The UNCCD ensures that the role of civil society in promoting sustainable land use is acknowledged and promoted.
Various Articles of the UNCCD promote the active engagement of civil society, for example, to facilitate the participation of local populations in efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought and to develop their capacities, especially those of women and youth.
In the early days of the Convention CSO participation in decision making processes like COPs was poorly organised and not very effective or accountable. In response, Drynet lobbied for the establishment of a democratically elected representative body. These efforts resulted in the establishment of the UNCCD CSO Panel in 2011 (COP10), comprising representative from each of 5 regional groupings of the nations of the world. Every two years a new election takes place to renew the membership.
At the beginning of 2020 a “virtual election” took place and civil society organizations accredited to the UNCCD elected their new representatives to the CSO Panel, including two Drynet members (CARI and CENESTA):
The new panel members had their first meeting on March 12th and started to develop their workplan for the next biennium. During the current pandemic context this was followed by virtual meetings every month Building on the work of the previous panel, they are responsible to facilitate CSOs involvement in the Convention and to ensure that the voices of CSOs are taken into consideration as key stakeholders in the decision making processes. The key issues that the Panel will be taking forward in the coming year and a half are:
Drynet members thank the previous panel, in which Ms. Nathalie Van Haren from Both ENDS represented WEOG region, for its commitment to putting land tenure governance in the COP14 agenda. The decision taken on land tenure by the Parties during the last COP was unprecedented in multilateral negotiations.
Two Drynet members also represent the interests of civil society in UNCCD processes: Ms Nathalie Van Haren from Both ENDS has been appointed representative within the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on “effective policy and implementation for addressing drought under the UNCCD” created by decision of the COP14. Mr. Noel Oettlé of EMG is the civil society observer on the UNCCD SPI.
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