About the project
Desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) are problems of global dimensions, necessitating the multi-lateral approach enshrined in the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The UNCCD's 10-year Strategic Plan, with its set of strategic and operational objectives and related impact and performance indicators, aims at enhancing implementation of the Convention by adopting a results-based management approach. The Performance Review and Assessment of the Implementation System (PRAIS) has laid the foundations for the Convention’s new monitoring and assessment process. The UNCCD has provisionally adopted 11 impact indicators to review the effectiveness of the Convention in addressing sustainable land and ecosystem management, poverty reduction and global benefits.
As part of the UNCCD’s iterative scientific process reviewing the 11 proposed impact indicators, a piloting exercise with eleven illustrative countries will take place in July-October 2011. The piloting will provide experience with their use in preparation for the UNCCD’s next reporting and review process, expected to take place in 2013. The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has been commissioned to provide technical support for this effort, under the leadership of the UNCCD and with guidance from the UNCCD’s Committee on Science and Technology (CST) Bureau.
The participating countries are: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, China, Colombia, Mexico, Senegal, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Tunisia. The project was launched at a multi-national inception workshop on 11-13 July in Mexico City, hosted by ECLAC. The pilot concluded with a workshop on 06-07 October 2011 and a side events entitled “Iterative improvement through national pilots: The UNCCD impact indicators piloting exercises” at the 10th UNCCD COP in Changwon, Republic of Korea.
Participants at the conclusion workshop summarised their experiences in a set of key messages and main lessons learnt.
The Pilot resulted in improved cooperation and a shared understanding of both UNCCD Impact. Indicators and indicator-based reporting between stakeholders. It has shown that reporting using the proposed set of indicators is feasible.
- Reporting on UNCCD Impact Indicators contributes to an improved understanding of the Land Degradation process.
- The UNCCD Impact Indicators can help to identify priority areas of intervention.
- The Pilot Exercise has raised awareness of data availability and accessibility.
- Data and capacity for reporting the UNCCD Impact Indicators exist, but improvements are needed.
- Harmonisation of data and reporting standards, nationally and internationally, should be encouraged where appropriate and feasible.
- Data access can be improved through promoting cooperation between Conventions, Ministries and Institutions.
- The COP should encourage government institutional and financial commitment to facilitate data sharing, analysis and reporting.
Main lessons learnt
- The UNCCD Impact Indicator set is widely applicable, even when using alternative metrics.
- Reporting the majority of the UNCCD Impact Indicators was feasible using available data sets; however issues of data availability and accessibility exist.
- The Pilot Exercise has initiated communication between Pilot Countries and collaboration within countries.
- Appropriate and commonly understood terminology is essential to facilitate communication between scientists and policy-makers.
- It is helpful to utilise sub-optimal (e.g. older) available data sets if that is the only option.
- Some Pilot countries found that national data collated for reporting to other Rio Conventions were challenging to access.
- Sub-national data required for assessing affected areas are limited.
- Some Pilot Countries found the UNCCD Impact Indicators had varying relevance at national and sub-national scales.
- Regional training would improve indicator production and reporting capacity.
- Reporting tools need to be improved, refined and verified in all U.N. languages.
- A minimum of six months is required for reporting, to have sufficient time to initially secure data access.
- Cross-disciplinary (natural and social scientists, statisticians, economists) communication is important to build capacity.