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) has convened as a special “methodological” session.
Delegates will help define the parameters of a future reporting and monitoring framework for the Convention once its current 10-Year Strategy concludes in 2018, as well as align this process with countries’ efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Another core issue at CRIC 15 will be reviewing progress in the land-degradation neutrality (LDN) target-setting process.
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) has convened as a special “methodological” session of the CRIC. The three-day session, which opened in Nairobi, Kenya, on 18 October, will help define the parameters of a future reporting and monitoring framework for the Convention once its current 10-Year Strategy concludes in 2018, as well as align this process with countries’ efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The main issue on the CRIC 15 agenda will be arrangements for the future implementation of the Convention, with participants considering: initial findings from the Intergovernmental Working Group on the future strategic framework of the Convention (IWG-FSF); overall reporting procedures and modalities for reporting by Parties; and financial arrangements.
The IWG-FSF was established by the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the UNCCD, which met in Ankara, Turkey, in October 2015. It was tasked with assessing the current 10-Year Strategy, including the effectiveness of its implementation and the relevance of progress indicators. The preliminary report lists the main findings of the IWG-FSF and includes a draft new strategy titled, ‘The UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework: Towards Healthy Land.’
In the draft strategy, the IWG-FSF proposes maintaining the existing four strategic objectives of the UNCCD, with slight amendments aimed at reducing the reporting burden on countries by allowing the use of quantitative data from international databases, but subject to validation at the national level. The report notes that this is in line with previous decisions taken by the COP and leaves room for voluntary national targets by countries that choose to do so, in order to complement efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report also states that while the proposed strategy will pay particular attention to SDG target 15:3 on land degradation neutrality (LDN), “how to reflect this is still under discussion.”
In addition to calling for an additional two years for the next strategy, to align it to the SDG deadline of 2030, other specific proposals contained in the IWG-FSF report include replacing performance indicators with “narrative reporting” and using quantitative progress indicators as the main measurement tool for the strategic objectives. The report also calls for reporting to focus “on implementation rather than on institutional processes,” and to make such reporting “a matter of priority during upcoming sessions of the CRIC.”
CRIC 15 will also consider a related publication from the UNCCD Secretariat containing an overview of reporting procedures and modalities for future reporting. The report notes that in order implement various decisions adopted at COP 12, as well as ensure a smooth transition to a future strategic framework, there is need to adjust the Convention’s reporting templates, including the performance review and assessment of implementation system (PRAIS) portal, “by COP 13 at the latest” in order to ensure that the reporting process can commence once the new Strategy has been adopted. Building on recommendations contained in a “non paper” by the Secretariat, first discussed at CRIC 13, the report proposes extending the UNCCD reporting cycle to once every four years, starting in 2018, and for the intersessional session of CRIC to “adjust to this new reporting schedule.”
Another core issue at CRIC 15 will be reviewing progress in the LDN target-setting process. In Decisions 2 and 3/COP.12, the COP agreed to integrate the SDGs, and in particular target 15.3, with the regular UNCCD implementation process and invited Parties to formulate voluntary targets to achieve LDN. The two decisions also requested the Secretariat and appropriate UNCCD bodies to develop guidance for formulating national LDN targets and initiatives, and facilitate the use of the existing UNCCD indicator framework as a contribution to the monitoring, evaluation and communication of progress towards the national LDN targets.
The Global Mechanism (GM) of the UNCCD and the UNCCD Secretariat subsequently launched the LDN Target Setting Programme in October 2015, with 100 countries embarking on their national target-setting processes to date. The programme builds on the experience of an initial 14-country pilot conducted in 2014-2015 that tested an indicator framework proposed by the UNCCD’s Science Policy Interface (SPI), including a core set of three progress indicators for monitoring LDN. The pilot also explored various options for developing LDN national targets and their integration into the National Action Programmes (NAPs) and other relevant national strategies to combat desertification and land degradation.
CRIC 15 will also convene two interactive sessions to review voluntary country reports on UNCCD implementation, as well as the LDN target-setting process.
Regional consultations of affected country Parties of the (Regional Implementation Annexes) convened ahead of CRIC 15, from 16–17 October 2016. [CRIC 15 Website] [CRIC 15 Programme] [GM Report on Voluntary National LDN Target Setting Exercise] [Initial Findings of the IWG-FSF] [IISD RS Story on LDN Target-Setting Process] [IISD RS Story on Outcome of UNCCD COP 12]