A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations
The fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 14) agreed to increase and further elaborate action on the ground to ensure that the Convention’s goals for 2018-2030 are achieved. During the closing plenary, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw highlighted four key messages from the meeting:
• Land restoration is the cheapest solution to climate change and biodiversity loss;
• Land restoration makes business sense if regulations and incentives to reward investment are in place;
• Drought preparedness and response are critical in the face of climate change; and
• To put people first is to ensure gender balance, engage youth, and secure land rights.
One of the central themes of the COP 14 high-level segment on 9-10 September, was how to build momentum towards a global movement on land restoration. Six ministerial roundtables and high level interactive dialogues took place over the two days, addressing, among others, land issues related to: climate and renewable energy, rural and urban communities, ecosystem restoration, health, and values-based approaches. The high-level segment also included dialogues with representatives of civil society organizations, youth, and private sector.
The COP adopted over 30 decisions on, among other topics: how to implement four thematic policy frameworks addressing drought, gender, sand and dust storms, and desertification, land degradation, and drought (DLDD) as a driver for migration. The COP also agreed to include land tenure as a new thematic area under the Convention. After lengthy negotiations on drought, delegates agreed, subject to the availability of resources, to establish an intergovernmental working group to explore effective policy and implementation measures for addressing drought under the UNCCD.
The UNCCD’s two subsidiary bodies, the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) and the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC), convened in parallel to the COP. Building on a series of landmark global assessments published in the lead up to COP 14, including the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment and its Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, the CST adopted six decisions addressing, inter alia: guidance for developing a global indicator on drought; interfacing science and policy; and sharing knowledge.
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