United Nations Convention on Desertification/Land Degradation

Established in 1994, the United Nations to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

The international community has long recognized that land degradation/desertification is a major economic, social and environmental problem of concern to many countries in all regions of the world. In 1977 the United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD) adopted a Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (PACD). Despite this and other efforts, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded in 1991 that the problem of land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas had intensified, although there were “local examples of success”. As a result, the question of how to tackle desertification was still a major concern for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Conference supported a new, integrated approach to the problem, emphasizing action to promote sustainable development at the community level.

The Convention was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and entered into force on 26 December 1996, 90 days after the 50th ratification was received. 195 countries and the European Union are Parties as at April 2017. The Conference of the Parties (COP), which is the Convention's supreme governing body, held its first session in October 1997 in Rome, Italy. The Convention is managed by two main bodies: the Permanent Secretariat and the Global Mechanism. The Permanent Secretariat of the Convention was established in Article 23 of the UNCCD. It has been located in Bonn, Germany since January 1999. In line with Article 23 of the UNCCD, the key function of the secretariat is to service the sessions of the COP and its subsidiary bodies. This includes a multitude of tasks, ranging from the preparation of substantive documentation to logistical arrangements for the sessions. The Global Mechanism

The 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the implementation of the Convention for 2008-2018 outlined a clear vision to forge global partnerships to reverse and prevent desertification and land degradation, coupled with a mission to provide a worldwide framework to support the development and implementation of national and regional policies that contribute to the reduction of poverty.

At UNCCD COP13 that took place in September 2017 in Ordos, China, the countries have agreed on a new global roadmap to address land degradation. The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast swathes of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and to reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations.  

UNCCD Knowledge Hub

The UNCCD equivalent of the Clearing House Mechanism is the Knowledge Hub. A key objective of the UNCCD is to become a global authority on scientific and technical knowledge in the areas of desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) and to address negative effects of DLDD on productive land and relevant ecosystems.  By launching the new Knowledge Hub, the UNCCD Secretariat aims to support knowledge-management tasks, together with the Committee on Science and Technology (CST), by providing a framework for organizing scientific and technical information and access to best practices. The Knowledge Hub products are sources of information that support and enhance the capacity of every stakeholder. The Knowledge Hub products include links to the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP), the Global Land Outlook (GLO), and the UNCCD eLibrary.

Land Degradation Neutrality

The Secretariat and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD are supporting interested countries in the national land degradation neutrality (LDN) target setting process, including the definition of national baselines, targets and associated measures to achieve LDN by 2030 through the LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP).

UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace

The Capacity Building Marketplace offers a resources kit that provides assistance in the combat of land degradation. It provides opportunities for downloading useful manuals and documents, links to appropriate training courses and education material, as well as offer support for finding grants and financing options, a roster of experts and support for the NAP processes.

Cambodia Sustainable Development Links

Contact Us

Department of Biodiversity, GSSD, 3rd Floor, Morodok Techo Building, Lot 503, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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