WELCOME TO COP14 FROM THE WORLD
The first session was opened by Mr Manoj Kumar Rai, under-
secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate
Change, Government of India. Then the welcoming speech was
given by the COP host CSO, Mr. Bhawani Shankar Kusum,
president, Gram Bharati Samiti. He welcomed everyone in
India as India being the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha and
Mahaveer. Further, he enlightened on the alarming situation of
land degradation, recurrent droughts and crisis of safe drinking
water in many countries and also about severe amazon fires. He
discussed on the importance of vulnerable groups such as
women and the youths who should be endogenous to the issues.
INTRODUCTION OF THE PANELLISTS AND
He welcomed the CSO panellists, Valentin, Jiajia, Nathalie,
Octavio and Emmanuel. Ms. Jiajia elaborated on the functions,
activities, recommendation and involvement of UNCCD and
CSOs. Followed by her was Ms. Nathalie who talked about land
degradation and on the five priorities of the CSOs. Mr. Octavio
focused mainly on the agenda of UNCCD.
The welcome session was followed by a brief introduction of the
people present in the room that included country they came
from and the organization that they represent.
The panellists presented on the functions, objectives, initiatives
and way forward of the UNCCD.
To discuss on the recommendations to the five priorities by the
CSOs, an open discussion took place where several ideas came
forth. Mr. Hemant from Sri Lanka emphasized on the
importance and need of Centre for environmental justice. Mr.
Patrice urged the need of increased participation in the
UNCCD. Ms. Aminetou Bilal asked for a broader approach
rather than considering just the recent forest fires in Brazil.
CSOs CAN SHAKE AND SHAPE
To increase the participation from everyone, the delegates were
divided into 13 teams to discuss their roles corresponding to the
theme of the team and to discuss on the recommendations on
the five priorities.
The working groups consisted of COP/COW, CRIC, CST
contact groups along with International Dialogue groups
discussed important matters like ‘value-based approach to land’,
‘healthy land, healthy people’ and ‘boosting sustainable value
chains for land - based business.’ Parallelly, deliberations on
open dialogue systems consisting of topics like ‘land tenure’ and
‘intergenerational cooperation’ were discussed upon. Groups
were also made to discuss parallel round table discussions which
talked about ‘fostering global movement for ecosystem
restoration’, ‘urban communities’ and ‘land, climate and
After this discussion, Mr. Valentin introduced the Executive
Secretary of the UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw who
congratulated the CSOs on the completion of 25 years of the
UNCCD. Along with that, he stressed on the importance of
land in a time when the world population is about to hit a peak
PUBLISHED FOR 2019 UNCCD COP-14 CSO NEWSLETTER
of 10 Billion. Concluding to the solutions, “It is time to reverse
the trends, and find the opportunity that comes with every
challenge, because while land degradation is a challenge, land
restoration is an opportunity.”
His participation in the session was related to answering the
questions regarding the role that they could play towards
achieving the ultimate goals of 2030 set by the UNCCD.
CSO PRIORITIES AS PER CRIC 2017
Recognition by policy makers, financial institutions
and others that community-led initiatives are
contributing to LDN
Land tenure security of communities in general, and
of women, young people and vulnerable groups
specifically must be secured through a UNCCD
COP14 decision on implementation of VGGTs
Participation of civil society and especially women’s
and youth groups throughout the decision-making
processes regarding Land Degradation Neutrality
target and National Drought Plans is crucial to
Finances must be accessible and appropriate for civil
society organizations supporting communities
especially women and young people in achieving LDN
and/or monitoring the implementation of LDN
Transform our society so as to achieve greater
sustainability and equity, especially gender equity.
EXPECTATIONS – 2nd
The expectation from the session on the 2nd of September is
the discussions related to the agendas discussed on the previous
day. The opening ceremony by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of
India will also take place in the afternoon, thus giving the
leadership of the conference in the hands of India for the
upcoming two years. The sessions would resume as per schedule
and there will also be several side events that can be viewed on
the UNCCD website.
GANDHIVAN SHOULD BE REPLICATED WITH
In the year of Gandhi 150
Around 69% of India falls under drylands. Soil degradation in
India is estimated to be 147 million hectares of land due to
various factors i.e. water erosion, acidification, flooding, wind
erosion and salinity. This is extremely serious because India
supports 18% of the world's human population and 15%
livestock population, but has only 2.4% of the world's land area.
Despite its small proportional land area, India ranks second
worldwide in farm output.
Gram Bharati Samiti (GBS) has created ‘Gandhivan’, a forest in
the name of Mahatma Gandhi consisting of more than one
hundred thousand trees of various species, over a piece of
infertile, uncultivable, barren and sandy wasteland in District
As India is celebrating Gandhi’s 150th birthday and number of
programs and events are being launched by the Government of
India on this occasion, we would like to request the Ministry of
Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of
India to create ‘Gandhivan’, Forest in the name of Gandhi in
every state or every district in India.
A huge amount of infertile, uncultivable waste lands is lying
unused in all the developing countries. In India itself
467,021.16 sq. km is lying as wasteland. It should be brought
under forestation in collaboration with CSO/NGOs and local
village communities in place of allotting for any commercial use.
Also, we would like to request:
1. As the women are greater part of combating drought,
land degradation and desertification and shoulder lots of
cultivation and household responsibilities, special focus should
be made on women’s involvement in the UNCCD process.
CSO/NGO could play a vital role in this regard.
2. CSOs and particularly the women should be involved
in all stages of implementation of UNCCD in general and