Report of main proceedings for 11 October 2011


Delegates at UNCCD COP 10 convened in the COW, CST and CRIC to commence their consideration of a very full agenda. Four contact groups were created during the course of the day, and three held their first meeting during the evening.

COW Chair Philbert Brown (Jamaica) opened the first meeting of the COW. Two contact groups were established: on the GM, facilitated by Naser Moghadasi (Iran); and on the budget and multi-year work plan, facilitated by Thomas Heimgartner (Switzerland) and Hussain Nasrallah (Lebanon).

FOLLOW-UP TO THE ASSESSMENT OF THE GM BY THE JOINT INSPECTION UNIT: The Secretariat and the GM introduced document ICCD/COP(10)/3 on measures taken to implement paragraphs 1-3 and 5-8 of decision 6/COP 9.

ARGENTINA, supported by GABON, queried about the possible effects of GM institutional changes on the information presented in the document. GM Managing Director Mersmann said that, while changes were not considered, this does not pre-empt any negotiation outcomes at COP 10. UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja said the substance of the document would not change in the case of institutional changes in the GM. BRAZIL stressed efficiency rather than location of the GM as the important issue. ALGERIA asked for a focused approach to the work of the GM and the Secretariat to show results at the local level. JORDAN asked about obstacles to collaboration encountered by the GM and the Secretariat. GAMBIA and LESOTHO emphasized focusing on GM performance. INDIA said it looked forward to discussion of the JIU’s report.

The Secretariat introduced discussion on the evaluation of existing and potential reporting, accountability and institutional arrangements for the GM (ICCD/COP(10)/4 and ICCD/COP(10)/INF.2-7). The EU said the housing arrangements of the GM need to ensure its independence and accountability to the COP. NORWAY praised the GM’s good results on the ground and supported the model based on the current arrangements.

Uganda for the AFRICAN GROUP, with ZAMBIA, SWAZILAND, GUINEA, GAMBIA and GUINEA BISSAU, supported the integration of the GM within the Secretariat structure. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA, supported by PANAMA and HONDURAS, said the relationship between the GM and the Secretariat should be based on good governance, transparency, efficiency and accountability. ARGENTINA, GUATEMALA and COSTA RICA stressed the importance of GM accountability. INDIA called for parties to review institutional arrangements in other Rio Conventions, noting that maintaining the status quo is not an option. VIETNAM expressed support for the work of the GM.

PROGRAMME AND BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM 2012-2013: UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja presented the programme budget and the costed draft two-year work programmes for the Secretariat, the CRIC, and the CST for 2012–2013 (ICCD/COP(10)/7-8). The Secretariat also introduced the financial performance for the Convention trust funds (ICCD/COP(10)/10-20). The COW will continue its consideration of this agenda item on 14 October.

CST 10 Chair Antonio Rocha Magalhăes (Brazil) noted the need to ensure that the challenges and perspectives of drylands are included in the Rio+20 agenda.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS: Chair Magalhăes introduced, and participants adopted, the provisional agenda (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/1) and organization of work (Annex 2 of ICCD/COP(10)/CST/1) for CST 10. Magalhăes invited delegates to elect Vice-Chairs of the CST, as nominated by regional groups. The CST elected Jean Ndembo Longo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Amjad Virk (Pakistan), Yuriy Kolmaz (Ukraine), and Nicholas Hanley (EU). Delegates were informed that a contact group would be co-chaired by Lawrence Townley-Smith (Canada) and Emmanuel Olukayode Oladipo (Nigeria).

CONSIDERATION OF THE REPORT OF CST S-2: Magalhăes introduced the report of the CST on its second special session (ICCD/CST(S-2)/9). There were no comments on the report.

ADVICE ON MEASURING PROGRESS ON STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES 1, 2 AND 3 OF THE STRATEGY: The Secretariat introduced the documentation for advice on measuring progress on strategic objectives 1, 2 and 3 of the Strategy (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/2 and 3, ICCD/COP(10)/CST/INF.1, INF.2, INF.6, and INF.9), on a peer review process, a pilot study and templates and reporting guidelines for impact indicators. Barron Orr, University of Arizona, summarized intersessional work on the refinement of the set of impact indicators. Damon Stanwell-Smith, UNEP-WCMC, discussed the pilot project for the impact indicators.

Many delegates supported continuing efforts on the indicators, with IRAN encouraging parties to consider the associated costs as investments into the Convention’s success. CHINA underscored the need for consistent funding and technical support, and BURKINA FASO and BOLIVIA pointed to the need for capacity-building. INDONESIA advocated more flexibility in metrics and proxies. HONDURAS suggested that data limitations be taken into account in the timelines required for country reporting.

To address concerns about limited resources and data availability, the US encouraged creativity and suggested focusing on indicators that are already agreed on by experts and ready for testing. CUBA cautioned that the indicators are interrelated. ARGENTINA and BRAZIL raised concerns about the definition of “affected areas” in work on indicators. BANGLADESH, MOROCCO and others asked about the generalizability of indicators, and INDIA noted that national and local circumstances must be considered in their development. PAKISTAN encouraged considering bottom-up approaches. CENESTA, for CSOs, asked about the inclusion of local communities and indigenous people in the refinement of indicators. The EU encouraged strengthening collaboration across institutions, but suggested that the Desertification Monitoring and Assessment Partnership not be institutionalized under the UNCCD. NIGERIA, among others, encouraged building on the work of other organizations and initiatives, including developing synergies among the Rio Conventions.

In the afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the document on modalities for analysis of the scientific and technical information contained in the reports to be submitted in 2012 from reporting entities as well as of the use of the related scientific outcomes (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/4-ICCD/CRIC(10)/14). The EU supported efforts in establishing relevant standards for the treatment of reported data. JAPAN suggested identifying priorities within indicators and analyses.

RESHAPING THE OPERATION OF THE CST IN LINE WITH THE STRATEGY: Chair Magalhăes introduced the progress report on the preparation of the UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference and report on the organization of sessions of the CST in a predominantly scientific and technical conference-style format (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/5). The Secretariat informed participants of the formation of a steering committee and the signing of an MOU between the Secretariat and GRF-Davos. Walter Ammann, President & CEO of GRF-Davos, updated parties on progress in the preparation of the conference, including the selection of members of the Scientific Advisory Committee.

The US requested information about the budgetary implications for the timing options for the scientific conference. Several speakers noted that past decisions regarding the timing of the conference are contradicted by the document’s suggested recommendation. MOROCCO, supported by EGYPT, BANGLADESH and MOLDOVA, suggested reconsidering the definition of desertification. NIGER said the CST should help research institutions in Africa getting their research findings published. THAILAND proposed calling for financial and expertise contributions from country parties. BOLIVIA said the conference should consider the costs of controlling desertification. CSOs urged finding ways to include indigenous elders and scientists.

Chair Magalhăes then introduced a broader discussion on the 1st and 3rd Scientific Conferences (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/5, ICCD/COP(10)/CST/INF.3 and ICCD/CST(S-2)/5). Richard Thomas, for the Dryland Science for Development Consortium, informed about the outputs from the 1st Scientific Conference, including peer-reviewed journal articles that are freely available online.

The EU supported holding the 3rd Scientific Conference in 2014, and proposed themes around investments in land, including opportunities, threats and practices to be promoted and avoided. MOLDOVA advised encouraging the inclusion of traditional and indigenous knowledge. BURKINA FASO encouraged seeking alternative ways to disseminate the results of the 1st Scientific Conference. The US commended the organization of the 1st Scientific Conference, and said its deliberations had affected subsequent negotiations.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENTS (STCs): The Secretariat introduced documents on the role and responsibilities of STCs (ICCD/COP(10)/CST/7 and ICCD/COP(10)/CST/INF.4).

The EU said there is a need to formalize and define STCs’ specific roles and responsibilities at a global level. MOROCCO stressed the need for specific roles and requirements for the STCs. Argentina, on behalf of GRULAC, advocated streng-thening support for STCs to participate in all CST meetings. BOLIVIA said the document should clearly distinguish between the roles and responsibilities of National Focal Points (NFPs) and STCs. GUINEA said there should be direct relationship between the CST Bureau and STCs. ETHIOPIA said STCs should have equal status with NFPs. KENYA said the role of STCs should be strengthened at the national level. The Secretariat explained that the parties have asked the Secretariat to communicate directly with NFPs, and said COP guidance would be needed to communicate with STCs.

ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND ORGANIZATION OF WORK: Chaired by Chencho Norbu (Bhutan), CRIC 10 adopted the agenda and organization of work (ICCD/CRIC(10)/1) without amendment. The CRIC agreed to establish contact groups on the iterative process (facilitated by Worapong Waramit, Thailand, and Amjad Virk, Pakistan), and the mid-term evaluation and the GEF-enabling activities.

REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION AND THE STRATEGY: The Secretariat introduced the report of CRIC 9 (ICCD/CRIC(9)/16). Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja introduced the draft multi-year workplan for the Secretariat (2012-2015) (ICCD/CRIC(10)/3). ALGERIA stressed the importance of adequate funding. COTE D’IVOIRE said workplan implementation would enable parties to take major steps forward in implementing the Strategy.

GM Managing Director Mersmann presented the draft multi-year workplan for the GM (ICCD/CRIC(10)/5), stressing it can be implemented only if institutional changes do not disrupt the GM’s work. ALGERIA called for consistency of the work programmes with the Strategy and increased South-South cooperation. The EU said, while the information provided can help develop a baseline, due to its fragmentation it is difficult to draw conclusions and identify trends based on this document.

The GM introduced several documents relating to the multi-year workplans of the Convention’s institutions and subsidiary bodies: ICCD/CRIC(10)/4-6, and ICCD/CRIC(10)/7-ICCD/COP(10)/CST/10. PANAMA stressed the need to include more narrative analysis. GAMBIA and MOROCCO highlighted partnership building and innovative financing mechanisms to scale up implementation. FINLAND requested clarification on the number of beneficiaries and service providers at country and regional level. NIGER underscored greater synergies in programmes of the three Rio Conventions. ALGERIA called for a study evaluating the contribution of the UNCCD to the implementation of other conventions.

The GM then introduced ICCD/COP(10)/15, on contributions of the GM to the implementation of the Strategy of the UNCCD for the biennium 2010-2011. COTE D ÍVOIRE supported by ALGERIA asked whether activities that had not yet been carried out had been carried forward to the multi-year programme.

Participants remarked on how quickly and substantively COP 10 delegates commenced their deliberations on their first full day of negotiations, and into the evening in three of the newly formed contact groups. The contact group on the multi-year work plan and budget opted to discuss the work plan first before conducting budget negotiations. The GM contact group agreed on the need to address GM governance issues as a priority. The CST contact group considered text of a draft decision on advice on how to best measure progress on strategic objectives 1, 2, and 3 of the Strategy.

Many participants also eagerly took part in the first full day’s schedule of side events, enjoying generous catered lunch boxes prior to attending a presentation on the impact indicator pilot project, among other topics. Those who ventured outside the main venue, between the CECO and Pullman Hotel, found the Rio Conventions Pavilion making its first appearance at a UNCCD COP.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <[email protected]> is written and edited by Wangu Mwangi, Kate Neville, Laura Russo, Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., and Kunbao Xia. The Digital Editor is Francis Dejon. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <[email protected]>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <[email protected]>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2011 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute – GISPRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Korea Forest Service. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <[email protected]>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022, United States of America. The ENB Team at UNCCD COP 10 can be contacted by e-mail at <[email protected]>.