MOBILIZING PUBLIC AWARENESS:
Another important step is the
necessity of mobilizing local and community interest in the
Convention and the preparation of national action programmes. The
key challenge is that many governments do not have a tradition of
popular participation. Access to information is very limited and
bottom-up input is practically non-existent. NGOs and governments
alike must embark on a major campaign to disseminate information to
grassroots and community organizations to ensure that bottom-up
input is received and incorporated into the action programmes.
Unless the actual needs of communities are taken into account in
the preparation of these action programmes, the Convention could be
considered a failure.
The negotiation of this Convention was difficult, the
implementation process will not be any easier. The ill-will and
distrust that emerged from the negotiations on the financial
provisions of the Convention will have to be overcome. Developed
and developing countries alike, along with support from the NGO
community, will have to work together to ensure that this
Convention has an impact on the 900 million people throughout the
world, particularly in Africa, who are the real foot soldiers in
the battle against desertification.