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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Briefing Note
Thursday, 29 May 2008
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UNCCD High-Level Policy Dialogue

27 May 2008 | Bonn, Germany
View of the Rhine river
The high-level policy dialogue on the theme “Coping with today’s global challenges in the context of the Strategy of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification” (UNCCD), took place on Tuesday, 27 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany. The Dialogue was intended to facilitate a targeted exchange from a number of stakeholders on the ten-year strategic plan (“the Strategy”) and to foster awareness of and buy-in among relevant policy and decision makers. It was funded by the Government of Germany and was attended by 123 people, including Ambassadors, Ministers, country representatives, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The Dialogue consisted of three segments, each of which comprised presentations from key speakers and discussion among participants.
Opening Session
Joseph Puxeu, Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, Spain, observed that the Strategy’s implementation will require concerted efforts to address interrelated environmental challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
Karin Kortmann, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, welcomed participants and paid tribute to the work of the UNCCD.
Segment I: Policy Development
Veerle Vandeweerd, Director of Environment and Energy, Bureau of Development Policy, UNDP, discussed the global importance of land and soil protection in the context of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.
Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, presented the Strategy and the global concerns it is designed to address, concluding by stating that the present challenge is to bring the global community “down to earth, down to the land.”
Segment II: Dialogue on Mobilizing For a Forward-Looking Strategy
Ambassador Laurent Stefanini, on behalf of Jean-Michel Severino, French Development Agency, presented on success stories and challenges for cooperating partners and beneficiaries.
Monique Barbut, CEO of the Global Environment Facility, discussed innovative financial mechanisms to foster the effective implementation of the UNCCD and improve the livelihood of people living in degraded land.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Executive Secretary, praised the Strategy and pledged his commitment to solidarity between the Rio conventions.
Segment III: Parties’ Views on Responses to Emerging Challenges
Bruno Oberlé, State Secretary Federal Office for the Environment of Switzerland, discussed public relations and funding strategies, and suggested that quantitative objectives are needed to aid implementation.
Meena Gupta, Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment and Forests, India, praised the Strategy’s focus on operative objectives and urged countries to revise their national strategic action plans.
Miguel Leonardo Rodríguez, Deputy Minister of Environment, Venezuela, noted the potentially deleterious relationship between the Rio conventions, and outlined Venezuelan implementation efforts.
Jesca Eriyo, Minister of State for Environment, Uganda, said that “Uganda welcomes the global window of opportunity of change to tackle climate change and fight poverty.”
Participants at the Dialogue
Juan Lozano Ramírez, Minister of Environment, Livelihoods and Development, Colombia
Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Meteorology, Samoa
Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Tourism, South Africa
Nadhir Hamada, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Tunisia
José Roberto de Lima, Ministry of the Environment, Brazil
Carlos Hernán García, Director General of Biodiversity, Honduras
Peter Holmgren, Food and Agriculture Organization
Jiri Hlavacek, Ministry of the Environment, Czech Republic
Khaled Al-Shara’a, Ministry of Local Administration and Environment, Syria
Manfred Kern, Bayer CropScience Aktiengesellschaft
Related Links
UNCCD resource
High-level Policy Dialogue

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