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United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification entered into force in 1996 and has been ratified by the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the only binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable soil management. The convention focuses specifically on arid, semi-arid and sub-humid and dry areas, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems are located. It emphasizes the important role played by women in regions affected by desertification or drought and the importance of ensuring, at all levels, the full participation of women and men in programs to combat desertification and Effects of drought.


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Access to information and participation in the elaboration of national action plans (articles 9 and 10)

In the elaboration of their national action plans Parties shall facilitate access by local populations to appropriate information. Parties shall provide for effective participation at the local, national and regional levels of non-governmental organizations and local populations, both women and men, particularly resource users, including farmers and pastoralists and their representative organizations, in policy planning, decision-making, and implementation and review of national action programmes.

Information exchange (article 16)

The Parties agree to coordinate in the exchange of relevant information to ensure systematic observation of land degradation in affected areas and to help accomplish early warning and advance planning for periods of adverse climatic variation in a form suited for practical application by users at all levels, including especially local populations. They shall also, subject to their respective national legislation and/or policies, exchange information on local and traditional knowledge, ensuring adequate protection for it and providing appropriate return from the benefits derived from it, on an equitable basis and on mutually agreed terms, to the local populations concerned.

Participation in decision making/ gender (articles 3 and 5)

In order to achieve the objective of this Convention and to implement its provisions, the Parties shall be guided, inter alia, by the following: the Parties should ensure that decisions on the design and implementation of programmes to combat desertification and/or mitigate the effects of drought are taken with the participation of populations and local communities and that an enabling environment is created at higher levels to facilitate action at national and local levels.


Under the provisions of the Convention Parties undertake to promote awareness and facilitate the participation of local populations, particularly women and youth, with the support of nongovernmental organizations, in efforts to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought.

Public participation in research and development (article 17.1f)

The Parties undertake, according to their respective capabilities, to promote technical and scientific cooperation in the fields of combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. To this end they shall support research activities that promote the conduct of joint research programmes between national, sub-regional, regional and international research organizations, in both the public and private sectors, for the development of improved, affordable and accessible technologies for sustainable development through effective participation of local populations and communities.

Capacity building, education and public awareness (article 19)

Teh parties shall promote capacity building through, among others, the full participation at all levels of local people, particularly at the local level, especially women and youth, with the cooperation of non-governmental and local organizations ; fostering the use and dissemination of the knowledge, know-how and practices of local people in technical cooperation programmes, wherever possible.

The Parties shall cooperate with each other and through competent intergovernmental organizations, as well as with non-governmental organizations, in undertaking and supporting public awareness and educational programmes. To that end, they shall: organize awareness campaigns for the general public; promote, on a permanent basis, access by the public to relevant information, and wide public participation in education and awareness activities; encourage the establishment of associations that contribute to public awareness; develop and exchange educational and public awareness material, where possible in local languages.

Information, participation and capacity building in the development of strategies. (Annex III – Regional implementation annex for LAC -article 4)

In light of their respective situations, the affected country Parties of the region may take account, inter alia, of the following thematic issues in developing their national strategies for action to combat desertification and/or mitigate the effects of drought, among others: increasing capacities, education and public awareness, technical, scientific and technological cooperation and financial resources and mechanisms; strengthening and/or establishing information, evaluation and follow-up and early warning systems in areas prone to desertification and drought, taking account of climatological, meteorological, hydrological, biological, soil, economic and social factors; and establishing or strengthening institutional and legal frameworks permitting application of the Convention and aimed, inter alia, at decentralizing administrative structures and functions relating to desertification and drought, with the participation of affected communities and society in general.