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Fourth Special Session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-4) and
UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference

9-12 March 2015 | Cancún, Mexico


Highlights for Tuesday, 10 March 2015

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Daily Web CoverageAbout | 9 Mar | 10 Mar | 11 Mar | 12 Mar | Summary
A view of the Cancún Center Conventions & Exhibitions, venue of the events (photo courtesy of the Cancún Center Conventions & Exhibitions)

Venue of the conference

On Tuesday morning, 10 March 2015, Matthias Magunda, CST Bureau member and National Agricultural Research Institution, Uganda, opened the second day of the UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference and chaired a session on responses to desertification and land degradation through land-based approaches to adaptation. Richard Thomas, Dryland Systems CGIAR Research Program Director, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Jordan, delivered a keynote address on ways to enhance responses through collaboration. He noted that the main objective should be concentrated on reducing poverty and increasing food security through sustainable land management practices. He urged participants to adopt systems approaches that include comprehensive understanding, diagnosis and decision making in order to transition to research-for-development communities. Thomas emphasized that breakthroughs in science will not come from traditional scientists; they will come through interdisciplinary science.

Also during the morning, five parallel workshops considered poster presentations that scientists had prepared on the workshop topics, followed by a discussion among workshop participants on recommendations for further action. The workshops considered the following themes: Crops, livestock, genetics and seed systems; Agro-ecosystems; Soil and water issues; Knowledge and knowledge transfer; and Desertification, land degradation and restoration.

Mariam Akhtar-Schuster, Member, Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), Member, UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI), and Coordinator, Advisory Board of DesertNet International, chaired an afternoon plenary on the role of local knowledge in addressing land degradation, desertification and drought, during which Úrsula Oswald Spring, Professor, Regional Multidisciplinary Research Centre, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), gave a keynote address. Underscoring the interconnections between climate change, biodiversity loss and water stress, Oswald Spring presented on how indigenous and peasant societies in Latin America have combatted land degradation and called for integrated management of land, soil, water, food, biodiversity and human settlements that uses biocultural knowledge and builds on preventive conflict resolution. She concluded by highlighting the need for HUman, Gender and Environmental security, or ‘HUGE security’ that requires a systemic approach dealing with the nexus of water, energy, biodiversity and food.

At the close of the day, rapporteurs for the workshops on Monday and Tuesday reported on the discussions and recommendations from each workshop. Also on Tuesday, seven side events convened, allowing participants to consider topics such as “Making a network of networks work to achieve land degradation neutrality: improving UNCCD stakeholders’ use of scientific knowledge,” “The use of satellite data to measure and monitor land degradation over time at multiple scales,” “The Global Land Outlook” and “COP 12 in Turkey and Turkish Experiences in Combating Desertification.”


UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference

Matthias Magunda, Vice-Chair CST, Uganda

Richard Thomas, Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Jordan

Participants during plenary

Jose Jacobo, FEMAT, Mexico

Zalia Yacouba and Adamou Didier Tidjani, University of Niamey, Niger



Workshop 2.1: Crops, livestock, genetics and seed system


María Guadalupe Santiago Martínez, Tlaxcala University, Mexico, presenting her research

Laura Antonia Prill, University of Hamburg, Germany

Participants during the workshop

William Albert Payne, University of Nevada, Reno, US


Workshop 2.2: Agro-ecosystems

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Vivek Saxena, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India

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Krishnamurthy Laksmi Reddiar, Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Mexico


Yair Levi, Entrepreneurs Sans Frontières, and Giovanna Seddaiu, Desertification Research Centre

Lindsay Stringer, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK

Workshop 2.3: Soil and water issues

Martial Bernaux, Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), France

Participants during the workshop on soil and water issues

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Graciela Metternicht, University of New South Wales, Australia

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Raul Ponce-Hernandez, Trent University, Canada


Workshop 2.4: Knowledge and knowledge transfer

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Workshop facilitator Ursula Oswald Spring, Professor at the Regional Multidisciplinary Research Centre, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and workshop rapporteurs Patrice Burger, Centre d'actions et de réalisations internationales (CARI), and Bernard Hubert, Chair of the STK4D consortium and President of Agropolis International, Montpellier, France

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Sandra Piesik, Research & Development Group Eco-systems, UK

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Marjolaine Fages, Ecole Supérieure d'Agriculture d'Angers, France

Workshop 2.5: Desertification, land degradation and restoration

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German Kust, Moscow Lomonosov University, Russia

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Hukmatullo Mahmudovich Ahmadov, Tajik Soil Sciences Institute, Gulchekhra Khasankhanova, UZGIP Institute, Uzbekistan and, Yerlan Zhumabayev, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Kazakhstan

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Hukmatullo Mahmudovich Ahmadov, Tajik Soil Sciences Institute

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Hans Günter Brauch, Peace Research and European Security (AFES-PRESS)

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Ozden Gorucu, Sutcu Imam University, Turkey

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Apel Ulrich, GEF


The role of local knowledge in addressing land degradation, desertification and drought

Session Chair Mariam Akhtar-Schuster, SAC and SPI Member, Coordinator of the Advisory Board of DesertNet International, CST Chair Uriel Safriel, Emeritus Professor of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and Sangeeta Shama, UNCCD Secretariat

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Ursula Oswald Spring presented the keynote speech for the session

Side Events

Compton "Jim" Tucker, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, presenting at the side event on "The use of satellite data to measure and monitor land degradation over time at multiple scales," organized by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility

Participants at the side event on "Making a network of networks work to achieve land degradation neutrality: improving UNCCD stakeholders’ use of scientific knowledge," organized by DesertNet International (DNI)

Participants at the side event on "The Global Land Outlook" listen as Ian Johnson introduces the project.

Dais at the side event on "COP 12 in Turkey and Turkish Experiences in Combating Desertification" (L-R): Erdogan Ozevren, UNCCD National Focal Point for Turkey; Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary; Ibrahim Ciftci, Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, Turkey; Ozden Gorucu, Science and Technology Correspondent for Turkey; Hakki Emrah Erdogan, General Director of Agrarian Reform, Turkey; and Sule Ozevren, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock

Around the Venue

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Omer Sebat, UNCCD Secretariat

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Marcos Montoiro, UNCCD Secretariat with local staff


Daily Web CoverageAbout | 9 Mar | 10 Mar | 11 Mar | 12 Mar | Summary