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United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa
Paris, 1994
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Objectives

  This innovative Convention breaks new ground in international environmental law. Its objective is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. It aims to do this through effective action at all levels, with the help of international cooperation and partnerships, in hopes of contributing to sustainable development in affected areas. Achieving this will involve long-term integrated strategies focusing simultaneously on

  • improved productivity of the land
  • rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land resources
  • rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of water resources in those areas, leading to improved living conditions, especially at the community level.

Key Provisions

  Countries that are party to the Convention, whether affected or developed, commit to a substantial series of obligations. In keeping with the Convention, these countries must adopt an integrated approach to addressing the physical, biological and socioeconomic aspects of desertification and drought. In addition, affected countries commit to prioritize combating desertification and mitigating drought's effects. They do this by creating strategies and priorities within a framework of sustainable development plans and policies. In turn, developed countries commit themselves to active support by providing substantial financial resources and other forms of assistance, individually or jointly, to the efforts of affected developing countries.

  The Convention is to be put into effect through National Action Programs, which are the heart of the Convention, and supplemented by regional and sub-regional programs. When countries that are party to the Convention implement it, they should consider the participation of populations and local communities in a spirit of partnership and international cooperation.

  The Conference of the Parties (COP) is established as the Convention's ruling body. The COP's main task is to make the necessary decisions to effectively carry out the terms of the Convention. The Convention also establishes a permanent administrative office that will arrange sessions of the Conference and its subsidiary bodies, and put together and transmit the reports it receives. A committee on science and technology will offer information and advice on scientific and technological issues.

  The Convention spotlights Africa, and the first of the four Regional Implementation Annexes (an integral part of the Convention) is devoted to the continent. The other three annexes to the Convention (on Asia, the Northern Mediterranean, and Latin America and the Caribbean) lay out guidelines for putting the Convention into effect. All the Annexes specify that action programs will be part and parcel of their policies for sustainable development.

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