National reporting under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has evolved significantly over the past two decades, and is an indispensable tool for planning, implementation of the Convention, and achieving its Strategic Objectives at the global and national levels. The information communicated through reporting every four years by parties is also valuable for other stakeholders working at the national and local levels.
During a robust discussion on the most recent round of reports, parties had the opportunity to reflect on what has worked and what needs improvement going forward. Financial and technical support is critical for developing countries to be able to prepare their national reports. Unfortunately, the financing is often inadequate or is not disbursed in a timely manner to enable completion of reports. For example, one country lamented that he only received funding to prepare his country’s national report on the day the report had to be submitted.
An interactive discussion on national reporting included presentations from Ecuador and Cameroon providing summaries of experiences gained in reporting in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Africa, respectively. WOCAT (World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies) discussed experiences gained in the provision of technical assistance for land degradation monitoring and reporting in several pilot countries. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) presented on its support to the UNCCD in general and reporting in particular. A representative of Conservation International presented on Trends.Earth, an online land degradation monitoring platform, and on the fourth Performance Review Assessment of Implementation System (PRAIS 4) interoperability.
In the afternoon, delegates held a frank exchange of views on the status of financing for the Convention, with many expressing disappointment that, despite demonstrating the centrality of land-related targets for all three Rio Conventions, funding for the UNCCD lags far behind its sister Conventions. There were calls for a dedicated UNCCD financial instrument with a “true” strategy and financial targets. Some expressed concern about the status of science in steering decision making, especially on emerging issues such as drought resilience and sand and dust storms.
Participatory consultations on the conclusions and recommendations of the independent assessment undertaken as part of the midterm evaluation (MTE) of the UNCCD 2018–2030 Strategic Framework also took place.