Landlocked developing countries call for strengthened and specialized support to address Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought


September, 19 2013 – Participants attending a UNCCD COP 11 side event on “Building the Resilience of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) to the Impacts of Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought” held on 18 September 2013 in Windhoek, Namibia suggested recommendations that would feed into the preparatory process of the Comprehensive Ten-Year Review Conference of the Almaty Programme of Action to be held in 2014.  The event was jointly organized by UN-OHRLLS, UNCCD and UNFCCC
Participants noted that because of their geography LLDCs have a large proportion of their lands under dryland ecosystems that are highly vulnerable to the impact of desertification and climate change. They also noted the gradual encroachment of the desert in their countries. “Seventy-two percent of global drylands are in developing countries of which 60 percent  are in LLDCs” said Mr. Sandagdorj Erdenebileg, Chief, Policy Development, Coordination, Monitoring and Reporting Service, UN OHRLLS. “Yet more than 70 percent of the LLDC’s 400 million people live in rural areas and are heavily reliant on the land resources for their livelihoods” highlighted Ms. Mutsa Chasi, Director General, Environmental Management Agency, Zimbabwe.
The meeting underscored the severe impact that DLDD and climate change were having on their economies including extreme poverty, food insecurity, increased migrations, loss of bio-diversity, water stress and floods, poor health, reduced energy and destroyed transport infrastructure. They also noted that the costs of ‘non-action’ were high.
The participants were deeply concerned that their countries were economically disadvantaged as they are not able to fully harness their development potential, in particular trade due to substantially higher trade transaction costs as a result of being landlocked. Mr. Erdenebileg noted that “The level of development in the LLDCs is on average 20 percent lower than what it would be were the countries non-landlocked”. This severely limits their ability to adequately address DLDD and climate change. Furthermore LLDCs had other challenges including: lack of adaptive capacity –undiversified agro-based economies, lack of capacity in global negotiations on Climate Change, Desertification, and Sustainable development, lack of scientific data and information, lack of robust information dissemination systems, and limited technology development and transfer and poor legislation and weak law enforcement.
Participants made suggestions on priorities needed to build the resilience of LLDCs to climate change and DLDD. They called for promotion of holistic and integrated approach to address climate change and DLDD through working on a synergy of the conventions and cross-cutting initiatives. They emphasized the need to strengthen sustainable land and resource management and reclamation and protection of degraded land. As adopted by world leaders at Rio+20 Conference we need to strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world said Dr. Mohamadou Mansour N’Diaye, Chef de Cabinet of UNCCD Secretariat.
The meeting underscored enhanced diversification of the economic base of LLDCs and building of their productive capacities in order to improve economic growth and to address climate change and DLDD. Promotion of regional integration to address climate change and DLDD particularly through fostering development of regional technology centers, regional networks of excellence and trans-boundary projects. They also emphasized strengthening of early warning systems and information and institutional capacity on climate and weather information systems.
The meeting called on the international community to strengthen support and broad access to financial facilities and to consider establishing special financing facility just for LLDCs. In addition, the international community should provide technological and capacity building assistance to LLDCs and strengthen and support their participation in relevant intergovernmental and multilateral processes relating to the environment.