The fifteenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) opened on Tuesday, 18 October 2016, at the United Nations Headquarters in Nairobi.
CRIC Vice-Chair Raymond Baptiste (Grenada) and Charles Sunkuli, Principal Secretary, State Department of Environment and Regional Development Authorities, Kenya, delivered welcoming statements.
Pan Yingzhen, Director-General, National Bureau to Combat Desertification in the State Forestry Administration and UNCCD National Focal Point, China, announced that China will host the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UNCCD in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, in 2017. She presented a short film highlighting successful land restoration efforts in the region, which she described as the pearl of north China and “the epitome of our efforts to combat desertification.”
Ali Riza Diniz, Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry for Forestry and Water Affairs, Turkey, on behalf of COP 12 President, remarked on the sharp rise in countries committing to set land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets, from 14 to 102 during the past year alone, and noted that this reflected the collective determination to reverse land degradation and desertification. He expressed Turkey’s commitment to put people at the center of decision-making processes in realizing the Ankara Initiative.
Alluding to a Kenyan saying that the quality of the ground determines the quality of the tree, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut called upon CRIC delegates to prepare a fertile ground for decisions at UNCCD COP 13 next year. She said LDN should be reflected in the new UNCCD strategy to be adopted at COP 13, and CRIC 15 should address outstanding issues on LDN.
Representatives of the five UNCCD regional implementation annexes presented brief statements. Following statements by various regional and interest groups as well as civil society representatives in the afternoon, two interactive dialogue sessions took place. The first session discussed country experiences from 26 countries that had submitted reports in the optional reporting exercise.
In the second interactive plenary session, panelists and country representatives exchanged experiences, knowledge and joint learning from the LDN Target Setting Programme. The session highlighted opportunities that the LDN target setting process provides for: fostering coherence of national policies, actions and commitments; moving from pilots to scale; and raising funds, through blended finance packages.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, has provided daily web updates from UNCCD CRIC 15. In addition, IISD Reporting Services has published a summary and analysis report from the meeting which is available in HTML and PDF.
Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary
Barron Orr, Science-Policy Interface (SPI)
Pamela Chasek, Associate, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and Professor, Manhattan College
Anna Luise, Italy, on behalf of the Northern Mediterranean region and Annex IV countries
Ashot Vardevanyan, Armenia, on behalf of Central and Eastern Europe and the Annex V countries