The Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union, Mrs Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, on 24 September 2015 met with Mrs. Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification (UNCCD). The meeting that took place on the margins of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, was aimed at exchanging views on how to strengthen cooperation, partnership and support in reversing the advancement of the Sahara Desert to ensure sustainable livelihoods in the dryland areas.
The two principals expressed satisfaction with the efforts undertaken by the 15 AU Member States from Senegal to Djibouti, to take forward the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel initiative of the African Union established in 2007. The coordination of the implementation of this initiative is led by the AU Commission and specifically the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.
They both underscored the need to reinforce their cooperation and work with other partners and stakeholders to support the concerned Member States of the AU in ensuring that this initiative meets the objectives of the AU Heads of State and Government. They also stressed the need to take advantage of international engagements on areas related to and relevant to desertification and climate change so as to raise awareness and mobilise resources for this initiative.
During the meeting, H.E Monique Barbut extended an invitation to the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the AU to participate in the Twelfth Conference of Parties (CoP12) of the UNCCD scheduled for 8-22 October 2015 in Ankara, Turkey as a follow up of CoP11 that was held in Namibia two years ago.
The meeting between the two principals was attended by Mr Merchiade Bukuru, Chief of the UNCCD Office in New York and Mr Julius Kagamba, Special Assistant to Commissioner.