Leaders’ summit in Côte d’Ivoire kicks off major UN conference on the future of land stewardship

  • The UN Convention to Combat Desertification convenes the 15th session of its Conference of the Parties in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 9-20 May 2022
  • Heads of State Summit hosted by President Alassane Ouattara on 9 May will address multiple crises linked to land degradation
  • Countries to decide on future actions to mitigate escalating drought risk

The 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), opens today, 9 May 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The COP15 theme, Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity', is a call to action to ensure land, which is the lifeline on this planet, will also benefit present and future generations.

The Conference will start with a Heads of State summit and high-level segment held back-to-back on 9-10 May to create political momentum and raise ambition in particular in meeting the 2030 global commitments on restoration and robust actions that build the resilience of communities that are vulnerable to drought.

Leaders are meeting in Abidjan against the backdrop of a stark warning issued 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 one billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030, future-proofing land use against the impacts of climate change, and tackling escalating disaster risks such as droughts, sand and dust storms, and wildfires.

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 be at the two-week Conference that ends Friday, 20 May 2022. 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
  • Inger Andersen, 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 to be held in 2022, with Biodiversity COP15 and Climate change COP27 convening later on in Kunming, China and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, respectively.

Among the programme highlights:

  • Announcement of the Abidjan Legacy Programme on 9 May by the President of Côte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, focusing on job creation and the restoration of degrading land in Côte d’Ivoire;
  • Gender Caucus on 9 May chaired by the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire Dominique Ouattara, which will include the launch of a new report on the differentiated impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought on men and women;
  • Green Business Forum on 10-11 May that will focus on private sector commitments to take care of the land, among other things.
  • Launch of Droughtland, a global campaign to rally action on drought on 11 May
  • Launch of the regional Global Land Outlook reports on 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.

The press events planned during the session include:

Opening press conference on Monday, 18:00-18:45 UTC (Press Conference Room)

  • 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.

Press Briefing on Monday, 9 May, 08:15 UTC

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

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

  • Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations

Press Conference, Wednesday, 11 May, 13:00-13:30 Press Conference room

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

Launch of Droughtland, a global campaign to rally drought action globally

Press Conference, Friday, 20 May, 13:00-13:45 UTC

  • Mr Abou Bamba COP15 President
  • Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary

Present the outcomes of the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties

Media representatives are welcome to participate. Apply via this link: https://www.unccd.int/cop15/registration to receive accreditation.

Press conferences will be conducted with interpretation in English, French and Spanish but webcast in the floor language. Off-site journalists may submit their questions to the panelists via email to press@unccd.int, but must identify themselves and the media organization they are reporting for.

Detailed information about the Conference is available from the online Press Kit.

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

Social media for the Conference 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, please contact:

Xenya Scanlon, xscanlon@unccd.int
Chief of Communications

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

For interview requests, contact: press@unccd.int

Use these links to request for the use of the press conference room or recording studio facilities:

Interview/Recording studio: https://koalendar.com/e/interview-studio-cop15

Press conference room: https://koalendar.com/e/press-conference-cop-15

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