African Press International (API)

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Posted by African Press International on September 6, 2007

Madrid (Spain) The Scientific and Technology Committee on Wednesday revealed that “few countries show interest in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), whose Eighth conference of signatory countries is being held in Madrid, Spain, from 3 to 14 September.

According to Grard Begni from DesertNet, an international working group to combat desertification, “we have noticed that we have not gone so far in setting up the points of reference and indicators in many countries, stressing that some indicators are under elaboration.

Even though some countries acknowledge that land degradation is a threat and a hindrance to the environment and to their socio-economic development, their “national reports do not account for the existing link between the biophysical, socio-economic and cultural knowledge, and the activities undertaken to combat desertification”.

In its synthesis report, the UNDCCs experts revealed that the link between traditional knowledge and the scientific understanding of phenomena is “obviously insufficient though they could help in understanding the practises and favour knowledge transfer”.

“We suggest involving traditional knowledge even though they are not accessible, a situation that compels us to address the issue for the knowledge not to disappear,” the Malian Safiatou Maiga said.

On Tuesday, no sooner had the COP8 works kicked off than the delegates from the civil society organisations quite simply asked for the review of UNCCD, while slamming what they termed as “idleness of the convention”.

In its analysis, the UNCCDs group of experts noted that “members of the public occasionally and non-systemically took part in the combat as opposed to the few countries that focused on the setting up of regular basis participation procedure to the convention.

To address the so-called “idleness” of the convention, the experts suggested involving scientific progresses that “should be spread not only to the scientists exchanging results during meetings, but also to the population facing desertification”. The experts further pleaded for the transposition of traditional knowledge in order to scientifically understand the phenomenon of land degradation.

The eighth conference of states parties to the Convention to combat desertification, which is being held in Madrid with 2000 participants, is expected to lead to the adoption of a ten-year strategic plan including the period 2008-2018.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel+4793299739 or+4763002525 source.apa

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