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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.
Communities all over the world have suffered some of the most brutal effects of drought and flooding this year. Flash floods in western Europe, eastern and central Asia and southern African. And catastrophic drought in Australia, southern Africa, southern Asia, much of Latin America, western North America and Siberia are cases in point. The impacts extend well beyond the individual events. For example, the rise in food insecurity in the southern African region and unprecedented wildfires in North America, Europe and Central Asia. What is going on? This is much more than bad weather in some cases, and is increasingly so. The UNCCD organized an event at COP26, the Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, to focus attention on the land-water-climate nexus. The science and policy responses discussed make it clear that human decisions exacerbated by climate change are significantly – and arguably, catastrophically – amplifying the impact of drought and floods. The discussion encouraged more strategic land use decisions. Decisions that ensure what we do where, and in particular, what we plant where, mitigatesthe impacts of both extremes, be it too much or too little rainfall. It also shed light on how important it is to have healthy soils. Soils that are replete with organic matter will obtain “more crop per drop”, and reduce the risks associated with drought and flooding. Extreme events, including both droughts and floods are on the rise. With more land projected to be get drier and more and more people living in drylandsin the future, the discussions centered on the shift more than 60 countries are making from “reactive” response to droughts and floods to “proactive” planning and risk management designed to build resilience. Participants from Malawi, Pakistan, Honduras, Grenada and Burkina Faso provided concrete examples of policy alignment and cross-sectorial approaches to implementation. Here is a quick overview of the highlights. Read more: Land and drought
As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, one fact has never been more evident – our world, our planet and our lives are inextricably interconnected. There are very few issues that can be considered simply “health problems,” as nearly every aspect of life is connected to other societal, economic and environmental issues. While we recognize the negative impact of tobacco on our health, we tend to think less frequently about the economic impact of tobacco use on health costs and productivity losses. What is even less well known is how tremendously destructive tobacco cultivation and tobacco use is for the environment – on land, water and air.
There is growing evidence of regreening in the Sahel. It is widespread. It cuts across the entire area, and it’s dynamic. In fact, almost all of West Africa is experiencing this regreening that is considered the ultimate weapon in the fight against global warming. Sahelians also growing valuable trees that act as natural air conditioners, provide food and ertilize the land in the Sahel in ways that could be making a difference to resilience that is far better than elsewhere in the world.
UNCCD relies on the input of expert women in implementing its mandate. In particular, the members of our Science-Policy interface (SPI), which guides the application of world-leading science into meaningful and impactful policy that we, our Parties, and our partners can use on the ground. The SPI includes female specialists in desertification, forestry, soil, dust-modelling nd weather extremes. Guided by all these women, the UNCCD continues to strive for a better, more equal world. During the month of March, we are featuring them here: Nichole Barger is an ecologist who works in partnership with diverse entities in the US on land degradation and restoration issues such as the ecological risks of fire mitigation treatments, historical drivers and biogeochemical responses to woody plant encroachment, forest decline and regeneration, and more recently restoration of degraded dryland ecosystems with a specific focus on soil ecology Anna Luise is working in Romeat ISPRA – Institute for the Environmental Protection and Research (Italy’s environmental agency) on issues related to sustainable development at local, national and global level, the assessment of the environmental damage, the monitoring, evaluation and governance issues related to sustainability issues, land degradation and desertification, the analysis of policies and the development of indicators, playing a role of technical support in decision and policymaking processes as well as in the negotiation within the UNCCD. She is Italy’s science and technology correspondent for the convention Everlyne Nairesiae is a social scientist known for her contribution in coordinating and facilitating global networks, development of global methodologies and tools for land governance, including monitoring of land in the SDGs and impact evaluation; research and analytical frameworks and strategies for mainstreaming gender in natural resource governance and management; and capacity development for governments, CSOs and other actors. Caroline King-Okumu's expertise includes work on institutional, policy and economic aspects of global environmental challenges with focus on land, water and climate-related issues in the global drylands, especially in Africa. She works with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology on international development issues and business cases for the environment. Katrin Ehlert is an environmental scientist with over eight years research and consultancy experience in the field of soil protection in the context of agricultural usages, soil and water quality assessments and environmental impact studies. Katrin is part of tech support unit at the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) which works with stakeholders globally and on all levels to develop drought early warning systems and policies Karma Dema Dorji serves as the Programme Director of the National Soil Services Centre in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in Bhutan which works on sustainable aspects of soil and land management to achieve food security and protect the country’s pristine environment. As the national focal point for UNCCD, Ms. Dorji oversees the fulfillment of the Convention’s requirements, including the development of the national action program to combat land degradation and national reporting Marijana Kapović Solomun is a member of UNCCD Roster of experts, LDN national expert for Bosnia and Herzegovina and expert for the national drought management plan. Dr. Kapović Solomun has broad international and national experience in scientific projects, as leader or expert for soil, land degradation and forestry, who published significant number of scientific papers Read more: UNCCD Science-Policy Interface