STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. MR. RIAD ATARI, MINISTER OF AGRICULTIRE OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE, AT THE OPENING OF THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (New Delhi, India, 9 September 2019)
Mr. Executive Secretary, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure and great honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on the occasion of the opening of high-level segment of the 14th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa.
2. At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election as President of the 14th Session of the COP. You can count on the full support of our Group to secure the successful work of this COP. We also extend our appreciation to the Executive Secretary, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, for his leadership and dedication to the UNCCD.
3. The Group wishes to thank the Government and People of India for hosting this important conference in New Delhi, as well as for their warm hospitality, and for their longstanding unwavering support to combat desertification, and land degradation.
4. Desertification, land degradation, erosion and drought, climate change, biodiversity loss and water scarcity are considered major environmental economic, and social challenges that pose serious threats to the achievement of sustainable development and to the eradication of poverty and hunger. They also negatively impact all the developmental efforts, including in the field of agriculture, rural and urban development, land management and industrial development.
5. We recall the 2030 Agenda and reiterate our determination to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations. We recall that the last IPCC report on Climate Change and Land affirms that climate change exacerbates land degradation showing the direct link between the Conventions which is why we need to promote synergies. We further reiterate our commitment to achieve a world in which humanity lives in harmony with nature, to conserve and sustainably use our planet's resources, to reverse the trends of environmental degradation, to promote resilience, reduce disaster risk, and to halt biodiversity loss.
6. Furthermore, we jointly established target 15.3 in the 2030 Agenda, focusing on combating desertification, restoring degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and striving to achieve a land degradation-neutral world. The Group highlights the importance of implementing this target by advancing economic, social, and environmental dimensions in a balanced and comprehensive manner.
7. In this connection, the Group reassures its readiness to work with all the international community and encourage effective partnerships and synergies, including public, private and with civil society, on our joint efforts for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs.
8. The Group strongly believes that the fight against desertification has a profound impact on the reduction of poverty, hunger, resource conflicts, and inequities, as well as on stimulating economic growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner.
9. The Group recognizes that significant progress has been made since the creation of UNCCD in 1992. Among the progress made were the creation of the Fund for Neutrality of Land Degradation and progress in the adoption of the New Strategic Framework of the Convention that will run from 2018 to 2030, which has included the objective drought-specific measures to "mitigate, adapt and manage the effects of drought to improve the resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems", of particular interest to developing countries. Yet, there is still a need to do much more and faster.
10. The Group stresses on the need to enhance the implementation of the UNCCD as a global policy and monitoring framework to address issues of soil and land degradation. It is crucial to invest in reclaiming land and carrying out sustainable land management practices.
11. The Group firmly calls on all Parties to fully support the implementation of the Convention in all its aspects, in particular by promoting the exchange of knowledge on best practices and lessons learned from global and regional cooperation in combating desertification, land degradation and drought. Emphasis should also be given to mobilization and channeling of adequate and predictable financial resources as well as facilitating its direct access, in order to help mitigate the effects of desertification, land degradation and drought and improve the livelihoods of vulnerable people affected by these most urgent matters at national, sub-regional and regional levels.
12. As desertification-related challenges still need to be adequately addressed in future forums and conventions, it is the hope of the Group that this COP will prioritize the urgent need to design mechanisms to increase the resilience against drought, land degradation, and poverty, taking into account the different realities at the national and regional level.
13. In conclusion, the Group will continue to engage constructively until the completion of the COP 14 to have fruitful outcomes and achieve great success.
I thank you.