Activites - Participated in COP 12 Turkey

Bhawani Shanker Kusum, Secretary, GBS was invited by the Secretariat, UNCCD to participate in the COP 12 held in Ankara, Turkey on October 12-23, 2015. He participated in various activities held at COP at different forums i.e. CSO meetings, side events, plenary sessions etc.  Mrs.  Uma Swaminathan from SEWA, Ahmadabad was another CSO representative from India participated in the COP12.

Following were major activities Bhawani participated and contributed in:

1.CSO Consultation

2.UNCCD Global mechanism for Forests and Landscape Forum

3.Sustainable Food production in Dry lands

4.Implementing Effective and Sustainable Land Degradation Neutrality

5.The global forests and landscape restoration

6.Contribution of forests and trees to food security and land degradation neutrality in dry lands

7.Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management practices

8.Regional CSO meetings

A report on participation in the COP12, Ankara, Turkey 

1.Work carried out prior to the meeting in order to liaise with the CSOs in the network or constituency  
As associated with RIOD since its formation, GBS was engaged in implementation of UNCCD programmes with specific focus on forestation on the wastelands, conserving soil and moisture, harvesting rainwater and checking land degradation by stabilizing sand dunes for past twenty years in the Rajasthan state of India. In the light of this background GBS has established ‘Intersect Coalition’ a network of wherein over 110 NGOs in 14 states of India have joined. Many of them are engaged multiple activities related to protection and improvement of environment in their respective areas.
As doing during the previous COPs, Bhawani organized a meeting with the members of the NGOs associated with the network and shared with them information about COP 12. The major issues discussed in the meeting to be shared in the COP12 included:
1.The lands related to forests, revenue, community or wastelands (barren and infertile lands) at village levels are being sold or allotted on wide scale on long term periods (e.g. 90 years term) to the corporate sectors, foreign agencies and industrial companies for commercial purposes. It must be stopped and such lands should be brought under forestation.
2.Land degradation is increasing rapidly and extensively in the state because of constant drought situations resulting which farmers are committing to suicide as they don’t have any other alternative source of income.
3. Since cultivation on small farm lands has not been advantageous due to various reasons including irregular monsoon rains, increasing prices of seeds and fertilizers etc., farmers with small or marginal land holdings are selling their lands and migrating to big cities or towns in search of jobs for their survival.
It was decided that these issues should be raised at different forums wherever possible during the COP12. Also, Bhawani contacted Mr. Tanveer Arif, the Panel Member from the Asian region and shared the concerns of India and it was informally thought that attempts should be made to develop a joint programme as a pilot project.
  2. Activities carried out during the COP and involvement in the session itself  
 Participation in the CSO meetings, side events, plenary sessions etc. 
           At COP12: October 11-23, 2015, Ankara, Turkey       
October 11                       ·       The CSO preparatory meeting 9.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
October 12                       ·       CSO Consultation
·       The opening session including CSO opening statement made by Duygu Kutluay
·     Joined the reception organized by Prof. Dr. Veysel EROGLU, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs, Turkey
October 13                       ·      CSO Consultation
·      The opening of the Sustainable Land Management Fair & Exhibition
·      Side event - Towards achieving Land Degradation Neutrality: from
   Concept to practice
·       Side event – Forests and Landscape Forum: UNCCD – Global mechanism
·       Side event – Climate change adaptation in dry lands: Actions from the Drynet
October 14                       ·       CSO Consultation
·       Day for Indigenous and local community sustainable Land Managers
·       UNCCD Knowledge Products
·       Discussion on Sustainable Food production in Dry lands
·       Plenary session
October 15                       ·       CSO Consultation
·       Implementing Effective and Sustainable Land Degradation Neutrality
·       The global forests and landscape restoration agenda
·       Advances in Tree Cover Mapping in Support of Restoration Efforts
·       Plenary session
 October 16                      ·        CSO Consultation
·        Plenary session
·      The contribution of forests and trees to food security and land degradation neutrality in dry lands
October 17                       ·        Technical Trip to Afforestation for soil conservation of Ankara Kurtbogazi 
October 19                       ·        CSO Consultation
·         Lad for Life Day
·         Plenary session
·         Regional CSO meeting
·         Sustainable Land Management Funding options
October 20                       ·        CSO Consultation
·         Plenary session
·         LDN Fund mechanisms and Opportunities
·         Partnership development in LDN
October 21                       ·         CSO Consultation
·         Mainstreaming SLM practices
·         Plenary session
·         Land Governance- Voluntary guidelines on tenure
October 22                       ·         CSO Consultation
·         Plenary session
·         Informal interaction with regional CSO participants
October 23                       ·         Meeting CSO participants of Asia & Pacific and Plenary session

3.List of activities undertaken by the organization when returning to their country to ensure the sharing of information and proper follow up

Following activities were organized after he came back to home and resumed his work:

A meeting of the executive committee (Governing Body) of GBS was held on November 05, 2015. Bhawani shared with the members his experience of participating in CSO consultations, various side events, plenary sessions etc. It was considered that this experience would be practiced in GBS programmes on land degradation and land neutrality. Also, it was decided to share these outcomes with the member NGOs of the network those who are working in this field.
A meeting of the core group of the Network was organized on November 17 at GBS office in Amber. While expressing gratitude towards the UNCCD and Mr. Tanveer Arif, the Panel member from Asia for inviting Bhawani Shanker Kusum on behalf of GBS, the participants appreciated Mr. Kusum’s experience gained at the COP12. On the issue of forestation in desert areas of Rajasthan, three organizations namely MPS, Churu, Social Welfare Society, Karauli and Janhit Seva Sansthan, Jhunjhunu decided to plan programmes to combat land degradation and desertification in their areas. Further, it was decided that a big meeting of all the members of the network will be invited in the first week of January, 2016 at Gandhivan, GBS’ environment center. Dates will be informed later.