UN Convention to Combat Desertification convenes its 15th Conference of Parties in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 9-20 May 2022

Major UN Conference on Future of Land Stewardship

Opens Monday in Côte d’Ivoire with Leaders’ Summit

Oru Leonard

Heads of State Summit, hosted by President Alassane Ouattara on 9 May,
will address multiple crises linked to land degradation

Countries to decide actions to mitigate escalating drought risk

Abidjan – The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) opens Monday 9 May in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

UNCCD’s COP15, themed ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity’, will open with a Heads of State summit and high-level segment May 9-10 to raise political momentum to meet global commitments for restoration and robust actions that, by 2030, build the resilience of communities vulnerable to drought.

Leaders are meeting in Abidjan against the backdrop of a recent stark warning by the UNCCD that up to 40% of all ice-free land is already degraded, with dire consequences for climate, biodiversity and livelihoods.

The Conference will focus on the restoration of 1 billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030, future-proofing land use against the impacts of climate change, and tackling escalating droughts, sand and dust storms, wildfires and other disaster risks.

More than a dozen heads of state and government, ministers, and at least 2,000 delegates from 196 countries and the European Union, are expected to attend.

High-level delegates include:

Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Abdulla Shahid, President of the United Nations General Assembly
Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility.

IngerAndersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme

UNCCD Land Ambassadors Tarja Halonen, Ricky Kej, Byong Hyon Kwon, Baaba Maal, and Inna Modja
UNCCD Land Heroes David Chapoloko, Musa Ibrahim, Patricia Kombo and Moses Mulindwa

UNCCD COP15 is the first of the three Rio Conventions’ meetings in 2022, with the Biodiversity COP15 and Climate Change COP27 convening later in Kunming, China, and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, respectively.

Among the Abidjan programme highlights:

Monday 9 May: Announcement of the Abidjan Legacy Programme by the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, focusing on job creation and the restoration of degrading land in Côte d’Ivoire
Monday 9 May: Gender Caucus, chaired by the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Dominique Ouattara, including the launch of a new report on the differentiated impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought on men and women
Tuesday-Wednesday, 10-11 May: Green Business Forum focussed on private sector commitments to take care of the land, among other issues
Wednesday, 11 May: Launch of Droughtland, a global campaign to rally action on drought
Wednesday, 18 May: Launch of regional Global Land Outlook reports
Wednesday, 18 May: Launch of the Sahel uplink challenge to enable communities growing the Great Green Wall to use technology to monitor progress, create jobs and commercialize their produce

Major press events during the session will be webcast live on the UNCCD YouTube Channel here.

Planned press events include:
Monday 9 May, 18:00-18:45 UTC (check local time here)
Opening press conference
(Press Conference Room, Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire)

Prime Minister and/or Minister of Foreign Affairs, Côte d’Ivoire
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD

The panel will present the host-country ambition and legacy initiative, COP15 expected outcomes and findings of the study on gender, among other issues.

Tuesday, 10 May, 08:15 UTC (check local time here)
Press Briefing

Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD
Jochem Flasbarth, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany

Tuesday, 10 May (time and location to be determined)
Press Briefing

Abdulla Shahid, President, United Nations General Assembly

Wednesday, 11 May, 13:00-13:30 UTC (check local time here)
Press Conference
(Press Conference room)
Launch of Droughtland, a global campaign to rally drought action globally

Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary
Representative of Spain, country hosting the global observance of Desertification and Drought Day 2022
Civil Society Representative

Friday, 20 May, 13:00-13:45 UTC (check local time here)
Press Conference (Press Conference room)
Presenting the outcomes of the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties

Mr Abou Bamba COP15 President
Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary

Media representatives are welcome to participate on-site. To apply for accreditation: https://www.unccd.int/cop15/registration

Press conferences will be conducted with interpretation in English, French and Spanish but webcast in the floor language.

Off-site journalists may submit questions to the panelists via email to press@unccd.int, but must identify themselves and the media organization they are reporting for.

Background documents and information on COP15 are available at https://www.unccd.int/cop15 and an online press kit.

COP15 social media assets can be found on:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unccd/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UNCCD/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNCCD

#LandLifeLegacy #UNCCDCOP15 #United4Land @unccd

For further information:

Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, xscanlon@unccd.int

Wagaki Wischnewski, Head of Press and Media, wwischnewski@unccd.int

To request interviews: press@unccd.int

To request use of the press conference room or recording studio:
Interview/Recording Studio:
Press Conference Room:

The UNCCD is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

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