UNCCD COP15 Ends with Pledge to Boost Drought Resilience, Invest in Land Restoration

conference room with large screen and audience
Nigerian Tribune
,
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

UNCCD COP15 Ends with Pledge to Boost Drought Resilience, Invest in Land Restoration

A release issued at the end of the two-week meeting on the future of land management drew nearly 7,000 participants, including Heads of State, Ministers and Delegates from the UNCCD’s 196 Parties and the European Union, as well as members of the private sector, civil society, women, youth leaders and media.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of UNCCD COP15, Patrick Achi, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, said: “Each generation faces this thorny question of how to meet the production needs of our societies […] without destroying our forests and lands and thus condemning the future of those on whose behalf we endeavor.”

He also drew attention to the US$2.5 billion raised for the Abidjan Legacy Program launched by Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara at the Heads of State Summit on 9 May, which has already surpassed the anticipated US$1.5 billion.

At a news conference, COP15 President Alain-Richard Donwahi highlighted that it was the first time Côte d’Ivoire hosted a COP for one of the three Rio Conventions, and emphasized his country’s continued commitment to keep land issues high on the international agenda.

“Meeting against the backdrop of multiple global challenges, including the worst-in-40-years drought in Eastern Africa, as well as food and economic crises fueled by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts, countries have sent a united call about the importance of healthy and productive land for securing future prosperity for all," said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw.

Highlights among the new commitments

  • Accelerate the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 by improving data gathering and monitoring to track progress against the achievement of land restoration commitments, and establishing a new partnership model for large-scale integrated landscape investment programs.
  • Boost drought resilience by identifying the expansion of drylands, improving national policies and early warning, monitoring and assessment; learning and sharing knowledge; building partnerships and coordinating action; and mobilizing drought finance.
  • Establish an Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought for 2022-2024 to look into possible options, including global policy instruments and regional policy frameworks to support a shift from reactive to proactive drought management.
  • Address forced migration and displacement driven by desertification and land degradation by creating social and economic opportunities that increase rural resilience and livelihood stability, and by mobilizing resources, including from the diaspora, for land restoration projects.
  • Address sand and dust storms and other escalating disaster risks by designing and implementing plans and policies including early warning and risk assessment, and mitigating their human-made causes at source.
  • Promote decent land-based jobs for youth and land-based youth entrepreneurship and strengthen youth participation in the UNCCD process.
  • Ensure greater synergies among the three Rio Conventions, including complementarities in the implementation of these treaties through nature-based solutions and target-setting at the national level.

This story was produced as part of the 2022 UNCCD Virtual Reporting Fellowship, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. It was originally published in the Nigerian Tribune on May 26, 2022. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: The first day of UNCCD COP 15 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire / Credit: IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth.

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