The Chair of the African group, Mr. Mwendandu, flanked by Kenya’s delegation to COP 13 giving Kenya’s statement during the HLS

Kenya, which the chair of the African region group to the  Thirteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 13), has called for COP 13 to consider specific measures to deal with the impacts of drought in the region, and to increase resilience of the affected communities.

Delivering the Ministerial statement on behalf of the African group during the opening session of the High Level Segment of COP 13 in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, the Chair of the African group of negotiators, Mr. Richendandu noted that, drought was the most adverse climatic phenomenon affecting our region and has resulted to declining land productivity, increased food insecurity, exacerbated poverty, unemployment levels, decreased Gross Domestic Product, increased competition for natural resources, social economic disruptions and may compromise our efforts  to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality.

Mr. Mwendandu, who is also the Director of Multilateral Environmental Agreements in the State Department of Natural Resources observed that, in order to meet the set LDN targets, political commitment and enhanced resources will be required,over and above the national capabilities, and called for enhanced financial and technical support from partners and funding mechanisms, particularly, the Global Environmental Facility during the GEF-7 replenish phase.

On behalf of the African group region, Mr. Mwendandu appreciated the efforts by the UCCD secretariat to establish the LDN Fund and hoped that,the fund will be operationized in line with the Convention provisions.

The High Level Segment is being attended by over 80 Ministers and  more than 2,000 delegates from 196 member Countries of the UNCCD including Kenya, and 20 international organizations

Over 110 countries join the global campaign to save productive land

Vice Premier of the State Council of China Yang Wang addresses COP 13 during high level segment encouraging all stakeholders to assist in anti-desertification efforts

Ordos, September 11, 2017 – Up to 2 billion hectares of land are degraded. On average, 12 million hectares are lost every year and 169 countries are affected by land degradation, desertification and drought. In an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, 112 countries, as of today, have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030 a national target for action.

The world’s largest and most populous nations, including Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa have committed to the national targets in a move that could see over 1.3 billion mostly poor people regaining food, water, energy and job security, and resilience to climate change. Conservative estimates put the cost of land degradation globally at US$297 billion per year.

Under the land degradation neutrality target setting programme spearheaded by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and supported by 17 international partners, more than 60 of these countries have already established national land degradation baselines and set neutrality targets.

Joining the initiative signals a country’s determination to restore degraded land to ensure the amoung of productive land available today is maintained going forward.

“Desertification is the joint mission of all mankind and the responsibility of the international community to ensure a beautiful planet,” said Mr. Wang Yang, China’s Vice Premier.

“Over the coming decades China will put an emphasis on the development of an ecological civilization – including by combating desertification – to ensure better societal fairness and human well-being,” he added.

Wang was speaking on behalf of President Xi Jinping at the Ministerial meeting of the 13th session of the UNCCD in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, where more than 80 ministers discussed pursuing land degradation neutrality as a viable response to the growing threats of desertification, drought, and sand and dust storms.

Desertification, land degradation and drought are threats to global security due to their impacts on number of livelihoods tied to the productivity of land – more than 2 billion. This year, drought led to the worst humanitarian crises since the Second World War. Distress migration driven by desertification in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to reach 60 million out to 2045.

“The population is growing at an extra 200,000 people every day, while 20 countries have declared drought emergencies in the last 18 months alone. We were clearly not sufficiently prepared for these challenges. Hundreds of millions of people go to bed desperate, hungry and thirsty as a result. Under business as usual scenarios, there is no future relief,” said Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary, UNCCD.

She said the Convention, at its current Conference, “can offer the poor a new deal. By using our land resources rationally and acting before it is too late, there is enough for everyone to live well… We can be better prepared for drought and offer stable, green and land-based employment and development for millions of rural people. We can promote harmony between city and country and offer opportunity for all,” Barbut added.

A priority issue for the ministers is the mechanism needed to ensure communities that are vulnerable and at risk of drought have the means to take early action. They will also consider how to address the new sources of sand and dust storms, how to motivate the private sector to invest in land-restoration, and motivate mayors and local and regional leaders to support the achievement of these targets.

The 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification (COP13) is taking place in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.

At a press conference with journalists, Mr Liu Dongshen, Vice Minister State Forestry Administration, said for some years now, China has restored more land than it has degraded. Last year, it registered a net surplus of more than 2,000 square kilometers. This year, the country has restored over 1,000 square kilometers above the net balance.

In addition to the strategic plan for 2018-2030, the ministerial declaration and the decisions COP13 will take on drought, land rights and sand and dust storms, he underlined the mobilization of youth as an important issue from the Conference, which China will pursue going forward.

More than 4000 delegates are participating in COP13, which runs until 16 September.

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Kenya’s Dr. , Ondimu from the MENR, flanked by Mr. Dan Kithinji from the Ministry, making a statement on behalf of the African region group in Ordos, China

Kenya was among the 196 countries that attended the thirteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 13) that opened in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.

The conference also attended by 20 international organizations, witnessed the handing over the COP presidency to Mr. Zhang Jianlong, Minister of State Forestry Administration, China, as the 13th President.

The COP presidency was handed over from Turkey who held the 12th conference presidency. During the handing over, the country was represented by Hon. Cemal Noğay, Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, Turkey, on behalf of Hon. Veysel Eroğlu, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs.

Mr. Zhang Jianlong urged the conference parties to urgently consider integrating the Sustainable Development Goal on Desertification in their development plans in order to achieve a Land Degradation-neutral world by 2030.

Equally, he called on the parties to consider the future strategic Framework of the Convention, Implementation of the comprehensive communication strategy, and the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the fight against Desertification.

He noted that COP 13 was a gathering of great minds to discuss ways to combat desertification and share experiences of controlling the spread of  deserts in the world.

The President also called on the delegates to ensure that, starting from Ordos, and in the course of combating desertification, they embark on a fight side by side and engage in a common Endeavour to pursue green development.

Addressing the same gathering, the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, Monique Barbut observed that, substantial achievements have resulted from efforts made over the past years. She added that more was expected with the strategic framework to be formed at from Ordos’s conference.

The executive Secretary further expressed fears that, the window of opportunity created from aligning the Convention with the 2030 Agenda was limited against high expectations. This therefore required more effort at COP 13 and thereafter to enable refocus implementation and translating the Land Degradation Neutrality targets into action.

Baurbut further noted that, COP 13 needed to take decisions on issues that had not been dealt with, including drought and sand storms, gender, land tenure security, and acceleration of knowledge and strategic communication.

Kenya on behalf of the African region and in its capacity as chair of the African group of negotiators, in a statement read by Dr. Kennedy Ondimu, of the State Department of Environment, said the country was looking forward to the adoption of the future strategic framework, which will be a landmark of the conference.

This will enhance UNCCD’s role in contributing to the implementation of sustainable development goals and the Rio convention, in a synergetic and integrated manner Dr. Ondimu added.