Strengthen resilience to climate change in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa
The UNCCD Secretariat was a visible partner of, and participant in the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of August. This conference attended by the Heads of states and/or governments of Africa and the Prime Minister of Japan welcomed thousands participants and concluded with the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration which promises to inter alai focus on the enhancement of Africa-Japan relations aimed at fostering economic development in Africa.
The Declaration covers many issues of future African development, and commits its signatories inter alia “to address climate change, deforestation and desertification,… loss of natural resources, food insecurity….” all of which are issues addressed directly or indirectly by the UNCCD. Indeed the UNCCD Secretariat was very instrumental in supporting the negotiation process as regards the aforementioned text.
Another very significant contribution of the UNCCD Secretariat to the TICAD VI exercise was its co-organization and co-hosting of an official side event on the theme “A New Initiative for Combating Desertification to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.” This exercise was done in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Kenya, and the National Food Security Council of Senegal. It culminated with the adoption of an agreement between the co- organizers where this new initiative will help promote measures for combating desertification by the countries in the region, and support the efforts of development partners mainly through networking, knowledge-sharing, and improving access to finance. The initiative will also seek to harmonize with ongoing efforts by partner countries and organizations to effectively address the mounting challenges the region faces.
The UNCCD representative at TICAD VI, Dr. Richard Byron-Cox, also held extensive discussion with the experts of JICA and Kenya working on the “Capacity Development Project for Sustainable Forest Management in the Republic of Kenya.” The experts explained inter alia that this project practically supports the African Initiative on Combating Desertification in the Horn of Africa. Byron-Cox, who is the Capacity Building Officer of the Secretariat, assured the experts that they can make full use of the tools, opportunities and possibilities offered on the UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace.