Delegates at UNCCD COP 10 convened in the CST and CRIC throughout the day, and in four contact groups into the night.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
CST 10 Chair Magalhăes announced that CST Vice-Chair Nicholas Hanley (EU) would also serve as Rapporteur.
ORGANIZATION OF ADVICE TO SUPPORT THE UNCCD PROCESS: The Secretariat introduced discussion on the assessment of how to organize international, interdisciplinary scientific advice to support the Convention process (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/6) and presented the results of an electronic survey on four identified options (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/MISC.1).
The EU called for information on gaps in existing mechanisms. JAPAN said resources are limited, and did not support a new panel or platform. The US and NORWAY suggested that the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) could integrate DLDD issues and did not support a separate scientific platform for the UNCCD. ISRAEL said the long list of international organizations that deal with DLDD means a panel would be a mammoth, expensive organization. BRAZIL suggested not rushing to create another body, and said delegates should “make room for” a broader discussion at Rio+20.
Many speakers, including ALGERIA, BUKINA FASO, MALI, TUNISIA and YEMEN supported coordination of sub-regional and regional activities and networks.
The AFRICAN GROUP supported creating a panel. The PHILIPPINES, INDONESIA, MOLDOVA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA and PERU also supported creating a new panel. CAMEROON said the UNCCD needs to be on an equal footing with the other Rio Conventions. INDIA supported a panel, but said it could be a long-term strategy while enhanced networks could be a short-term strategy. SOUTH AFRICA said the UNCCD needs to become a global authority on DLDD, and should concentrate on science. TURKEY supported a new advisory mechanism with a multi-participatory and transparent selection process.
ECUADOR said it would be better to strengthen existing mechanisms. BOLIVIA said there should be an inclusive process using existing scientific networks. BARBADOS cautioned against creating a new body with an old style and old attitudes. SAUDI ARABIA said a mechanism could be considered later, once the financial implications are known. CENESTA, for CSOs, suggested involving elders and indigenous experts. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said there should be a procedure to assist with the decision-making process for this agenda item.
ROSTER OF EXPERTS: The Secretariat introduced the report on progress on the maintenance of the roster of independent experts (ICCD/COP(10)/22). MALI, SENEGAL and others agreed with the need to reconsider the categories of experts. SENEGAL, supported by MOLDOVA and TUNISIA, encouraged the addition of non-traditional disciplines. TUNISIA suggested including disciplines that address water and soil resources and BOLIVIA proposed a category for traditional and indigenous local knowledge. MOLDOVA, KENYA and HONDURAS supported the attention paid to gender balance in the report. NIGER asked about the inclusion of retired scientists and researchers, and CUBA queried how decisions are made to remove experts from the roster.
STRENGTHENING SUPPORT FOR SCIENTIFIC, RESEARCH AND TRAINING INSTITUTIONS IN IMPLEMENTING THE STRATEGY: The Secretariat introduced the documents on enhanced scientific cooperation and knowledge exchange between the CST and the scientific subsidiary bodies of the UNFCCC and the CBD, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and relevant specialized agencies of the UN (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/INF.5) and on the UNCCD fellowship programme (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/8).
MALI and ALGERIA highlighted the links between the discussion of the first document and the consideration of options for organizing international, interdisciplinary scientific advice to support the Convention. BOLIVIA underlined the importance of improving linkages with the UNFCCC and CBD, although she agreed with ARGENTINA on the need to ensure that the UNCCD’s activities remain focused on its own mandate. BOLIVIA underlined the importance of the fellowship programme, especially for supporting applied research, and MALI encouraged fellowships as a way to expand the pool of researchers. MOROCCO advised focusing the programme on training researchers already in the field. The EU supported the multi-stakeholder partnership option, but added that the fellowship should not be a top priority for the Secretariat, given limited resources and the importance of other activities such as the impact indicators and scientific conferences.
The UN UNIVERSITY (UNU) informed the CST of its proposal to lead a multi-stakeholder partnership for the fellowships. ISRAEL and BOTSWANA agreed with the multi-stakeholder partnership model, but said the UNCCD should be the facilitator.
REPORTING PROCEDURES: Chair Norbu reopened discussion on reporting procedures. The GM introduced ICCD/CRIC(10)12, containing additional guidance on the provisional impact indicators adopted at COP 9. There were no comments on the report.
The UNCCD Secretariat then introduced ICCD/CRIC(10)/13, on revised methodological guidelines for CSO reporting. The report generated interventions from 32 parties. The AFRICAN GROUP stressed that reporting submitted by all stakeholders should be coordinated through NFPs. Nineteen African countries, supported by JORDAN, COLOMBIA, VIET NAM, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, PANAMA, INDIA, CHILE, ECUADOR and the LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES, concurred. Several parties stressed the need to monitor all resources earmarked for DLDD, as well as the accuracy of information submitted by CSOs.
While supporting integrated country reports, PERU, CHINA and ARGENTINA emphasized the value of a two-track reporting approach to facilitate knowledge sharing by CSOs, academics and other stakeholders. CSO representatives cautioned that a single report cannot sufficiently capture the diversity of experiences and innovations on the ground. They underlined CSO commitment to harmonized action and called for continued support for knowledge sharing. The Secretariat clarified that the goal of the proposed procedure is to facilitate CSO reporting through the national focal points (NFPs), while also encouraging sharing of best practices.
The Secretariat presented the guidelines for preliminary analysis of information contained in the reports from parties and other reporting entities (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/4-ICCD/CRIC(10)/14). The EU invited the Secretariat and the GM to prepare a roadmap for their future work on the guidelines and stressed the importance of data quality.
The Secretariat presented the iterative process on refinement of methodologies for the review and compilation of best practices (ICCD/CRIC/(10)/15). SWITZERLAND suggested CRIC formulate a recommendation to the COP for using World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) formats for best practices. The EU asked the Secretariat to elaborate on the proposed consultative committee on finance for SLM, and its financial implications. ARGENTINA emphasized the relevance on WOCAT and Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA). MALI emphasized promoting and disseminating best practices. ISRAEL stressed testing their applicability. FRANCE called for clarification of the respective roles of CRIC and CST on best practices. The AFRICAN GROUP said the CST’s role will be assessing the best practices, with the CRIC responsible for the exchange platform. BURKINA FASO emphasized: capitalizing on experiences; analyzing constraints to application; and disseminating best practices. ZIMBABWE stressed independent verification. INDIA emphasized capacity building, resource mobilization and testing of the applicability of best practices.
The GM introduced the document on the draft format and methodological guidelines for reporting on best practices on funding and resource mobilization (ICCD/CRIC(10)/16). GUINEA BISSAU suggested using methods other than the internet to disseminate best practices.
DRAFT MODALITIES, CRITERIA AND TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE MID-TERM EVALUATION OF THE STRATEGY: The Secretariat introduced the document (ICCD/CRIC(10)/17). The AFRICAN GROUP, with INDONESIA, suggested establishing an independent body to undertake the mid-term evaluation. INDONESIA also suggested assessing achievements and challenges.
PROMOTION OF RELATIONSHIPS WITH RELEVANT CONVENTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS: The Secretariat introduced the document on progress made in the implementation of decision 8/COP.9 (ICCD/CRIC(10)/18). No comments were made.
The Secretariat introduced documents on draft advocacy policy frameworks (ICCD/CRIC(10)/19-21 and (ICCD/CRIC(10)/INF.1), recommending the CRIC approve the advocacy frameworks on climate change, gender and food security. ALGERIA, with ZIMBABWE and LESOTHO, highlighted the need for implementing COP decisions on the ground. Some delegates thanked the Secretariat for its efforts towards the frameworks. Several raised the issue of access to climate-related funds, and highlighted the need for policy coherence and stronger national level coordination. The US and the EU requested clarification on the status of the policy advocacy frameworks. ERITREA requested clarification on common reporting among the Conventions.
The Secretariat introduced ICCD/CRIC(10)/22 and INF.1, on reporting synergies under the Rio Conventions. Many parties emphasized that NFPs for the three conventions are already working closely together. GUINEA-BISSAU, MOROCCO and others called for GEF to support participation of the NFPs at the respective COPs. The US, JORDAN, and TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO noted that achieving reporting synergies is hampered by different mandates and timetables and, with the EU, questioned the added value of developing a new reporting framework. The EU called for exploring low- and no-cost options, such as enhanced dialogue at the national level. IUCN noted collaboration by the three Conventions on mainstreaming a gender framework. On calls to ease access to climate funds, ARGENTINA, HONDURAS and GUATEMALA cautioned against weakening UNCCD’s strong focus on drylands and national level action.
WORKPLANS AND BUDGET: The Secretariat introduced its priorities as reflected in its multi-year workplan 2012-2015, and the GM introduced its multi-year workplan, following which delegates offered general comments.
CST: This group reconvened Wednesday afternoon, after having worked until approximately 10:30 pm on Tuesday night. Participants discussed, inter alia, issues related to timing, transparency and steering committee roles for the 2nd Scientific Conference. In discussions of the 3rd Scientific Conference, delegates decided to seek input on possible themes from the CST. Regarding the draft decision on measures to enable the UNCCD to become a global authority, participants considered the option to request the formation of an ad hoc working group.
ITERATIVE PROCESS: Co-facilitator Amjad Virk (Pakistan), said this group will consider six draft decisions. The Group embarked on a first reading of a draft decision on improving procedures for the communication of information as well as the quality and formats of reports. The Group agreed to language requesting the Secretariat and GM to develop, inter alia, detailed reporting guidelines on strategic objective 4 including formats and templates for the PRAIS; systems to facilitate data collection; and capacity building.
GM: Presenting the summary of the COP Bureau report on the GM evaluation to the Contact Group, the evaluation consultant said the only viable options for the GM are the assimilation of the GM with the Secretariat, with or without staff relocation, and that chances of finding alternative housing arrangements for the GM are very low. Facilitator Moghadasi (Iran) circulated a “Draft for Consultations” he had prepared. A regional group circulated a draft that highlights the need to maintain the operational independence of the GM. Two regional groups expressed their preference for the assimilation of the GM with relocation.
IN THE CORRIDORS
At the end of the third day of COP 10, some participants noted that, for a number of agenda items, the initial presentation of positions have already laid out clearly defined lines of division. While these differences quickly moved into the contact groups, delegates were reported to be approaching their tasks collegially. Many noted that, although positions on the GM remain diverse, most have indicated that COP 10 must take a decision to change the status quo. Participants in the contact groups indicated they are feeling pressure to make good progress this week, as the high level segment next week will divert delegates’ time and attention away from debates about the Convention’s internal issues to globally relevant challenges such as food security and harnessing science to combat DLDD.