In her opening remarks, Dr. Yukie Hori of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) said the Land Day is designed as a one-day initiative around multilateral environmental meetings. She highlighted the four main aims of the session:
- To examine the climate change adaptation and mitigation scenarios that can be implemented at the national level and where climate financing is required.
- To demonstrate how long-term food security can be achieved by adapting to climate change and to sustainable land management.
- To address how the Long-term Cooperative Action can be realized through a concrete implementation as set forth in the National Action Programmes (NAPs) and the National Action Plans of Action (NAPAs), respectively of the Desertification and Climate Change Conventions, through partnerships at global and national levels.
- To involve the business and other stakeholders in the exchange over green growth and the green economy.
Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification,
in his welcome address, said the Land Days have lived up to their expectation as truly stimulating opportunities to explore sensitive and knotty policy issues relating to climate change and desertification. The outcome of a land day demonstrates the value of the issues at hand and collaboration here ensures the continuity of this event. Mr. Gnacadja said that synergies between the Conventions on Biological Diversity and on Desertification have increased on different fronts.
He highlighted the manifestations of the importance of Land Day, adding that Land Day doesn’t just give an opportunity to engage in policy matters but also identifies practical solutions to guide policy learning. He underscored that “it only takes a small group to change the world.”
Land Day 4, he added, should be seen as an opportunity to sustain and turn the UNCCD’s vision into a reality. New agreements, such as the Cancun Agreements, must enable those at the frontline of desertification to access to such mechanisms. He also stressed the need for adaptation approaches to emerge from “the ground up,” posing a question on how those affected are positioned to take advantage of such mechanisms to address the land issues. Mr. Gnacadja acknowledged the intellectually engaging nature of these challenges and said that such challenges also exist in the current climate change debate.
Mr. Daniele Violetti, Chief of Staff of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on behalf of Ms. Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary,
said mitigation and adaptation go hand-in-hand in both agriculture and forestry. There is no doubt, he said, that synergies between agriculture, adaptation, sustainable development, food security and poverty alleviation could be maximized with integrated strategies at the national level.
Mr. Violetti said that there was still a big question mark on how real action could be boosted at the national level, and that parties were realizing the importance of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD Plus) in the context of the UNFCCC. He added that the parties involved were also realizing the benefits of well-designed national strategies for REDD Plus.
While developing their REDD Plus national strategies, Mr. Violetti said, parties were more closely seeking for careful planning and coordination between relevant Ministries, in line with their national development priorities. This, he said, would prove to be extremely beneficial not only in maximizing their contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation, but also in providing good grounds for effectively combating desertification and promoting sustainable land use through enhanced cooperation, both at the national and international levels.
Speaking on the collaboration, Mr. Violetti said that UNCCD and UNFCCC were addressing these areas of common concern to facilitate increased action by both countries and organisations. He specified that the UNCCD and the UNFCCC secretariats collaborate through information sharing and outreach to governments, international organisations and civil society.
Mr. Violetti applauded the ongoing and the planned initiatives under REDD Plus but noted that funding was required beyond REDD Plus in order to seize all the opportunities provided by Cancun. He called for private sector involvement, without which, he said, meeting the financing challenge and implementing climate change solutions would be impossible.
Sooner or later, all the businesses would have to climate-proof their operations from supply-chain to the point of sale, from the place of production to the place of investment, he said.
Mr. Violetti also stressed the need to find innovative ways for public and private finance complementarity to the greatest benefit for all. He acknowledged that it was becoming increasingly clear that actions addressing land management, agriculture and forestry, including through reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, will be essential parts of developing countries’ mitigation actions.