Sharon Kavhu in New Delhi, India
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw on Friday highlighted three key areas that he regards as ‘take aways’ from the UNCCD COP14 which was held from September 1st to 13 at the India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida.
Speaking during the closing media briefing, Thiaw said the conference’s breakthroughs include: the establishment of a clear link between land restoration and biodiversity, an agreement by the business sector to come up with a regulation on land restoration in business, the negotiations on the case of drought and the prioritisation of people in the land restoration issues.
“I have three ‘take-aways’ from this conference, first is that there is a very clear link between land restoration and biodiversity. These links have been established now and participants of the conference have taken it to considerations, especially with the fact that in the next few days there will be very high level summits in New York. So investments in land unlock a lot of opportunities including responding to the climate crisis. With large restoration we will be able to bring back the carbon back to soil as carbon belongs to soil. It should have never been emitted from the soil in the first place,” said Thiaw.
“Second take away message is that the business case for land restoration have been made clearly when they met on Saturday, they agreed to come up with a regulation on land restoration so as to avoid a number of challenges that are associated with the issues of land to make sure that communities are not deprived from their land rights, and that when a business comes to invest, there will be a clear framework and governance of that process. The business sector also called incentives to be put in place so that it can incentivise investors on land restoration.
He said parties have concluded that people should be a priority for land restoration to be successful adding that land restoration is not only about the bio physical like plants and soils but, also about women, fruits, health, economy , security and it is one of the contributors to creating peace and prosperity.
“The third issue to take home with from this conference is that Parties have spoken of the issue of drought, that with climate change we have seen severe droughts and also the way in which drought and floods are occurring in different places, some years during the same season we had either drought or floods. So parties have negotiated the case of drought,” said Thiaw.
Thiaw applauded India for hosting a successful convention which was characterised with busy meetings day and night.
He said, “We have had a flawless COP with so many participants, what you may not know is the inside, how the meetings were being done from the inside, how many parallel meetings were being made, processes that were being held in night sessions. It was all well organised, the Indian team has done extremely well. We have had a number of specific days for this COP we had a day that was dedicated to Gender issues, a day dedicated to sand stones, we had local authorities who had come to the COP for the very first time and we had a very successful business day.”