Desertification is a type of land degradation due to various factors (physical, chemical, biological, political, cultural, economic etc.) including the climate change and human factors in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas.
The arid, semi-arid and semi-humid areas are constituting a large portion of the earth’s land surface area and these areas are the habitat and the livelihood resource of a large segment of the world population.
More than 250 million people around the world are affected directly by desertification and more than 4 billion hectares of lands are threatened by desertification.
In addition more than 110 countries through approximately 1,2 billion people are facing the desertification threat.
In 1992, Rio Summit was held with the participation of 172 countries and 108 of those was at presidential level. During the summit where sustainability matter stand in the forefront, 3 Conventions, as road maps, were opened for signature.
√√ UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)
√√ UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)
√√ UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
1. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
1.1 Subject’s Background
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification was signed on the 17th of June, 1994 in Paris. The Convention came into force with the signature of 115 countries the 26th of December, 1996. So far, 195 countries and the European Union became parties to the convention.
Our country became a party to the convention with the law number 4340, published into the Official Journal number 23258 the 11th of February, 1998. The convention is constituted of 40 articles, starting especially from the point of the desertification issue of African countries, to determine this issue globally and to foreseen a common movement to find solutions and to classify the countries with 5 separated Annexes. These Annexes are:
√√ African Countries (Annex - I)
√√ Asian Countries (Annex - II)
√√ Latin America and Caribbean Countries(Annex - III)
√√ Northern Mediterranean Countries (Annex - IV)
√√ Central and South European Countries (Annex - V)
Turkey is actively involved in the studies of the “Northern Mediterranean Regional Implementation Group” (Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Cyprus (North), Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Slovenia).
On the other hand the UN Political Zone Group are listed below:
• African Group
• Asia-Pacific Group
• Eastern European Group
• Latin America and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
• Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG)
Turkey is located in the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG) in the UN Political Zone Group. besides, our Country has not only duties and opportunities to benefit from various mechanisms related to the land degradation levels due todesertification and to other factors, but also to the economic level as well.
1.2. Convention Bodies
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has a supreme decisionmaking body and subsidiary bodies. These are:
√√ Conference of the Parties (COP)
√√ Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC)
√√ Science and Technology Committee (CST)
√√ Global Mechanism (GM)
1.2.1. The Conference of the Parties (COP)
The Conference of the Parties is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and it makes decisions with the participation of the representatives of country parties to the convention. The Conference of the Parties, high level body of the Convention, was held annually from 1997 to 2001 (COP 1 - COP 5), but starting from the 6th session they are held on a biennial basis. It was held 11 times until today. The 11th Conference of the Parties was held in Namibia between the 16th to the 27th of September, 2013. Previous conferences were held in Korea, Argentina, Spain, Cuba, Switzerland, Germany, Senegal, Qatar and Italy.
1.2.2. The Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC)
CRIC is the subsidiary body to the COP to assist it reviewing the implementation of the Convention’s liabilities. The CRIC-7 was held with our country’s hosting in November 2008. in Istanbul.
CRIC is working for the following objectives:
√√ To identify and to promote the best practices for the implementation of the Convention,
√√ To review the implementation of the strategic plan for the implementation of the Convention,
√√ To examine the contribution of country Parties for the implementation of the Convention,
√√ To evaluate and follow the performance and the effectiveness of CRIC’s performance.
1.2.3. The Committee on Science and Technology (CST)
CST is established as a subsidiary body to provide information and advice on scientific and technological matters relating to combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. The CST meets in conjunction with the sessions of COP and is open to all country Parties participation. A Roster of Independent
Experts was established by the COP to take place in CST with expertise and experience in the relevant fields. Our country hosted the first special CST Session on November 2008 in Istanbul.
CST’s priority areas of working are including the following thematic issues:
√√ Monitoring and Evaluation
√√ Scientific Conferences for the UN Convention on Combating Desertification
√√ International Scientific Advice
√√ Information Management
√√ Science Board Membership Program