UNCCD and GEF Secretariats Discuss GEF-5 Policies and Programmes

January 2010: Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), co-hosted a staff retreat between their respective Secretariats, on 4 January 2011.

Participants at the event discussed and clarified key aspects of the GEF-5 policies and programmes as they relate to supporting the implementation of the UNCCD by affected country Parties. In her opening statement, Barbut said, "With the instrument now amended by the GEF Assembly to formalize GEF as a financial mechanism, it is time to move our collaboration to a new level in support of all Parties to the UNCCD."

Discussions addressed, inter alia: GEF reforms and the implications for ongoing UNCCD activities; procedures of the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), which includes the Land Degradation Focal Area and provides GEF resources to all affected country Parties to invest in combating desertification and deforestation; partnership between the UNCCD Secretariat, the Global Mechanism and the Implementing Agencies of the GEF in support of the implementation of the Convention by Parties; further enhancement of monitoring and reporting by Parties; and options and opportunities for strengthening relations between the GEF and the Convention, as well as the potential for enhancing synergies with the other Rio Conventions and the GEF, with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) being suggested as a target for showcasing such synergies.

Participants developed a Joint Action Plan, including recommendations for strengthening collaboration between the UNCCD and the GEF Secretariats in order to advance the implementation of the Convention and its 10-year Strategy by Parties. [UNCCD News Report] [GEF summary of the Joint Action Plan]