UN Convention to Combat Desertification
Convention to Combat Desertification and Mitigate the Effects of Droughts
in Countries Experiencing Serious Conditions, particularly in Africa
Download the Convention TXT file (137 KB)
Structure and Agreements
Established to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries
experiencing serious conditions, particularly Africa, the Convention entered into force in
December 1996. The principles of Agenda 21 underline the framework of action to provide an
integrated approach to these goals. Action is aimed at all levels, supported by
international co-operation and partnerships designed to contribute to the existing
achievements of sustainable development. In March 1998, 121 states were parties to the
Convention with 12, including the European Commission, yet to ratify.
The Convention is divided into four regional implementation annexes. These are Africa,
Asia, Latin America & the Caribbean and the Northern Mediterranean. This provides
flexibility within the Convention where each annex focuses on those specific issues most
relevant to that region. This structure is also better able to reflect the political,
financial, scientific and social agenda which exists within each region.
Obligations and Follow-Up
The provisions under the Convention require affected (developing nation)
- prioritise action relating to desertification and drought
- address the causes of desertification and establish strategies in line with the
principles of Sustainable Development
- facilitate awareness and participation of local populations
- enhance legislation to provide an enabling environment.
Developed nation parties alternatively undertake to:
- support actively the efforts of the affected developing country parties
- provide substantial (financial) resources to assist developing country parties
- introduce their own strategies to combat the effects of desertification and drought
- promote the access of affected countries to technology resources.
Each party shall develop National Action Programmes which should:
- include long term strategies to combat desertification and drought
- prescribe measures to prevent desertification and drought
- enhance national climatological and hydrological capabilities
- promote policy and institutional framework
- encourage effective participation
- require regular review of implementation.
Parties must report to the Conference of the parties (COP) at its ordinary sessions
about the measures which they have taken in line the provisions of the Convention. The COP
is responsible for co-ordinating the review and implementation process, including the
institutional arrangements of the parties. Details of the reports submitted will be made
public after review by the secretariat.
For future information on the Convention visit http://www.unccd.ch
For information on the status and ratification of the Convention visit http://www.unccd.ch/ratifications.htm