Eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11)
- Media statement: South Africa calls for concerted and co-ordinated efforts to address land degradation and drought at the CoP11 to the UNCCD.
Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, 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. In the 10-Year Strategy of the UNCCD (2008-2018) that was adopted in 2007, Parties to the Convention further specified their goals: "to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas in order to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability".
The Convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the living conditions for people in drylands, 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 UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.
As the dynamics of land, climate and biodiversity are intimately connected, the UNCCD collaborates closely with the other two Rio Conventions; the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to meet these complex challenges with an integrated approach and the best possible use of natural resources.
Windhoek has been selected as the host city for a major international conference on desertification, land degradation and conservation. A National Steering Committee is currently preparing for the country to host the 11th Conference of Parties (COP11) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). This high-profile meeting is scheduled to take place in Windhoek at Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre from 16 to 27 September 2013.
This is the first time the conference will be hosted in the SADC region. Speaking at a media conference at the official announcement, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Uaheka Herunga said the conference will offer a unique opportunity for the country to showcase itself to the world especially Windhoek as a cosmopolitan city with well-developed infrastructure and high quality amenities.
Land degradation is considered to be a major threat to development and also an underlying driver of poverty in the rural areas of the country. According to the minister, the government is committed to addressing this threat. “The conference will not only solidify our country’s commitment to addressing the threats of land degradation but will additionally offer a snapshot of a country whose interventions against this threat have gone from strength to strength,” said Minister Herunga.
- Namibia signs agreement on hosting of UNCCD CoP11
- UNCCD COP 11
- Next UN Conference of Parties in Windhoek