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UNCCD Posts Assessment of First Scientific Conference

10 November 2010: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has posted the assessment it commissioned to review the organization of the first UNCCD Scientific Conference.

The assessment, prepared by Lakhdar Boukerrou and Rania Bou Kheir, offers recommendations related to: conference organization; conference implementation; participation and funding; conference content; and communication with the press. Through interviews, surveys and other research methods, the authors develop the suggestion that "a scientific conference is a good mechanism for addressing scientific issues, but not a mechanism designed to address long-term issues and provide continuity." They also note that "an independent mechanism is needed to allow for continuity within the UNCCD and for broader participation by the scientific community."

The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 8) to the UNCCD, in Decision 13/COP.8, decided that each future ordinary session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) should be organized "in a predominately scientific and technical conference style format by the CST Bureau in consultation with [a] lead institution/consortium." The first UNCCD Scientific Conference was held in conjunction with the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 22-24 September 2009. That meeting adopted a number of decisions following the Scientific Conference, including one calling for an assessment of the experience. [The Assessment]