UNU and UNCCD to advance collaboration on desertification and drought work

United Nations University (UNU) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Desertification is a complex issue that negatively impacts the lives and livelihoods of 3.2 billion people worldwide. During the 1992 Rio Summit, desertification was identified as one of the greatest challenges to sustainable development, leading to the foundation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1994.

Desertification, land degradation and drought are also among the research topics that UNU scientists work on, sometimes in close cooperation with UNCCD. This is why UNU and UNCCD have now agreed on a more formalized collaboration in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“Combating desertification requires partnerships and shared expertise,” said UNU Rector Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala. “Working in collaboration, UNU and UNCCD will be able to strengthen research, advocacy and capacity-building to further support the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States as we work to reverse desertification and confront related critical issues.”

In recognition of their common goals and interests, the two organizations have agreed to explore possibilities of developing joint or collaborative activities, within the scope of their competencies and mandates, around advocacy, awareness raising and education, policy frameworks, science, technology and knowledge management, capacity building, research, education and awareness building, among others.

"The collaboration with United Nations University will strengthen the delivery of scientific knowledge, which will be very relevant ahead of the next UNCCD Conference of the Parties in Saudi Arabia this December,” said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. “We look forward to working together on the road to Riyadh and beyond."

The coordination of the new partnership lies with UNU in Bonn. As an institute focused on environment and human security, UNU-EHS has already collaborated with UNCCD on several projects, for example on aligning different approaches to sustainably manage land and water resources, or building synergistic effects between the ecological restoration, social protection, and finance sector.

UNU-EHS and UNCCD also operate in close physical proximity, as both have their offices on the UN Campus in Bonn, and they will both celebrate key anniversaries this year: 20 years of UNU-EHS and 30 years of UNCCD. Together the partners will seek to contribute to the goal to end land degradation by 2030.