In the aftermath of the 14th Conference of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP.14) in September 2019 in New Delhi, India, the UNCCD secretariat invited independent scientists from all UN regions and organizations and all relevant disciplines and thematic areas, to apply for several vacant positions in the SPI.
Vacancies had arisen in order to replace SPI members, whose mandates terminated at the end of December 2019. In order to ensure continuity of its work, and in line with the procedures, the SPI comprises independent experts, who are now entering their second two-year work cycle, and new members who will now deliver to two SPI work cycles. Based on the procedures of the UNCCD, its Committee on Science and Technology (CST), which is also part of the SPI, was entirely replaced.
The inauguration of the new SPI members took place at the 11th meeting of the SPI which was held at the UN campus in Bonn, Germany from 17th to 19th February 2020. During the next two years, the renewed SPI will address thematic areas and coordination activities which were assigned to it in Decision 18/COP.14 by the Parties to the Convention under the SPI Work Programme 2020-2021:
In time for the 11th SPI meeting, information on the outcomes of the hugely successful and well attended first SPI Science Day went online on the UNCCD portal. The Science Day was held on 5th September 2019 at the Rio Conventions Pavilion in the margins of UNCCD COP.14 in New Delhi.
The Chair and other members of DNI had been invited by the SPI to actively participate in the science day by providing interventions, chairing sessions and supporting the development of key messages emerging from the science day to the high-level segment of the COP.14. Please see the previous DNI newsletter on the contributions of DNI members to the first SPI Science Day.
Information on the first SPI Science Day, including the agenda, report, key messages, YouTube videos and a photo gallery can be found here: https://knowledge.unccd.int/science-policy-interface/science-day
Mariam Akhtar-Schuster, DNI Advisory Board