Civil society, represented by a delegation of 25 organizations from 10 African countries, made its voice heard at COP14.
After having participated actively in several sessions, side-events and round tables, Patrice Burger, President of CARI and member of the Board of Agrisud, read the last statement of CSO:
Listen to Patrice Burger reading the CSO Final Declaration (audio in french):
Read the CSO Final Declaration:
Over the past two weeks, the representatives of the 1000 registered CSOs have actively and passionately participated in all stages of the agenda of the 14th COP14 Conference of the Parties.
With the support of our elected panel of CSO representatives from among the 600 accredited CSOs, two open dialogue sessions allowed us to better share our concerns and contributions during the opening sessions, the Committee of the Whole, the CRIC and the CST.
As well as the round tables and interactive dialogues, even if we regret the absence of debates generated by the richness of the contributions.
First of all, we would like to thank you for the work you have done together. You will also have seen the growing mobilization of CSOs following the review of document ICCD/COP14/ in this session. We believe that nothing important can be done without civil society.
Regarding the panel in support of the CSO community, we ask for a decision from the COP to provide it with a deputy representative for each of the five regions represented. We also wish to provide interpretation facilities during the preparatory session on the eve of each COP.
On several occasions we have shared our priorities.
In addition, allow us to reiterate our main concerns, which we, civil society organizations, strongly recommend to the parties here present to adopt:
- About funding: the most direct possible access to funds for communities, especially young people and women, to enable them to commit themselves even more strongly to combating desertification and countering the temptation to irregular migration.
- About good practices: the combined use of sharp techniques from traditional knowledge and modern high technology.
- Regarding the focus on land management: based on the scientifically sound evidence produced by recent reports from IPBES, IPCC and HLPE, it is now crucial to broaden our perceptions of what needs to be done, but also the need for alternative approaches to land management. And take into account intergenerational cooperation, which plays a fundamental role in the persistence of a way of life based on environmental and cultural conditions. The knowledge of adults and youth must be brought together to enable land restoration and combine traditional knowledge and innovation.
- With regard to youth and women: urgently ensure access to land for youth and women in order to recognize and encourage their contributions to land restoration as well as strengthen their unique role in society.
Mr. Chair, dear delegates,
Science confirms that migration is closely linked to the degradation of natural resources, particularly through unsustainable use practices and low incomes in the agricultural sector. Yet there are many examples of successful practices implemented by CSOs for land restoration and green jobs in rural areas: they need to be more seriously supported and replicated because they have the power to encourage people to stay on their territory and in their own countries.
Close and transparent cooperation between CSOs, business, governments and local stakeholders is not an option, but an imperative for collective effectiveness that no one here can claim to avoid.
With regard to raising awareness and raising the level of awareness and preparing civil society for the Conference of the Parties, we affirm that the Desertif’action Forum, the last of which took place in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso in June, is a privileged moment. In this regard, we ask that the declaration entitled “We are the land that defends itself against desertification!” produced by 380 participants from 40 countries and 240 organizations represented be annexed as a reference document for the mobilization of civil society to the decisions of this COP.
Many requests from civil society organizations have been submitted.
In some cases, such as the complicated issue of land tenure, we are pleased to see that this has been integrated.
However, we are aware that, particularly at the country level, many of our requests and recommendations have never been implemented. For example, CSOs were not generally actively involved in processes concerning land degradation neutrality in countries. That is very unfortunate. We call for clearer guidelines for the participation of civil society organizations in all Convention processes and for these to be applied in countries.
The time has come for synergy and even integration between the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, in particular the Rio Conventions, the UNCCD, the CBD and the UNFCCC. We note according to science that they converge towards a single objective: to preserve our common home. None of these conventions can achieve this alone and we cannot afford the luxury of competition.
We have the technology, the workforce, active participation and scientifically sound arguments. Considerable resources can be mobilized if we want to.
It has been 25 years since the Convention was born, but if our situation is worse today than when we started, it is no longer time to complain, let alone to be an extra. The future will judge us.
We call for concrete action now.
We want to say with one voice
LETS ACT TOGETHER NOW TOMORROW IT MAY BE TO LATE”