) Invited speakers Mr. Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain (Prime Minister) Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Alain-Richard Donwahi, President of UNCCD COP15, Côte d'Ivoire Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Ms. Teresa Ribera, Third Vice-President of the government and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Spain Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Ms. Skumsa Ntshanga, Ag. Deputy Director-General, Biodiversity and Conservation Branch, Ministry of Forests, Fisheries and Environment, South Africa Ms. Patricia Kombo, founder of the PaTree Initiative and UNCCD Land Hero Ms. María Jesús Rodríguez de Sancho, General Director of Biodiversity, Forestry and Desertification, Spain Mr. Pilar Paneque, leader of the Spanish Citizen Observatory of Drought and Professor of Human Geography, Pablo de Olavide University of Seville, Spain Ms. Attia Rafla, Director for Soil Resources. Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries of Tunisia. Ms. Elena López Gunn, Chief Executive Officer, ICATALIST. Associate professor at IE Business School and collaborator of the Water Observatory, the Botín Foundation and the Basque Center for Climate Change, Spain Mr. Mark Svoboda, Director of the National Center for Drought Monitoring in the United States Background Drought in Numbers, released on 11 May at the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP15) calls for making a full global commitment to drought preparedness and resilience in all global regions a top priority. The report was issued just days before The State of the Global Climate 2021 report released May 2022 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). According to the report, the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, and drought affected many parts of the world, including the Horn of Africa, Canada, the western United States, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Türkiye. Drought resilience was a top agenda item at UNCCD COP15. Countries agreed to boost drought resilience, and identified some of the key actions. They will identify the areas that could turn into drylands, improve national policies, including on early warning, monitoring and assessment, learn and share knowledge, build partnerships and coordinate action, and mobilize drought finance. In addition, they will set up an Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought for 2022-2024 to look into possible options, including global policy instruments and regional policy frameworks, to support a shift from reactive to proactive drought management. The Working Group reports released earlier this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of the Sixth Assessment Report warn that we have up to 2030 to take actions to get us on track to staying within a temperature rise of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Warming above that level would have catastrophic impacts on both people and the planet. Notes to Editors International journalists travelling to Spain to cover the event need be registered, and should email: email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of your valid press card and passport will be required to pick your access card. Download various materials here (https://bit.ly/3xd4IjC): b-roll on the drought in Eastern Africa (https://bit.ly/3Pw6ULm). Credit UNCCD. human interest stories gathered in March 2022 in Turkana County, Kenya (https://bit.ly/3m7NoaG). Credit UNCCD. Images of drought impacts in Northern Kenya (https://bit.ly/39aWW1w). Credit UNCCD. Videos and assets from the Droughtland campaign (https://bit.ly/3zvCfsb) Credit UNCCD Images of the event in Spain will be uploaded here (https://bit.ly/3xBtCuI). Social Media Twitter: @TourDroughtland Instagram: @TourDroughtland Hashtags: #Nodroughtland #UNited4Land Download social media assets, including banners, infographics, cartoons and postcards: https://bit.ly/3PZBzAX Learn more about the campaign: droughtland.com For information about Desertification and Drought Day visit: https://www.unccd.int/2022-desertification-and-drought-day For information about Desertification and Drought Day events in Spain and around the world, contact Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, UNCCD: email@example.com For media related inquires: On site contact: Alejandro Gomez, firstname.lastname@example.org Virtually: Wagaki Wischnewski, email@example.com, +49 173 268 7593 (m) About UNCCD 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.
Fueled by climate change, land degradation and drought, sand and dust storms (SDS) have dramatically increased in recent years, affecting communities thousands of miles away from the place of origin. In the areas where they originate, SDS can damage crops, kill livestock and strip topsoil, while distant areas are affected by atmospheric dust and surface dust deposits, which affect human health as well as disrupt transportation, supply chains and power networks. The urgent need to address the growing effects of SDS on our health, economy and environment has led UNCCD and its partners to develop a comprehensive Sand and dust storms compendium: Information and guidance on assessing and addressing risks, launched during the SDS Day at UNCCD COP15. Created with the help of over 50 experts, national focal points and UN agencies, the new compendium complements the UNCCD policy and advocacy framework for the effective management and understanding of the SDS issues. “It is critically important to bring more attention to SDS. Today is about understanding that SDS is a global phenomenon that has effect on our economies, health and environment, and not just in the drylands. SDS is directly related to land degradation and can be addressed through sustainable land management and by achieving land degradation neutrality.” -- UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Andrea Meza Murillo The Compendium is an in-depth reference source for SDS management, offering information on SDS modeling and forecasting, as well as on policies and practices to effectively manage SDS and reduce the harmful effects of SDS events. The compendium summary for decision makers is now available on the UNCCD website in six official UN languages, together with the full English version of the new publication. The next UNCCD key contribution to the SDS knowledge base will be the SDS toolbox. It is being developed in collaboration with the partners from the United Nations Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms (SDS Coalition) launched at UNCCD COP14 in 2019. Depending on the needs of the user, the interactive toolbox will guide them to approaches and tools they can deploy to improve awareness of SDS hazards, effectively manage SDS impacts and design practical and proactive steps to successfully implement SDS-related projects.
Drought, with a focus on early action to prevent disastrous outcomes, is the theme of the Desertification and Drought Day marked on 17 June 2022. The global observance of the event will take place in Madrid, Spain, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has announced. Announcing the theme of 2022 Desertification and Drought Day “Rising up from drought together”, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “Droughts have been part of human and natural systems, but what we are experiencing now is much worse, largely due to human activity. Recent droughts point at a precarious future for the world. Food and water shortages as well as wildfires caused by the severe drought have all intensified in recent years.” Between 1900 and 2019, droughts impacted 2.7 billion people in the world, and caused 11.7 million deaths. Currently, forecasts estimate that by 2050 droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population. “Spain is honoured to be hosting this year’s Desertification and Drought Day that puts the global spotlight on the urgent issue of drought. Drought is not just the absence of rain; it is often fueled by land degradation and climate change. Together, we can overcome its devastating effects on people and nature around the world and start preparing now to drought-proof our future,” said Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. The latest scientific assessments projecting more frequent and more severe droughts in the future and evidence of their increasing impacts has prompted governments to focus on more robust and predictable international commitment and action. Since 2017, the UNCCD and its partners supported about 70 drought-prone countries to develop national action plans to reduce drought disasters. Among the top priorities of the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD (COP15) taking place from 9-20 May 2022 Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Parties will discuss on the way forward for drought preparedness and resilience globally. Officially declared by the UN General Assembly in 1997 (Resolution A/RES/49/115), the annual Desertification and Drought Day has three objectives. First, to promote public awareness about desertification and drought. Second, to let people know that desertification and drought can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. Lastly, to strengthen implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Download campaign assets here. Share your DDDay event with us by sending a brief one paragraph description with an event photo or a poster to firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Desertification and Drought Day 2022, visit: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day or contact: Xenya Scanlon, UNCCD Chief of Communications Email: email@example.com
Dr. Muralee Thummarukudy of India has been appointed as the Director of the Coordination Office of the G20 Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats based at UNCCD headquarters in Bonn, Germany. Dr. Thummarukudy brings to this position over three decades of progressive senior management experience and technical expertise in land restoration issues. He has most recently served as the acting Head of the Disasters and Conflicts Programme at the United Nations Environment Programme, where he implemented a portfolio of over 100 million USD, focusing on ecosystem-based disaster reduction and partnership development. An internationally renowned expert in disaster response, he played a key role in addressing the environmental aftermath of many major conflicts and disasters, implementing projects in over 35 countries. Prior to joining the United Nations, Dr. Thummarukudy served as Environmental Advisor to Shell Group in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. He was also a Beahr’s fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Thummarukudy is also a well-known author in his native Malayalam language.
Requested in The COP 13 as part of the Drought Initiative, the toolbox is being designed to provide drought stakeholders with easy access to tools, case studies and other resources to support the design of National Drought Policy Plan with the aim to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems to drought. The Drought Toolbox is currently being developed as part of the Drought Initiative through the close partnership among UNCCD, WMO, FAO, GWP, the Joint Research Centre of the European Union, the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) of the University of Nebraska, and UNEP-DHI.