The following is the press statement released by UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja on Oct. 17 at the UNCCD COP 10 forum in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. ― Ed.
As you know, we are now halfway through COP10. This is a good opportunity to highlight some of the outcomes achieved so far, before I speak very briefly about the Land for Life Award.
The Committee on Science and Technology, which advices the COP on all scientific matters, met for three days last week, from Oct. 11-13, and concluded its work. They reached agreement in three key areas:
1) In 2012, the parties are expected to report on their work, not only stating what they have done but also stating what impact their activities have had in terms of the land cover and poverty reduction.
To support the preparation of these reports, the CST has recommended to the COP that an advisory group of experts be set up to continue refining the tools that the parties will use in reporting.
The CST also recommended that the testing of these tools through pilot exercises should continue in order to assess their feasibility.
2) The CST also agreed on the theme for the UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference. It will be “Combating DLDD for poverty reduction and sustainable development: The contribution of science, technology and traditional knowledge and practices.”
The 2nd Scientific Conference, which is focusing on the “economic assessment of desertification, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas,” will take place no later than March in 2013.
3) Strengthening the scientific base of the convention
At the start of this COP, four options were presented about the type of mechanism that strengthens the convention’s scientific basis. The CST has recommended to the COP the establishment of a working group to examine these options further, taking into account the regional approach of the Convention.
Land for Life Award
UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja
Let me now turn to the second aspect of this press conference. It is my pleasure this afternoon, with the president of the COP and the chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Program, and on behalf of our other partners, to report that the Land for Life Award will be launched later this evening.
The goal of this convention is to change our behavior in the way we use land. We want to move from the unsustainable use of land to sustainable land management. The goal is to become land degradation neutral.
We have two powerful means to do so. One is to use a stick; to punish behavior. The other is to use a carrot; to reward behavior.
The Land for Life Award is a positive incentive ― a carrot so to speak ― that rewards people who have demonstrated the commitment, made a contribution and cultivated the culture for sustainable land management practices.
The award is a way of bringing visibility to the scientists, investors, private actors, community groups or individuals who demonstrate that change is possible. Through them, we hope to inspire others to emulate the innovation and courage of the change agents.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the founding partners of the Land for Life Award ― Republic of Korea, the Qatar National Food Security Program, the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Global Environment Facility, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Elion Resources Group. Each of these partners could have chosen to go it alone. But we have come together because we believe that our collective action is the most sustainable way to reach our goal. Although we want to move fast, our desire even more is to go far in the diffusion of the technologies that will help preserve the land.
By Luc Gnacadja, Executive secretary of the UNCCD