Statement by the Executive Secretary

“It is very clear to me that desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) are insidious phenomena that entrench poverty and undermine progress towards sustainable development. Productive land and soil are finite resources that need to be well-managed and carefully nurtured by policy makers and land users alike. Yet, despite currently available evidence of the positive impact of sustainable land management (SLM) techniques on ecosystems, lives and livelihoods, our collective failure to mainstream SLM into policy is the key factor limiting the dissemination and application of good practice.

To enhance lives and livelihoods in the drylands, there is an urgent need to advance our understanding of the economics of land degradation and desertification. This scientific knowledge should be central to building the resilience of dryland communities and ecosystems, to providing food, energy and water security and to preventing biodiversity loss and climate change. The 2nd UNCCD Scientific Conference offers a unique opportunity to transform our understanding of the real value of drylands, and associated ecosystems services, by assessing the risk of inaction and the potential positive economic impact of our actions and choices.

I certainly hope that the outcomes of this Conference will provide the evidence needed for bold action. It is my expectation that your investment in this work will drive future policy worldwide, securing the health and productivity of the drylands for the well-being of present and future generations.”

Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Statement by the CST Chairperson

“The drylands have always been a part of my life. I come from a semi-arid region in the Northeast of Brazil, where I spent my childhood and early youth fascinated by the unique environment. The dry heat, droughts and occasional floods were a normal part of my daily life.

Most importantly, I learned about the struggles of the poor people living in the drylands, so much so that when I later began to study development economics and planning, I could not separate my goals from those of serving the poor people of the drylands. In my professional life, be it in government, civil society or international organizations, working for sustainable development in the drylands has always been at the center of my work.

Science and technology are a key component of any development strategy, and an especially fundamental instrument for the success of the UNCCD. How do we achieve sustainability in a world where poverty and environmental degradation are widespread and supplies of fresh water and fertile soil are rapidly decreasing? Our resources are limited, so we must make wise decisions based on scientific evidence.

I look forward to joining you at the 2nd Scientific Conference of the UNCCD, which will be without a doubt a fruitful discussion among the world’s top scientists and policy makers. Together we can create a better future for the people and eco-systems of the drylands.”

Antonio Rocha Magalhães, Chairperson of the Committee of Science and Technology, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Statement by the GRF Davos President

“Being President of the Global Risk Forum GRF Davos, I feel very honoured that the UNCCD has mandated our foundation with the organization of its 2nd Scientific Conference. Supporting the provision of adequate platforms for the ex-change of inter-sectorial experience and trans-disciplinary knowledge is one of GRF Davos’ main goals.

In today’s era of rapid global change, resource depletion, hunger, poverty and environmental degradation, it is of vital importance to build bridges between different disciplines, sectors and society as a whole, in order to find integrated solutions for a more sustainable future.

The UNCCD 2nd Scientific conference shall provide guidance to governments and non-governmental actors alike, on why they should and how they can, together, reduce the impacts of DLDD and support affected countries and communities to improve land management practices for increased resilience.”

Walter J Ammann, President, Global Risk Forum GRF Davos