Oasis Leader Elected Chairman of Global Desertification Science Body
The Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) elected Dr. William Dar as the new Chairman of its Committee for Science and Technology (CST) on Monday Sept. 3, the opening day of the 8th COP session in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Dar was nominated by the Asian States Group as a distinguished citizen of the Philippines on behalf of that region. Dr. Dar is also the Director General of one of the Oasis co-convening centers, ICRISAT.
This influential assignment is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Dar. The CST is responsible for advising the CCD on all scientific issues relating to its mission. Signed by 191 countries, the CCD embodies the worlds commitment to combat desertification (dryland degradation). It was created as an outcome of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), popularly known as the Rio Earth Summit. Its importance was underscored by the 2000 Millennium Summit which issued the Millennium Development Goals, and by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Informed of this prestigious appointment just as he arrived, Dr. Dar immediately picked up the Chairmans gavel and guided the CST plenary session. This is a moment of opportunity within the CCD and CST, with a new ten-year plan paving the way for fundamental reform and re-invigoration of the global desertification pact.
In his opening statement, Dr. Dar urged the body to be open to reforms and to widely engage stakeholders from all sectors. The CST responded to the new energy by opting for a fundamentally different format for its next regular session a Conference to optimize the free flow of scientific ideas. The Conference will focus on the topic of Bio-physical and socio-economic monitoring and assessment of desertification and land degradation, to support decision making in land and water management.
While elected in his role as a Philippino citizen, not as Oasis representative, Dr. Dar commented that he naturally provides a contact point for Oasis to the CCD.