The Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) made an active participation in the 21st session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 21) to the UNCCD in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from November 13 to 17, 2023.
This event allowed the OSS to scale up its advocacy and reaffirm its commitment to land restoration in Africa. During his speech at the Plenary on the evaluation of the Convention implementation, Mr. Nabil Ben Khatra, OSS Executive Secretary, recalled the mission of the Organization, aiming to help African countries sustainably manage their natural resources to face climate change and contend with its impacts. He highlighted the true alignment between the UNCCD and OSS 2030 Strategies, restating its commitment to the five strategic objectives.
Besides, Mr. Ben Khatra explained the OSS role in supporting African countries in achieving their Land Degradation Neutrality voluntary commitments. In partnership with the Convention Secretariat, the Africa Group, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the French Development Agency (AFD), the OSS establishes national capacity building programs and creates land degradation monitoring and evaluation platforms. The OSS participatory approach, involving all stakeholders, aims to promote better ownership of the tools developed, thus confirming its unfailing commitment to a more sustainable future.
Within the framework of CRIC21, the OSS held a side event on “Land degradation neutrality: Implementation, Monitoring, Evaluation and Advocacy”, which highlighted the Organization's key role in implementing transformative projects contributing to the achievement of countries' Land restoration goals.
In addition, the OSS gave an overview of its documentary book on land degradation in Africa, currently being developed. The overview highlighted the participatory approach adopted for the elaboration of this work, as well as the use of high spatial resolution data made possible thanks to the GMES&Africa project, funded by the European Union and coordinated by the African Union.
The OSS contributed as a panelist to the side events organized by its main partners (the Global Mechanism, the Group on Earth Observations for Land Degradation Neutrality (GEOLDN), the Global Land Initiative and associated programs, IUCN, FAO and UNCCD), and shared testimonies and experiences on agroecology, integrated land use planning, use of geospatial data to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality and the establishment of advocacy mechanisms with decision-makers to strengthen land preservation actions in Africa.
The OSS team took its presence in Samarkand to consolidate its contribution to the coordination and synergy mechanisms between the three United Nations conventions on the fight against desertification, climate change and biological diversity, in particular thanks to bilateral meetings with Mr. Khalid Cherki, the President of the Africa group of FAD negotiators and the CBD group of negotiators.