Many successful methods for halting land degradation and restoring land engage millions of people at the community level. In this side event, you will learn how this can be done from the winners of the 2013 Land for Life Award. The winning organizations will share their stories of how they empower smallholder farmers to change practices, and promote community governance of common lands that catalyze policy change. The organizers will also discuss what makes a winning application successful. The speakers will include 1) Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD executive secretary with opening remarks; 2) Jagdeesh Rao, executive director of the Foundation for Ecological Security in India, which has mobilized communities to protect and restore over 200,000 ha of common property rangelands, forests and water resources in India; 3) Tony Rinaudo from WorldVision Australia, who has dedicated his life to popularizing the concept of Farmer Managed Natural Resource generation, training thousands of farmers in 14 countries (most notably Niger) on how to cultivate underground root systems and restore productivity, and; 4) A representative from Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible, an organization in Mexico that has helped over 1,500 smallholder farmer families to carry out sustainable agriculture and forestry management, and is currently piloting the first REDD+ and payment for ecosystem services programs in Mexico. The speakers will discuss how their methods can contribute to creating a land-degradation neutral world, how they have influenced policy, and how their techniques can be shared across borders.