UNCCD COP 11 a resounding success: Gnacadja

30 Sep 2013 07:00
WINDHOEK, 30 SEP (NAMPA) - COP 11 has approved a two-year core budget of Euros 16,1 million (about N.dollars 220 million) and invited the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to increase its support for land degradation.
This is one of the outcomes of the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (COP 11) as presented in a media statement after the event ended here on Saturday morning.
“COP 11 approved a two-year core budget of Euros 16,1 million - a zero nominal budget. The Global Environment Facility was invited to increase its support to the land focal area, and take coordinated action at all levels to monitor land degradation and the restoration of degraded lands in the drylands,” the statement noted.
The outgoing Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, Luc Gnacadja was quoted in the statement as describing the event as ‘a resounding success’, saying it has lived up to its motto, which was “A stronger UNCCD for a land degradation- neutral world”.
“COP has taken concrete steps to make the UNCCD the global authority on science relating to desertification, land degradation and drought, moving away from a focus on processes towards real substance,” he stated.
Namibian Environment and Tourism Minister and COP 11 president Uahekua Herunga said the conference had strengthened the UNCCD as an agent of sustainable development, and applauded the Parties for moving towards the establishment of a science-policy interface.
During the event Herunga issued the ‘Namib Declaration on a stronger United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification for a land degradation-neutral world’, which calls on stakeholders to commit to enhancing sustainable land management and improving livelihood at all levels.
The declaration outlines action to strengthen the UNCCD leadership for ‘The Future We Want’; address drought mitigation as a matter of priority; advance the science-policy interface; focus on local communities; engage with the private sector; and empower women.
The United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, was hosted by Brazil last year. It was the third international conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community.
The main result of that conference was the non-binding document ‘The Future We Want’, in which Heads of State of the 192 governments in attendance renewed their political commitment to sustainable development.
Saturday’s statement also said after institutional reforms undertaken at COP 10 in the Republic of Korea in 2011, which consolidated the management of the Convention’s global mechanism and secretariat, COP 11 decided to co-locate the two in Bonn, Germany, with a liaison office situated in Rome, Italy.
According to the statement, the Science Policy Interface (SPI), a mechanism which scientists have long called for to enable them to communicate scientific findings to policy-makers, was also established.
The SPI’s functions are often compared to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, but it will be structured differently.
The parties agreed to set up an Intergovernmental Working Group on the follow-up to the outcomes of Rio+20, with three key tasks: to identify a science-based definition of land-degradation neutrality in the dry-lands; to develop options that parties may consider to strive to achieve land-degradation neutrality; and to advise the Convention on their implications for its current and future strategy and programmes.
To fast-track the start of the third Conference, which will be held early in 2015, the Republic of Korea contributed US dollars 100 000 (about N.dollars 1 million), as part of the 2013 Changwon initiative implementation plan.
Over 3 000 delegates, including 45 ministerial participants, attended the two-week COP.
The next COP will be held in Turkey in 2015.