STAP at the UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference 9-12 March in Cancún, México

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), welcomed participants to a STAP side event on the “Resilience Adaptation Transformation Assessment Framework” at the UNCCD’s 3rd Scientific Conference in Cancún, México. At the side event, STAP and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia, presented an approach for analyzing the current state, and future desired states, of a socio-ecological system (e.g. agro-ecosystems), and identifying options to enhance resilience, adapt, or transform. The approach could complement the UNCCD progress indicators and be shared with the UNFCCC and the CBD as a measure of land-based adaptation and ecosystem resilience, respectively, and thus strengthen the linkages between the Conventions, and enhance the recognition of the central role of the land in supporting sustainable development.

Annette Cowie (STAP) moderated a panel that included Deborah O’Connell (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO), Fareeha Iqbal (Global Environment Facility, GEF), Sandy Andelman (Conservation International, CI)), Tomasz Chruszczow (Chair of the Scientific and Technological Advice, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, SBSTA/UNFCCC), and Jeffrey Herrick (United States Department of Agriculture, USDA).

IMG_0981-tn L-R: Deborah O'Connell, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); Annette Cowie, University of New England, Australia; UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut; and Tomasz Chruszczow, Chair, Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Photo courtesy of UNCCD Secretariat.


The presentations, the main report and accompanying case studies on the Resilience Adaptation Transformation Assessment Framework can be accessed below.

Presentation by Deborah O’Connell – Resilience Adaptation Transformation Assessment

The Resilience, Adaptation Transformation Assessment Framework: from theory to application by Deborah O’Connell, Brian Walker, Nick Abel, and Nicky Grigg

Resilience assessment desktop case studies in Thailand and Niger by Nicky Grigg, Nick Abel, Deborah O’Connell and Brian Walker

Presentation by Sandy Andelman - Vital Signs

Annette Cowie (STAP) also organized a second side event on the “Use of satellite data to measure and monitor land degradation at multiple scales”.  Current satellite data products and associated methods were presented that have been used, and, or, that are being proposed, to assess land degradation and desertification within the context of the needs of the UNCCD and the GEF. The session also sought to better understand the needs of countries and project developers that use satellite-based data products currently, or plan to in the future, to map changes in land cover and analyze the causes and consequences of land degradation at the national and sub-national level.

The panelists included Compton Tucker (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA), Sandy Andelman (Conservation International, CI), Michel Cherlet (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, JRC), and Marc Paganini (European Space Agency, ESA). Their presentations can be downloaded through the links below. The side event also was informed by a STAP review on the use of normalized difference vegetation index for global assessment of land degradation status and trend. The report was commissioned in 2014, and a short version of the paper will be published in SpringerBrief by 2016.

  1. Compton Tucker, Land degradation mapping
  2. Sandy Andelman (CI), Vital Signs
  3. Michel Cherlet (JRC), Remote sensing products and global datasets
  4. Marc Paganini (ESA), Data and products developed by ESA to measure and monitor land degradation and potential applications at regional and national levels

A STAP commissioned study on a "Review of the use of normalized difference vegetation index for global assessment of land degradation, status and trend" by Genesis T. Yengoh, David Dent, Lennart Olsson, Anna E. Tengberg, Compton J. Tucker, may be found at this link.

IMG_0749m09-tn Compton "Jim" Tucker (center), National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, presenting at the side event on "The use of satellite data to measure and monitor land degradation over time at multiple scales," organized by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. Thomas Hammond, STAP Secretary on L and Annette Cowie, STAP Panel Member on R. Photo courtesy of UNCCD Secretariat.


For further information about the side events please contact Guadalupe Durón (