25 Sep 2013 08:50
WINDHOEK, 25 SEP (NAMPA) - Lithuania's Minister of Environment, Valentinas Mazuronis has commended the Namibian Government for the well-organised Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) underway in the capital.
The UNCCD is the only legally binding instrument which addresses desertification, land degradation and drought.
We thank the Namibian Government for hosting this important event in the beautiful city of Windhoek, he said while speaking to Nampa on Tuesday, immediately after delivering his speech at the High Level Segment of COP 11.
The conference is well organised and gives level opportunities and conditions to all participants, from conference hall to side event rooms, he indicated.
Mazuronis, who is also the current president of the Environment Council of the European Union (EU), was in Namibia to participate in the High Level Segment of the COP 11 which commenced on Monday. He returned to Lithuania on Tuesday.
About 45 officials from the General Environment Directorate of the European Commission, as well as ministers and senior representatives from EU member states, are attending the conference.
COP 11 is being held under the theme A stronger UNCCD for a Land-Degradation Neutral World.
The topics under discussion include land degradation and desertification.
Mazuronis said all these issues are connected to each other and once it affects one country, the whole world is affected.
He said the COP 11 event is taking place at a time when serious drought and desertification is taking place in Namibia, in large parts of Africa, and in the rest of the world.
I would like to underline that this COP 11 takes place at a very crucial time in the life of the Convention. I anticipate that parties will put much effort in here in Windhoek in discussing and agreeing on the challenges. I strongly believe in our joint work to fight desertification, land degradation and drought. We have to place sustainable land management much more centrally in our development efforts, he stated.
He said he hopes agreements will be reached on the implementation of the decisions to be taken during the gathering.
We have to act quickly to solve the problem of land degradation and desertification, he said.
Mazuronis indicated that if the world successfully combats desertification, everybody in the world will have land and enough food.
This problem has no borders, we have one task, one goal - to combat desertification and land degradation. I am optimistic about the future, he noted.
He explained that desertification causes serious consequences for food security, biodiversity and health, thus testing the resilience of affected populations.
The challenges still remain great although significant progress has been made, in particular in the context of the Rio+20 outcome document where we expressed our common desire to fight desertification and to achieve a land degradation-neutral world, he indicated.
COP 11 ends on Friday.
The High Level Segment of the conference amongst others involved the input of ministers and other key stakeholders into the UNCCD.