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  The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
 

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
 

The international community has long recognized that desertification is a major economic, social and environmental problem of concern to many countries in all regions of the world. In 1977, the United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD) adopted a Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (PACD). Unfortunately, despite this and other efforts, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded in 1991 that the problem of land degradation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas had intensified, although there were "local examples of success".

As a result, the question of how to tackle desertification was still a major concern for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Conference supported a new, integrated approach to the problem, emphasizing action to promote sustainable development at the community level. It also called on the United Nations General Assembly to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INCD) to prepare, by June 1994, a Convention to Combat Desertification, particularly in Africa. In December 1992, the General Assembly agreed and adopted resolution 47/188.

Working to a tight schedule, the Committee completed its negotiations in five sessions. The Convention was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and opened for signature there on 14-15 October 1994. It entered into force on 26 December 1996, 90 days after the fiftieth ratification was received. Over 179 countries were Parties as at March 2002. The Conference of the Parties (COP), which is the Convention's supreme governing body, held its first session in October 1997 in Rome, Italy; the second in December 1998 in Dakar, Senegal; the third in November 1999 in Recife, Brazil; the fourth in December 2000 in Bonn, Germany; and the fifth in October 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland. As of 2001, COP sessions will be held on a biennial basis. 


 >> read more from the UNCCD website at http://www.unccd.int

 



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