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Daily report for 11–15 November 2002


The first meeting of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-1) opened Monday, 11 November 2002, at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. The CRIC was established by the Fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) in October 2001 to review and assess the implementation of the Convention.

After opening statements and the adoption of the agenda and other organizational matters, delegates began their review of the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), pursuant to Article 22 (Conference of the Parties), paragraph 2 (a) and (b), and Article 26 (communication of information). Delegates met all week to hear case study presentations from the five CCD regions, addressing seven thematic issues: participatory processes involving civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs); legislative and institutional frameworks or arrangements; linkages and synergies with other environmental conventions and, as appropriate, with national development strategies; measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land; drought and desertification monitoring and assessment; early warning systems for mitigating the effects of drought; access by affected country Parties, particularly affected developing country Parties, to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how; and resource mobilization and coordination, both domestic and international, including conclusions of partnership agreements.


The first session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-1) opened Monday ,11 November. CCD Executive Secretary Hama Arba Diallo welcomed delegates to the CRIC and thanked Italy and the FAO for hosting the meeting. He highlighted the substantial work that has been done to widen support of the CCD and wished delegates success in the first session of the CRIC.

CRIC Chair Rogatien Biaou (Benin) encouraged understanding and tolerance among delegates and a focus on the disastrous effects of desertification and drought. He stressed that the CRIC is a working instrument for focusing on the practical aspects of the CCD, and that delegates must now take practical action in addressing the problems of people dealing with desertification and land degradation.

FAO Deputy Director-General David Harcharik emphasized the relationship between food security and the fight against desertification. He said delegates must consider the links between land degradation and malnutrition and poverty. He underscored that the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg should be used as signposts for future success.

COP-5 President Charles Basset (Canada), underlined the significant events related to the CCD that have occurred since COP-5, including: the WTOs Fourth Ministerial Meeting; the Financing for Development Conference; the World Food Summit +5; the G-8 Summit; the WSSD and the Second Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly. He said that progress under the CCD must be viewed in light of these developments and emphasized the need to take action by sharing knowledge and experience on how to combat desertification.

Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of the Environment and Land Protection of the Italian Republic Roberto Tortoli said delegates must promote the synergies among conventions and recognize the links between poverty and land degradation.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: The Plenary appointed, by acclamation, the following four Vice-Chairpersons: Khaled Al-Sharaa (Syria) for the Asian Group; Gisela Alonso Dominguez (Cuba) for the Latin America and Caribbean Group; Franco Micieli de Biase (Italy) for the Western European and Others Group; and Ketevan Tsereteli (Georgia) for the Central and Eastern European Group. Franco Micieli de Biase was appointed as rapporteur. The Plenary adopted the Meetings Provisional Agenda (ICCD/CRIC(1)/1). CRIC Chair Biaou highlighted the Global Interactive Dialogue, to be held on Wednesday, 20 November, and the case studies to be presented by the regional groups in accordance with the seven thematic topics defined in Decision 1/COP-5 (additional procedures or institutional mechanisms to review the implementation of the Convention).

OPENING STATEMENTS: Noting that the majority of Parties have completed their National Action Plans (NAPs), the CCD Executive Secretary underscored that the CCD was entering a vital stage of implementation. He highlighted various actions taken by Parties that have advanced implementation, including: legislative, regulatory and institutional arrangements to combat desertification; measures to include stakeholders; and the integration of the CCD into other sustainable development and poverty eradication frameworks. He welcomed the outcomes of the WSSD as a "great success," and noted the Summits acknowledgment of the CCD as one of the tools for poverty eradication and the implementation of the Millennium Development goals. Addressing the need for adequate and predictable financial resources, he stressed the importance of the conclusions of the Second GEF Assembly to designate land degradation as a focal area, and the invitation to designate the GEF as the financial mechanism of the CCD. He said that these events would greatly benefit the implementation of the CCD.

Denmark on behalf of the Western European and others Group (WEOG), underscored that the CRIC must reflect a true bottom-up approach on a regional basis, which allows for participation by all stakeholders and will lead to the identification of regional lessons and constraints that can be synthesized for consideration and action at COP-6 in September 2003. He welcomed the decision by the GEF Assembly to designate land degradation as a new focal area. On the substance of the Global Interactive Dialogue, he suggested that it should address the "next steps" of the implementation process and take into account some key elements of the international debates, inter alia: the link between poverty and land degradation; entitlement to natural productive resources; effective synergies between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); land tenure and women; and alternative sources of income in drylands.

Venezuela, on behalf of the G-77/China, stressed the importance of the CRIC for moving forward the process of implementation and welcomed the outcomes of the WSSD and the Second GEF Assembly. On the GEFs operational programme on land degradation, he called on the GEF to consider financing enabling activities, capacity-building, specific scientific objectives and investment projects.

Highlighting that Asia is one of the hardest hit regions, with more than 400 million people affected by desertification in China alone, Syria, on behalf of the Asian Group, called for further support for NAP development and implementation under the regional Annex of the CCD. Uruguay, on behalf of the Latin America and Caribbean Group, called on the CRIC to identify relevant solutions in relation to combating desertification and stressed the mobilization of resources for implementation if the CCD is to become a strong instrument for the eradication of poverty.


The first thematic review addressed thematic topics 1,2 and 4, as defined by decision 1/COP.5:

  • Participatory processes involving civil society, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations;
  • Legislative and institutional arrangement; and
  • Linkages and synergies with other environmental conventions, and where appropriate, with national development strategies.

AFRICA: Bettina Horstmann (CCD Secretariat) reviewed the conclusions and recommendations of the African regional meeting held at Windhoek, Namibia,15-19 July 2002, highlighting the needs for: improved capacity building; greater financial resources; better policy consistency and harmonization; greater inclusion of CCD objectives in national and regional development policies; and more national synergy workshops.

Regarding the Namibian case study on participatory processes, Shirley Bethune (Namibia) outlined actions taken to promote participation of Namibian stakeholders in combating desertification. She said technical working groups of stakeholders have been established on policy-making, awareness-raising, national overview, capacity-building, livelihoods, bush encroachment, and international relations.

Nickey Gaseb (Desert Research Foundation of Namibia) outlined some of the joint activities carried out by the Namibian Government and NGOs. He highlighted the strengths of the processes such as successful cooperation established between the Government and NGOs, and the enrichment of implementation at all levels through participation.

Gabriel Goagaseb (Khoadi Has Conservancy) reviewed community based participation projects in Namibia outlining the Forum for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM) approach. He noted that this approach is based on: community driven initiatives; commitment by all partners; participatory planning based on community needs and capacities; integrated workplans; and regular monitoring and evaluation by organizations, the community, and government. Shirley Bethune emphasized the sustainability of the FIRM approach as it promotes cooperation between government and NGOs, puts communities in the drivers seat, promotes participatory planning within and among CBOs, NGOs, and government, and promotes integrated resource planning. She stressed the need for more financial resources, expansion of such programmes throughout Namibia, and the mainstreaming of these activities throughout government processes.

Delphine Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) presented a case study showing legislative and institutional arrangements for implementation of the CCD in her country. She outlined that apart from national texts on resource management, the legislative framework comprises international juridical instruments such as the CCD, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In relation to the institutional framework, she highlighted decentralization of decision-making and the creation of a National Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (NCESD) as important measures, stressing focal areas including: environment and development; water and sanitation; impact assessments; and environmental education. She said the CCD is implemented through a joint implementation strategy for the CCD, UNFCCC and CBD as well as through National Strategies for Sustainable Development (NSSD) and NAPs. She underscored that despite encouraging results regarding the mitigation of the impacts of agricultural activities, many legislative decrees are still not enforced and funding for local development programmes is lacking. She recommended the consolidation of the national coordinating bodys mandate; increasing the technical capacities of implementing bodies; and the seeking of funding from international agencies.

Richard S. Muyungi (Tanzania) outlined his countrys experience concerning linkages and synergies among environmental conventions and national development strategies. He highlighted that cooperation is needed to address the social, economic and environmental aspects of desertification. Advantages of cooperation with other environmental conventions include: efficient use of knowledge and human and financial resources; greater sense of ownership across sectors and stakeholders; and increased opportunities to meet common objectives such as combating poverty, promoting sustainable development, and reducing vulnerability. He identified important steps taken in the process of building linkages and synergies, including: mainstreaming environment and desertification issues into local government reform programmes by organizing capacity building seminars; mainstreaming these issues into existing poverty reducing programmes; and simplifying convention documents for non-specialists. However, he added that developments are hampered by lack of financing, poor understanding of the importance of linkages and synergies, and by factors such as poverty, HIV/AIDS and a large refugee influx in Tanzania.

In response to the presentations, the following questions and comments were raised in the session:

  • the need for governments and National Coordinating Bodies (NCB) to redesign their missions so that they empower civil society and CBOs;

  • mainstreaming CCD efforts in the programmes of international financial institutions dealing with poverty eradication;

  • greater cooperation between governments and academic and scientific institutions, particularly in relation to traditional knowledge;

  • developing effective tools for stakeholder participation;

  • resolving conflicts between traditional knowledge and new technologies, and between government institutions and traditional institutions;

  • including the private sector in CCD implementation;

  • involving ministries of finance and economic development in NAP development and implementation; and
  • strengthening institutional linkages and collaboration; and

  • avoiding duplication in government programmes.


ASIA: Rezaul Karim (CCD Secretariat) introduced the mornings case studies. He noted progress in the region regarding the integration of stakeholders into action programmes, but stressed a persistent need to evaluate the degree and effectiveness of their participation. He said that decentralization enhances linkages among conventions and programmes. Regarding legislative measures, he noted considerable progress, but stressed that enforcement of laws remains an unresolved issue.

Presenting a case study on participatory processes, Namsrai Sarantuya (Mongolia) introduced the project on Integrated Prevention of Desertification in Mongolias South Gobi, stressing its efforts to achieve an effective bottom-up, participatory, people-centered and process-oriented approach. She said the projects role is facilitative, aiming to prevent desertification and to promote sustainable natural resource management. She advocated participation of CBOs and recommended follow-up action regarding:

  • incentive mechanisms, such as tax reductions and awards, for community development;

  • institutional and financial support for participation;

  • human and institutional capacity-building;

  • linkages and integration with local development strategies; and

  • development of criteria to evaluate the participatory approach and its impacts.

Liu Tio (China) presented his countrys legislative and institutional frameworks and arrangements aimed at combating desertification. He outlined a series of environmental laws, including Chinas Law on Combating Desertification, providing, inter alia, for a legal framework for the promotion of socioeconomic development and the establishment of control systems. He reviewed successes regarding land rehabilitation, poverty elimination, law enforcement, and promulgation of by-laws. Identifying areas that still need attention, he highlighted education and awareness, and law improvement, development and enforcement.

U Thein Win (Myanmar) summarized his countrys approach to Agenda 21, which provides a framework of programmes aimed at achieving sustainable development, including combating desertification. Regarding the implementation of the CCD, he mentioned the development of NAPs and the establishment of a National Commission for Environmental Affairs (NCEA), comprising all ministries. He highlighted Myanmars National Forestry Master Plans, which integrate various desertification aspects, and said that there are many national examples of the successful mitigation of land degradation.

During the discussion period, several speakers noted the importance of:

  • measuring the effectiveness of public participation mechanisms;
  • ensuring the inclusion of the private sector, particularly the forestry, agricultural and the chemical sectors;
  • creating practical linkages between desertification and natural resource management;
  • the development of indicators and criteria to monitor the effectiveness of participatory approaches; and
  • the role of incentives, and employment creation at the community level.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Sergio Zelaya (CCD Secretariat) introduced a summary of the main findings based on the submissions of Parties from Latin America and the Caribbean. In relation to participatory processes involving civil society, NGOs and CBOs, he stressed the importance of an enabling environment to foster decentralization and participation in policy design-implementation, and the need to address low levels of participation by local and indigenous communities. Regarding legislative and institutional frameworks, he noted that many countries require a more representative and fully funded NCB, backed by high-level political support to assist in balancing conflicting strategic frameworks. On linkages and synergies with other international conventions and with national development strategies, he said that the submissions note the need for improvement of procedures and operative integration, and the development of strategic approaches on joint activities, avoiding duplication of efforts and increasing cost-efficiency.

Carlos Alberto Zamora Pineiro (Bolivia) reviewed the processes of civil society participation to combat desertification in his country. He outlined the extent of desertification in Bolivia, the national legislation that has been drafted to address it, and the efforts to decentralize decision-making to allow greater community, local, and indigenous peoples participation in policy and decision-making. He said the outcomes of decentralization have been greater legitimacy of decision-making and greater civil society participation in monitoring and controlling projects. He stressed that low levels of local motivation to become engaged in the process have hampered participation.

Abril Mndez (Panama) outlined the legislative and institutional frameworks that have been put in place in her country to counter land degradation and outlined the legislative, regulatory, and institutional actions used. She said these actions have been based on objectives to restore the environment, promote sustainable development, and improve conservation management and resource use. She underlined that institutional mechanisms have been created to coordinate and harmonize policies, cover gaps in legislation, and foster the development and implementation of NAPs.

Dornella Seth (Antigua and Barbuda) reviewed the use of linkages and synergies among MEAs in her country. She stressed that due to the limited institutional and technical capacities in small island developing States, the use of synergies is crucial to the implementation of measures to combat desertification. She noted that Antigua and Barbuda has a central agency that coordinates MEA-related activities to reduce duplication and increase efficiency of work and cooperation among government entities.

Participants raised several issues in the subsequent discussions:

  • identifying civil society interests, particularly those of indigenous peoples, their manner of participation, the incorporation of their views in decision-making, and their impacts on the process;
  • measuring the impacts of new legislation;
  • regional approaches to promote synergies in small island developing States;
  • identifying successful measures and projects that enhance synergies between environmental conventions; and
  • the importance of transparency in activities regarding technical and institutional arrangements.

NORTHERN MEDITERRANEAN AND CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPEAN REGIONS AND OTHER AFFECTED PARTIES: Referring to the conclusions and recommendations resulting from the regional meeting held in Geneva, 23-26 July 2002, Elysabeth David (CCD Secretariat) stressed: the need for more awareness-raising activities; the importance of translating the CCDs implications into understandable language and incorporating them into educational programmes; and the possibilities for more NGO involvement. She advocated the continuous updating of environmental laws and institutional arrangements.

Addressing the role of participatory approaches, Victor Louro (Portugal) presented the case study on the implementation of Portugals NAP. He highlighted that the planning and consultation phases of the NAP include: cooperation with experts; selection of appropriate stakeholder representatives; workshops that apply participatory approaches; and the identification of activities and follow-up actions. In identifying important challenges, he stressed that NAPs should attempt to meet the expectations of people in affected areas.

Presenting the case study on legislative measures, Beatriz Bueno Gonzalez (Spain) noted that degraded land restoration has been implemented under the framework of watershed, hydrological and forestry management projects, focusing on areas under public control. She noted that Spain has effectively used conservation-agriculture technologies that address vegetation and soil cover maintenance, the preservation of soil fertility, and the use of subsidies for environmentally-friendly agricultural production. Regarding the European Common Agricultural Policy, she noted the development of new legislation for addressing "good agrarian practices," which are vital for combating desertification. Addressing the lessons learned from the Spanish NAP process, she emphasized that:

  • responding to desertification requires a multi-disciplinary institutional and legal approach;
  • institutional and legislative organizations need to consolidate and coordinate their responses; and
  • the integration of desertification measures into programmes and projects of other sectoral organizations and bodies ensure inter-institutional cooperation.

Vladimir Savchenko (Belarus) presented a case study on the inclusion of CCD-related implementation measures into the Belarus national strategy study on sustainable development. He highlighted the work of the inter-agency task force for implementation of the CCD, which aims to avoid duplication and to coordinate activities with agencies and national bodies implementing other UN conventions. He noted that Belarus has prioritized the following measures in its efforts to implement the CCD: institutional capacity building; joint planning processes with stakeholders; national and sectoral measures in forestry and agricultural sectors; pilot projects; and awareness raising and public education. Addressing the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, he underscored the need for international assistance to address radiation contamination in Belarus. He highlighted the following practical steps for creating synergies between MEAs:

  • establishing a consolidated national action plan for the climate, biodiversity and desertification conventions;
  • developing national capacity self-assessments; and
  • implementing practical pilot projects that address land improvement, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity protection.

Participants raised several issues in the subsequent discussions addressing the causes of desertification from land abandonment and population encroachment and measuring the involvement of women, rural communities and youth in the implementation of NAPs and dryland management projects.

CHAIRS SUMMARY AND GENERAL DEBATE ON THE THEMATIC REVIEW PRESENTATIONS: After the completion of the thematic reviews CRIC Chair Biaou requested delegates to reflect on the presentations from the previous days, focus on the lessons learned, and address whether implementation of the CCD is moving in the correct direction. Several participants noted the need for:

  • finding the right tools for promoting public participation in each country;
  • creating institutions and laws that aim to promote sustainable development;
  • targeting young people to become involved in participatory programmes to ensure the long-term success of anti-desertification measures;
  • addressing synergies at the local as well as at the national and regional levels; and
  • demonstrating that anti-desertification measures have reduced impacts and confirming that greater participation and capacity building are the correct measures to take.

Chair Biaou commented on the presentations, stating that in terms of participation, there needs to be: private sector involvement including academics; strong incentives to get and keep people involved; and an emphasis on decentralized decision-making.

On legislative and institutional frameworks, he recommended that:

  • a collection of laws is needed to address desertification issues;
  • laws must not only be drafted and adopted, but be applied at all levels; and
  • necessary human, financial and material resources should be given to existing institutions.

Regarding synergies among MEAs, he stipulated that:

  • synergies among MEAs can give added value regarding effective and efficient use of human, financial, and material resources;
  • successful use of synergies requires a firm commitment by governments to ensure general coordination to avoid overlap and duplication of work; and
  • governments and stakeholders need to design and implement projects and activities that meet the main objectives of the CCD while promoting synergies.



The second review addressed thematic topics 5, 6 and 7:

  • Measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land;
  • Drought and desertification monitoring and assessment, early warning systems for mitigating the effects of drought; and
  • Access by affected country Parties, particularly affected developing country Parties, to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how.

Ahmed Cissoko (CCD Secretariat) introduced the thematic reviews on scientific and technological issues. Highlighting recommendations regarding the rehabilitation of degraded land, he noted that NAPs should promote best practices for sustainable soil and water management, organic agriculture, traditional practices, and that they include preparedness plans to deal with natural catastrophes.

Introducing the thematic review on monitoring and assessment and early warning systems for mitigating the effects of drought, he pointed out the lack of baseline information, limited access to data-bases and limited human, institutional and financial capacities. He recommended that Parties develop measures that are preventive rather than reactive, including: developing indicators and benchmarks; establishing operational early warning systems on drought and soil moisture; and better networking among scientific institutions.

On strengthening the relationship between decision-makers and scientific institutions, he stressed the need to prioritize the development of new approaches and technologies, and for interaction among countries of the region to increase information flows, promote joint research ventures, and stimulate appropriate technological know-how. He also suggested closer interaction and support between thematic programme networks and the work programme of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST).

On access to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how, he stressed that despite a wide range of technologies, traditional knowledge and techniques, decision-makers and planners often do not use research results. He recommended that the CST: disseminate information on traditional knowledge and best practice; facilitate increased financial, technical and other support for technology transfer; and conduct further work on social and economic dimensions of technology transfer.

ASIA: Introducing the case studies from the Asia region, Rezaul Karim (CCD Secretariat) stressed the need for: more effective coordination of rehabilitation activities; improved monitoring, assessment and early warning systems; and the strengthening of scientific research to bolster NAP implementation. Durikov Muhamet (Turkmenistan) introduced his countrys case study on measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land highlighting: desertification problems related to uneven supply of water resources; collection of firewood; the destruction of fodder crops; poor drainage and irrigation systems; and land degradation in mountainous areas. Addressing the measures adopted for land rehabilitation in Turkmenistan, he stressed: stabilization of sand dunes; management of mountain forestry initiatives; use of new irrigation technologies; increased seed sowing; greater greenbelt area development; and increased cooperation with international organizations.

Introducing the case study on monitoring and assessment and early warning systems for mitigating the effects of drought, Naser Moghaddasi (Iran) described methods and technologies including the use of satellite images and aerial photography to assess the impacts of desertification. He noted that Iran monitors hydrological, agricultural, meteorological and socioeconomic aspects of drought. He stressed measures undertaken to: identify areas for data collection; determine vulnerability; distribute financial resources; determine policy priorities; and support flood monitoring and flood spreading methods.

Introducing the case study on access to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how, Ahmed Al-Attas (Yemen) underscored the need for enhanced implementation of appropriate technologies and the use of indigenous knowledge. He stressed that projects and programmes for the application of technologies should aim to increase the roles of community and traditional leaders and of women. He noted requirements for environmental observation and monitoring systems, data information systems, and cooperation with international organizations. In relation to water resource management practices, he underscored the need for: the wider application of traditional practices; flood harvesting; increasing the efficiency of irrigation practices; rain and surface water harvesting; and protection of valley and mountainous areas.

Following the presentations, delegates raised several issues, including:

  • identifying methodologies for the rehabilitation of saline soils;
  • combining modern and traditional methods for collecting and storing rainwater;
  • identifying efforts to reduce anthropogenic impacts on land degradation.
  • mechanisms used to ensure grassroots community participation in projects to combat desertification;
  • mobilizing and sharing traditional knowledge;
  • identifying incentives to encourage farmers and ranchers to combat desertification; and
  • including young people and women in projects to combat desertification.

LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN: Introducing the case studies from Latin America and the Caribbean, Sergio Zelaya (CCD Secretariat) highlighted regional efforts to restore degraded lands, but underlined the need for: a larger knowledge base on technologies; increased promotion of sustainable agriculture practices; and the formulation of indicators for drought prevention and for monitoring the effects of drought. He stressed that these indicators should be of an environmental, economic and social nature, and that they should be clear and accessible to all stakeholders. On rehabilitation of degraded land, he advocated using existing regional expertise and traditional knowledge, region-specific early warning systems, and synergies among environmental policies. He called on developed countries to provide funding for monitoring and restoration projects in the region.

In relation to measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land, Miguel Moriya Roa (Paraguay) noted that due to burning, mechanized land use, and over-grazing, his country has experienced rapid land degradation in both humid and dry regions. Stressing the need for a change of production methods, he advocated reduced tilling and elimination of burning. He said that due to unprofitable transition periods, small-scale farmers face limitations when changing production methods and he called upon national and international private sector entities to participate directly in this process.

Introducing the case study on monitoring and assessment and early warning systems, Elena Abraham (Argentina) identified these issues as key factors in the implementation of the CCD at the regional and subregional levels. Noting a lack of know-how among stakeholders, she stressed the importance of effective communication and experience sharing. She noted efforts to build capacity in the scientific and institutional sectors, and advocated NGO involvement and enhanced linkages among national and international programmes.

Introducing the case study on access to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how, Carlos Pineda Mejia (Honduras) underscored the use of traditional knowledge and science when addressing conservation and land rehabilitation. Referring to poverty within his country, he said that food security should be prioritized and described ongoing land restoration activities, including: groundwater management; waste management; zero tillage; direct sowing; and the avoidance of grass burning.

During the discussion period the following issues emerged:

  • enhancement of information exchange on a south-south basis;

  • approaches for scaling-up existing investment in dryland rehabilitation projects;

  • approaches for disseminating information on appropriate technologies and agricultural methods;

  • benchmarks and indicators for evaluating the effects of land rehabilitation;

  • methodologies to distinguish between appropriate technologies in relation to local practices;

  • indicators to measure socioeconomic impacts of desertification at the community and household levels; and

  • addressing the participation of small-scale farmers in relation to the introduction of new technologies.

NORTHERN MEDITERRANEAN AND CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPEAN REGIONS AND OTHER AFFECTED COUNTRY PARTIES: Identifying measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land, Elysabeth David (CCD Secretariat) noted that rehabilitation measures have focused on reforestation, restoration of irrigation systems and terraces, and land desalinization. Among the measures to prevent desertification, she highlighted watershed management, erosion control, organic agriculture, and the reduction of soil salinization. Noting that Europe has placed limited emphasis on the application of traditional knowledge, she underscored the need for more accessible scientific information for end-users, more work on socioeconomic issues and greater integration of CST recommendations in NAPs. Identifying issues for discussion, she suggested a focus on the rehabilitation of degraded lands that are privately owned, the development of transboundary monitoring programmes, and ensuring that decision-makers have access to the results of drought monitoring and relevant research.

Introducing the case study on measures for the rehabilitation of degraded land, Ashot Vardevanyan (Armenia) outlined the main factors contributing to soil degradation in his country. He presented measures to restore degraded land, including: improving legislation and strengthening state management of the environment; increasing economic prosperity; and improving the use of natural resources. He described various efforts that have been taken in agriculture, urban development, and the industrial and transportation sectors.

Dra Kulauzov (Hungary) introduced the case study on monitoring and assessment and early warning systems, and outlined polices applied in Hungary. She recommended the development of European drought monitoring and assessment maps and the creation of a Central and Eastern European drought preparedness network. She noted that effective monitoring and assessment requires enhanced coordination, improved methodologies, and increased communication.

Introducing the case study on access to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how, Mordechai Rodgold (Israel) outlined the practices that his country has implemented, including: exploring agricultural possibilities that are dependent on low quality and variable quantities of water resources; afforesting drylands; nurturing synergies between afforestation and agriculture; reusing waste-water; and cooperating with neighboring States on developing common standards.

Participants raised several issues arising from the presentations, including:

  • allocating responsibility among government and civil society to address drought-related issues;

  • attributing responsibility for land degradation;

  • rehabilitation of land affected by mining;

  • the role of environmental impact assessments; and

  • environmental impacts of using waste-water to combat desertification.


AFRICA: Introducing the case studies from the African region, Bettina Horstmann (CCD Secretariat) highlighted a lack of appropriate monitoring and assessment systems, and indicated a need for increased financial and logistical support to research institutions to operate early warning systems and undertake monitoring assessments. She said there was a need to develop and apply benchmarks to monitor and assess the extent of natural resource degradation in Africa. Observing that many programmes and projects have been implemented, she noted a lack of coordination between these projects and the design and implementation of NAPs. She recommended focusing on options to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought and noted the need to assess the sustainability of existing drylands programmes. On access to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how, she stressed the dissemination and application of traditional know-how and best practices, increased support for the transfer of technology, and increased involvement of the private sector.

Presenting the case study on the rehabilitation of degraded land, Jane Malephane (Lesotho) highlighted her countrys efforts to engage youth in environmental management and land rehabilitation initiatives. She introduced several training programmes developed by the National Environmental Youth Corps, highlighting activities such as tree planting, waste reduction and recycling, and construction of buildings using local materials. Addressing the benefits of this approach, she noted successes in relation to: land rehabilitation; youth involvement; crime prevention; reversal of urban migration; changing of community attitudes towards the environment; and the provision of alternative livelihoods.

Regarding the case study on monitoring and assessment of drought and desertification, Papa Mawade Wade (Senegal) identified various technologies applied in his country, including remote sensing and satellite imagery. He underscored the value of these technologies in: directing farmers to suitable grazing lands; monitoring and forecasting bushfires; identifying high risk areas; and forecasting yields and the preferable timing of harvests. He said that experiences with these technologies are being integrated into Senegals NAP and advocated establishing institutional structures at the national and regional levels to support and maintain monitoring and early warning systems.

Addressing access to appropriate technology, knowledge and know-how, Abdel Moneim Mohamed Hegazi (Egypt) presented the results of a pilot study using innovative rainwater harvest technology for rural development of semi-desert areas. He noted that the projects objectives include: enhancing employment opportunities for local indigenous peoples; improving local incomes and quality of life; and decreasing land degradation through conservation of water resources. Identifying positive results from the project, he highlighted: enhanced agricultural productivity; creation of employment opportunities in the tourism, construction, and trade sectors; preservation of indigenous knowledge; and engagement of women in handicraft and animal husbandry activities. Addressing the sustainability of water harvesting programmes, he stressed the need for: integrated modeling for design and implementation of rainwater harvest systems; developing research priorities to address constraints; establishing training programmes at various levels; and raising public awareness.

Following the presentation of the case studies, delegates highlighted the following issues:

  • addressing options for the prevention of land degradation;

  • ensuring the sustainability of programmes that encourage the participation of unemployed youth in combating land degradation;

  • increasing the levels of NGO participation in bodies established to provide advice and develop programmes to combat land degradation;

  • applying traditional and local knowledge in early warning systems;

  • addressing the operation and maintenance costs of remote sensing and satellite monitoring systems;

  • involving climate change decision-makers in the design and operation of early warning, monitoring and assessment systems;

  • applying the CST benchmarks and indicators in national monitoring and early warning systems;

  • ensuring cooperation and information sharing between scientists, researchers and local end-users; and

  • translating the results of monitoring and satellite assessments into government policies and measures.

CHAIRS SUMMARY AND GENERAL DEBATE ON THE THEMATIC REVIEW PRESENTATIONS: Following the discussion of issues arising from the African presentations, delegates engaged in a general debate to identify conclusions and recommendations stemming from the presentations on scientific and technical issues from all five of the CCD regions, as presented over the past two days.

Identifying matters requiring further dialogue, CRIC Chair Biaou highlighted the following topics:

  • ensuring that existing land restoration activities take account of NAP objectives;
  • measures taken for the adaptation and integration of projects and activities presented in national development strategies;
  • techniques to disseminate the results of research to all stakeholders including those at local levels;
  • identification of preventive actions taken to avoid drought;
  • the utility of the CSTs recommendations in the implementation of measures to combat desertification;
  • promoting the practical dissemination of traditional know-how and best practices to policy and decision-makers;
  • the role of traditional knowledge in the drafting of NAPs; and
  • establishing a mechanism to ensure that access to technology transfer and financing is available to stakeholders.

In response to the Chairs identification of topics, delegates raised several issues including:

  • the recognition, utilization, and integration of the comparable advantages offered by drylands;
  • the need to apply both preventive and adaptive strategies to address desertification;
  • identifying the benefits of applying ancient, traditional and modern technologies;
  • improving community access to technologies;
  • establishing a mechanism for applying traditional techniques and knowledge in countries with similar conditions;
  • strengthening the roles of youth and women in the process through training initiatives;
  • the need to better observe and use the CSTs recommendations;
  • promoting the interlinkages between economic and anti-desertification strategies;
  • using regional and subregional organizations in the exchange of information among countries;
  • creating inventories of traditional practices to be exchanged among Parties and used in NAPs;
  • engaging national scientific communities in CCD implementation;
  • considering activities and approaches undertaken pursuant to other MEAs and utilizing synergies among them;
  • considering the social, cultural, and economic effects of land degradation, including issues relating to land tenure;
  • improving the dissemination of desertification information to civic and local communities;
  • emphasizing the use of land-use planning practices;
  • ensuring that NAPs have cross-sectoral applications; and
  • mobilizing sufficient resources for early warning and risk management systems in affected country Parties.


The third thematic review addressed thematic topic 3: Resource mobilization and coordination, both domestic and international, including conclusions and partnership agreements.

Cheikh Sourang (Global Mechanism) elaborated on the Global Mechanisms (GM) role in partnership building and resource mobilization to address desertification and poverty eradication. Noting that NAP formulation is a long and exacting process requiring multilevel participation and financial support, he said there is a need for partnership-building and for mainstreaming the CCDs objectives into governmental planning and budgeting processes. He noted the quantitative and qualitative multiplier effect of investments, and stressed the GMs catalytic role in mobilizing resources to promote civil society participation in the implementation of the CCD. He stressed the need for case studies showing the justification of investments to control desertification and land degradation. He highlighted existing programmes between the GM and the GEF, including: the Global Land Degradation Assessment; integrated land and water management in Africa; and the Kazakhstan Drylands Management Programme. He noted the forthcoming development of the GM and the GEFs communication exchange and training programme, and advocated the exploration of new financing mechanisms and the development of business plans at country and subregional levels.

Melchiade Bukuru (CCD Secretariat) introduced the role of the GEF in mobilizing and coordinating resources for addressing land degradation and desertification. He said that during the WSSD, world leaders provided a strong commitment to reverse the process of land degradation and to increase agricultural productivity. Referring to the decision by the GEF Assembly to designate land degradation as a focal area of the GEF, he said that a landmark had been reached in the process of enhancing financial support for implementation of the CCD.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: Sergio Zelaya (CCD Secretariat) introduced the Latin America and Caribbean case studies on resource mobilization, stressing the growing need for substantial, predictable, and sustainable financial resources for CCD implementation. He noted that there is a lack of quantitative and qualitative information on the relationship between desertification and economic and social development. Underscoring the need to strengthen financial resources, he called upon developed countries to provide financing to enable the preparation and implementation of NAPs.

Presenting her countrys case study on resource mobilization, Karen Smith (Barbados) stressed that the Caribbean is a socially and economically diverse area that is subject to special challenges arising from its small population, remoteness, and vulnerability to extreme weather events. She emphasized that financial, human, technical, and technological constraints provide handicaps in the subregion, often causing its members to have difficulties in meeting their international obligations. She outlined internal and external sources of funding, but noted that there is poor coordination of external funding and that the needs and strategies adopted in the subregion are often misunderstood abroad.

Mariano Espinoza Camacho (Costa Rica) presented a case study on resource mobilization and coordination activities that have been carried out in Costa Rica. He outlined both domestic and international sources of funding and underscored the success of payments for environmental services in reforestation initiatives. He stressed that the successful implementation of payment for environmental services requires the dedicated involvement of decision-makers, effective legislation, and public awareness of the benefits of such schemes.

Reynold Murray (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) presented a case study focusing on the Caribbean subregion, providing specific examples of initiatives that have been undertaken. He pointed to the skepticism that exists both within and outside the Caribbean as to the severity of the land degradation problems and noted that environmental concerns are often secondary to survival concerns. He said that the Caribbean is not internationally viewed as a priority area for receiving financial assistance to combat desertification, and noted that little funding has been received to date. He underscored the shortages of human and technical resources in the public sector and local NGOs and noted the low number of NAPs that have been completed in the subregion.

The case studies were followed by a debate regarding the GEF and GM presentations. Chair Biaou asked participants to address whether the GM has done sufficinet work in mobilizing and channeling resources to affected developing country Parties, whether the COPs targets in this regard are being met, and whether involvement of the GEF will improve implementation at the local level. Participants raised concerns relating to these issues, including:

  • identifying the GMs strategy for facilitating funding in light of the GEFs financing criteria and incremental cost system;
  • outlining the possibilities for financing technical programme networks through the GM with GEF support;
  • improving national level approaches to enhance the mobilization of resources;
  • establishing partnerships with direct benefits for local communities;
  • identifying the GMs plans to promote funding to the Caribbean; and
  • facilitating the funding of NGOs through the GM.


LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: On Friday morning, participants discussed issues arising from Thursdays thematic session focusing on resource mobilization and coordination. Delegates addressed several issues, including:

  • overcoming the lack of interest expressed by international donors for land degradation projects in the Caribbean;
  • identifying the constraints faced by Caribbean countries in mobilizing external funding;
  • raising public awareness to assist in the implementation of payment for environmental services initiatives;
  • identifying the impediments to implement payment for environmental services initiatives;
  • addressing the role of tourism operators in measures to combat land degradation; and
  • increasing the use of regional efforts to mobilize and coordinate funding.

NORTHERN MEDITERRANEAN AND CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPEAN REGIONS AND OTHER AFFECTED COUNTRY PARTIES: Introducing the case studies on the mobilization of resources, Elysabeth David (CCD Secretariat) highlighted a lack of funding allocated to combating desertification and land degradation in this region. Noting that an increase in the allocation of financial resources is crucial for implementing the CCD, she stressed strengthening support for financing NAPs and priority projects including, training and awareness raising, and the supply of equipment for information databases and monitoring systems. Regarding the development of partnerships, she stressed the provision of resources for preparatory processes to launch partnerships and meetings of Central and Eastern European focal points to identify concrete mechanisms for partnership building.

Introducing the case study on resource mobilization in Italy, Anna Luise (Italy) noted that financial support is provided through the national budget with a focus on supporting the activities of the NCB and the implementation of the NAP, and through activities under the framework of environmental, agricultural and infrastructure policies. In relation to agricultural policy, she identified resource mobilization for agri-environmental measures, drought mitigation measures and compensation to farmers for crop losses during periods of drought. She noted that funding has been provided for projects addressing: soil erosion; water distribution; forestry; mountain slope protection; fire prevention and fighting; irrigation systems; and the prevention of chemical and biological soil degradation. Identifying the lessons learned, she underscored that desertification and land degradation are not sufficiently recognized as major environmental problems and noted the limitation of resources provided from existing national budgets. She suggested enhancing the coordination between agriculture, infrastructure and research activities dealing with environmental management.

Introducing his countrys case study, Ryszard Debicki (Poland) provided an overview of the existing environment and sustainable development funds in Poland. He said that in relation to land degradation, Poland is affected by catastrophic droughts and floods, water scarcity and poor water quality, and soil loss. He called for adequate, reliable and competent responses to CCD implementation and suggested further activities to integrate land degradation measures into NSSDs. He further recommended the use of policy frameworks to mobilize additional resources and the need to foster linkages between action programmes under different MEAs.

Presenting his countrys case study on resource mobilization, Avertano Role (Malta) stressed that although Malta lacks the necessary financial resources to combat desertification, the country has had difficulties in qualifying for international environmental funding. He noted that often the costs of land degradation do not appear in national financial estimates as they are borne directly by farmers. He suggested that academic research and student projects should be prioritized for regional cooperation and partnerships. He said that the development of an integrated Coastal Area Management Programme (CAMP), involving national institutions and international partners such as UNEP, has secured funds for the realization of a key pilot project focusing on integrated water resource management and desertification control in Malta. Highlighting the pilot projects successes, he stressed the need for additional funds to establish baseline data, to apply experiences gained from the pilot project in other parts of Malta, and to carry out joint projects with other small island States.

Following the presentations, delegates raised several matters, including:

  • identifying appropriate bodies to administer environmental funds at the national and local levels;
  • the relationship between infrastructure development and land degradation, and the linkages between funds addressing them;
  • involving the private sector in resource mobilization;
  • the potential applications of risk area mapping; and
  • enhancing data flows among affected small island developing States.

AFRICA: Introducing the African case studies on resource mobilization and coordination, Bettina Hostmann (CCD Secretariat) summarized the information contained in the African national reports, and reviewed the conclusions and recommendations arising from the African regional meeting held in Windhoek, Namibia,15-19 July 2002. She said the main challenges for African Parties include: the conclusion of long-term partnership agreements; the need for Parties to take control of initiatives; the consolidation of GEF support for CCD implementation; and the need for countries to play a meaningful role in resource mobilization under the framework of the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD).

Presenting his countrys case study, Salif Kanout (Mali) reviewed land degradation issues confronting Mali, the sources of available funding, and internal and external measures envisaged to strengthen resource mobilization. He discussed legislative and institutional efforts to improve the harmonization of programmes at both the national and international levels. He noted the strengths of Malis programmes including: the consistent support of a lead donor State; a permanent institutional framework; effective coordination; and the participation of civil society. He highlighted weaknesses in the process including: unstable government structures; insufficient financial resources; harmonizing work among different actors; inadequate high-level political support; and difficulties providing access to information in impoverished areas.

Mohamed Ismail (Tunisia) commenced his countrys case study by reviewing the degree of desertification in Tunisia, the national funds that have been established to combat desertification, and the results of partnerships between national and international partners to address land degradation. He reviewed the results of a national workshop on resource mobilization, the integration of the NAP into Tunisias economic and social development plan, and work with development partners. He concluded that: the NAP is a unifying framework for environment programmes and the CCD; on-going consultation with development partners is crucial; and consistent and substantial support is needed to facilitate the implementation of the CCD at the national, subregional and regional levels.

In his case study, Stephen Muwaya (Uganda) reviewed his countrys overall development strategy focusing on poverty eradication, agricultural modernization, environmental protection, and good governance. He outlined efforts to mobilize resources for the NAP, including: involvement of the Ministry of Finance; increasing budget allocations to environmental and natural resource management; establishing a road-map for resource mobilization; mainstreaming NAP issues into national development frameworks; promoting synergies with related environmental conventions and increasing their integration into national planning processes; and the initiation of a dialogue on a partnership framework for implementation of the NAP.

Following the presentation of the case studies, delegates highlighted the following issues:

  • addressing avenues and overcoming constraints in the mobilization of domestic financial resources and investments;
  • evaluating the effectiveness of donor roundtable meetings;
  • decentralized budgeting procedures for NAP implementation;
  • determining whether mainstreaming activities lead to increases in the allocation of financial resources;
  • procedures for effective resource mobilization between the ministry and departmental levels of government;
  • identifying more systematic ways of working with donor country partners;
  • identifying resources and replenishment procedures for national desertification funds;
  • recognizing the contribution that NGOs make in domestic and international resource mobilization;
  • avoiding duplication in the use of MEA funding sources through enhanced synergies and coordination;
  • increasing efficiency at project and administrative levels; and
  • engaging finance ministry officials in the NAP process to support domestic resource mobilization.

ASIA: Introducing the case studies from the Asia region, Rezaul Karim (CCD) stressed the need for national budgetary allocations for NAP implementation and increased support from bilateral and multilateral donors, including the GEF. He advocated the establishment of partnership-building forums and nationally driven consultative mechanisms. He identified private sector involvement as a key factor in resource mobilization and emphasized the need for: catalytic funding through existing and new programmes; enhanced technological capacities of stakeholders; subregional cooperation and thematic programme networks; replication of successful case studies; and the development of workshops and training programmes.

Introducing his countrys case study, Sisir Kumar Ratho (India) emphasized the need to adapt NAPs to local circumstances. He said that progress had been made regarding external partnership-building and named support from the CCD, the GM, and various foreign governments as examples. Regarding future activities, he highlighted an upcoming technical workshop on external funding for NAP implementation, and a partnership building forum. He stressed the need for strict implementation protocols observing the demands of donors.

Presenting her countrys case study, Pham Minh Thoa (Vietnam) highlighted the role of forestry in combating desertification. She identified several challenges for forest management, including: increasing the involvement of local stakeholders; augmenting financial resources; improving coordination among projects; and expanding operational policy frameworks. Highlighting partnerships between her government and various donors, she stressed the need for continued collaboration on the basis of agreed policies, strategies, priorities and principles of implementation. She named various basic and operational principles, including: the effective decentralization of planning, programming and implementation; ensuring optimal involvement of stakeholders and beneficiaries; and establishing effective linkages with rural development, poverty alleviation, and disaster mitigating programmes. She stressed the need for further partnership development, an annual partnership review meeting, and maintaining a focus on livelihood improvement.

Introducing his countrys case study, Tuo Liu (China) outlined several pilot activities to combat desertification and elaborated on the Chinese Governments coordinating system. He said that local governments are expected to match government funding on an equal basis and to develop projects adjusted to local conditions. He highlighted the effectiveness of incentives such as preferential taxation policies, tax exemptions, discount loans, and compensation in the form of food and money. Despite encouraging results, he expressed concerns about: limited financial and human resources; rigidity of policy mechanisms; and the absence of early warning systems.

During the discussion following the presentations, delegates raised several issues, including:

  • the need for evaluation and follow-up activities regarding reforestation programmes;
  • difficulties regarding the introduction of advanced technology;
  • difficulties in partnership building;
  • private sector participation;
  • the role of NGOs and CBOs in resource mobilization; and
  • the need to involve donors in NAP development.


With the first week of CRIC-1 completed, some delegates have commented on the insightful nature of the case studies presented throughout the week and the important opportunities the meeting has presented for networking and exchanging views and information. However, several delegates were overheard noting the repetitious and nostalgic nature of the presentations, with one delegate publicly lamenting the lack of quantifiable and independently verifiable information provided so far in the review process. Several observers have begun to question the "real" impacts these national actions are having on reversing land degradation patterns, and whether or not this issue will be meaningfully scrutinized in the review process.


THEMATIC REVIEWS: Delegates will meet from 9:30 to 12:30 Monday, for a regional "wrap-up"sessions. In the afternoon they will continue with the thematic review on resource mobilization in the Asia region.

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