The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is a legally binding agreement aiming to fight desertification and drought in all countries confronted with this problem, with a particular focus on Africa. The Convention aims to provide directives relating to combating desertification and play a coordinating role between the various actors (bilateral and multilateral aid, national institutions and the local population etc.).
At the COP 8 in Madrid (2007), a decision was taken to establish the 2008-2018 Ten-Year Strategic Plan for the Convention and the subsidiary sections (CST, CRIC and the GM).
The decision of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), in 2010, to act as a financial mechanism for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was a major step forwards in funding the Convention. GEF funds are procured for specific activities in the field and for reporting on behalf of developing countries. The GEF’s fifth replenishment of funds resulted in the provision of USD 400 million.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is a non-mixed convention. This means that it is only monitored at the federal level, namely by the DGD (D2.4), which also pays the full Belgian contribution for the operational costs of the Secretariat and Global Mechanism (collects financial resources for the fight against desertification) to the tune of approximately EUR 81,000 a year.
The importance of the fight against land degradation was recently reconfirmed in the closing text of “The Future we Want” drafted by the Rio+20 Conference, by including the goal of a land degradation neutral world, so a world without any land degradation, by 2020.
The main agenda points are:
- approval of the subsequent 2014 -2017 multiyear programme and associated budget;
- the decision on whether or not the Global Mechanism is to be moved from Rome to Bonn (Belgium has strongly opposed this for three years: additional costs, loss of synergy with the various agricultural organisations in Rome, implementation independent of policy and political interference via the Convention’s Secretariat located in Bonn)