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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 Monday, 9 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)

Dais during the opening of the fourth special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST-S4 )

On Monday morning, 9 March 2015, Chair Uriel Safriel (Israel) opened the fourth special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-4) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), noting that combining a scientific conference with a meeting of policy-making country representatives is unique to the UNCCD process, and expressing high expectations for the forthcoming recommendations. Three opening speakers – Roberto Borge Angulo, Governor of the State of Quintana Roo, Jorge Rescala Perez, General Director of the Mexican National Forestry Commission, and UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut – welcomed participants and drew attention to some of the challenges presented by desertification, land degradation and drought. They highlighted that 5 million people are affected annually by drought, food demand is expected to increase by 60% by 2050, 75% of poorest people live in rural areas and are fully dependent on land, 2.5 billion people live on small farms and depend entirely on agriculture for survival, and 12 million hectares of land are lost annually due to land degradation, compounded by a 2% decline in agriculture as a result of climate change.

Following a short break, participants reconvened as the UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference. The Conference is convening from 9-12 March, and focusing on the theme, “Combating desertification/land degradation and drought for poverty reduction and sustainable development: the contribution of science, technology, traditional knowledge and practices.” On the first day of the Scientific Conference, participants engaged in its theme through keynote speeches, poster presentations and workshops on themes addressed in the research presented in the posters. Participants continued their discussions during an evening reception, hosted by the Government of Mexico. The Scientific Conference will continue from Tuesday to Thursday, following which the CST S-4 will reconvene to consider the outcomes from the four-day meeting in Cancun, Mexico.


Fourth Special Session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-4)

Jorge Rescala Perez, General Director, National Forestry Commission, Mexico

UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Monique Barbut

Participants applauding the speakers during the opening plenary

Roberto Borge Angulo, Governor, State of Quintana Roo, Mexico



UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference

Dais during the opening of the UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference


Tarja Halonen, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, and former President of Finland

William Albert Payne, Chair, Conference Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), Dean and Professor, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, University of Nevada, US


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Victor Castillo, Coordinator, Knowledge Management, Science and Technology, UNCCD Secretariat

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Uriel Safriel, Chair, Committee on Science and Technology


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Mark Reed, Director, Knowledge ExCHANGE Research Centre, Birmingham City University, UK

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Bernard Hubert, Chair, Scientific and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development (STK4SD) Consortium, and President, Agropolis International, France


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Uriel Safriel, Chair, Committee on Science and Technology, presenting a keynote address

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Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Brazil

Raja Omer, Ministry of Climate Change, Pakistan

Dmitry Maksimychev, Russian Federation

Xiangning Xiao, University of Oklahoma, US

Peter van der Vliet, Netherlands

Raafar Fahmy Misak, Egypt


Workshop 1.1: Climate Change

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Workshop 1.2: Environmental and ecological set up

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Workshop 1.3: Food security, agriculture, pastoralism


Workshop 1.4: Socio-economics

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Workshop 1.5: Integrated methodology and policy making

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Press Conference

Wagaki Wischnewski, UNCCD Secretariat, Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary, Jorge Rescala Perez, General Director, National Forestry Commission, Mexico, and Tarja Halonen, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador



Reception hosted by the Government of Mexico


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The Earth Negotiations Bulletin team with the UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut: L:R Angeles Estrada, Lynn Wagner, Pia Kohler, Wangu Mwangi and Suzi Malan


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