Participation and involvement of CSO in UNCCD meetings and processes

The COP first addressed directly the issue of the involvement of civil society organisations in the implementation of the Convention and their participation in official UNCCD meetings in 2009. Decision 5/COP.9 created the CSO Panel to coordinate the involvement of accredited CSO in the COP. It has five members, representing one of the five United Nations regional groups. COP10 had required COP13 to evaluate the revised accreditation procedures based on CSO involvement. COP13 endorsed the findings of the independent study conducted for this purpose and requested the Secretariat to report on their implementation at COP14.

In Document ICCD/COP(14)/13, the Secretariat indicates that it has facilitated the accreditation of CSO access to the COP and assisted these CSO in raising funds to allow the functioning of the Panel and their participation in COP activities[2]. The Panel has been working on the following main issues: interactions with CSO, participation of CSO in official UNCCD meetings, activities relating to the LDN fund and the LDN Fund technical assistance facility. The Panel attended CRIC17 in January 2019 and the first LDN Fund Steering Committee and has participated actively in the work of the SPI

The independent evaluation formulated three recommendations:

  • That the Panel develop operational guidelines or terms of reference, including a time-bound strategic plan.
  • That the Panel establishes a communication plan.
  • That the Secretariat continues to support the international, national and local work of accredited CSO in the implementation of the Convention.

The experience of the last two years relating to the CSO Panel seems to have borne fruit. Its existence facilitates the international coordination of CSO. The Panel’s biennial plan is useful, despite material reasons preventing the achievement of all the planned activities. Visibility at regional and local levels remains a problem and the Secretariat suggests that the Parties promote the Panel internally.

[1] ICCD/COP(14)/13 – Participation and involvement of civil society organisations in meetings and processes of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Note by the Secretariat.

[2] ICCD/COP(14)/13 – Participation and involvement of civil society organisations in meetings and processes of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Note by the Secretariat.

Participation and involvement of the private sector in the UNCDD meetings and processes and the business engagement strategy

The involvement of the private sector in the UNCCD activities has been encouraged and enhanced by Decisions 5/COP.11, 6/COP.12 and 6/COP.13. The Parties requested the Secretariat to establish a Business Engagement Strategy (BES), which was presented to the Parties at COP12. It has since governed the relations between UNCCD and private businesses. In its note ICCD/COP(14)/14[1], the Secretariat sets out seven partnerships established between the Convention and businesses under the BES.

The first one is the LDN Fund. The Secretariat believes that the initiative has shown especially that entities normally focused on renewable energies can be interested. In addition, the GM has successfully piloted in Ghana and Burkina Faso a project for the development of value chains for under-utilised products, including baobab, moringa and fonio, with economic potential and potential for improving living standards. This project is aiming to create green jobs and its approach is both demand-based and business-driven. The project has involved establishing local cooperatives and a contract with an international buyer. It seems to have had a transformative effect for the 24 communities involved and has more than 11,000 beneficiaries.

Other types of partnership have also taken shape. Sustainable Land Management Business Forum has met on four occasions and will be held for a fifth time immediately after COP14. Its declaration at COP13, during which the fourth forum was held, was integrated in the final report of the COP. The Soil Leadership Academy is a public-private partnership functioning as a knowledge platform to assist policymakers to achieve LDN. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by UNCCD and the International Solar Alliance, given that this source of renewable energy has an important role in sustainable land management and lasting economic growth.

In parallel with the Great Green Wall project, the GM has set up a training platform to encourage green entrepreneurship. A pilot training programme was held at Bolgatanga, Ghana in April 2019. policy-makers and businessmen from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal discussed their experiences in developing value chains for dryland products to continue on this path.

[1] ICCD/COP(14)/14 – Participation and involvement of the private sector in meetings and processes of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Note du secrétariat.

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