UNCCD Expert Group on Impact Indicators Discusses Outputs

February 2013: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has posted the report from the second meeting of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group of Technical Experts (AGTE) for Impact Indicator Refinement.

This Group was tasked by the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to address four issues: identify the best scientific approach to operationally delineate affected areas; develop a mechanism that encourages country Parties to identify nationally and locally relevant impact indicators and integrate them in their contribution to the global impact assessment effort; further refine the set of the provisionally adopted impact indicators; and develop a scientifically-based approach for integrating, analyzing and interpreting impact-indicator information.

The AGTE was charged with developing three outputs: a peer-reviewed working paper (or a series of peer-reviewed working papers) on the four issues; a progress report for the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) at its third special session (CST S-3), which is scheduled to convene in April 2013; and a report containing recommendations on four issues, for consideration by CST 11, which will convene in parallel to COP 11 and is expected to take place during the final quarter of 2013.

The report of the second meeting of the AGTE indicates that, at their meeting on 21-22 January 2013, in Bonn, Germany, participants considered agenda items including how to: further improve each working paper by focusing on the identification of conclusions, open questions and recommendations; identify redundancies, cross-references and synergies between working papers; agree on preliminary conclusions and recommendations to be presented at the CST S-3; and agree on working modalities, allocation of tasks, deliverables, schedules and milestone planning up to CST S-3 and up to CST 11.

The Group agreed to produce a single peer-reviewed working paper by integrating the four working papers that are currently under development. In reference to one of the issues on its agenda, the Group "suggested that the mechanism to promote local/national relevance in reporting should be made part of the overall UNCCD efforts to motivate parties combating DLDD (Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought), be tied to Action Programme realignment efforts, and be integrally linked to local and national land degradation and sustainable land management monitoring and evaluation efforts." Furthermore, the Group agreed that the peer-reviewed working paper would constitute the scientific basis for the conclusions and recommendations to be included in the report for consideration by CST 11. [Second meeting of the AGTE][First meeting of the AGTE][AGTE webpage]