CARI’s Reflections on the UNCCD COP15

By Manon Albagnac 

CARI participated in the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. This CoP was held from May 9 to 20, 2022 in Abidjan.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an international agreement stemming from the Rio Convention of 1992, just like the better-known United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention (CBD) on Biological Diversity.

The Desertification Convention focuses on the fight against land degradation and the effects of drought. The stakes are high, with 40% of the world’s land degraded and 3.2 billion people threatened by desertification in the short term, according to the UN. 650,000 people have already lost their lives between 1970 and 2019 because of droughts.

CoP15 brought together nearly 7,000 people: leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society, and other key actors from around the world. The ambition was to offer concrete responses to the interconnected challenges of land degradation, climate change, and biodiversity loss as we enter the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Land rights, gender equality, and youth empowerment are also among the key issues on the conference agenda.

More than 30 decisions were taken at this CoP: accelerating the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land (to which the international community had already committed), strengthening resilience to drought, creating a new intergovernmental working group on drought, and improving the involvement of women, etc.

CARI was present with several of its partners in the drylands: civil society organizations that promote the deployment of agroecology. CARI has been working since the beginning of the year, with its partners, to develop strong advocacy around agroecology, to be able to bring it to this CoP15. National workshops were held in 14 countries, as well as an online consultation and a webinar, the results of which were analyzed by experts from the Sahara and Sahel Observatory. The results led to the production of thematic sheets, each with strong arguments from the field, which could be brought to this international meeting.

CARI contributed to several side events during the CoP, including two on the Great Green Wall, one on territorial approaches, and one on cities and degraded lands.

For further reading on CARI’s analysis of CoP15 is available.