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CARI returns from COP15 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
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CARI returns from COP15 of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

CARI (Centre d’actions et de réalisations internationales) took part in the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. This COP was held from May 9 to 20, 2022 in Abidjan.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is an international agreement stemming from the 1992 Rio Convention, just like the better-known United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Biodiversity. The Desertification Convention focuses on combating land degradation and the effects of drought.

The stakes are high, with 40% of the world’s soils degraded and 3.2 billion people threatened in the short term by desertification, according to the UN. Between 1970 and 2019, 650,000 people have already lost their lives due to drought.

COP15 brought together nearly 7,000 people: leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society and other key players from around the world. The ambition was to offer concrete responses to the interconnected challenges of land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss, as we enter the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration. Land rights, gender equality and youth empowerment are also high on the conference agenda. More than thirty decisions were taken at this COP:

  • accelerate the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land (to which the international community has already committed),
  • strengthening resilience to drought,
  • the creation of a new intergovernmental working group on drought,
  • improving the involvement of women, etc.

Nevertheless, Manon Albagnac, a CARI employee and chair of the civil society organizations panel at the UNCCD, makes no secret of her disappointment:

“We were hoping for stronger decisions. A report published by the Convention just before the COP was unambiguous: the status quo will lead to the degradation of 16 million square kilometers of land by 2050 – that’s almost the size of South America!

CARI was present with several of its partners from arid zones: civil society organizations promoting the deployment of agroecology. Since the beginning of the year, CARI has been working with its partners to build a strong case for agroecology, so that it can be taken to COP15. National workshops were held in 14 countries, as well as an online consultation and a webinar, the results of which were analyzed by experts from the Sahara and Sahel Observatory. The results led to the production of thematic fact sheets, each of which contains strong arguments from the field, which could be presented at this international meeting.

In addition, as a continuation of this process of co-constructing common advocacy, CARI will be organizing the international civil society summit Désertif’actions 2022 in Montpellier from October 5 to 8, 2022, with the aim of reviewing the decisions taken during the COP, assessing the extent to which CSO recommendations have been taken on board, and drawing up a roadmap for decision-makers to implement these decisions.

In parallel, CARI also organized several events, notably around the AVACLIM project and the Great Green Wall. CARI was also involved in bringing the COP to life outside its walls, working alongside the IRD and the Institut Français to organize an exhibition of press cartoons and an evening of popularization and discussion on the subject of soils.

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