The Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) recently received notice that the organization has been accredited as a Civil Service Organization by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). This accreditation is no empty honour; it demonstrates both PRI’s commitment to finding ever-more effective ways to carry out its mission as well as recognition of the importance of that mission by a body as important as the UNCCD. Furthermore, as an accredited civil society organization (CSO), PRI will receive official invitations to attend all sessions of the Conference of Parties (COP) 12.
This wonderful news follows years of truly dedicated work on the part of all of those who have contributed to PRI’s success. In January of 2015, PRI was pleased to receive provisional accreditation from the UNCCD after providing the documentation required for review to become a recognized CSO. The Permaculture Research Institute has pursued this recognition and accreditation because of the importance of the UNCCD’s mission, which so seamlessly intersects with PRI’s own.
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In a congratulatory email, Geoff Lawton highlighted the pride that everyone who contributes to PRI should feel in light of this special honour, stating that all have “played a part somewhere along the journey,” and that his appreciation goes out to all. This opportunity provides the PRI with a door onto the global stage in a new way, and represents the enormous accomplishments it has achieved and demonstrates that local as well as international organizations are taking note of PRI’s work and validating it.
Geoff Lawton also extended his thanks to Rhamis Kent, co-director in PRI/Australia and PRI/USA, for his “tireless and dogged persistent work” and for his “strength of commitment and dedication” being such a great source of inspiration. This accomplishment comes, not thanks to the hard work of one person, or of two, but thanks to hard work of many, united together to help realize goals that will make the world a better place for all that live here.
And indeed, this special recognition from, offer to observe, and opportunity to build a relationship with UNCCD is special to Permaculture Research Institute not only because both organizations strive for sustainability and improvement in quality of life for all people, but because the very topic of desertification is one which is close to Permaculture’s collective heart, and to Geoff Lawton’s heart in particular. His devotion to the “Greening the Desert”project, which began in December 1999, has been unwavering. Geoff himself has played a pivotal role in PRI’s helping to create sustainable agricultural oasis where there was nothing but rocks and sand.
To be named an accredited civil society organization, to be officially invited to COP 12, and to be part of the largest global organization dedicated to combating desertification is truly a momentous occasion for the Permaculture Research Institute. Each and every member of our organization and the Permaculture movement, should take pride in celebrating this special honour and a new beginning, and we invite our friends and partners around the world to join us in celebration!
About the UNCCD
The purpose of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is to combat the land degradation process known as desertification, through national action programs, international cooperation, and partnership arrangements with other organizations. Desertification refers to the process by which an already relatively dry region becomes even drier, losing bodies of water and the ecosystems they support. It is a process which can pose a significant danger to plant, animal, and human life in the regions in which it occurs. The Convention’s stated goals are
The UNCCD works to understand the various factors behind desertification (human activity, climate change, etc.) and how these factors themselves can be addressed and how their effects can be mitigated through better management and sustainable use of resources. Desertification has been identified as one of the “greatest challenges to sustainable development.”
The UNCCD’s long-term goals, holistic perspectives, and focus on sustainability are all closely aligned with PRI’s own values and objectives. Not only does CSO accreditation offer the organization a unique opportunity to observe these conferences, which are vital to global sustainability, but this official accreditation represents an important moment of recognition for the Permaculture Research Institute, recognition made all the more important due to the stature of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.