17 October 2011, Changwon Korea - The High-Level Segment of the 10th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification today in Korea. This is the first time the 194 parties to the UNCCD have convened in Asia.
There are two Pacific Ministers attending this meeting representing Niue and Vanuatu as well as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Forest from Fiji.
The opening of the High level segment had a range of speeches and messages.
A video message from His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales Prince Charles was shown at the opening of the two day High level segment as well as a video message from the UN Secretary Mr. Ban Ki Moon.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Mr.Hwang Sik Kim also made an opening statement as well as the President of the UNCCD COP 10, Don Koo Lee, Minister of the Korea Forest Service.
Mr. Lee reiterated the importance of desertification, land degradation and drought.
“Today, more than 12 million hectares of land are being lost every year due to desertification, land degradation and drought,” he stated.
“This is jeopardizing the livelihoods and the survival of more than one billion people in over 100 countries.”
The High level segment has 3 sessions of interactive dialogue sessions on different topics.
Round table 1 was on the topic of “Desertification, land degradation and drought and food security: Preserving the resource base for our food security.” This drew discussion and comments from the high level delegates at the meeting.
Round table 2 is on the topic of “The UNCCD in the context of the Rio + 20: Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought as a cornerstone of the Green Economy.”
Round table 3 is on the topic of “Harnessing science knowledge for combating desertification/land degradation and drought: the path to improvement.”
During the two day high level segment, the Government of Korea will be introducing the Changwon Initiative which is a mechanism to achieve the global target of zero net land degradation by 2030.