Delegates knuckled down to the core tasks at hand as the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 15) reconvened with the opening of the 20th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC). Delegates heard opening remarks with UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw encouraging participants to come together and ensure all activities and aspirations are infused with the aim to improve the lives of all people, and commending the 129 countries that have committed to set Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets.
Matters considered in the CRIC included:
- effective implementation of the Convention at national, sub-regional and regional levels; and
- improvement of the procedures for communication of information as well as the quality and formats of reports to be submitted to the COP.
In parallel, the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) reconvened and moved swiftly through its agenda, continuing its consideration of the work programme of the Science-Policy Interface (SPI) for the biennium 2020–2021, focusing on:
- the coordination of activities of the SPI with other intergovernmental scientific bodies;
- ways to interface science and policy, and share knowledge; and
- modalities for reporting on the UNCCD 2018–2030 Strategic Framework.
After the conclusion of the CST for the day, delegates came together for an open dialogue session with civil society organizations (CSOs) under the theme, "Lands we use, lands we protect, lands we own - opportunities and solutions to equity and equality." The session opened with participants paying posthumous homage to ‘land heroes’ Khadija Catherine Razavi, Bhawani Shanker Kusum, and Marc Bied-Charreton, followed by a moment of silence. Ibrahim Thiaw expressed gratitude for CSOs’ valuable contributions to the UNCCD process, saying that they are heard, as the COP-14 land tenure decision demonstrates.
CSOs representing different regions presented recommendations and shared experiences, including the Youth Association for the Environment and Civic Education, Centre for Environmental Justice, Zero Waste Antigua and Barbuda, Avaaz and Landesa.