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20/10. Land degradation:

The Governing Council,

Recalling its decisions 19/17 of February 1997 and SS.V/7 of 22 May 1998,

Having considered the report of the Executive Director / on the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa (hereinafter "the Convention") (UNEP/GC.20/11), /

Recognizing that land degradation is a major problem for many countries, particularly those in Africa,

Recalling that support for Africa is a priority for the United Nations Environment Programme in its work programme for 2000-2001,

Recalling the experience of the United Nations Environment Programme in developing desertification assessments and databases and its two editions of the World Atlas of Desertification; its research initiatives and cooperative studies with the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment of the International Council of Scientific Unions, its co-sponsorship of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research and the numerous joint programmes and studies on desertification with various centres within the Consultative Group and with other United Nations bodies,

Considering the concerns regarding the vulnerability of African soils to the impacts of climate change due to land degradation and desertification as expressed by the Special Consultation of African Ministerial Conference on Environment on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol and Multilateral Environmental Agreements, held in Nairobi from 19 to 23 October 1998 /,

Welcoming the efforts of the United Nations Environment Programme in assisting countries affected by land degradation, in strengthening cooperation and collaboration with other relevant United Nations bodies and agencies and other organizations in the field of land degradation, in developing land﷓degradation projects as they relate to the focal areas of the Global Environment Facility and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme in the context of these activities, and in assisting Governments in the implementation of the Convention,

1. Requests the Executive Director to maintain the capability of the United Nations Environment Programme to respond to global land﷓degradation issues so as to serve its role as Task Manager for chapter 12 of Agenda 21, 9/ and in supporting the Conference of Parties of the Convention, in particular its Committee on Science and Technology in the assessment and monitoring of desertification and the enhancement of the scientific and technological knowledge base on land degradation;

2. Requests the Executive Director to give the appropriate priority to promoting support action to combat desertification within the framework of the implementation of the work programme of the United Nations Environment Programme in accordance with Governing Council decision SS.V/7;

3. Requests the Executive Director to assist, upon their request, African countries in the preparation, development and strengthening of action plans made in accordance with articles 9 and 11 of the Convention;

4. Requests the Executive Director to continue efforts to secure and enhance support from the Global Environment Facility for providing assistance to countries to carry out activities related to land degradation in view of the interlinkages between land degradation and the focal areas of the Global Environment Facility;

5. Also requests the Executive Director to strengthen the coordination and collaboration with relevant United Nations bodies and agencies and other organizations concerned in providing assistance to countries in mitigating land degradation and the implementation of the Convention;

6. Requests the Executive Director to pursue his efforts to strengthen inter-agency collaboration in the field of combating desertification;

7. Further requests the Executive Director, in cooperation with other bodies, particularly the Secretariat of the Convention, the Global Mechanism under the Convention and the other implementing agencies of the Global Environment Facility, as well as relevant regional and subregional organizations, to assist countries affected by land degradation in the preparation of land-degradation projects consistent with their national action programmes for financing by the Global Environment Facility and other multilateral and bilateral agencies;

8. Requests the Executive Director to take appropriate initiatives to involve the United Nations Environment Programme in the activities of the Global Mechanism of the Convention and in particular its Facilitation Committee;

9. Requests the Executive Director to submit a report on this matter to the Governing Council at its twenty-first session.

11th meeting

5 February 1999