Photo: International Workshop on Combating Desertification and Land Degradation. Credit: - Photo: 2016

Morocco Hosts Africa’s Coordinating Office on Desertification

MARRAKECH (IDN) – Morocco has agreed to host the Africa Regional coordination Unit of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) with a view to providing the Bonn-based secretariat with vital support services that the Parties to the Convention need to effectively implement the Convention in Africa.

The announcement to this effect was made on November 14 by Abdeladim Lhafi, Morocco’s High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification and Commissioner of the 22nd session of Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Conference (COP22), from November 7 to 18 in Marrakech.

Accepting Morocco’s offer, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut said: “Africa is experiencing some of the severest droughts in the world that are increasing in frequency and spreading to new areas, and requires a strong Regional Coordination Unit. I am sure that with the help of the Moroccan Authorities, and by drawing on their knowledge and expertise in this subject, we will have a very effective Regional Coordination Unit.”

Lhafi added that in response to the Executive Secretary’s invitation of May 2014 to African governments to submit proposals to host the regional coordination unit in conformity with the appropriate conditions and comparable to other regional coordination units, Morocco presented its offer during the 12th session of the (UNCCD) Conference of the Parties in October 2015 in Ankara.

Morocco’s offer was also favourably received following informal consultations during the 15th session of the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15), which was held from October 17-20, 2016 in Nairobi.

The Convention has five regional implementation annexes that provide a coordinated regional approach both in tackling desertification and drought effectively and in mobilizing all the relevant stakeholders to take actions to implement the Convention.

The Convention’s other regional coordination units are based in Thailand, for the Asia region, Chile, for the Latin America and Caribbean region, Turkey, for the Northern Mediterranean region, and in Germany, for the Central and Eastern European countries.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is the sole legally binding international agreement on land issues. It works, with partners, to promote good land stewardship.

Its 195 Parties aim to combat desertification, mitigate drought and achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN). By achieving LDN, UNCCD Secretariat aims to secure the health and productivity of the land, mitigate the effects of drought and make people and ecosystems more resilient to climate change. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 November 2016]

Photo: International Workshop on Combating Desertification and Land Degradation. Credit:

IDN is flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

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