Bonn, Germany, 20 December 2011 - The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has recently announced the Land for Life Award, with a fund of up to 100,000 USD, to recognize excellence in sustainable land management, particularly efforts that promote the natural health and productivity of the earth's soils. The deadline for applications is 29 February 2012.
The award will go to outstanding initiatives which reduce land degradation through sustainable land management, or are outstanding examples of political leadership, policy, business, advocacy campaigns or scientific research.
With the launch of the award, the UNCCD secretariat and partners aim to raise awareness about the benefits of soil preservation, and that restoring degraded land is a key solution to some of the pressing problems of our time, such as hunger and global climate change.
"Globally, two billion hectares of degraded forest and agricultural land offers opportunity for restoration and investment, and that does not include the potential in some dry areas such as the Sahel," said Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, when launching the award.
"Turning this degraded land into productive land will require action from people at all levels, from business and policy makers, to community groups and farmers. By rewarding success stories and best practices through the Land for Life Award, we aim to celebrate and bring visibility to these unsung 21st Century heroes, to contribute towards the scaling up of their work and hopefully generate interest among others to support their initiatives. We also want to cultivate a culture of learning new and innovative ways to restore degraded land. Only then can we hope to achieve a land degradation neutral world."
A jury of ten prominent leaders from the field of sustainable land management will select the award winners and determine the prize money allocation.
Representing civil society, the jury includes: Dr. Vandana Shiva, a renowned seed sovereignty activist and founder Nevdanya International in India; Professor Mick Dodson, a prominent indigenous land rights advocate and the 2009 Australian of the Year; and Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International and former Minister of the Environment in Ecuador.
From the field of academia and science, the jury includes: Dr. Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Sustainable Development in the UK; Dr. Mary Seely, Founder, Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, and Dr. Dennis Garrity, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador and former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya. Dr. Joachim von Braun, Director of the Center for Development Research in Germany, and Dr. Naomi Kipuri, a Masaai anthropologist and Executive Director of the Arid Lands Institute in Kenya, will also serve on the jury.
From the inter-governmental side, the jury will include the Minister of the Korea Forest Service, Dr. Don Koo Lee, who is also currently the president of the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the UNCCD, and Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.
The winners will be announced on the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June 2012, and honoured at the 11th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention.
The 2012 Land for Life award is a collaboration between the UNCCD and the Korea Forest Service, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Global Environment Facility, International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Qatar National Food Security Programme, the Business Forum in Korea and the Elion Resources Group, China.
For more information and to download an application form, see: www.unccd.int/land4life/menu.php
The information and application form is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
About the UNCCD
Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention's 194 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.
For more information, please visit: www.unccd.int/land4life/menu.php
Emily Davila, L4L@unccd.int
+49 (0) 228 815 2831