The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it is withdrawing from a UN convention intended to fight droughts in Africa. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] claimed [CTV report] the move was necessary as the convention was "too bureaucratic" and that only one fifth of the CAN $350,000 contributed to the convention actually was used for programming. Canada becomes the only UN member state that is not a member of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) [official website]. The move to drop out of the UNCCD had actually occurred last week without any public acknowledgement until Wednesday. The UNCCD has been in effect since 1996 and is working to "forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas in order to support poverty reduction and environmental sustainability."
The decision to drop out of the UNCCD has cast additional attention on Canada's environmental record. In 2011 Canada was the first nation to withdraw [JURST report] from the Kyoto Protocol [text; JURIST news archive] on climate change. The decision to drop out of Kyoto was five years after they were subject to a series of lawsuits [JURIST report] for their failure to comply with the standards imposed by Kyoto.