UNCCD Science Committee Discusses Indicators, Knowledge Management Systems

18 February 2011: The Second Special Session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-2) of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has concluded in Bonn, Germany, following three days of discussions on topics including: progress made on studies and activities requested by previous Conferences of the Parties (COP); the establishment of a knowledge management system; the strengthening of national, regional and global networks of experts; the refinement of impact indicators; and ways to improve the organization of the 2nd UNCCD Scientific Conference.

Suggested actions with regard to the organization of Scientific Conferences include recommendations that: the Secretariat put in place a conference steering committee to coordinate the organization of the conference; the format of the conference be a plenary session followed by working groups based on the themes of the conference; and the Secretariat seek the assistance of the lead institution/consortium to secure adequate funding for the conference and the attendance of scientists from developing and eligible countries.

On the 2nd Scientific Conference, the final report notes that this Conference, to be held in 2012 at a special session of the CST, is to consider the theme, “Economic assessment of desertification, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.” It notes that balanced geographic representation of scientists is essential, and recommends that the Secretariat avoid the risk of duplication of effort with the ongoing economics of desertification, land degradation and drought (E-DLDD) initiative.

The final report also states that, on the topic of strengthening the provision of scientific advice, links to mechanisms dealing with desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD), such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the intergovernmental platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES), should be explored, in order to see how DLDD scientific issues could be included within those frameworks.

A number of e-Forums will follow up on topics, including the needs with regard to the development of a knowledge management system and the refinement of impact indicators to measure the implementation of strategic objectives 1, 2 and 3 of the 10-year Strategic Plan.

On 21 February 2011, the ninth session of the Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 9) will begin a week-long session, also in Bonn. [IISD RS' Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of CST S-2] [UNCCD CST S-2 documents]