Friday, March 29, 2013

Canada withdraws from desertification convention some facts

An official with the Canadian International Development Agency, which oversees the disbursal of Canadian foreign aid, said the desertification convention committed too much time to meetings and too little to funding on-the-ground development work.

So lets look at the governments use of doublespeak to lie to the Canadian people: First, actual Figures from the Programme budget for the biennium 2012–2013 show that support costs (following United Nations rules) are only 13% of overall budget
In accordance with the financial rules of the COP and standard practice of the
United Nations, a rate of 13 per cent is charged to all trust funds for programme support services, or overheads. These support services are mostly used to cover the costs of administrative support staff and secretariat staff costs at the United Nations liaison office in New York. Table 5 indicates the estimated human and financial resource requirements for the next biennium, which are contingent upon associated income to the special account.

Our government claims to be a supporter of results based budgeting but what do they do when they are faced with results they do not agree with or support, they deny they exist and then shoot the messenger. The notes I found online show how the  budget for this Convention was built using results based budgeting. The doublespeak used by our government shows how little they think of the environment and climate change and also shows the low level of thinking of our government.  The source for the notes of interest are:

  1. In decision 3/COP.8, Parties stated that planning and budget cycles would involve the drafting of multi-year (four-year) workplans for CRIC, CST, GM and the secretariat according to results-based management (RBM) principles.
  2. Results-based budgeting (RBB) may be regarded as the operational and financial dimension of results-based management. It links the programme delivery with resource availability, and provides a framework for credible performance evaluation at the end of a budget period. The essence of RBM is to ensure that priorities are identified, and then funded
  3. The RBM planning documents are the basis of the budget. The multi-year workplans of  CST, CRIC, GM and the secretariat present the strategic orientation of work to be carried out, which is complemented by the corresponding two-year costed work programmes that detail the programme delivery and related costs.

Another document from the UN ( ) shows what some of the results  of the programme have been over the last few years but according to our government “As part of our efforts to improve the effectiveness of Canada’s assistance, we are focusing Canadian tax dollars where they can provide real results,” CIDA Minister Julian Fantino said in a statement.

The desertification conference spent about 75 per cent of its estimated $15 million budget on salaries, consultants, conferences and internal office expenses, and about 18 per cent on development programs, a CIDA official told The Star.
So what have been the results so far according to the United Nations (If you click on the source you will see about 30 pages of results, I have only pulled a few out for consideration.) 

The government of Canada does not appear to believe that Advocacy, awareness-raising and education are important, as these rely on Scientific discussion and research. In Canada, our government muzzles our scientists and does not believe (by its actions such as calling environmentalists enemies of Canada) in Climate change:

Sub programme 1 – Advocacy, awareness-raising and education Outcome area:

UNCCD website visits have risen from an average 8,000 per month in 2007 to around
20,000 per month in 2009, which confirms an increased use of information provided by the secretariat. Key factors in the secretariat’s enhanced information delivery have been various outreach activities, targeted events such as the Land Day in June 2009, and frequent website updates. It may also be noted that observance of the 17 June World Day to Combat Desertification seems to show a steady increase; 20 countries reported on events organized in 2008, while for 2009 the number is close to 30.6

The secretariat organised or co-organized over 30 side events and exhibitions in 2008,
which is more than twice the number of corresponding events held in 2007. In 2009, by the end of June over 20 events had already been organized.

In line with decision 3/COP.8, the secretariat coordinated the development and implementation of a comprehensive communication strategy with a set of core communications objectives and expected results, which is presented to COP 9. In the immediate future, the secretariat will continue strengthening its awareness-raising functions through the implementation of this strategy, further development of the website, and increased coverage, targeting and volume of outreach and related material.

Another method of fostering attention and increasing press coverage will be the involvement of “goodwill ambassadors,” that is, well-known personalities who will help to raise awareness of DLDD issues and participate in related events. Main challenges to carrying out awareness-raising functions concern the availability of in-house capacity and the necessary partnerships and resources.

Outcome area: DLDD issues are addressed in relevant international forums, including those pertaining to agricultural trade, climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, rural development, sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The importance of DLDD issues was included in the reports and resolutions of several international and regional conferences and forums addressed by the secretariat, including among others the 16th and 17th sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Third World Water Forum, the International Conference on Sustainable Development and MultiSectoral Approaches, the Conference of African Ministers of Environment, the 2009 Water Africa Conference, and the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development.

The input of the secretariat to these and many other conferences and forums took various forms,  such as high-level representation (keynote speeches, moderation of sessions, panel membership and statements), participation in and provision of information to meetings and preparatory processes, the organization of side events and exhibitions, and delivery of UNCCD outreach material.

Outcome areas: Affected country Parties revise their NAPs [national action programmes] into strategic documents supported by biophysical and socio-economic baseline information and include them in integrated investment frameworks.
Affected country Parties integrate their NAPs and SLM and land degradation issues into development planning and relevant sectoral and investment plans and policies.

In order to support affected country Parties in aligning their action programmes with The Strategy, the secretariat drafted a roadmap and initiated consultations with the GM on
possible approaches to the alignment, with the aim of addressing the matter through the JWP. Within this framework, the secretariat commissioned consultancy services to draft guidelines on the alignment, and organized eight subregional workshops and an inter-agency meeting to discuss the draft guidelines. These guidelines seek to provide a basis for coherent action among Parties on the matter.
The draft guidelines describe the alignment process as an exercise in improving the quality of national, subregional and regional action programmes, as well as the conditions and modalities of their implementation, in order to achieve the vision described in The Strategy. The main objectives of the alignment process would be:
(a) To institutionalize multi-sectoral, participatory and decentralized planning of DLDD and SLM matters;
(b) To turn the action programmes into strategic documents that are mainstreamed with national and sectoral planning;
(c) To create enabling scientific, policy, legislative and investment environments and instruments which promote and support sustainable management of land resources.

So what is the Convention planning to spend its money on next year. Well here is the actual Budget for your consideration.
A. Secretariat
Advocacy, awareness-raising and education                    1 443 500
Policy framework                                                                  1 401 200
Science, technology and knowledge                                  2 300 900
Capacity-building                                                                     707 300
Financing and technology transfer                             355 100

B. Management support                                          
Executive direction and management                                2 410 000
Conference services                                                                811 750
Administration and finance services                                   2 292 075

Subtotal secretariat                                                              11 721 825

C. Committee on Science and Technology                              76 000

D. Committee for the Review of the Implementation
of the Convention                                                                          76 000

E. Global Mechanism
Advocacy, awareness-raising and education                          693 229
Policy framework                                                                        525 754

F. Management support
Financing and technology transfer                            1 756 383

Subtotal Global Mechanism                                                    4 131 716
G. Programme support costs (13%)                                      2 080 720
H. Working capital reserve                                            (153 274)
TOTAL (A–H)                                                                          17 932 987

Canada committed $315,000 to the desertification conference’s budget this year, down from $350,000 in 2012. 

So the funding Canada gives may not be missed, but the shame of it is that Canada’s reputation on the world stage suffers another blow from these right wing bigots who control Canada. 

I am sad to say that by 2015 Canadians will not be proud of their country, thanks to Steven Harper unless we put pressure on his government to act in a responsible manner.

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