The UN Conference to Combat Desertification showed dynamism in its drought agenda

group picture 4 people: Brüntrup, secretary general UNCCD, members delegation Zambia

Michael Brüntrup with Ibrahim Thiaw delegates of Zambia © DIE

On 13 September, the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) ended in Delhi. For the UNCCD it was a record meeting: almost 9000 participants, 170 stakeholder meetings, 44 exhibitors and 126 side events. Heated discussions over ten days led to 36 formal decisions on various issues including the role of women and of secure tenure rights for sustainable land management, the monitoring and fight against the impacts of droughts, and the close cooperation with the other two environmental UN Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Biodiversity (CBD).

As Germany‘s corresponding scientist in the Committee on Science and Technology (CST), Michael Brüntrup participated in COP14 and advised the German as well as the EU delegations on CST and general drought issues. Achievements are that the new reporting system is more ambitious than originally proposed, that the disaster-related UN-organisations are actively invited to UNCCD’s work on drought, and that there is a strong mandate for further endeavours in the coming years to achieve drought resilience. In addition, Mr. Brüntrup participated in several panels on drought, land degradation and poverty/food security. A trailer of the movie „The end of famine“ was prominently shown at the beginning of the High-level Session during the Drought Day. The movie, which was jointly produced by DIE and UNCCD, contrasts the bottom-up activities of the local population – particularly women – in a small village in Tigray with the disaster relief missions of the World Food Programme in Ethiopia.