Closing Statement

Mr. Chair, distinguished delegates, members of the CSO community, ladies and gentlemen, The CSO delegates present here at CRIC 13 and the members of the CSO Panel, with representatives from the five UN regions, would like to thank for the possibility to address this Closing Plenary.


Two days ago, in our statement during the Opening Plenary we mentioned some key elements that we consider should be essential part of an effective implementation of our Convention:

1.    The imperative necessity to provide a joint effort between governments, scientists and civil society organizations in delivering a unified, consistent message that would create the environment for reaching national and global audience.

2.    Integrated National Action Plans and theiralignment process should not be consider just a bureaucratic step, but the corner stone for developing a wise policy in favor of sustainable land management and in favor of the communities that live in those lands.  That is to say, alignment of NAPs is important, but implementation of NAPS is much more important.

3.    “To have a fighting chance of securing communities and ecosystems and moving towards land degradation neutrality, we must enable land based adaptation through effective multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration”, as it was stated in the conclusions of the 3rd Scientific Conference that took place in Cancun, Mexico, two weeks ago.

4.    We all understand that reporting is a very meaningful activity and that it provides us insight into the adequacy of the implementation of the Convention.

5.    Technology transfer should not only be seen as coming from abroad, but also from identifying, documenting and disseminating the indigenous and traditional knowledge that is also contributing to the matter of increasing ownership and dignity at the local level.

6.    Synergies between the Rio Conventions are of high importance.  But we should keep in mind that these conventions have different goals and scopes of action.  However, while the climate change debate has increasingly occupied all the public space in the recent years without delivering satisfactory operational activities at the ground level, maybe the time has come to turn our eyes towards the land. Due to their capacity of carbon storage, their ability to regulate water flows, their role in sustaining ecosystems and ecosystem services and their impact on the drivers induced by human societies, the living soils and the land are the foundations for any climate change stabilization


Mr. Chair, There is no doubt that this CRIC session was a step forward.  The good number of national reports that were submitted and the collaborative spirit of work that prevailed during this week are proof of that. However, this CRIC session has also shown the limits that CRIC itself has in its present format.  It is necessary to strengthen the reporting process and to make it more transparent and objective.  And, above all, it should be useful for policy decision makers.


We would also like to add that by eliminating the best practices discussions from the agenda was detrimental. This denied us all the possibility to exchange experiences in order to improve our policies. Furthermore, it was also evident that funding is not enough and that the budgetary effort, according the reports presented here in Bonn, comes in a 90% from affected country parties.


Mr. Chair,As much important as the issues discussed during this week in Bonn, are those who have been mentioned once and again, but not directly addressed, as it was the case of the concept of land degradation neutrality.  For sure this topic will be debated at large during next COP 12 in Ankara, Turkey.


LDN, is a tool.  And as every tool, it could be used adequately, or not.  For this reason, the CSO community would like to express its concerns for initiatives such as the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, which from its inception should ensure that local communities, small farmers and pastoralists people would not be affected by its implementation. Land rights, land access, land grab, landdegradation, land biodiversity and property of seeds are all concerns that must being addressed in order to make sure that land for life is ensured. Mr. Chair, 2015 is a very important year. It is the International Year of Soils and it is the year Sustainable Development Goals will be adopted.


It is also the year in which there will be UNCCD COP 12 in Ankara, and in which an international agreement for climate change will be decided in Paris. It is the opportunity we have to highlight the important role of healthy soils in mitigation and adaptation for climate change and for sustainable development. Therefore, we as CSOs, welcome the large support of the Turkish delegation for their effort to make this COP bigger and more visible than previous ones. We would appreciate/ welcome other developed nations to join in these efforts and support the CSO participation in the COP.


We need to have the voices of people from the ground in the international negotiations. This is what makes this Convention unique. Together we can highlight the importance of UNCCD and ensure its deserved state in the international decisions of 2015.

Finally, Mr Chair, we would like to thank for the support received from the Secretariat and the Swiss Cooperation for facilitating the work of the CSO Panel.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.