23 November 2023
UNCCD CRIC Considers Data on Land Loss, Restoration Trends
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
story highlights

“One of the more robust discussions” at CRIC 21, ENB writes, “related to improving the procedures for communication and the quality and formats of reports”.

Participants exchanged views on the need for more timely funding to be able to produce reports, gaps in data, and concerns over reliability when having to use default data.

A high-level event on sand and dust storms affirmed the growing recognition of the issue’s importance for the current and incoming Presidencies of the COP, who, ENB writes, “were both on hand for the event”.

The Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) conducted a rich exchange on national and regional experiences, enabled by aggregated data submitted by 126 countries as part of the newly launched UNCCD Data Dashboard on land degradation. This is the first time in the UNCCD’s history that land loss and land restoration trends have been available.

According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) analysis of the meeting, “the information submitted offers conclusive evidence that land degradation is outpacing restoration efforts, underscoring the need for urgent action to prevent the further destabilization of markets, communities, and ecosystems around the globe.” Delegates drew on this knowledge to provide feedback on synthesis reports of progress under the Convention’s five Strategic Objectives, as well as progress reports on policy frameworks on drought, sand and dust storms, gender, and land tenure, the ENB summary report of the meeting notes.  

The 21st session of the CRIC convened for the first time in Central Asia – a region increasingly impacted by sand and dust storms and where 20% of the land area is degraded. The ENB report cites the opening remarks by UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw who said that “within a single generation, the Aral Sea, a freshwater lake that was once so large it was mistaken for a sea, has largely disappeared and is now filled with sand dunes.”

“One of the more robust discussions” at CRIC 21, ENB writes, “related to improving the procedures for communication and the quality and formats of reports.” Participants exchanged views on the need for more timely funding to be able to produce reports, gaps in data, and concerns over reliability when having to use default data.

The CRIC also “reviewed some of the main findings and recommendations from an independent assessment… undertaken as part of the mid-term evaluation of the UNCCD Strategic Framework (2018-2030), which will help strengthen implementation of the Convention through 2030 and beyond.”

A high-level event on sand and dust storms, the first of its kind and convened by the Government of Uzbekistan, affirmed the growing recognition of the issue’s importance for the current and incoming Presidencies of the Conference of the Parties (COP), who, ENB writes, “were both on hand for the event.” The issue, the summary notes, “promises to garner significant attention at COP 16, which will be held in Saudi Arabia in December 2024, where such storms are also common.”

CRIC 21 convened in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 13-17 November 2023. [ENB Coverage of UNCCD CRIC 21]


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