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Regional dialogue addresses impacts of drought in Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe

In recent yeas, water scarcity and drought have been seriously affecting the Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe, with major impacts on the economy and welfare of people. To address the growing concern over the negative impacts of water scarcity, national focal points, country representatives and scientists gathered for an online Drought Dialogue on 13 July 2022. Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the dialogue to discuss the development of national drought plans and facilitate the exchange of effective approaches to drought preparedness and drought impact monitoring. Following the UNCCD COP mandate, the secretariat of the convention and the Global Mechanism are implementing a Drought Initiative, with the input from the Science-Policy Interface. The initiative aims to support UNCCD country Parties in their efforts to establish effective national drought action plans and improve the resilience of ecosystem and people to drought. To date, more than 70 countries are engaged in the process of designing national plans of action, including five countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Contributing to these efforts, the outcomes of the Drought Dialogue will support the production of a technical brief that will aim to address the gaps and needs of the region to building drought resilience with available knowledge and solutions. It will also include a number of case studies, initiatives and good practices on drought risk mitigation from a broad range of stakeholders: governmental, non-governmental, private sector, civil society and international organizations. The technical brief will follow the path laid out by the recent Global Land Outlook 2 Central and Eastern Europe thematic report “Ecosystem restoration for green recovery and a sustainable future,” which offers a comprehensive analysis of commitments under international and national initiatives promoting land and ecosystem restoration to address the impacts of drought.

Regional dialogue addresses impacts of drought in Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe
Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought: Call for experts

The Conference of Parties at its fifteenth session (UNCCD COP 15) decided to establish an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on effective policy and implementation measures for addressing drought under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), with a view to presenting its findings and recommendations to Parties for their consideration at the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (UNCCD COP16). The IWG will consist of three-Party representatives nominated by each respective regional group based on nominations by national governments (21 members), plus two representatives from civil society organizations (as observers), two representatives from international organizations working on drought and two independent experts. The IWG invites applications from representatives of the regional and global international organizations and the independent experts from all regions to work together with the IWG members appointed by the Parties in 2022-2024. Please apply by 5 August 2022 via these links:  Independent experts: https://lnkd.in/ekvnVjXZ Representatives of international organizations: https://lnkd.in/eEnfrrbN

Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought: Call for experts
Re-shape policies to transform food systems and end hunger

Nearly 670 million people will still be facing hunger in 2030 – 8 percent of the world population. This is equivalent to the population facing hunger in 2015 when Agenda 2030 was launched. What’s more, access to food is not necessarily leading to healthier eating, mainly because food and agricultural policies are not aligned with delivering healthy food. Governments need to repurpose food and agricultural policies to make healthy diets affordable. This is the conclusion of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022  (SOFI 2022) Report released Tuesday, 5 July 2022, by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). SOFI is published every year to track progress towards reaching the 2030 sustainable development goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms. The latest report presents an update on the situation of hunger and malnutrition around the world. Globally, between 720 million and 828 million people faced hunger in 2021, about 150 million more people since COVID-19 broke out. The last report identified conflict, climate extremes and economic shocks as the key drivers of hunger and malnutrition. To these, SOFI 2022 adds policies that lead to inequality. Policies are no longer having a significant effect in reducing hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, SOFI 2022 states. And in fragile economies, there are constraints to using financial policies to transform agrifood systems. For instance, all over the world, financial support is directed mainly to produce staple foods, such as rice, sugar and meat, not fruits and vegetables. As a result, fruits and vegetables are more expensive and unaffordable. Moreover, food and agricultural policies are not aligned with the promotion of healthy diets. Further, the war in Ukraine is affecting supply chains, in turn raising the costs of fertilizer, energy, and food, such as grains, especially in the first half of 2022. Considering the unfolding challenging economic situation globally, the report states that public-private partnerships are needed to boost investment. However, partnerships require the support of a robust governance system to ensure vulnerable communities benefit, and not powerful industry players. The second edition of the Global Land Outlook (GLO2) released in April 2022 also calls attention to the issue of food insecurity. It spotlights the impacts of modern agriculture on food systems that alter the land and the impacts of globalizing food systems. Global food systems are responsible for 80% of deforestation, 70% of freshwater use, and the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss. The disconnect between where food is produced and consumed is key. In the past, local consumption led to land degradation. Behind this rapid land use change today are the demand for food internationally and for urban communities. GLO2 urges the international community to re-think its global food systems. It calls for a turn to the sustainable management of the land, which experience shows can “both improve the productivity of the land and reduce the cost of food production.” The international community has committed to restore one billion hectares of land by 2030, an area the size of the United States or China. GLO2 points to hundreds of practical ways to carry out the desired ecosystem restoration at local, national and regional levels. This year’s SOFI report is a joint initiative of the FAO, International Food and Agriculture Development (IFAD), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The brief and full reports are now available online.

Re-shape policies to transform food systems and end hunger
Call for CSO panel nominations

Dear representatives of the UNCCD-accredited CSOs,   In the decision 5/COP.15, Parties requested that the Executive Secretary “facilitate the renewal of the membership of the Civil Society Organization Panel until the next Conference of the Parties, starting immediately after that fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties, in accordance with previous decisions.”   Following this request, the secretariat would like to share the attached call for nominations and the information related to the elections. Organizations wishing to nominate representatives to serve as panel members will need to submit the documents stated in section 1 paragraph d of the attached document. The deadline for the submission of candidates is 17 July 2022. Once the candidates have been reviewed and accepted, the election process will be open from 21 July to 4 August 2022. Please share this information with your networks and nominate the best candidate to represent your organization for the next two years. Only organizations accredited to the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD are eligible to nominate candidates.   Please do not hesitate to contact us in case you need any additional information. You can also contact the current CSO panel at csopanel@unccd.int. We look forward to receiving your nominations.

Call for CSO panel nominations
The 15th session of the Committee on Science and Technology convenes at UNCCD COP15 

Announced by the Chair of the CST, Mr. Masuku Bongani from Eswatini, the CST15 of the UNCCD opened on 11 May 2022 with UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw highlighting that science has a unique role in creating sustainable future of land resources by providing evidence, informing the decision makers and mobilizing action.  Mr. Thiaw recognized the commitment of the Bureau of the CST and the Science Policy Interface (SPI) members over the 2020-2021 biennium to enhance the scientific foundation for policy development, as evidenced in the assessments 1) on the role of integrated land use planning and landscape management in achieving Land Degradation Neutrality; 20 on approaches for monitoring and assessment of the resilience of the ecosystems and population to drought and 30 the comprehensive analysis on two IPCC reports. The future work programme of the SPI for 2022-2023 includes assessments on sustainable land use systems and historical regional and global aridity trends and future projections.  In the first plenary of the CST15, after the adoption of the agenda, the Committee on Science and Technology commenced its thematic dialogue with the SPI on the outcomes achieved in the biennium 2020-2021, starting with the evidence resulting from its two assessments on the integrated land use planning and landscape management, and the assessment on resilience of ecosystems and population to drought. To continue work on these two key topics, the CST contact group was established and held its first meeting to discuss the draft decision text to be submitted to the COP for consideration.   On 12 May, the second plenary of the CST continued a thematic dialogue on the SPI’s comprehensive analysis on the IPCC reports. A follow-up plenary discussion reconvened on the issue of science-policy-interfacing modalities, accessibility to and dissemination of the best practices and the proposed SPI future work programme.   The afternoon session of the fourth plenary of the CST15 addressed the joint report by the CST and the CRIC on reporting modalities on land degradation and drought for implementation of the UNCCD Strategic Framework 2018-2030, which guides parties in the next cycle of national reporting. The second topic of the 4th plenary is the procedural matters on the programme work of the CST16. The CST-CRIC joint contact group meeting continues its work on 13 May until completion of all draft decisions. Then the CST contact group will continue its negotiation.  The last plenary of the CST15 is scheduled in the afternoon of 13 May to adopt the report to the COP including the CST draft decisions and the vice chairs of the CST16.  The chair of the CST will be elected at the final meeting of the COP15.  To promote the key role of scientific evidence-based policy-oriented recommendations in UNCCD implementation, drought resilience and sustainable land management, the Science-Policy Interface will be hosting a Science-Day at the UNCCD COP5 Rio Conventions Pavilion on Saturday 14 May.   

The 15th session of the Committee on Science and Technology convenes at UNCCD COP15 
UNCCD and Côte d'Ivoire sign the COP15 host country agreement

The Government of Côte d'Ivoire and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) jointly signed the Host Country Agreement, the official binding protocol between the organization and the country hosting the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD (COP15, May 9-20). During the signing, H. E. Mr. Jean Sansan Kambilé, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, on behalf of H. E. Mrs. Kandia Camara, Minister of Foreign Affairs of African Integration and of the Diaspora of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, underlined the geopolitical importance of hosting this event, stressing the economic benefits of restoring land and its benefits to the local population. Therefore, the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, is particularly relevant on a regional and global scale as it gives the host country the opportunity to set an example for land restoration initiatives across the West Africa region. Highlighting Côte d'Ivoire's leadership, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw, stated that “The Abidjan Legacy Programme is one tangible outcome of UNCCD COP15 that will boost long-term sustainable development across major value chains in Côte d’Ivoire, while protecting and restoring forests and lands and improving communities’ resilience to climate change. Côte d’Ivoire’s leadership in implementing this ambitious and promising programme is a commitment to advancing land restoration. The signing ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, H. E. Mr. Jean-Luc Assi, at the premises of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

UNCCD and Côte d'Ivoire sign the COP15 host country agreement