Location: Ankara, Turkey
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is one of the three most important environmental conventions under the framework of “Agenda 21” of the Unite Nations Environment and Development Conference in Rio, 1992. The convention was signed on the 17 th of June, 1994 in Paris and came into force with the signature of 115 countries on the 26 th of December, 1996.
Now 195 countries and the European Union became parties to the convention. The 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 Convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the living conditions of drylands people, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation.
The Conference of the Parties (COPs) is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and it makes decisions with the participation of the representatives of country parties to the convention. The Conference of the Parties, high level body of the Convention, was held annually from 1997 to 2001 (COP 1 – COP 5), and since 2001 the Conference of Parties are held every two year.
The Twelfth (12 th ) session of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) of UNCCD took place in Ankara, Turkey from 12 to 23 of October 2015. In addition, the 12 th session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST12) and the 14th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC14), were held in parallel to the COP12.
The COP12 of UNCCD brought together about 6,000 participants including representatives from government officials, United Nations bodies and agencies, civil society organisations, local communities’ organisations, trade unions, business and media members.
During COP12 of UNCCD, delegates from the UNCCD’s Parties discussed on developing relevant decisions on desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), including how to pursue the target to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN) and how to align the UNCCD’s goals and Parties’ action programmes with the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The participation of civil society organisations had an effective role during COP, CRIC, CST meetings and their associated decisions through organising CSOs preparatory and daily meetings, side events, publications, Open Dialogue Sessions, various statements, interventions, weblogs, demonstrations and social networks.
From Iran, Nahid Naghizadeh, representative of Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA, accredited NGO in UNCCD) attended to the 12th session of the Conference of Parties (COP12) and prepared the following report on the most important topics that have been discussed and followed during this conference.
Thanks to all organisers, funding agencies and in particularly to the UNCCD Secretariat and CSO panel members for providing this valuable opportunity for me to participate in the COP12 of UNCCD.