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Ninth session of the Conference of the Parties to the
UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 9)

21 September - 2 October 2009 | Buenos Aires, Argentina

SUMMARY OF THE MEETING

The ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 21 September - 2 October 2009, along with the eighth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 8) and the ninth session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST 9). This was the first COP following the adoption in 2007 of the ten-year strategic plan and framework for the implementation of the Convention (2008-2018), and the 1,700 registered participants discussed numerous agenda items related to that decision.

The CST convened during the first week, including for its first Scientific Conference, to discuss “Biophysical and socioeconomic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management.” A high-level segment also took place, with over 60 countries participating in three roundtables on global trends of desertification, land degradation and drought, linkages with climate change and partnerships. Participants also attended an open dialogue session with civil society organizations.

The COP approved thirty-six decisions before the final gavel came down at 7:50 am on Saturday, 3 October. Delegates highlighted several positive outcomes, including: development of impact indicators in the CST; a budget decision that includes a small increase in funding; enabling the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to become a standing subsidiary body of the COP; and support for the long-discussed regional coordination mechanisms. The agenda item on the GM-Secretariat relationship, however, overshadowed much of the conference. Despite expectations that a COP 9 decision might lead to a new shared understanding of the structure and mandate of the Convention’s bodies, polarized positions on these issues resulted in a late night impasse and decisions that largely left resolution on this issue to a future COP.


Read the ENB Summary and Analysis of the meeting in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTML or PDF format), or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Friday, 2 October.

Plenary continued working and the COP 9 was gaveled to close at 7.50 am

 
Lawrence Townley-Smith, Canada
Homero Bibiloni, Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina
 
CRIC Chair Israel Torres
Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD
 
On the penultimate day of UNCCD COP 9, delegates convened in multiple contact groups throughout the day and into the night in order to conclude their deliberations on draft decisions. A plenary session convened throughout the day to conduct open dialogue sessions with civil society organizations.

Read the ENB daily report for Thursday, 1 October, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Thursday, 1 October.
Soledad Avila, Grupo Ambiental para el Desarollo, Argentina
Juan Luis Merega, Fundación del Sur, Argentina
Omar Nuñez, Asociación Hondureña de Juntas Administradoras de Sistemas de Agua, Honduras

Tree Planting Ceremony

 
CSOs and UNCCD Secretariat members planted a tree at the Parque de las Mujeres Argentinas
Homero Bibiloni, Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development of Argentina

Delegates to UNCCD COP 9 concluded the ninth session of the CST in the morning, during which they adopted six draft decisions as well as advice for the CRIC and the COW. Delegates also met in the CRIC and the COW, and contact groups convened throughout the day to develop draft decisions related to the CRIC TOR, CRIC, the JIU assessment of the GM, budget and regional coordination mechanisms (RCMs).
Read the ENB daily report for Wednesday, 30 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Wednesday, 30 September
 
CRIC Chair Israel Torres, Panama
The morning CRIC convened in the Main Committee Room and decided to send the draft decision on the GEF back to the CRIC contact group, which was in session at the same time in a meeting room.
 
Fernando Coimbra, Brazil
Mary Rowen, United States
The two-day UNCCD COP 9 high-level segment concluded on Tuesday, 29 September, with roundtable discussions on “Desertification/land degradation and climate change – what role for the land in the ongoing negotiations for a new climate change regime at Copenhagen?” and “Partnerships and institutions for combating desertification, land degradation and drought – the path to improvement.” Delegates also met in contact groups throughout the day to develop draft decisions related to agenda items in the Committee on Science and Technology (CST), the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention’s Terms of Reference (CRIC TOR), agenda items in the CRIC, the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) assessment of the Global Mechanism (GM), the budget and programme of work, and regional coordination mechanisms (RCMs).

Read the ENB daily report for Tuesday, 29 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Tuesday, 29 September
Carla del Ponte, Switzerland
Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer, GEF
Soledad Blanco, Director, EC Directorate General for Environment
Thakur Prasad Shrama, Minister of Environment, Nepal
Kausea Natano, Minister of Public Utilities and Industries, Tuvalu
The first day of the UNCCD COP 9 high-level segment opened on Monday, 28 September, with over 60 countries set to participate in the three roundtables to be held during the two-day segment. Following opening and regional and interest group statements during the morning, 21 speakers took the floor during an afternoon roundtable on “Global trends of desertification, land degradation and drought: liaison with other problems and challenges for decision makers and stakeholders.” Contact groups met throughout the day to develop draft decisions related to the CST, CRIC TOR and CRIC, the JIU assessment of the GM, budget and Regional Coordination Mechanisms (RCMs).

Read the ENB daily report for Monday, 28 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Monday, 28 September

High level representatives visit COP 9 exhibitions

Lincoln Ralechate Mokose, Minister of Forestry and Land Reclamation, Lesotho, Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, Sherry Ayittey, Ministry of Forestry and Environment, Ghana, Sergio La Rocca, Under-Secretary of Planning and Environmental Policy of Argentina, Octavio Pérez Pardo, Director of Soil Conservation, Argentina, Clemente Dlamini, Ministry of Environment, Swaziland, and Ramadham Saif Kajembe, Ministry of Forestry and Environment, Kenya

Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary
Jan McAlpine, Director, UNFF Secretariat
At the conclusion of the first week of UNCCD COP 9, the CRIC contact group convened in the morning and discussed a draft decision on the GEF. The COW convened in the afternoon to consider civil society participation and the communication strategy. The CST discussed agenda items related to the identification of indicators and the report of the first Scientific Conference, and approved a number of decisions. Contact groups on the CST and the JIU assessment of the GM also met on Friday.
At the conclusion of the COW on Friday, the COW Chair announced that Rashmi Sharma (Canada) would facilitate a group on regional coordination mechanisms and Makase Nyaphisi (Lesotho) would facilitate one on the budget. These groups, along with the contact groups on the CRIC and JIU assessment of the GM, will meet over the weekend.


Read the ENB daily report for Friday, 25 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Friday, 25 September
Alberto Cantero, Member of Argentinian Parliament
Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD
Yao Bernard Koffi, Cote D'Ivoire
Delegates in the contact group
On the fourth day of UNCCD COP 9, the CRIC considered reporting guidelines and indicators, following which it conducted its deliberations as a contact group and considered the workplans of the Convention institutions and subsidiary bodies and collaboration with the GEF. The CST concluded the first UNCCD Scientific Conference, following which they took up the agenda item on the Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands project. Contact groups on the CST and the JIU assessment of the GM also met.

Read the ENB daily report for Thursday, 24 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Thursday, 24 September
Pamela Chasek, Manhattan College/IISD, discussed challenges related to knowledge management at the national and international levels.
Mary Seely, Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, presented on “Vertical and Horizontal knowledge management: Challenges of people living in drylands.”
Stefan Sperlich, University of Göttingen, presented on economic aspects and social drivers of DLDD.
Freddy Nachtergaele, FAO
Pablo Osvaldo Canziani, The Holy See
CST Chair Klaus Kellner
ri
On the third day of UNCCD COP 9, delegates convened in the CRIC and the first Scientific Conference.The CRIC discussed the workplans of the Convention's various bodies, financing of the Convention's implementation by multilateral agencies, and institutions and procedures for communication. The Scientific Conference heard presentations by two of the three working groups of the Dryland Science for Development Consortium. By the end of the day, contact groups on the JIU Assessment of the GM, the CRIC and the CST had commenced consideration of issues on their respective bodies’ agendas.

Read the ENB daily report for Wednesday, 23 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Wednesday, 23 September

Executive Secretary Gnacadja greeted participants and highlighted the need for a focused scientific research programme on desertification to bring attention to the UNCCD.

The main committee room was full of scientists.

Delegates to UNCCD COP 9 concluded their discussion of the agenda and programme of work, and election of officers, during a morning plenary, and then convened in the Committee of the Whole (COW) and Committee on Science and Technology (CST). The Chairman of the Joint Inspection Unit presented its assessment of the Global Mechanism to the COW. The COW also considered the programme and budget for the biennium 2010-2011, mechanisms to facilitate regional coordination of the implementation of the Convention, alignment of action programmes with the Strategy, and the terms of reference for the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. The CST adopted its agenda and elected its officers, following which the first UNCCD Scientific Conference commenced its discussions, aided by the presentation of two keynote statements.

Read the ENB daily report for Tuesday, 22 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Tuesday, 22 September
Ismail Abdel Galil Hussein, COW Chair, Vivian Pliner-Josephs, Secretary COP 9 and Massimo Candelori, UNCCD Secretariat
 
Christian Mersmann, Managing Director of the GM
Gustavo Pacheco, Brazil
Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD
The ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) opened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during an afternoon plenary meeting on Monday, 21 September 2009. The first plenary meeting of the two-week session heard statements from the outgoing and incoming Presidents of the COP and representatives of regional groups, UN agencies and organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

Read the ENB daily report for Monday, 21 September, in English (in HTML or PDF format), French (in HTLM or PDF) or Spanish (in HTML or PDF format).
Visit the ENB web coverage for Monday, 21 September
Rodney Cooke, IFAD
Maria Mbengashe, South Africa
Rajeb Boulharouf, UNCCD Secretariat
Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD and José Antonio González Martín, Spain
Homero Bibiloni, Argentina's Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Development
Daily Highlights
Monday, 21 September - Tuesday, 22 September - Wednesday, 23 September - Thursday, 24 September - Friday, 25 September
Monday, 28 September - Tuesday, 29 September - Wednesday, 30 September - Thursday, 1 October - Friday, 2 October
Related Links

UNCCD resources
UNCCD website
UNCCD COP 9 homepage
UNCCD COP 9 agenda
UNCCD COP 9 official documents
UNCCD Global Mechanism

Global Environment Facility (GEF) resource
GEF website

IISD RS resources

IISD RS coverage of UNCCD CST 1 and CRIC 7, 3-14 November 2008, Istanbul, Turkey
IISD RS coverage of the UNCCD High-Level Policy Dialogue, 27 May 2008, Bonn, Germany
IISD RS coverage of UNCCD COP 8, 3-14 September 2007, Madrid, Spain
IISD RS summary of the First Extraordinary Session of the COP, 26 November 2007, UN Headquarters, New York, US (HTML - PDF)
IISD RS coverage of UNCCD CRIC 5, 12-21 March 2007, Buenos Aires, Argentina
IISD RS coverage of UNCCD COP 7, 17-28 October 2005, Nairobi, Kenya
IISD RS “Linkages” archive of desertification meetings
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
Climate-L.org - News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
African Regional Coverage

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