UN desertification chief bemused by Canada exit

United Nations desertification chief Luc Gnacadja has spoken for the first time of his disappointment at the Canadian Government’s decision to leave the international convention.

Despite growing concerns over land degradation around the world, last month Canada announced it would stop cooperating with the UN on this issue, citing the small percentage of funds devoted to development projects compared to administrative costs.

Speaking to RTCC, Gnacadja rejected this critique, arguing the UNCCD was never intended to be focused on implementing specific projects, and had fully accounted for all of its budget. But the Executive Secretary did admit it was a concern that others could follow.

“Of course, any country, because there is a provision in Article 38 of the Convention, and I’m concerned, but I do hope all the UN member states and parties to the convention will take a clear look at the reason provided,” he said.

“It has not been provided officially to the UN but through the media, that we’re not doing enough in field programmes. But when you read the Convention, you’ll understand that this has not been designed to undertake field programmes.”

He added: “I stand bold to say that more than 90% of our budget is invested into the six programmes parties designed for us – awareness raising, policy, science, capacity building and assistance to country parties for resource mobilisation, plus running conferences.”

Luc Gnacadja interview – RTCC from Responding to Climate Change on Vimeo.

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