A united global pledge to boost drought resilience and invest in land restoration for future prosperity concluded the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
This two-week meeting on the future of land management drew nearly 7,000 participants, including heads of state, ministers, delegates from the UNCCD’s 196 Parties and the European Union, as well as members of the private sector, civil society, women, youth leaders and media.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of UNCCD COP15 on Friday, Patrick Achi, Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, said: “Each generation faces this thorny question of how to meet the production needs of our societies without destroying our forests and lands and thus condemning the future of those on whose behalf we endeavour.”
He also drew attention to the $2.5 billion raised for the Abidjan Legacy Programme launched by Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara at the Heads of State Summit on May 9, which has already surpassed the $1.5 billion anticipated for it.
At a news conference, Alain-Richard Donwahi, COP15 President, highlighted that it was the first time Cote d’Ivoire hosted a COP for one of the three Rio Conventions, and emphasised his country’s continued commitment to keep land issues high on the international agenda.
Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “Meeting against the backdrop of multiple global challenges, including the worst-in-40-years drought in Eastern Africa, as well as food and economic crises fuelled by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and conflicts, countries have sent a united call about the importance of healthy and productive land for securing future prosperity for all.”
The highlights among the new commitments: Accelerate the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land by 2030 by improving data gathering and monitoring to track progress against the achievement of land restoration commitments and establishing a new partnership model for large-scale integrated landscape investment programmes.
Boost drought resilience by identifying the expansion of drylands, improving national policies and early warning, monitoring and assessment; learning and sharing knowledge; building partnerships and coordinating action; and mobilizing drought finance.
And establish an Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought for 2022-2024 to look into possible options, including global policy instruments and regional policy frameworks, to support a shift from reactive to proactive drought management.
UNCCD’s COP15 is the first Conference of the Parties of the three Rio Conventions taking place in 2022, ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP27 and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15.
Future meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD and its subsidiary bodies will be held in Saudi Arabia (COP16 in 2024), Mongolia (COP17 in 2026), and Uzbekistan (Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention in 2023).