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July-August 2010 Issue of UNCCD News Focuses on Decade for Deserts

16 August 2010: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has released the July-August 2010 issue of UNCCD News, which focuses on the launch of the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification (UNDDD). This special issue contains statements from 15 leaders, pledging their commitment and the backing of their organizations to the Decade.

Among the leaders, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon notes that "By providing sustained assistance to local communities, we can preserve or recover millions of hectares of land, reduce vulnerability to climate change and alleviate hunger and poverty for one-third of humanity." Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), indicates that "A renewed partnership has been established with the Secretariat of the UNCCD, UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and other partners to work collectively on the UNDDD."

Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, UN Department of Public Information (UNDPI), indicates that UNDPI will "work to ensure that desertification is embraced by the discussions on the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], on climate change, on the green economy and on the road to Rio+20." Olav Kjorven, Assistant Administrator and Director, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP, states that "UNDP is committed to supporting dryland countries' efforts to implement the UNCCD, which offers an opportunity to make progress on the MDGs specifically in drylands."

Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlights that "This initiative is an excellent opportunity to promote synergies between the three Rio Conventions (CBD, UNCCD and UNFCCC), because biodiversity loss and desertification are interrelated." Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, states that UNDDD "will be a major opportunity for the international community to strengthen the ability of countries to sustainably manage their lands, support them in their activities to halt land degradation and desertification and enhance the benefits for climate and sustainable development." And Christian Mersmann, Managing Director of the UNCCD's Global Mechanism, emphasizes that the Decade "signals a political and strategic opportunity to recast the image of deserts and drylands as productive ecosystems at the macro-economic heart of countries' development." [The Newsletter]

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