UNCCD COP12 is taking place in Ankara

The Turkish Government will have the privilege to host the 12th Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification  (UNCCD COP12) in Ankara on 12-23 October 2015.
The Conference is taking place at a pivotal time:  It is just after the United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda Follow up to the Rio+20 Conference, the UN General Assembly Open WG on SDGs adopted it’s report titled “proposal of the OWG for SDGs” containing 17 goals and 169 targets in a broad range of issues. 

Goal 15 is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and HALT & REVERSE land degradiation and halt biodiversity loss. 

“Target 15:3: by 2020, combat desertification and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification,drought and floods and strive to achieve a land-degradiation neutral world. 

the Conference will be an opportune moment to discuss how the UNCCD can contribute to the implementation of new global development framework.

It is also just before the 21st COP of the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to take place in Paris.

Combatting desertification helps mitigate biodiversity loss and human-induced global climate change. Environmental management approaches for combatting desertification, mitigating climate change and conserving biodiversity are interlinked in many ways.

Restoring vegetative cover on degraded lands can be a win-win strategy for addressing climate change, rural poverty and water scarcity. Therefore, joint implementation of major environmental conventions can lead to increased synergy and effectiveness.  Parties to the UNFCCC in Paris will discuss the land sector in their intended National Determined Contributions (I-NDC) for a future comprehensive climate change agreement. Investing in sustainable land management now may buy us time to allow for a transition to a low-carbon economy.

The outcome of the Ankara Desertification Conference will be submitted to the Paris Climate Conference.


The Conference thus, will focus on: (i) Land Degradiation Neutrality (LDN) which is within the Post-2015 Development Agenda and (ii) the desertification linkage with the climate change.

The High Level Segment of UNCCD COP12 will be held on 20-21 October 2015.

The High Level Segment will focus on “land degradation neutrality”, “drought management” and “land-based aproaches to climate change” through round-table discussions. 

It will also entail three interactive dialogue sessions with the Parliamentarians, the representatives of the civil society organizations and the business community.

( During the high level segment, it is expected that Ministers and heads of delegation will help build momentum for action and boost stakeholder engagement in the UNCCD implementation process, especially as it will take place in the pivotal time for global decision making in the world.

 The high level segment will present an opportunity to discuss sustainable development issues critical to the priorities of the UNCCD implementation process, including the nexus of land and soil management, food and water security, and climate change. More than 6000 delegates are expected to attend COP 12, including high-level government officials from all 195 country Parties to the UNCCD, representatives from United Nations Bodies, intergovernmental and the civil society organizations)


Tuesday, 20 October 2015


10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

3 p.m. – 6 p.m.








·      Special segment: interactive dialogue sessions

Opening of the High-Level Segment


Welcome address by the President of the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth session


Welcome address by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification


Special statements on behalf of regional and interest groups


Parallel Round tables discussions:


Round table 1: From global to local: translating Land Degradation Neutrality into action


Round table 2: Land-based approach  to climate change: resilience through sustainable land management


Round table 3: Water security: mainstreaming drought management policy in national agendas

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

(1.5hrs per session)

3 p.m. – 6 p.m.









•       Special segment: interactive dialogue sessions

        Session with members of parliament


•       Special segment: interactive dialogue sessions

   Session with civil society organizations







•       Special segment: interactive dialogue sessions

   Session with the private sector


Final discussions by ministers and other high ranking officials


                      Closing ceremony






the concept of Land Degradation Neutrality LDN was born out of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) where Member States “recognized theneed for urgent action to reverse land degradation.  The leaders in their decision Paragraph 206 said: “We recognize the need for urgent action to reverse land degradiation. In view of this, we will strive to achieve a land-degradation-neutral world in the context of sustainable development”.  Paragraph 207 read: “We reaffirm our resolve, in accordance with UNCDD, to take coordinated action nationally, regionally and internationally, to monitor, globally, land degradation and restore degraded lands in arid,semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas” 

 The IWG’s current working definition of LDN is: “a state whereby the amount of healthy and productive land resources, necessary to support ecosystem services, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales”

 At Rio+20, world leaders agreed that natural capital, in particular land resources are the foundation of our society and economy. It was this vision that guides the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda currently being negotiated at the UN headquarters in New York.

 With a global consensus on the need to reverse land degradation, establishing a target on LDN with in the SDG framework provides a practical way forward. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has established an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) to develop concrete options for achieving such a target – one aimed at preventing and reversing land degradation through good land management and restoration.

 The final report of the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs has proposed goal 15: “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss” and specifically includes a priority target on achieving a land degradation neutral world by 2030. The final report will be presented to the UN General Assembly in September 2015.

 Many OWG members have stated that, we cannot ignore the “agreed upon language” based on the mandate given to us by Rio+20. As with many other targets being discussed, there is always the difficulty of being precise and measurable but this should not defeat our level of ambition… the benefit of a target in this area would be to drive improved data and analysis.


How does land degradation fit into the international agenda in 2015?


LDN is anticipated to be a part of the framework for the SDGs and post-2015 development agenda. With such a (global) consensus, the establishment of a global target on LDN within the SDG framework is also expected. This will provide a way forward for the future activities of UNCDD and encourage parties to take a bold step toward a “Target Setting Approach”…


During the UNCCD COP12, Parties of the Convention will consider the possibility of adopting Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) as a global 2030 target.

The Bonn Challenge (2011) and the New York declaration on Forests (2014), which together aim to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land are practical actions that support this Goal. 

 ·         However, LDN can’t be achieved by governments alone. Business has a critical role to play and needs to be engaged at an early stage in the design of national plans towards LDN, in order to significantly contribute to the solution.  Through co-operation between the UNCCD Secretariat and the World Business Council, the  “Road to Ankara” Initiative to commence at the COP 12, the private sector will be encoureged to contribute to the LDN.

 WBC SD has established a work program on land restoration that will help companies participate in the UNCCD COP12 process.

 It is essential that business and governments all over the world work together to halt and reverse land degradation, restore degraded ecosystems and manage our land resources sustainably.

 There is a strong business case for action, as land is an essential asset for many companies. Degradation is an issue for relevant sectors, ranging from those facing a direct risk (agriculture and forestry)  to those facing indirect risks via their supply or value chains (retail, mining, energy and insurance).

 Sustainable Land Management EXPO (SLM EXPO), during COP12

 According to the Host Country Agreement “One area adjacent to the Conference center, placed under the coordination of the host country to serve as quarter for the Sustainable Management Expo (SLM Expo) shall be alocated. The same area, if large enough should be used for exhibits by participating delegations. This area should be accommodated within the conference center or if not possible, built as a temporary structure at a short walking distance from the center.”

 Due to security regulations during the Conference there will be no admittance to the Center besides accredited delegations and participants.  To ensure more public attendance to the EXPO, it was deemed appropriate to have the EXPO in the open parking lot of ARMADA shopping mall which is whithin a walking distance.  

A 1500 m2 tent will be established for the stands and also for exhibitions, concerts and other events, amphitheater, walkways and other open spaces of the shopping mall will be used. 


further on COP12,….

  ·    The host country website’s adress is:  www.unccdcop12.gov.tr , it will be in Turkish, English and French. The participants will be able to reach Daily Programmes of COP12, live broadcast from the meetings, useful information on accomodation, culturel events and visa application, etc.  from the host country website.

 ·     Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) will be the media sponsor and public broadcaster of COP12.  Today TRT is broadcasting to Turkey and the World with 14 TV channels, 5 national, 5 regional, 3 international, 3 local radio stations, websites trt.net.tr and trt.world.com(prepared in 38 languages), teletext broadcast, “TeleVİZYON”, “TRT Çocuk”, “Radyovizyon” (printed magazines), “TRT Haber DD”, “TRT Spor”, “TRT Türk” , “Televizyon” (digital magazines).


 In the conference center, there will be 1 Plenary Hall, 1 Main Committee Room, 13 Meeting Rooms, 2 Side Events Rooms and also other facilities like Internet café, Business center, Bank office, Travel agency, Restaurant and cafeteria etc.

 Side Events

 Two rooms are reserved in the Conference Center for the Side Events.

 l   A meeting room for side events, classroom style-shaped, with at least 100 seats. This meeting room shall be equipped with interpretation facilities into three languages (E/F/S), one workstation and fixed projection facilities;

l   A meeting room  for side events, square table-shaped, with at least 50 seats at table and 50 seats behind. This meeting room shall be equipped with interpretation facilities into three languages (E/F/S), one workstation and fixed projection facilities;

 There will be another room for the host country side events.

 ·        From 195 different countries, international organizations, civil society organizations and private sector, a around 6,000 people are expected to participate in the Conference.  To increase the participation from the eligible countries and NGO’s to the Conference,

The total cost of the Conference is approximately 10 million USD. Turkey has contributed nearly  1,9 million USD to the Secretariat.

 ·         For the Conference preparations, 3 UN Missions have been carried out so far (1st Mission: 22-26 April 2014, 2th Mission: 13-17 January 2015, 3th Mission: 1-5 June 2015 ). Turkish Delegation visited the UNCCD Secretariat in Bonn between 11-13 February 2014. The Host Country Agreement was signed at the first day of the CRIC 13, between Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs’ Undersecretary Prof. Dr. Lütfi AKCA and UNCCD General Secretary Monique BARBUT (25 March 2015).

 ·         There will be two opening sessions for the COP 12, the first one will be by the Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs in 12 October 2015 and Turkey will be designated as the president for the next two years. The opening session for the High Level Segment will be on 21 October 2015 and expected to be, by the President of the Republic of Turkey or the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.

 ·        The conference program will be published  on the UNCCD website (www.unccd.int) and Host Country website (www.unccdcop12.gov.tr).

 ·         Turkey will preside over the COP12 process for two years; during which, the UNCCD 10 Years Strategy Document 2008-2018,  will be renewed.

Thank to HE Melih Ulueren, Ambassadorcop12

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