UN emblem
United Nations System-Wide
of the 


Secretariat of the Convention to Combat Desertification
Haus Carstanjen 
Martin-Luther-King-Strasse 8 
53175 Bonn, Germany
E-mail: secretariat@unccd.de 
Tel: +49 228 815 2802 
Fax: +49 228 815 2898/99 

Internet: http://www.unccd.de 

Organization and Dynamics

Composed of government representatives, the CST advises the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on scientific and technological matters relevant to desertification and drought. In addition, ad hoc panels of government-nominated experts provide information and advice on specific issues. These experts will be appointed by the COP on the recommendation of the CST. Experts must have field experience and represent a wide range of disciplines. 

Work and Outputs

Recent Meetings:
An Ad Hoc Panel on Traditional Knowledge was convened in Matera, Italy from 15-18 July 1999 to identify successful experiences and conclusions in dealing with threats confronting traditional knowledge, strategies for integrating traditional and modern knowledge and mechanisms for promoting and exchanging successful approaches.
An Asia-Africa Technical Workshop on Early Warning Systems was held in Beijing from 22-23 July 1999 with forty-five experts from Africa, Asia and international, regional and sub-regional organizations. As well, a Workshop on Early Warning Systems and Desertification Analysis of Existing Experiences with the Purpose of Identifying Possible Options at the Local, National and Regional Levels was held from 25-28 October 1999 in Niamey, Niger. 

At its third meeting, during COP-3, CST considered several background reports on traditional knowledge, including: a Synthesis Report on important and widely-applied traditional knowledge on a sub-regional and regional basis and on a national scale; a Report of an ad hoc panel on traditional knowledge; a Report on building linkages between environmental conventions and initiatives; a Synthesis Report on traditional knowledge in dry-land ecosystems; and, a Report on the system of traditional knowledge in the Mediterranean and its classification with reference to different social groupings.
The meeting also considered reports on the roster of experts, a survey and evaluation of networks involved in combating desertification, bodies involved in related work to CST, and benchmarks and indicators. 

Other Areas of Work

A Survey and Evaluation of Networks is being prepared by UNEP. Currently, plans for a database to contain information on all networks world-wide involved in work related to desertification is being prepared. Phase 1 of this project involved drawing up the plans for a database and preparing a model, which was done at the University of Arizona, and which was presented at COP-3. 

Concerning Benchmarks and Indicators ..... 

The Roster of Experts is still in the process of being established. Most recent discussion centred on making clearer distinctions between different disciplines represented on the roster. There have also been calls to see that the roster reflect more equal gender representation. COP-3 asked the Secretariat to prepare a report on use of the roster, which is to be presented at the next COP. 

Future Work: A wide-spread observation at CST-3 was that many substantive reports had been prepared highlighting a positive trend in the work of CST, but the challenge was now to take these into the realm of implementation. 


Although the GEF is not a financial mechanism for the CCD, a STAP workshop on land degradation inter-linkages was held in Bologna, Italy, from 14-16 June 1999. Forty independent experts and UN agency representatives including the GEF, UNEP, UNDP and CCD attended. The aim was to further identify the linkages between land degradation and GEF focal areas, particularly climate change, biodiversity and international water issues, with a view to increasing GEF's support to activities related to land degradation. 


Prepared by Jan-Stefan Fritz for the Second Report on International Scientific Advisory Processes on the Environment and Sustainable Development, 2000
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