UNCCD COP 9 Identifies Indicators for Monitoring and Assessing the Extent of Desertification, Drought and Land Degradation

© ENB3 October 2009: Among the 36 decisions adopted before the final gavel came down at 7:50 am on Saturday, 3 October, at the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), was a decision that identifies two indicators – the proportion of the population in affected areas living above the poverty line and land cover status – as the minimum subset of impact indicators required for reporting by affected countries beginning in 2012, along with additional, optional impact indicators.

COP 9 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). Additional events during the COP included the convening of the first UNCCD Scientific Conference, which discussed “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.

Additional decisions from the session included a budget decision that includes a small increase in funding, a decision to enable the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to become a standing subsidiary body of the COP, and a decision that indicates regional coordination mechanisms may be given support. The agenda item on the relationship between the Global Mechanism and the Secretariat, however, overshadowed much of the conference and was not resolved at COP 9. [IISD RS coverage]