Land Day 3 Considers the Nexus Between Biodiversity and Desertification

23 October 2010: The Secretariats of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) organized Land Day 3 on 23 October 2010, in parallel to the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, in Nagoya, Japan. 

Land Day 3 was part of the Rio Conventions Ecosystem and Climate Change Pavilion, and was co-sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ - Germany) and the Arid Land Research Center of Tottori University (ALRC). It addressed the theme "The Nexus Between Biodiversity and Desertification." Panel sessions considered: how the synergetic implementation of the CBD and UNCCD fosters action at the country level; how decision makers can ensure an equal sharing of environmental benefits through sustainable use of biodiversity and land; and how scientists can contribute to biodiversity conservation in the drylands of Eastern and Central Asia.

Ambassador Tommy Koh (Singapore), who served as the Chair of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, also known as the 1992 Rio Earth Summit), delivered the keynote address. Noting that the CBD, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UNCCD were products of the Earth Summit, Ambassador Koh reflected on how agreement was reached to negotiate the UNCCD, why the global community should care about desertification and why synergies among the three Rio Conventions is important.

Among the issues raised during discussions were: proposals for approaches at the country-level financing that could enhance synergy; the need to bring back small holders who had fallen off the national level agenda on synergy; organic farming as an strategy to foster synergy; the policy failure to promote synergy; how development cooperation could support the development of local business; and an over-expectation that the ABS protocol could capture all the concerns surrounding biodiversity loss.

In his closing remarks, UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja stressed the need to mainstream what others consider to be externalities. He announced that Land Day 4 would take place in Bonn, Germany, in June 2011, and closed Land Day 3 with a quote from The Forgotten Billion, a new study by UNCCD and the UN Development Programme that claims: “for too long, the drylands have been overlooked by political and business leaders the world over. Now is the time to reverse this history of neglect. Spotlighting drylands offers great untapped potential, certainly in terms of MDG achievement but also because many of our planet's drylands represent some of the last great frontiers for economic development.” [UNCCD Land Day 3 webpage] [Rio Conventions Ecosystem and Climate Change Pavilion]