Science-based solutions and research "priority during COP 11"

17 Sep 2013 04:20
WINDHOEK, 17 SEP (NAMPA) - Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga says science-based solutions and research should receive priority during COP 11 so that Parties can address the food security of people living in degraded lands.
He was speaking during the opening of the 11th Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on the expected outcomes of the event here on Monday.
“We expect that science-based solutions and research will receive priority within the implementation of this convention so that it can enable Parties to have progressive impact-oriented indicators to address real challenges on the ground affecting the livelihoods and food security of people living in degraded lands,” he stressed.
The Convention to Combat Desertification deals with some of the most pertinent issues humankind will face in decades to come.
Drought, land degradation, the unsustainable management of natural resources and climate change negatively impact people’s livelihoods.
Many challenges go along with addressing land degradation, and these challenges are experienced by many countries worldwide on a daily basis
According to Herunga, scientific challenges require answers to the questions of detection and the monitoring of new instances of land degradation.
It also calls for better assessments of existing degradation, appraisal of its severity, and the measures required for subsequent restoration.
Decisions made during COP 11 should also take the UNCCD strategy (2008 to 2018) and the Rio+20 conference held in Brazil in 2012 further in setting targets linked to zero net land degradation, and reducing levels of global land degradation.
World leaders, who gathered at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil during June 2012, agreed on a sustainable goal on land: zero net land degradation.
To achieve this goal, the degradation of productive land should be avoided, and already degraded lands need to be restored.
The proposed goal is underlined by the following targets: zero net land degradation by 2030, zero net forest degradation by 2030, and drought preparedness policies implemented in all drought-prone countries by 2020.
Existing traditional knowledge of land utilisation should not be left out, while innovative new approaches should be included to prevent land degradation.
Herunga thus called on Parties to put the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought mitigation high on the agenda of the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) framework.
Private sector involvement is also a matter of urgency.
“We would also like to encourage greater involvement of and support from the private sector on issues of desertification, land degradation and drought,” he noted.
COP 11 should furthermore explore the setting of clear, simple and achievable targets to help guide the full implementation of the Convention, he added.
Namibia is serving as president of the UNCCD from the opening day of COP 11 until UNCCD COP 12, which is scheduled to take place in 2015.
This two-year term as president offers Namibia the unique opportunity to drive the global agenda on issues of desertification, land degradation and drought.
The conference ends on 27 September 2013.