Summary of proceedings for Rio Conventions Pavilion UNCCD COP 12 - 22 October 2015: Land’s Role in Climate Mitigation Day
Land’s Role in Climate Mitigation Day began with a Global Land Outlook (GLO) steering committee meeting where ideas were discussed about how to move the flagship publication forward. The GLO will be published every four years and will provide analyses of how sustainable land management will be put into action around the world to reach land degradation neutrality (LDN). Ian Johnson, Senior Advisor to GLOBE International and Sasha Alexander of the UNCCD led the meeting, which effectively brought together many active and interested organisational representatives who collaborated to propel work along its journey to its first publication.
In the evening, Patrice Burger, Director of the civil society organization (CSO) Centre d'Actions et de Réalisations InternationaIes (CARI) hosted the event “Land and Climate: What CSOs Claim”. The festivities centered around DESERTIF’ACTIONS 2015, which was a civil society international forum dedicated to land degradation and combating desertification held in Montpellier, France in June. CARI, which hosted and organized the forum also created a movie titled Land and Climate: Time to Act!, which they screened in the Rio Conventions Pavilion before a large, engrossed audience.
CSO leaders in the area of land degradation and desertification spoke in the film. For example, Marcos Montoiro, Civil Society Liaison Officer of the UNCCD said, “We always think about the problem, but solutions exist.” Other speakers expressed that CSOs need to speak up and talk with the UN conventions about their practical experiences in the field in order to communicate what works and what does not. Yet another CSO leader drew attention to the fact that associations are working in a partnership and that development cannot happen individually, as you must have more people moving forward. Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD attended DESERTIF’ACTIONS 2015 and was interviewed in the film. She said that you have to be blind to not see the direct links between the most degraded lands and social perturbations. Barbut went on to say that people are beginning to realise this now.
After the film, short pieces of the Montpellier Declaration were highlighted by representatives of GEF, the French Fund on Global Environment, Sahel & Sahara Observatory (OSS), UNCCD, Drynet, Desertification Sahel Network (ReSaD) and the CSOs panel of the UNCCD. French Environmental Ambassador, Xavier Sticker, highlighted the need to ensure that all rights are preserved for all people when dealing with land. He insists on supporting the message from the Montpellier Declaration about FAO volunteering guidelines on land tenure. Niger’s Minister of the Environment, Chaiffou Adamou talked about the collective effort CARI is doing. He went on to say that the situation in Niger is dire and desertification must be abated, especially because land degradation is a cause of poverty, migration and insecurity. He further highlighted Niger’s national objective to rehabilitate 200,00 hectares by 2030.
Rol Reiland, Chair of the Working Party on Desertification in Luxembourg, said Ankara is on the way to Paris; referencing that many high-level decision makers and Ministers who are attending and influencing the UNCCD COP12 will also be in Paris at the UNFCCC COP21 this December. He emphasized to participants that they should “Take out their tam tams” and make sure that these decisionmakers hear the message that land is important in mitigating climate change. Jean Luis Merega, Executive Director of Fundación del Sur added that the CSO community recently organized an open dialogue on the high level segment at UNCCD COP12, which generated ideas on how we should deal with issues of land rights and land grabbing. Burger summed up the discussion by saying the civil society voice has been heard because of many types of organizations at all levels supporting them. Thereafter, he introduced his five person team who work at CARI.
The evening changed pace with a networking cocktail reception, where participants chatted as they gazed intriguingly at an exhibition of cartoons centered around the theme of land and climate that were entered in a drawing contest at DESERTIF’ACTIONS 2015. The day ended with guests drifting from the last day of the Rio Conventions Pavilion to the nearby traditional Turkish Dervish Dancing show organized by civil society organizations.