UNCCD-COP 10 : a lot of innovation both in the actions proposed and the way parties interact among themselves (Google / UNEP)

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Desertification Convention breaks new ground

“This session will be remembered as the session that has brought a lot of innovation both in the actions proposed and the way parties interact among themselves. We have brought together the pieces that will enable the engine called science to move this process forward. We have dealt with knotty issues of institutional governance. The COP’s high level segment showed an unmatched level of political will and there is a renewed spirit of international cooperation,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja.

Some of the COP10 achievements mark a first among the three environmental conventions of climate change, biodiversity and desertification that emerged from Rio in 1992.

Speaking at the end of the two week COP in Changwon City on Saturday morning, Mr. Gnacadja commended the parties for agreeing on a set of tools to measure the impact of their work, a first for the Rio Conventions, and the frameworks to address the foremost effects of climate change, food security and gender among the affected populations.

“We have brought on board this process, business community, which is part of the problem, but can be a greater part of the solution, and we have put forward a strong message for the Rio+20 process to ensure sustainable land management is a cornerstone of the green economy,” he added.

Mr. Gnacadja said the COP10 outcomes will have a positive impact on the situation of the over 1.5 billion people who directly depend on degrading land for their livelihoods, and on the ecosystems affected by land degradation. Every year, 12 million hectares of land are lost through desertification and drought.

Policy-making in the climate change and biodiversity Convention processes is backed by a strong independent science and knowledge community. Without a similar mechanism, policy-making in the desertification and land degradation process has often faltered. Progress has also been constrained by an institutional governance arrangement that has the left parties divided on crucial questions such as the accountability and financing of its bodies, and the support they give to affected developing country Parties. Both challenges were largely addressed at COP10.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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