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UNEP and UNDP join forces to promote GEF activities addressing land degradation including desertification

Nairobi, 8 December 1998 - A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in November 1998 between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), promises to bring together the experience and expertise of these two United Nations agencies with Global Environment Facility (GEF) support in a partnership on the cross-cutting issue of land degradation.

It is the first time that such contractual agreement has been signed in the context of the GEF with a view to strengthening the GEF inter-agency collaboration and partnership and it is expected that the adoption of this MOU will foster the promotion of project activities in the GEF cross-cutting area of land degradation, in particular in Africa.

The Agreement, signed in New York, by Gustave Speth, Administrator of UNDP and Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, is the result of an initiative of the GEF Assembly "to take appropriate steps, consistent with the GEF guidelines and in full consultation with interested recipient countries, to identify, prepare and implement GEF financed land degradation activities as they relate to biodiversity, climate change and international waters".

The Memorandum of Understanding spells out clearly the areas of focus for UNEP. These are: strategic scientific and technical analyses, such as assessment, monitoring and remote sensing, methodology development and testing, and programme leadership; implementing inter-country protocols, environmental agreements and regional conventions; development of policy, legal and institutional responses which more fully integrate land degradation with biodiversity/climate change/international waters activities; and development and management of global, regional and/or transboundary activities which advance cooperation, increase technical and scientific knowledge and information exchange, and associated catalytic support.

The Memorandum of Understanding builds upon a long and successful collaboration between UNEP and UNDP in the area of desertification. These include: UNEP/UNDP Joint Venture Mechanism through the Office to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNSO) for the implementation of the Nairobi Plan of Action to Combat Desertification, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Desertification (1977); the Joint Statement on UNEP and UNDP partnership for collaboration in the implementation of the International Convention to Combat Desertification, signed by the Heads of the two organizations on 26 April 1995, and the Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Capacity-Building between UNEP and UNDP of 28 November 1995.

Among the most important achievements is the establishment of an institutional framework for biannual upstream consultations of project activities between UNDP and UNEP.

UNEP News Release 1998/125

For more information, please contact:
Coordination Office,
P.O. Box 30552,
Tel: (254) 2-624166, Fax: (254) 2-624041

Tore J. Brevik,
Director of Information and Public Affairs,
P.O. Box 30552,
Tel.: (254) 2-623292, Fax 62-3692

Tuesday 08 Dec 1998
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