21 Sep 2013 08:40
WINDHOEK, 21 SEP (NAMPA) - Political parties should include the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Land-Degradation Neutral World (LDNW) goals in their manifestos and other policy documents as a matter of priority.
This declaration was made on Saturday by Members of Parliament (MPs) from around the world during the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) underway here.
After a two-day meeting, the MPs issued a Draft Declaration on The role of MPs in efforts to combat desertification, land degradation and drought: Parliamentary contributions to achieving a land-degradation neutral world in the context of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
Speaking during the event, Swapo-Party MP Ben Amathila said only political parties with representation in Parliaments should be held accountable for the implementation of the Convention and LDNW goals.
Established in 1994, the UNCCD is the sole legally-binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
In its 10-year strategy (2008-2018) which was adopted in 2007, Parties to the Convention further specified their goals, among others, to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification, land degradation, and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas in order to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
According to the Draft Declaration issued by the MPs, there is also a need to establish a national network of MPs in a parliamentary focal point on issues relating to UNCCD, if not already in place.
It further said MPs should contribute towards making the UNCCD the global leading authority on land and soil and desertification, land degradation and drought, and to help establish an intergovernmental plan or platform on land and soil.
The declaration also seeks to promote an agreement of a new legal instrument such as a Protocol on LDNW to provide the UNCCD with a global monitoring framework to focus efforts and empower the international community to act with the speed and scale required to address this issue.
The 195 parties of the Convention work together to improve the living conditions of people in dry-lands, maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.