African Regional Preparatory Meeting: Pre-COP15 Meeting Marrakech, Morocco

As part of the preparations for the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) which will take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 09 to 20 May 2022, the Kingdom of Morocco in collaboration with the Executive Secretariat of the UNCCD, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, and the African Forest Forum organized in Marrakech ( Morocco) the African regional preparatory meeting for COP 15 from March 30 to April 01, 2022. The delegates gathered here all express their deep gratitude to the Government of the Cherifian Kingdom for the warm welcome that prevailed throughout this preparatory meeting.

The main objective of this meeting is to enable African countries (Annex 1), to review the themes that will be examined during this COP and to ensure that the concerns of Africa are taken into account in the decisions of the COP, through 1) the identification of the main priorities and concerns for the continent, 2) the formulation of the common African position, 3) the determination of negotiation strategies and alliances to be formed, 4) the election of the new Chair of the African Group as well as the members who will represent the continent in the COP 15 Bureau of and its subsidiary bodies (CRIC, CST).

As a reminder, desertification and drought remain major problems with natural and human dimensions, which threaten a third of global land area (more than 4 billion hectares), and could affect the means of livelihood of around 1.2 billion people (20% of the world’s population), who depend on the land for most of their needs and who belong to the poorest and most vulnerable social classes in the world.

In addition, desertification is currently on an upward trend with almost 12 million hectares being lost annually worldwide (corresponding to 23 hectares every minute), and generates financial losses valued at USD 42 billion per year. In other words, in the coming decades, almost 200 million people would be forced to migrate under the combined effects of land degradation and climate change that trigger rivalries for limited resources, with all the implications that could result from it, in particular conflicts and insecurity.

It is in this context that the debates that will take place during COP 15 will focus on « Land, Life and Legacy: From Scarcity to Prosperity”, with a particular emphasis on combating drought and rehabilitation of degraded lands.

This meeting was attended by more than 100 participants, including 80 in-person, representing Annex 1 countries and the following international, regional and sub-regional organizations: the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank, the African Forest Forum, the United Nations Environment Program, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Sahara and Sahel Observatory, the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Agency. ( Read the report…)