UN Ambassadors Launch Group of Friends of Desertification

Friends of Desertification5 September 2013: The Permanent Representatives to the UN from Iceland and Namibia have launched a 'Group of Friends (GoF) of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought,' which will seek to maintain the momentum generated by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) on issues related to desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

The group was launched together with outgoing UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja on 5 September 2013, in New York, US. The outcome document from Rio+20 called for efforts to strive for a 'land-degradation neutral world.' The GoF will highlight the need for developing a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on DLDD. The GoF is expected to develop a road map of events, and will have a secretariat based in the UNCCD Liaison Office in New York.

The launch took place on the eve of the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UNCCD, which will take place in Windhoek, Namibia, from 16-27 September 2013. Outgoing Executive Secretary Gnacadja's second term will conclude at the end of September 2013. [UNCCD News Release]