AU-SAFGRAD Support to the African Group of Negotiators of UNCCD towards Establishment of Global Protocol on Drought, Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, June 6-8, 2023

AU-SAFGRAD in collaboration of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco just concluded a three-day meeting at Ibis Hotel in Rabat. The meeting gathered the African Members of the two Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on Drought and on Mid Term Evaluation of the UNCCD Strategic Framework 2018-2030. The Two IWGs were established as key decisions taken in UNCCD COP15 that took place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire in 2022.

The main objective of the meeting was for the African Members of these 2 IWGs to discuss and deliberate on the mandates given to the groups and seek ways to strengthen Africa Position on the need to establish a Globally Binding Protocol on Drought. At the opening speech, the coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD Dr. Ahmed Elmekass recalled the negative impacts of drought occurring at global level and more importantly its damages in most of African Countries. He also pledged for continent political backstopping to support the work done by experts. This will be particularly needed to strengthen our position for the next UNCCD COP in Saudi Arabia. In addition, Mr. Khalid Cherki, the Chair of the African Group of Negotiators welcomed the support given by the African Union Commission through its specialized technical office AU-SAFGRAD and highlighted the need for the continent to push for the adoption of the protocol.

The experts from the different groups went through agenda programme that include the progress on the work of the IWGs on drought and the Midterm Evaluation, presentation of proposed options for drought management, presentation on the submission on policy options by a consultant and the analysis made by other Regions.

The meeting concluded by a strong call for political backup to the negotiation process. At the end of the meeting the groups come up with clear negotiation strategy with the different policy options based on strong justification arguments. The next Committee on Reporting and Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) to be held in October in Uzbekistan will be a turning point and all focal points from Member States should keep open eyes to ensure drought agenda is well captured before heading to the COP16.  We also expect the IWGs to harmonize their work for better synergy at continent level. A call for political backup from African Union Commission through the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) was recommended.