The UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference held in Bonn, Germany last week focused on the theme ‘Economic assessment of desertification, sustainable land management and resilience of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas’. The conference was organised and run by the Global Risk Forum (GRF) Davos. Conference outputs are scientific and policy-oriented recommendations, which will be submitted to the Committee of Science and Technology (CST) and Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNCCD convention for consideration


UNCCD Scientific Conference Bonn Germanay

UNCCD Scientific Conference Bonn Germanay

Photo: GDI

IUCN- Global Drylands Coordinator, Jonathan Davies was chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for this conference. Through this role the conference created a platform that allowed equal participation by government decision makers and scientists. This hybrid format is the true value of the science conference as it allows policy makers to capture information regarding cutting-edge science and also to understand the process through which science is developed. It also enables scientists to obtain insights into the policy making processes and the necessary negotiations and compromises that are entailed in this process.

The science conference was a very successful event with a rich diversity of scientific contributions. The field of “economics of desertification and land degradation” is still young and relatively weak, yet it was evident through the conference as an important emerging field. Scientists showed that we have good methodologies, and evidence to suggest that the cost of preventing desertification, land degradation and drought is going to be much lower than the cost of restoring degraded land. However, the data remains inadequate and the methodologies need to be extensively tested, to identify the most efficient methods to start compiling large amounts of data. 

The science conference was a valuable event and it strengthens the call for a more permanent process of bridging the science-policy interface on Desertification and Land Degradation.