United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in force for 25 years: Finland will attend the COP14 meeting in India

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in force for 25 years: Finland will attend the COP14 meeting in India

The 14th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification will convene in New Delhi, India, on 2 to 13 September 2019. Finland represents the European Union and its member states as part of Finland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Because of climate change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification plays an increasingly important and topical role. The conference provides an occasion to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Convention to Combat Desertification that was one of the three environmental agreements drawn up at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro; it plays an important role in implementing the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals. With the aim to prevent desertification, droughts and land degradation while promoting sustainable land management, the agreement is unique in the sense that it is the only extensive environmental agreement considering both environmental and social issues at the same time.

According to the report published by the Joint Research Centre of the European Union in 2018, already 75 per cent of land areas has degraded while over 90 percent is in danger of degrading by 2050. The recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that land degradation is clearly linked to food security and displacement of people. It is estimated that if the current trend continues, as many as 135 million people will have to leave their homes by 2045. Desertification accelerates climate change; there are indications that long-term droughts increase significantly the soil’s carbon dioxide emissions in Africa.

Finland has promoted equality between men and women on a long-term basis and has pushed to include it in the implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification.

“Women play a key role in producing food but they often lack the right to own land and participate in decisions concerning land use. This poses a problem from the perspective of equality and sustainable use of natural resources”, says Elina Kalkku, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, who heads the Finnish delegation at the Conference.

On the initiative of the European Union, strengthening of land management and land use rights is for the first time on the conference agenda. As security of tenure in land use increases sustainable and responsible use and management of natural resources, civil society organisations have for a long time pushed forward community owned land management. High hopes are placed on the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to take the matter further.

Inquiries: Tarja Grén, Counsellor, Unit for Sustainable Development and Climate Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 683; Vesa Kaarakka, Senior Adviser, Unit for Sectoral Policy, tel. +358 295 350 963

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format [email protected]