Put the CSOs in the Frame!
Accredited CSOs to the UNCCD organized a press conference on 11 September 2017, the opening day of the high level segment at the COP13 in Ordos. Four representatives from different CSOs spoke on behalf of around 500 CSOs.
Nathalie van Haren, Both ENDS started the press conference: “we are grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the CSOs and share our inputs on the Strategic Framework of the UNCCD Convention in general, and on the land tenure rights and on SDG 15.3 more specifically.”
Then Ms. Ozgul Erdemli Mutlu from TEMA in Turkey took the floor and acknowledged the efforts of International Working Group (IWG) formed after COP12 in Ankara to formulate the joint Strategic Framework for the UNCCD work from 2018 to 2030. However, she expressed the concern of the CSOs about the absence of mention of CSOs in the current strategic framework as partners to implement and monitor the strategic framework. The CSO community has been actively involved in the UNCCD activities since its start. CSOs work closely with indigenous and local communities, and support them in enhancing their capacities to manage land sustainably and address the impacts of climate change. We strongly request Parties to explicitly acknowledge the crucial role of CSOs in the UNCCD Future Strategic Framework.
She concluded her statement by emphasizing that CSOs are an integral part of the UNCCD and that merely mentioning “key stakeholders and UN agencies” in the Strategic Framework that is being negotiated at COP 13 is insufficient to ensure that the UNCCD strategy is adequately inclusive and participatory.”
We can no longer ignore land rights!
Marioldy Sanchez from AIDER Peru continued by reflecting the impact of the contributions of CSOs within the UNCCD. CSOs have managed to put land governance on the agenda of the UNCCD. However, as land use rights are not yet included in the UNCCD decisions, there is clearly more work to be done. Marioldy Sanchez reminded the parties that access to, ownership and control over land are a precondition to ensure food security and sustainable land use, and to end poverty. In line with the SDG targets 1.4, 2.3 and 5a, and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), CSOs urge that strong synergies be ensured within initiatives of the UNCCD by promoting good land governance and strengthening legitimate and customary land tenure rights, as well as the adoption and implementation of the VGGT in the decisions which will be made here at this UNCCD COP13.
Leave no one behind
The alignment with the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is much needed. Tanveer Arif from SCOPE from Pakistan, therefore encouraged the integration of SDG target 15.3 in the implementation of the UNCCD through the realization of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by all Parties. In line with SDG key principles to “Leave no one behind” and the holistic character which stresses the need to align with other SDGs, the recognition of local communities as key players in the sustainable land use actions on the ground are crucial. We therefore strongly encourage Parties to ensure the bottom-up participation of indigenous and local communities and CSOs in the LDN processes and in achieving SDG 15.3, in particular by its integration in National Action Plans, target-setting processes, financing mechanisms monitoring and reporting to ensure transformative action. To reach SDG target 15.3, enhanced capacities related to achieving LDN are crucial, especially for national and local authorities, CSOs and community-based organizations. If capacitated, members of affected communities and local authorities can significantly contribute to achieving LDN and SDG target 15.3, for instance by integrating the LDN targets in Community Development and Land Use Plans.