UNCCD National reporting process

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) provides the foundation for its 197 Parties to work together to combat desertification, land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought; maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and improve the living conditions for people in drylands. To achieve this, the Conference of Parties (COP) needs reliable and up-to-date information on measures taken, results achieved and information on challenges faced by Parties. This information is of critical importance for the COP to be able to adopt targeted policy decisions and guidance that is focused on supporting an effective achievement of the Convention’s strategic objectives.

Parties are required under the Convention to communicate, through the UNCCD secretariat, reports on measures undertaken to implement the Convention.  This is in accordance with article 26 and the decisions of its Conference of the Parties (COP), particularly decision 11/COP.1. The process of national reporting is an indispensable tool to bring forward effective planning and implementation of the Convention and the achievement of the strategic objectives at global and national level. The information communicated by Parties through reporting is valuable also for other stakeholders that work on the implementation of the UNCCD at national and local levels.

National reporting of the Convention has drastically evolved over the past two decades. From 2018 on, the national reporting process monitors progress made in the implementation of the UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework for implementing the Convention adopted at the thirteenth session of the COP (decision 7/COP.13). In line with this strategic framework, national reporting now involves two main types of information: data on the progress towards the five strategic objectives related to the condition of ecosystems and populations, drought, global environmental benefits and the mobilization of financial and non-financial resources to support the implementation of the Convention, and an Implementation framework. The implementation framework defines the roles and responsibilities of Parties and Convention institutions in meeting the strategic objectives. For Parties, the implementation framework sets specific aims under three broad headings: a) Financial and non-financial resources; b) Policy and planning; and c) Actions on the ground. The 2018 reporting process which officially concluded on 31 August 2018 was the first reporting process under the UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework. Before the 2018 reporting process, the reporting cycle happened every two years. Following decision 15/COP.13, the reporting cycle is now every four years.

Since 2018, the UNCCD reporting process has also contributed to the follow-up of progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As the custodian agency for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Indicator 15.3.1 “proportion of land that is degraded over total land area”, the UNCCD secretariat is requested to use relevant information submitted in the national reports as a contribution to the overall follow-up and review by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The reporting process and tools and the role and responsibilities of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) in reviewing the reports are spelled out in decisions 13/COP.13 and 15/COP.13. Since 2010, reporting has been done through the Performance Review and Assessment of Implementation System (PRAIS). The 2018 reporting process was conducted through the third generation of PRAIS, PRAIS 3. For the 2022 reporting process, the PRAIS 3 has been upgraded to bring it into line with modern systems architecture and the requests made by Parties at COP 14. PRAIS 4 offers the following improvements over PRAIS 3, among others:  A more user-friendly interface, including web-based reporting forms pre-filled with default data derived from global data sources. Information entered in the forms will be summarized in standalone country reports, downloadable and sharable outside the system.

The system also includes additional data fields specific to affected areas for strategic objectives 1 to 4;

  • A centralized database to securely store and manage country submitted data;
  • New functionality to ingest and manage large geospatial datasets; this will permit the user to define, for instance, the location and boundaries of land degradation hotspots or zones of voluntary land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets;
  • Analytical, synthesis and visualization functions of the submitted data (expected in Fall 2022).