Combating Desertification : COP12

IUCN experts supported decision makers from 195 countries as they discussed solutions to the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought which affect societies world wide.

Fida Haddad - COP12


During the 12th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) that took place from 12-23 October in Ankara, Turkey; IUCN experts played a big role in integrating landscape management approaches for Land degradation neutrality during side events and talks.
Desertification, land degradation and drought are among the most serious environmental and developmental threats that face the west asia region today. Land Degradation Neutrality is a global target which has been discussed on numerous occasions, "but it can’t be achieved without respecting and adapting local land use to enhance the resilience of land resources and communities while avoiding future degradation" - Fida Haddad, Progamme Manager has said.

It was emphasized that weak coordination between relevant governmental agencies and local communities had resulted in conflicting approaches to the management of land and natural resources. This weakness alienated communities from managing their own ecosystems and led to the introduction of intrusive unsustainable exploitation practices such as mining and overgrazing. This also reflected on women’s responsibilities in managing their family affairs which became more difficult.

It was later shared that Al Hima a traditional institution of tenure has helped in changing that. Al Hima which has governed rangeland resources in Arabian Peninsula for over 1400 years has since then, allow community managed systems evolve slightly to signify that setting aside a piece of land to allow regeneration and sustainable use of natural resources will benefit of the communities living adjacent to it. The Amman declaration on Innovating HIMA 2014 highlighted that Hima is a broad concept with diversity of applications, but at its heart is the recognition of nature as a living system and not merely a commodity. Hima is a comprehensive package of governance, conservation, science and markets that builds on and reinforces social, cultural and human capital.

In Jordan, IUCN ROWA with the Ministry of Agriculture and Arab Women Organization have identified an opportunity to bridge the policy – implementation gap in Jordan through the revival and support of the Hima system, for scale up to the entire Arabian Peninsula. Revival of Hima is carried out by linking communities with local government to legitimize their land management strategies. This enables communities to establish and enforce rules and regulations for rangeland resources, promoting natural re-vegetation and recovery of soil and water cycles. Ministry of Agriculture updated its Rangeland Strategy to enhance reviving of Hima System for rangeland management in Jordan.

A study established that the HIMA site in Jordan indicated that the large-scale adoption of the Hima system could provide between 144 and 289 million JOD worth of net-benefits to Jordanian society over a 25-year time horizon. Moreover, the pastoral communities could save up to 16.8 million JOD on fodder purchase by sustainably managing their rangelands through Hima systems in the Zarqa River Basin.

Much has been discussed at the COP12 and IUCN has welcomed the prioritization of land degradation as an emerging global issue and therefore supports the move to adopt LDN target setting by the UNCCD.


For more information, Kindly contact:
Fida Haddad - Programme Manager
[email protected]


West Asia
Go to top