Joint International Conference
Desertification and the International Policy Imperative

17-19 December 2006 | Algiers, Algeria

December 2006

Summary report

HTML

PDF

22 December 2006

m
t
w
t
f
s
s

INTRODUCTION

The Joint International Conference “Desertification and the International Policy Imperative” took place from 17 to 19 December 2006 in Algiers, Algeria, and focused on policies needed for successful dryland management. Organized under the framework of the International Year of Deserts and Desertification (IYDD), this conference gathered over 250 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It built on outcomes from other IYDD events and addressed the following topics: improved policy focus on desertification; mobilization of resources and capacity; new initiatives to mainstream desertification issues into national and international policy processes; improved knowledge management initiatives; improved political viability, design and implementation of national-level initiatives; and interlinkages between desertification, climate change, biodiversity and other global environmental issues.

The conference was organized into six sessions of expert presentations that were followed by brief panel discussions. On Sunday, Cherif Rahmani, Algerian Minister of Land Management and Environment, opened the proceedings. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and a panel of distinguished representatives then gave opening remarks. The first two sessions, on policy challenges and mainstreaming desertification policies, followed. On Monday, participants heard panel presentations on national case studies, strategies for monitoring and evaluation, and sub-regional case studies. On Tuesday, sessions included discussion on knowledge management and the interlinkages between desertification, climate change and other global environmental issues. Each of the session Chairs then gave a brief summary of findings, which was followed by a final high-level panel discussion. The conference closed with ceremonies that included an address by Cherif Rahmani and two signing ceremonies. In the first signing ceremony, high-level representatives endorsed a proposal initiated by Algeria and Arab ministers requesting that 2010-2020 be named as a decade of deserts and desertification at the next session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The second ceremony, signed by six partner research institutes, reflected their commitment to support an international master’s degree programme for drylands at the United Nations University (UNU). More information.

Conference and Presentation Highlights

On Sunday morning, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria, delivered his opening remarks thanking conference organizers for choosing Algiers as the venue. He stressed the political and environmental threats of desertification and noted its negative implications for development.

In the opening session, Cherif Rahmani, Algeria’s Minister for Land Management and Environment, addressed participants and discussed the positive and negative effects of globalization on arid areas, gave recognition to the ‘people of the deserts’ participating in the conference, and noted Algeria’s leadership role in combating desertification. L to R: Youba Sokona, Executive Director, Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel; Cherif Rahmani; Hans van Ginkel, Rector, United Nations University; Mahmoud Solh, Director-General, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas; Christian Mersmann, Managing Director, The Global Mechanism; and Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity.

On Sunday afternoon, panelists presented on mainstreaming desertification policies. The goals of the session were to identify new financing and development options; to enable alternative livelihoods; to explore the potential role of the private sector; and to specify new policies to combat desertification and improve drought preparedness. L to R: Youssef Brahimi, Global Mechanism; Jonathan Davies, World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralisml; Pamela Chasek, IISD; Foday Bojang, African Union; and Taoufiq Bennouna, TerrAfrica.

On Monday morning, participants heard panel presentations on national case studies. The three major issues considered in this session were the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders in desertification policy formulation; the mainstreaming of attempts to combat desertification in national development strategies; and the issue of policy disconnect and contributions from isolated sectors.

On Tuesday afternoon, a high-level panel discussion addressed a number of issues including: the lack of policies that promote generation of knowledge at the international level and the role of the UNU in ameliorating this; the issue of weak implementation capacity at national level; and the role of the GEF in supporting anti-desertification activities.

Tuesday afternoon’s panel addressed Interlinkages between Desertification, Climate Change and Other Global Environmental Issues. L to R: Rattan Lal, Ohio State University; Hillary Masundire, IUCN, Botswana; Chrisotpher Braeuel, CIDA; Pamela Chasek, IISD; and Wafa Essahli, OSS.

Closing the conference, six partner research institutes affirmed their commitment in a signing ceremony to support the international master’s degree program for drylands at United Nations University (UNU).

Research institutes set up information displays in the hallways.
The IISD reporting services team. L:R: Julie Taylor, Zimbabwe; Derick Gabone, South Africa; James Van Alstine, United States of America.
Relevant Links

Conference Programme
Convention to Combat Desertification
IYDD

IISD RS Resources
Introduction to the Convention to Combat Desertification
IISD RS coverage of the Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-7) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (CCD), 17-28 October 2005, Nairobi, Kenya
IISD RS summary report of the Third Session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC-3), 2-11 May 2005, Bonn, Germany - (English: HTML, PDF, TEXT - French: HTML, PDF, TEXT - Spanish: HTML, PDF, TEXT)
IISD RS coverage of the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP-6) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Mitigate the Effects of Drought in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa (CCD), 25 August - 6 September 2003, Havana, Cuba
IISD RS coverage of the First Meeting of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-1), 11-22 November 2002, Rome, Italy
IISD RS coverage of the Fifth Conference of the Parties (COP-5) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), 1-13 October 2001, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
IISD RS coverage of the Fourth Conference of the Parties (COP-4) to the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), 11-22 December, Bonn, Germany
IISD RS coverage of the Third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), 15-26 November 1999, Recife, Brazil
IISD RS coverage of the Second Conference of the Parties (COP-2) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD), 30 November - 11 December 1998, Dakar, Senegal
IISD RS coverage of the First Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP-1), 29 September - 10 October 1997, Rome, Italy
Linkages Update
MEA-L


| Back to IISD RS African Regional Coverage home page | Back to IISD RS "Linkages" home | Visit IISDnet | Send e-mail to ENB |
© 2006, IISD. All rights reserved.