• Lead-organizer: Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS)
  • 11:30 - 13:00
  • Date: 19 Jun 2012
  • Room: T-10

Addressing Desertification and Land Degradation in LDC, LLDCs and SIDs

Organizing partners



The side-event will focus on LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. The proposed theme will provide a platform to highlight and reaffirm the vulnerabilities faced by all three groups in the area of desertification and land degradation. The theme lends itself to discussions that involves the environment, economic and social aspects of the topic under consideration that will include, agriculture, water and food security issues and related issues that are vital to all three groups of countries. The side-event will also highlight the need for capacity-building and transfer of technologies to enable these three groups of countries combat desertification, land degradation, food insecurity and water related issues.

Detailed programme

The UNCCD noted the high concentration of developing countries, notably the LDCs, among those experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, and the particularly tragic consequences of these phenomena in Africa. The Convention underscored that the Parties to it should take into full consideration the special needs and circumstances of affected developing country Parties, particularly the least developed among them. There is an obligation by developed countries to actively support, as agreed, individually or jointly, the efforts of affected developing country Parties, particularly those in Africa, and the least developed countries, to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought.

Land degradation and environmental degradation is highlighted as priorities in the programmes of action for LDCs and SIDS. The Barbados programme of action stated that the major long-term land management issue in SIDS is the degradation of the limited land area due to a variety of factors, including overuse because of high population pressure on a limited resource base; deforestation due to unsustainable commercial logging or permanent conversion to agricultural or grazing pursuits; and other episodic events, such as fire. Natural events, such as catastrophic cyclones, are also major contributors. Land degradation of that kind results in accelerated erosion and a resultant decline in fertility and productivity, a deterioration in water quality and the siltation of rivers, lagoons and reefs. Deforestation is also linked to a decline in the continuity and quality of village water supply, the depletion of genetic, wood and non-wood plant resources, and the fading away of traditional forest, lagoon and reef-based subsistence life systems.

The Istanbul programme of action for LDCs acknowledges linkages between Agriculture, food and nutritional security and rural development and land degredation. It recognizes that agriculture development in LDCs has been suffering from adverse impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, desertification, land and soil degradation, declining water availability and degrading water quality. The agriculture sector in LDCs faces huge challenges owing to lack of adequate investment in physical infrastructure, scientific and technological development, research and agricultural extension services.

In order to adequately reduce vulnerabilities, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS must put in place policies and institutions that strengthen their resilience in combating desertification and land degradation which directly impacts on all the three pillars of sustainable development. Reducing vulnerability requires international support in the form of technical and financial assistance and capacity building. In this side event, the aim of OHRLLS and its partners is to assist in the identification of policy measures, through the sharing of national/regional experiences, that work and can help these groups of countries to reduce their vulnerabilities and to mobilize international support for capacity-building and increased technical and financial resources in favour of its three groups vulnerable countries address desertification, land degradation, food security and water access issues that they may face which will contribute to promoting sustained growth and sustainable development.

Outcome: The outcome of the side-event will reaffirm that LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS experience higher vulnerabilities in all the three pillars of sustainable development ? the economic, the social and the environmental. The side-event will also highlight the need for capacity-building and transfer of technologies to enable these three groups of countries combat desertification, land degradation, food insecurity and water related issues. It will highlight the need to recommit to addressing the challenges presented by land degradation and desertification. OHRLLS will prepare a summary of the side-event and the new commitments made at the side-event by LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and their development partners. This will be submitted to the Secretariat of the Rio+20 Conference. OHRLLS will follow-up on the outcomes of the side-event.

The side-event will showcase efforts undertaken by LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS themselves in implementing measures at the national and regional levels to combat desertification, land degradation, promotion of food security and access to water. It will identify areas where mobilization of support measures and cooperation can be targeted to enhance and compliment these regional and national efforts.

Speakers: The side-event will be hosted in a panel format to be moderated by the High Representative of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. It will feature three (3) Heads of States/Governments from each of the three groups. It will also feature the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD Secretariat, the Director-General of the FAO Secretariat and the Executive Secretary of the GEF. The side-event will be a three hour event.
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