The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)1 provides the foundation for its 197 Parties to work together to combat desertification, land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought; maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and improve the living conditions for people. Within the secretariat of the UNCCD, the 15 members of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) unit facilitate the efforts of Parties to ensure a scientific foundation for global policy decisions through its support of science experts from all Parties serving on the subsidiary body known as the Committee on Science and Technology (CST).2 The CST is supported by 25 global experts serving on the SciencePolicy Interface (SPI), who work to assess, synthesize and translate current science for the consideration of policy makers.3 The work programme of the SPI is determined by the CST and adopted by the Conference of the Parties (COP).
4 The SPI produces peer-reviewed technical reports as well as sciencepolicy briefs designed to support policy development.5 The STI also links scientific knowledge with implementation planning and policies and national reporting, with the aim to ensure that findings and opportunities produced by science are effectively channeled to benefit field activities to implement the UNCCD.
The STI also supports the policy advocacy, communications and resource mobilization efforts of the UNCCD to help ensure that the content of all communications and guidance products produced under the name of the UNCCD are evidence based.6 Finally, the STI is the secretariat hub for the realization of capacity development and innovation across the UNCCD. The Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Unit of the UNCCD secretariat facilitates, among others, scientific cooperation among governments through is service to CST and facilitates the use of relevant scientific knowledge in policymaking through its support of the work of the SPI.