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Review of the UN Desertification Convention Secretariat

Member states of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) requested this 24-page review, which pulls no punches about the convention's strengths and where it has gone wrong. The review reveals that the UNCCD's $17 million annual budget is half that of the UN Climate Convention. This is in part because member states from developed countries were not keen to help with finance – in itself a consequence of member states not agreeing on the convention's role or indeed whether it needed to exist at all.

The review also notes that the convention has had little effect on the national development plans of member states from developing countries. All this may be because the convention's activities lack focus. Is it an agreement about the environment or development? Is it concerned with local problems, or more global ones? The review also points out that the convention's title is misleading, as the fundamental issue is one of land degradation, of which desertification is a component. The review makes 25 recommendations to the secretariat, member states and donors.

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