With the Friday closing plenary edging closer, the mood at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 15) has become tangibly serious, with decisions on drought and budget still open in contact groups. The COP convened in plenary in the morning and adopted the report of the 20th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC).
In the afternoon, the Committee of the Whole (COW) met to consider draft decisions relating to: the UNCCD 2018–2030 Strategic Framework; policy frameworks and thematic issues; programme and budget; and procedural matters. The COW adopted and forwarded 10 decisions to the COP.
Policy frameworks and thematic issues that were considered included those relating to migration, gender, sand and dust storms, and land tenure.
Under the agenda item on procedural matters, the COW considered draft decisions on participation and involvement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in meetings and processes of the UNCCD; participation and involvement of the private sector in meetings and processes of the UNCCD and the business engagement strategy; and the programme of work, date, and venue for the sixteenth session of the COP.
Marioldy Sanchez, Association for Research and Integrated Development, for CSOs, presented the declaration of the CSOs, highlighting the active participation of over 1,200 members of CSOs in UNCCD COP 15, and provided recommendations relating to gender, sustainable land management (SLM) and land restoration, finance, humanizing drought, and land rights and tenure. She called upon parties to act with urgency on desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), and to engage with CSOs.
Esha Mitra, International Forestry Students Association, India, for youth, presented the declaration of the Youth Forum. She highlighted the importance of meaningful participation of youth in decision making, and their role in SLM and land restoration. Pointing to the global youth caucus as the formal representation of young people and children within the Convention, she called for a designated space for youth as “independent section” within UNCCD, akin to the status given to CSOs.