Thursday, October 13, 2011

Science valuable to combatting land degradation in Fiji

13 October 2011, Changwon, Korea - Science plays a vital role in the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 
Recognising this, the Convention has formed a body called the Committee of Science and Technology which has a representative from each country that is a party to this convention.  Their role is to assist the national UNCCD focal points to provide scientific data to support the implementation of national activities. 
In the Pacific region, these activities focus on land degradation and sustainable land management.
Maria Elder, Fiji
“We help to help collect and analyze physical scientific data to assist with the policy and decision making for our countries in carrying out the convention,” said Maria Elder, of the Department of Agriculture of Fiji.
The Committee of Science and Technology are currently meeting during the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD which is a biannual gathering.  This Committee also gathers every other year during a ‘special’ session.
“Our meetings are focused in terms of the types of data we need to collect on the field, the socio-economic, bio-physical and economic issues related to land degradation.  This week in Korea we have had feedback from 11 countries on a pilot project that tested the new reporting cycle for the UNCCD.”
No Pacific countries were part of this project, however despite this, attending the meetings of the committee of science and technology have been valuable for Fiji.
The national reports that review country implementation of the UNCCD take place every two years.  For Elder, the UNCCD COP 10 will assist with Fiji’s preparations to complete their next report which is due in 2012.
“For Fiji, I have to go back and meet with the national UNCCD focal point and really look at the reporting template and try to get the missing information that we need.  Sometimes our work at national level is general so through attending this meeting it has given me the chance to look at what is needed scientifically so we can realign our activities on the field in Fiji and start collecting the important information needed for our next report”.
The Committee of Science and Technology meets during the first week of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD.  Elder will be returning to Fiji tomorrow as next week the actual meetings of the parties to discuss the Convention will take place.

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