South Africa participates at the CoP13 to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in China

04 September 2017


South Africa, a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), will participate in the forthcoming thirteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) taking place from 6 to 16 September in Ordos, People’s Republic of China.

The UNCCD is one of the three Rio Conventions that include the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This convention therefore presents an opportunity to create synergies and leverage on ongoing activities in the areas of biodiversity and climate change. 

The UNCCD was established in 1994 as the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. Its objective is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, through effective actions. Such actions require international cooperation and partnership arrangements, with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development in affected areas.

The Conference of the Parties is the supreme body of the Convention, which is mandated to make decisions that promote the effective implementation of the Convention. It holds its sessions on a biennial basis to agree on a programme of work and budgetary arrangements for the next biennium and consider guidance on a range of on-going and emerging environmental issues.

The 13th conference of parties (COP 13) will bring together the 195 parties to the UNCCD Convention to collaborate in the development and implementation of strategies or frameworks aimed at improving the living conditions of people while maintaining and restoring the productivity of land and soil. Issues addressed through the UNCCD are at the heart of accelerating the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals especially those dealing with poverty, food security, water and gender.

South Africa will work collectively with the all countries in the Africa region in advancing South Africa’s positions and that of the region. The High Level Segment of this conference will consider and provide political guidance on challenges to emerging issues in desertification, land degradation and drought.  Such issues include, among others, land degradation in the context of sustainable development; drought resilience, responses and early warning mechanisms; gender and land rights and role of local government in addressing challenges of land degradation.

It is envisaged that the conference will finalise and adopt a new strategic framework for 2018 - 2030 organised under the theme “Towards a Healthy Land for Present and Future Generations.’’ South Africa will advocate for an orientation that facilitates the translation of policy into action through transformative initiatives.


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