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Visit of Bonn University Students to UNCCD

On Thursday the 11th of October 2018, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat, represented by its Capacity Building Marketplace (CBM), hosted once again, students from Bonn University, taking the Masters in Agriculture and Food Economics (AFECO). 



During their visit the students and their accompany professors, Mr. Jan Börner and Ms. Manuela Meraner, had participated in interesting programme, comprised inter alia of formal presentations made by staff from top management to young professionals of UNCCD, UNESCO-UNEVOC and UNV; a panel discussion, an exhibition and interviews of students and professors.

The whole session was chaired by the Chief of the Science, Technology and Implementation Unit (STI) of the UNCCD, Mr. Johns Muleso Kharika, who shared his expertise and experience most liberally.


UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr. Pradeep Monga, the opening and closing of the event, made a brief but stimulating address to the AFECO students. Apart from discussing the UNCCD and the importance of youth involvement in the issues of climate change and the Rio conventions in general, he also shared much about his personal experience as a long serving UN official. 




A concise yet comprehensive review, by the UNCCD – CBM young consultant Mr. Daniel Gonzalez Carmena, of the UN, its origins and ultimate objectives, the importance of the UNCCD, the global environmental challenges and the role that young individuals must play in helping to secure our common future.

Ms. Jenny Choo, UNCCD Coordinator of the Land for Life Programme underlined the importance of youth as global agents of change, as well as pointing out global successful initiatives involving sustainable land management and  the importance of the land footprint in our daily life through food production and consumption.



The second part of this exercise was a Panel discussion on the theme ‘Agriculture and the Agenda 2030’, moderated by a former UNCCD – CBM Intern, Mr. Dimitrios Karatassios. and with the participation of two current members of the UNCCD – CBM Team: Mr. Cory Gregg (Intern) and Mr. Daniel Gonzalez Carmena (Consultant). The latter two underlined the importance of Agriculture to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its relevance for the UNCCD process, respectively. Mr. Ren Tonggao (current AFECO student) presented the relation of AFECO to Agenda 2030.




These presentations were followed by a question and answer session where the audience ask the panelists questions and discussed with them various topics concerning, such issues as the implementation of the UNCCD, funding opportunities for projects, food security and terrorism, environmental migration, and the daily tasks of a young professional at the UNCCD – CBM.




There was a break for light refreshments, which included an exhibition of UNCCD material, publications, brochures and the like, and during witch the AFECO students, had the chance to interact with other participants of the event and exchange impressions and concerns.


The third part of the programme saw a concise but substantive insight of the work of UNESCO – UNEVOC, presented by Mr. Wouter de Regt, while the work of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) was presented by Mr. Jan Oberhoff. These presentation gave the students a greater insight as to some of the actions being taken by  these two UN organizations within the framework of Agenda 2030.



The last part of the session was focused on the personal testimonies of Mr. Cory Gregg and Mr. Dimitrios Karatassios concerning what it is to be an intern at the UNCCD and what young people would gain from the professional and personal perspectives; and an introduction to the UNCCD – Capacity Building Marketplace (CBM) and the opportunities it offer to people around the world.

The session was brought t a close Mr. Pradeep Monga and Mr. Johns Muleso Kharika, and was followed by the taking a group photo of all participants.

Side interviews were taken during the exercise in which two AFECO students and their two accompany professors were asked to assess the whole event, explain what they learnt from it, their understanding about the UNCCD activities and their engagement to face those global challenges that mankind is facing.



In the image below, from left to right: Mr. Dimitrios Karatassios (former UNCCD – CBM Intern, Greece), Mr. Cory Gregg (UNCCD – CBM Intern, USA), Ms. Naa K. Quarcoo (UNCCD – CBM Intern, Ghana), Mr. Daniel Gonzalez Carmena (UNCCD – CBM Consultant, Spain),  Ms. Marie Hangebrauck (UNCCD Intern, Germany), Mr. Jorge Sanz Fernandez (UNCCD – CBM Consultant, Spain) and Ms. Konstantina Karatassios (UNCCD Intern, Greece).


These events are organized, managed and coordinated by Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox, Capacity Building Officer and Head of of the CBM. He assures that the CBM is happy to work with all educational institutions to further awareness to support the professional development of young professional and young people in General.


The CBM expresses its appreciation to professors Mr. Jan Börner and Ms. Manuela Meraner   and to all who were involved and supported the exercise.

For those that are interested in the full coverage of this exercise, click the link below to access the full photo and video gallery:


All videos from the Visit of Bonn University Students to UNCCD.

All pictures from the Visit of Bonn University Students to UNCCD.


For further information on events that the UNCCD - CBM does or inquiries you might have about our availability to engage educational institutions, feel free to contact us on the following channels:

E-mail address: cbm [at], or rbyroncox [at]

Phone Number: +49 228 8152859

Social media channels:

Facebook: UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace

Twitter:  UNCCD Marketplace

LinkedIn: Capacity Building Marketplace (CBM)

YouTube: UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace