Canada's withdrawal from UNCCD takes centre stage at MP meeting

23 Sep 2013 08:30
WINDHOEK, 23 SEP (NAMPA) - Canada’s withdrawal from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in March this year took centre stage during the tenth round table meeting of Members of Parliament (MPs) on Saturday.
MPs discussed the draft declaration of their role in the efforts to combat desertification, land degradation and drought during their meeting which ran parallel with the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the UNCCD currently taking place here.
Before adopting the draft declaration, some MPs suggested that Canada’s withdrawal should be dealt with as a matter of urgency. They also felt that MPs should pursue policy makers from that country to change their minds and to not withdraw from the UNCCD.
The UNCCD is the only legally binding instrument which addresses desertification, land degradation and drought. Canada was one of the first countries to sign the UNCCD in 1994 and it was the first to walk away.
Mouhamadou Mansour Ndiaye, who is the special assistant to the UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja, was however quick to point out that Canada took the decision in line with Article 38 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
Article 38, which deals with withdrawal, indicates that at any time after three years from the date on which the Convention has entered into force for a party, that party may withdraw from the Convention by giving written notification to the depositary; and any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal.
“It is regrettable and surprising to the UNCCD. Canada was very active since the inception of the UNCCD and some of its officials played very important roles in the convention,” he stressed.
He told MPs he believes the decision taken by that country to withdraw would be reconsidered at some point in time.
In a media statement issued by the UNCCD just after Canada’s announcement to withdraw in March this year, UNCCD stated that its institutions work with all stakeholders will continue to safeguard the key resource base for food, water and energy security, and to sharply reduce poverty and build the resilience of rural ecosystems to expected climatic shocks like droughts.
“With the current momentum around soil nutrient conservation, land restoration and drought mitigation, and as governments, scientists, businesses and civil society around the world take proactive steps to move the Rio+20 outcomes forward, we believe Canada will seize every opportunity to support efforts to sustain the implementation of the Convention for the good of present and future generations,” it noted.