The Regional Meeting for the Parties of the Implementation Annex II/Asia was organized from 2-4 March 2021. Dr. Omer Raja chaired the meeting from Pakistan along with a reporter from South Korea. The meeting brought about 73 delegates from the Asian parties to exchange and review their progress towards the implementation of the UNCCD. The UNCCD Executive Secretary’s opening speech focused on the importance of land restoration worldwide and the important role of the Asian countries in land restoration in terms of the area size and the number of the population, particularly the majority of the world poor who live in Asia. Mr. Thiaw said, ‘Investing in Sustainable land Management is vital and can contribute to poverty alleviation, climate change, and reducing the biodiversity loss. The post-recovery efforts in the world should take into consideration to invest in land. Land restoration is possible and achievable if we want to restore nature and the economy. He recommended all stakeholders of the UNCCD are responsible for sensitizing the world on three keywords of this year’s slogan of the 17th of June “Restoration. Land. Recovery.” which is a very clear message to invest in the land”. The Asian delegates addressed various topics of the CRIC19 agenda items.
During the three days of the regional meeting, various presentations were presented to the delegates according to the official agenda of CRIC10 on LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP), an update on the operationalization of the LDN Fund, Policy frameworks, and Intergovernmental Working Group on effective policy & implementation measures for addressing drought.
The main points addressed during the meetings were:
- The LDN target setting programme is a path to form the Transformative Projects & Programmes (TPP) to Achieve LDN (from targets to implementation, facilitating access to existing Funds);
- The long period of TPP project preparation cycle (at least 12-24 months) is a challenge for developing countries of the region, and therefore, there should be a way to accelerate this process through strong partnership and institutions that assist parties in the project preparation phase;
- The LDN target setting Programme and LDN Fund are linked together, comparing Asia with other regions in terms of size and population; this region is less involved in LDN Fund projects. The selection standards of the projects are complicated for developing countries, and they need some support from GM and the Fund to reduce these challenges and the preparation period of their TPP;
- The LDN Fund’s mission aims to contribute to LDN, not in a specific region or country but for the whole world. Therefore it is suggested that LDN Fund put some resources to bring global benefit to the LDN issue through various training toolbox, capacity building, training on asses or monitor the LDN activities within countries for developing countries, not individual countries;
- The strong collaboration of the LDN Fund with National Focal Points and continues update on the progress of work will strengthen the monitoring mechanisms of LDN Fund projects and partnership;
- The LDN Fund is coordinating with the UNCCD to facilitate the centralization of the relevant Data on LDN Fund to reduce the challenges to find the right & updated data and information by stakeholders;
- Drought and sand storm is one of the main issues in the region, and the parties welcome more vital collaboration to manage and cope with these natural events in the region;
- The land tenure concept is relatively new in the UNCCD. We need to consider every country-specific condition regarding national laws of land tenure. If we want to include the land tenure and VGGT into the UNCCD context, we need to make it in the conclusive, adaptable, and flexible way and respect to national context and regulations;
- The technical guide with FAO on land tenure is important, and parties need to include more views and more standing points in the content of such a guide before the finalization;
The parties decided to form a working group to prepare a regional statement at the Opening and Closing sessions of CRIC19.