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UNCCD COP 9 DISCUSSES IMPLEMENTATION OF TEN YEAR STRATEGY

The ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 21 September-2 October 2009, along with the eighth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 8) and the ninth session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST 9). This was the first COP following the adoption in 2007 of the ten-year strategic plan and framework for the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018) (Strategy), and the 1,700 registered participants discussed numerous agenda items related to that decision.

The CST convened during the first week, including for its first Scientific Conference, to discuss “Biophysical and socioeconomic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management.” A high-level segment also took place, with over 60 countries participating in three roundtables on global trends of desertification, land degradation and drought, linkages with climate change and partnerships. Participants also attended an open dialogue session with civil society organizations.

The COP approved thirty-six decisions before the final gavel came down at 7:50 am on Saturday, 3 October. Delegates highlighted several positive outcomes, including: development of impact indicators in the CST; a budget decision that includes a small increase in funding; enabling the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to become a standing subsidiary body of the COP; and support for the long-discussed regional coordination mechanisms. The agenda item on the GM-Secretariat relationship, however, overshadowed much of the conference. Despite expectations that a COP 9 decision might lead to a new shared understanding of the structure and mandate of the Convention's bodies, polarized positions on this issue resulted in a late night impasse and decision that largely left resolution on this issue to a future COP.

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