As the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) reaches the mid-way point of implementation of its Strategic Framework (2018-2030), the recommendations resulting from an independent assessment provided the opportunity for countries to reflect on areas for improvement in the remaining years of the Framework. The assessment’s conclusions and recommendations, which were discussed during participatory consultations, set out five areas for possible improvement regarding: political and financial commitments; larger scale action on the ground; linkages between the three Rio Conventions; science-policy updates; and monitoring and reporting.
Injecting more science into the process and elevating the Convention’s political visibility to influence national budgets were some of the issues countries touched upon in their interventions on the final day of CRIC 21.
As CRIC 21 came to an end, a closing press conference provided the opportunity for the Convention to convey some of CRIC 21’s highlights to the rest of the world. UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said the meeting was a CRIC of firsts: first to be held in Central Asia; first to include side events (close to 40); first Gender Caucus to convene at a CRIC meeting (convening two times); largest ever CRIC (close to 1000 registered participants); the first meeting since the launch of the first-ever land restoration Data Dashboard; and the most covered by the media with more than 1000 articles.
In his closing message, UNCCD Executive Secretary Thiaw encouraged all delegates to continue to share a combined vision, passion, and enthusiasm to move collectively towards more ambitious outcomes. Delegates will now turn their attention to COP 16 to convene in 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where the recommendations of CRIC 21 will be carried forward.