Final Declaration of the Trade Unions at the Twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties
13 October 2015 – Ankara, Turkey
On the occasion of the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), we, there presentatives of the trade unions and civil society organizations, gathered at the meeting entitled “Functions oftrade unions organizations in combating desertification” and agreed on presenting the following matters to the global public, and in turn put it forth as a proposal for inclusion in the report of COP 12.
1- First of all, we extend our gratitude to the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, who has organized this conference, the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion of the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, which carried out the preparations for the conference on behalf of the Republic of Turkey, and Öz Orman-İş Trade Union, which organized the “Functions of trade unions and civil society organizations in combating desertification”.
2- Desertification is a universal issue. Addressing such an issue cannot be achieved through governmental involvemental one but also requires substantial and effective community involvement.
3- For the purpose of ensuring this community involvement, civil society organizations (CSOs), the UNCCD secretariat, and professional associations, especially trade unions – which constitute an active bridge between the community and management and represent wide sections of the community – must be involved in all decision-making and implementation processes.
4- The trade unions and CSOs in question must benefit from international funds and public resources to fulfil their responsibilities and functions.
5- In order to establish overall social awareness in regards to combating desertification, all governments must implement widespread education programmes.
6- There is a direct relationship between land degradation and poverty worldwide. In order to impact such degradation and reverse the process, rural development is an indispensable and inevitable requirement. It is necessary to bring into effect policies and applications to improve the economic status of poor farmers, the unemployed and agriculture and forestry workers.
7- One important component in combating desertification is employment. A sufficient workforce to pursue this aim must be mainstreamed in sustainable development policy.
8- Investments made in soil, forests, water and air should not take conventional cost-benefit analyses into account. Combating desertification must be implemented together with social support programmes.
9- There is also a direct relationship between land degradation and ownership. Therefore, the land degradation issue must be addressed for each country on the basis of countries’ ownership policies.
10- In this regard, the inheritance regulations preventing the fragmentation of agricultural lands and related legislative regulations, along with the protection of optimum land size, mustbe considered and evaluated so as to ensure the welfare of those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture.
12- Every community across the globe considers within in its traditional culture and creed the relationship between nature and humanity. Modern social structures have deteriorated such traditional values. In combating the destruction of nature, such traditional values must be reinforced and implemented by supporting culture and art.
13- A new understanding of life and the universe based on humanity and labour must be created through a new social system and economy, and the relationship between the environment and humanity must be reestablished.Trade unions should be actively involved in the UNCCD implementation process.