As the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) enters its implementation phase, its technical advisory bodies are endeavoring to define their purpose. Parties to the Convention have questioned the effectiveness and even the relevance of CCD science advice, recommended reforms, and estab-lished a new Group of Experts to support existing advisory processes. These efforts, however, are unlikely to bring about effective change because they overlook the mutually constitutive relationship linking natural and social order (i.e., co-production) evidenced by a century of intergovernmental cooperation on dryland degradation. Historically, knowledge about desertification has been integral to the locus of desertification governance, the definition and application of cognitive resources, and the design of policy remedies. In the CCD former sites of co-production are now sites of incongruous knowledge and policy. A comparison of past and present desertification initiatives illuminates these incompatibilities and points to ideas for fostering greater coherence in the CCD's expert advisory and implementation activities.