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Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends. Proceedings of the UNCCD First Scientific Conference, 22–24 September 2009, during the UNCCD Ninth Conference of Parties, Buenos Aires, Argentina


The UNCCD is unique as the only global policy body focused on combating desertification, land degradation and drought, which I will call “DLDD” from now on. The UNCCD recognizes the need to improve the scientific basis supporting its work. It has given us the responsibility of re-invigorating that scientific process.
A successful conference will go a long way towards the renewal of the UNCCD, as called for in the UNCCD’s
10-Year Strategy.

In the Conference of Parties’ (COP) own words, the expectations are to deliberate on “biophysical and socio economic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision-making in land and water management”.

The UNCCD realizes that it needs cutting edge science to monitor and assess DLDD. It needs this so that
the national Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification can measure DLDD more accurately and
track progress in solving it. This needs to be done in ways that can also be compiled into a global picture for our international supporters.

This UNCCD 1st Scientific Conference marks a new beginning for the Convention. The Scientific Conference stems from the 10-Year Strategic Plan and Framework for the Implementation of the Convention (2008–2018), which recognizes that we need the help of scientists to better define and measure the problems of DLDD and to inform us about the progress being made to combat the problem.

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