CRIC 15 Sets Agenda for Future UNCCD Strategic Framework
UN Photo/Martine Perret
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Delegates to the fifteenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) provided input on a proposed strategic framework that will underpin implementation of the Convention from 2018-2030.

The discussions on land degradation neutrality focused on identifying future opportunities, priorities, capacity-building requirements, partnerships and innovative actions that are needed for effective implementation and mainstreaming of LDN target setting, including its integration into existing UNCCD National Action Programmes (NAPs).

21 October 2016: Delegates to the fifteenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) provided input on a proposed strategic framework that will underpin implementation of the Convention from 2018-2030. The meeting also reviewed countries’ progress in setting voluntary targets towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3, which includes a commitment to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030. Within the first year of the SDGs’ adoption, 102 countries have embarked on the process of setting voluntary targets to achieve SDG target 15.3.

Held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 18-20 October 2016, CRIC 15 was convened as a special intersessional meeting to prepare for the thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UNCCD. COP 13 will be held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, in September 2017. The COP is expected to adopt the new strategy, as well a corresponding reporting and monitoring framework, and discuss how to secure additional financial resources to meet the Convention’s goals. The discussions were guided by a draft strategy prepared by the Intergovernmental Working Group on a Future Strategic Framework for the Convention (IWG-FSF).

The proposed strategy defines the UNCCD’s vision for 2018-2030 as, “A future that avoids, minimizes and reverses desertification/land degradation and mitigates the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels consistent with SDG 15 and target 15.3 and other interrelated SDGs, within the scope of the Convention.”

The proposed strategy defines the UNCCD’s vision for 2018-2030 as, “A future that avoids, minimizes and reverses desertification/land degradation and mitigates the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels consistent with SDG 15 and target 15.3 and other interrelated SDGs, within the scope of the Convention.” It retains the four Strategic Objectives contained in the current UNCCD strategy, but provides flexibility for countries that wish to do so, to set voluntary national targets to complement their efforts to implement the relevant goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The discussions on LDN focused on identifying future opportunities, priorities, capacity-building requirements, partnerships and innovative actions that are needed for effective implementation and mainstreaming of LDN target setting, including its integration into existing UNCCD National Action Programmes (NAPs). Among issues addressed were: how to ensure coherence across government policies, actions and commitments; how to move from pilots to scale; and how to mobilize additional resources through innovative financing mechanisms, such as blended financing packages. The discussions also highlighted examples of how LDN actions could help to strengthen synergies in the implementation of the three Rio Conventions, as well as the SDGs.

Some parties, however, expressed concern that the focus on LDN could obscure other issues mandated under the Convention, such as building the capacity of countries to address other priority issues highlighted in their NAPs. UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut assured delegates that these issues will remain on the COP agenda, noting that a draft decision on drought and resilience will be presented to COP 13 for adoption, drawing on the outcomes of the successful Africa Drought Conference, hosted by Namibia in August 2016.

Another area of debate was the future role of the CRIC, one of the two subsidiary bodies of the UNCCD, in light of the new strategy and the corresponding reporting framework. Among other issues, delegates differed on whether to retain the current two-year review schedule, or, as proposed by the UNCCD Secretariat, to move to a four-year cycle that is deemed more feasible for reporting on longer-term impact indicators.

During the closing plenary, delegates adopted the CRIC 15 outcome document containing their views on these issues, which will serve as the basis for final revisions to the draft strategic framework by the IWG-FSF, for forwarding to COP 13.

The meeting was preceded by meetings of the five UNCCD Regional Implementation Annexes, and a workshop for new countries interested in embarking on LDN target setting.

Also just prior to CRIC 15, members of civil society organizations held one-day informal consultations on gender and women’s land rights. This discussion focused on: women’s land rights; monitoring women’s empowerment and gender in the new strategy; networking with women’s organizations; and organization of the Ministerial Dialogue on Gender at COP 13.

The discussions explored strategies for working with traditional and religious leaders, as well as legislative processes in order to advance women’s land rights. Participants proposed that the UNCCD introduce a more comprehensive gender programme to develop guidelines and indicators for reporting on gender. [UNCCD Press release on CRIC 15 Outcomes] [IISD Press Release on Gender Consultations] [UNCCD CRIC15 webpage] [IISD RS Summary and Analysis of CRIC 15] [IISD RS Coverage of CRIC 15] [IISD RS Story on CRIC 15 Opening]


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