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The Regional Network on the Synergy between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification

Description of The Regional Network on the Synergy between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

2005 - 2008
Hans de Iongh


  • Paul Loth


Faced with an ecological degradation of unprecedented rate, the world government under the auspices of the United Nations crafted a number of important tools in the form of Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Two such tools are embodied in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), signed during the World Summit on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro (1992), and in Paris (1994), respectively. These conventions have in common several objectives (sustainable use of natural resources and the improvement of the living conditions of the poor) and requirements (research, reporting, training, and public education and awareness). The World Summit on S ustainable Development held in Johannesburg 26 August – 4 September 2002, has called upon the Secretariats of the two conventions to cooperate towards the achievement of their interdependent objectives. The benefits of such a collaborative effort are obvious and include, amongst others: a relieved burden of multiple reporting, greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Unfortunately, in the day-to-day practice, this cooperation is hampered by many institutional, political and scientific factors. For instance, a major constraint is that, at grassroots level, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in West and Central Africa are, to a large extent, absent from the global process of synergy between CCD and CBD. This absence results in a great loss of opportunities for funding and further capacity building of these CSOs and the goals they work for, especially poverty alleviation and ecological protection. These constraints led to the creation of the Regional Network on the Synergy between CBD and CCD (RNSCC) in West and Central Africa Programme.

The RNSCC programme is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS), under the Thematic Co-financing Fund (TMF) scheme. Its implementation was entrusted to the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University, in collaboration with the Centre for Environment and Development Studies in Cameroon (CEDC), in Maroua, Cameroon.


The programme aims to create and strengthen a network of West and Central African environmental and poverty-oriented CSOs, in order for these CSOs to get access to the global knowledge and funding networks that are connected to the synergy between the CCD and CBD. More specifically, the RNSCC programme is assigned a dual role with respect to its NGO partners:

1) facilitate information access and knowledge transfer and
2) contribute to capacity building.

To this end, a number of activities have been identified including:

  • the participation of network partners in network activities will be funded by the programme;
  • associate network partners can participate in network activities but they will have to rely on own funding for participating in these activities;
  • annual workshops and intervision meetings;
  • annual short training course;
  • management of a trust fund in support of network members’ activities;
  • general networking activities in support of the network members.
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