Dear Mister Chair, distinguished Delegates, and CSOs colleagues!
I am Sabina Gasimova from IDEA, an environmental NGO in Azerbaijan, and I am honored to speak on behalf of more than 500 CSOs accredited to the Convention, and of the panel representing them.
I would like to express our deep gratitude to the Secretariat of the UNCCD for its efforts to progress the work of the Convention and its commitment to facilitating the collaborative interactions among CSOs during this unprecedented time.
COVID-19 and the measures taken worldwide to curb the pandemic are of great concern for the global land community. Besides the limited resources mobilization to combat desertification and drought, especially at the local level, and the devastating public health crisis that the COVID-19 brought, natural disasters have persisted in 2020.
CSOs have repeatedly alerted governments and international institutions of the imminent threat to ecosystems. In June 2019 following the Désertif’actions Summit, CSOs “warned for the convergence of factors aggravating land degradation and that it is no longer time to seek for more evidence for the land, climate and biodiversity catastrophes taking place, but to act”.
The threat on land and its resources is greater today than at any other time in human history. Despite these hard times, CSOs have continued to demonstrate the viability of sustainable, low-cost, grass-roots and people-driven solutions.
With regard to the agenda, we would like to bring to your attention urgent priorities of CSOs which we believe are vital to achieve sustainable use of land-based resources. These are:
- To reach land degradation neutrality and address desertification and drought, fix the gap between policies, commitments, and concrete actions on land and communities at the local level.
- Engage with local communities and especially those of women, youth and pastoralists so as to ensure that their rights and interests are guaranteed in policy discussion relevant to the governance and use of land, water and other natural resources.
- Support and facilitate participation of civil society throughout the decision-making processes regarding LDN target and National Drought Plans.
- Recognize agroecology and community-led initiatives as a way to implement the UNCCD and to reach LDN, especially to avoid land degradation. Finally, the integration of VGGT in the National Policies and subsequent projects and programs is necessary to guarantee land access to minority groups as women, pastoralists, youth and indigenous people. Dear Mister Chair, distinguished Delegates, faced with an increasingly uncertain future, we urge you all to unite and take action to recover the lost resilience of our global system and accelerate our actions to sustain the land and its people.