Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD
, welcomed participants to Land Day 6. He emphasized the more favorable context for the implementation of the two conventions on biological diversity and desertification since the last Land Day held at the CBD COP in Nagoya in 2010. He summarized three questions of interest for Land Day 6:
• How can we play a win-win game so that the Aichi Biodiversity Targets build our capacity to improve soil biodiversity and the pursuit of land-degradation neutrality accelerates biodiversity restoration and conservation?
• How do we measure the true economic value of land?
• What production models have greatest potential to bridge agriculture, food and land policies? Statement
Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza-Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
, underlined the links between the desertification and biodiversity conventions, highlighting in particular, Target 7, 14 and 15, respectively on: sustainably managing agriculture, aquaculture and forestry; restoring and safeguarding ecosystems providing essential services; and conserving and restoring ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks, including restoring at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems. He said by his calculation, each citizen alive today would have to plant more than one tree in order to restore total degraded land. Dr. de Souza-Dias said he joined the Convention secretariat with only one agenda in mind – implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, adding that synergy was a key to success. He said soil and vegetation are important components of land and promote land protection and restoration. He said CBD would be a strong partner in these efforts because soil biodiversity is one of the strongest components for ecosystem restoration, and expressed hope for the mobilization of activities towards ecosystem restoration.
On behalf of the Government of India, Mr. B.M.S. Rathore, Joint Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry,
said that while climate change is emerging as a key threat to global biodiversity, the ecosystems that are most vulnerable to the negative impacts are the arid and semi-arid areas. He said the value of drylands is hugely underestimated, and he stressed the importance of addressing biodiversity conservation, land degradation and poverty. Statement
Dr. Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director-General, International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN)
, said land restoration should be a key practical measure. IUCN members at their September Congress in Jeju, South Korea, agreed on a four-year programme that will focus on nature-based solutions that can bring economic change and food security, among other benefits. She said their analysis of Aichi Target 15 showed that the restoration of 150 million hectares of forestry and agro-forestry could generate annual returns of US $85 billion per year and gave concrete examples. The restoration of land in Tanzania showed that the drylands provide US $14 per person per month, more than the total monthly income in Tanzania. Residents of 450 villages have planted more than half a million mangroves, which has improved food security. In India’s Naku Valley, food security was boosted after planting trees on more than 650,000 ha of land. The IUCN, she said, has agreed to work on the goal of zero-net land degradation, noting that biodiversity is IUCN’s entry point for addressing land degradation. Underlining that where land is sustainably managed, biodiversity and livelihood benefits are demonstrated and abundant. She said “we must commit ourselves to achieving a land-degradation neutral world.”
Dr Vandana Shiva, Founder of Navdanya
, and keynote speaker at Land Day 6, said how we use the land is the single biggest factor that will shape the ecosystems of our fragile planet and the fate of seven billion humans. She observed that agriculture is the largest land-use world-wide, with industrial agriculture as the dominant paradigm. But agriculture contributes heavily to land degradation, biodiversity erosion, water depletion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for climate instability. She said these trends could be reversed and the Aichi targets achieved through biodiversity-intensive ecological agriculture. She emphasized the concept of agriculture that is driven by cycles, not linear thinking, and called for bringing trees back to the farm, stating that agriculture has been defined through the use of machinery. Biointensive ecological agriculture, Dr. Shiva said, conserves and rejuvenates plants, animals, pollinators and soil organisms. It provides ecological services that replace toxic and costly external inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides through soil fertility renewal and pest predator balance. She stressed that organically farmed soils are rich in living carbon – humus – and hold more water, thus contributing to drought and flood resilience. Biointensive ecological agriculture can also produce more food and nutrition per unit acre, which reduces hunger, and increases net incomes of farmers and thus contributes to poverty reduction. Biodiversity in agriculture is a win-win solution to multiple crises, she asserted. Dr. Shiva said the and that science and grassroots initiatives show these to be true. She called on the international community to adopt a biodiversity perspective to achieve the targets and commitments made.
PANEL SESSION 1: PLAYING A WIN-WIN GAME: WHAT IS THE IMPLICATION OF DRYLANDS LAND RESTORATION FOR MEETING THE AICHI BIODIVERSITY TARGETS?
Ms. Sakhile Kokhetso, CBD secretariat
,argued that sustainable land management can contribute to at least 50% or more to the achievement of the Aichi Targets. She said that to the extent you are encouraging the sustainable and integrated use of land resources, advocating participatory decision-making and recognizing traditional resource use and knowledge in land use, then there will be biodiversity conservation. Drawing on case studies, she showed that when you revert to traditional and culturally-accepted land uses and protected areas, habitat restoration is promoted and habitat loss reduced. As a result, an external force protecting biodiversity would not be required. Power Point Presentation
Mr. Jones Muleso Kharika, on behalf of the Deputy Director-General of the Biodiversity and Conservation Branch, Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa
, said South Africa approaches biodiversity conservation in a holistic manner, but drew attention to the challenges of implementation, given the two economies of the country rooted in its history. As a result, implementation is based on both the development and sustainable development agenda. He said that in South Africa, sustainable land management is viewed as the use of land resources for the production of goods to meet human needs and ensure the long-term environmental protection of the resources, promote human coexistence with nature, as well as the cultural and supporting services of the ecosystem. He presented South Africa’s Drylands Fund, which was established to support implementation of Article 20 of the UNCCD – Rehabilitating Drylands for Poverty Alleviation. He described the multi-stakeholder governed fund, which was capitalized by a R3.2 million by the government and an equal amount by the Development Bank of South Africa to fund projects to be implemented for five years. Power Point Presentation
Mr. Pablo Manzano, Global Coordinator of World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism, IUCN
spoke about ecosystem connectivity for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Targets in drylands. The importance of ecosystem connectivity has been proven by a number of studies and practices. Mobile production systems can protect migratory animals. The connectivity relies on adapted varieties of plants and animals and on the traditional knowledge and cultures of using them. In this regard, he addressed the large potential of drylands as carbon sinks if the drylands’ ecosystem connectivity through biodiversity is promoted. The ecosystem connectivity does not conflict with economic development, if ecosystem management is planned along with resource mobilization. To prove this point, he used an example of successful conservation project in Kenya. At the end of his presentation, Mr Manzano introduced a new publication titled Conserving Dryland Biodiversity
, pointing to the needs of a future vision for drylands which (1) adapts green economic growth to the drylands; (2) connects biodiversity management and landscape; (3) focuses on land health for secure food and water provision; and (4) considers resilience and risk management in uncertain environments. Power Point Presentation
PANEL SESSION 2: HOW DO WE MEASURE THE TRUE ECONOMIC VALUE OF LAND?
Mrs. Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Environment and Water, South Africa
, opened this panel session (link to statement). She highlighted the links between biodiversity conservation, climate change and desertification and underlined the importance of addressing land degradation for communities. Noting that the effects of climate change in South Africa are particularly being felt in the drier regions, she stressed the importance of resourcing the Convention as a tool to address poverty.
Mr. Mark Schauer, Economics of Land Degradation (ELD)
, presented the ELD project. He underlined its importance in providing data and language that could enable the Convention to mobilize sufficient resources. He said the study is also targeting business because they are a big contributor to land degradation and potential investors in sustainable land management. He said the initiative would engage with institutions and NGOs from all parts and segments. The challenge, he said, is to address the gaps in knowledge and awareness and between science and policy.
Mr. Simone Quatrini, Global Mechanism of the UNCCD
, presented the objective and aims of the ELD study, including the development of policy tools for policy-making and knowledge management. The approach, he said, will adopt the ecosystems services framework that was launched by the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He underlined the importance that the study places on using integrated modeling and scenario-building. He also described the processes that have been followed so far, including the governance and technical aspects as well as stakeholder participation. He said the study is built around four working groups each with a specific focus: country-level case studies; data analysis and methodology; economic valuation and options and policy outreach. Power Point Presentation
Mr. Jones Muleso Kharika, Director of Environment Affairs, South Africa
, highlighted (link to ppt presentation) various estimates that have been cited as the costs of rehabilitating degraded land. He argued that estimates should rather use the collective total value approach that looks at the three pillars of social, economic and environmental costs. He asked, rhetorically, what it is going to cost us to do something about land degradation and if we are willing to bear that cost? He said South Africa intends to identify what needs to be done and the gaps in order to define the policies to be put in place. He stressed the need to involve relevant partners and to locate the plans within local and national contexts.
During the discussion, participants asked about how far the ELD initiative would delve into the regulating and cultural services of ecosystems, which are generally not focused upon. They also emphasized building institutional strength by working with developing countries so as to harness indigenous knowledge, the importance of targeting young people, taking a bottom-up approach and involving institutionally-affiliated scientists in developing countries.
Panelists responded that the ELD initiative is designed as an economic toolbox for decision-makers, and thus it would not go far into the regulating and cultural aspects of valuation. The intention is to develop arguments to facilitate dialogue with finance and business communities, not to provide a monetary value with exact figures. They stressed the difference between the valuation of ecosystems and providing the real economic value of a service.
PANEL SESSION 3: BIODIVERSITY AS AN ENABLER OF SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: HOW CAN ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTION MODELS BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND LAND POLICIES?
Mr. Rami Abu Salman, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
, said feeding a global population of just over 9 billion people in 2050 would put even greater pressure on our planet’s scarce natural resources, and the hurdles would be multiplied by climate change. To meet these challenges, the world’s 500 million smallholder farms will need to play an even greater role. Mr. Salman said IFAD considers maintaining existing and increasing agricultural biodiversity as the one of the centerpieces of agricultural development. The neglect of biodiversity in agriculture can narrow the base of food security and lead to food supply crises, hunger and malnutrition. He underlined the need to empower smallholder farmers or businesses, especially women, to create wealth and move out of poverty. Then he presented IFAD’s Policy for guiding and mainstreaming environment and natural resource management issues across the development portfolio, with experiences from the field.
Mr. Mathew John, International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement (IFOAM)
, said that it is difficult to split the 2020 Aichi Targets when implementing them on the ground. He emphasized that communities are dealing with a whole host of challenging issues that should not be taken for granted. He underlined the importance of seed collection and seed banks and the need to ensure the rights of communities are not taken away.
Ms. Pernilla Malmer, Stockholm Resilience Center
,stressed the need for an integrated and holistic approach to land management. She said humanity is exceeding planetary boundaries that relates in particular to agriculture – expansion of crop land, freshwater use extraction of phosphorus, circulation of nitrogen (for fertilizers) and loss of biodiversity. She underlined the strong links between culture and biodiversity for securing productive and resilient agricultural landscapes, and called for production systems and policies where all land, whether under agricultural production or biodiversity protection, is managed so as to underpin and strengthen the capacity to deliver the broad range of indispensable ecosystem services needed for human wellbeing. Power Point Presentation
Dr. James Aronson, Researcher, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionelle et Evolution
,spoke about land restoration. In the context of the UNCCD, he argued that ecological restoration – the restoration of natural capital – is perhaps the premier conduit for synergy and overcoming the false dichotomies that beleaguer society. He said that ‘restoring natural capital thinking’ is the missing tool for achieving zero-net land degradation. Defining the now popular concept of restoration, he said, ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded, damaged or destroyed. One of the obstacles to be overcome is the false dichotomy of a conceptual view that policy makers have to confront an ‘either/or’ situation with regard to nature conservation and ecological restoration versus economic development. He emphasized that restoration is not costly, and argued that if restoration is to be assessed, then a full assessment of the benefits should also be integrated. He also underlined the need to distinguish between natural capital, such as biodiversity and ecosystem services, that are further encompassing. Power Point Presentation
During the discussion, presenters underscored the importance of ecosystem services,mainstreaming restoration instead of working in silos; connecting knowledge to science as a critical issue and the importance of history and place. The session ended with the screening of a film titled, Finding Balance: Our future, our forests
Mr. Sasha Alexandar, Moderator of Panel Session 1, presented the highlights from the first sessions, stating there was an emphasis that drylands restoration will be critical for biodiversity conservation. The session had emphasized the need:
• for community engagement and fostering long-term stewardship
• to give attention to the role of NGOs in financing
• for restoration of multi-functional landscapes, including in protected areas which have the greatest chances of success; and
• restoration as a pre-requisite for sustainable use.
Mr. Johannes Forster
, Moderator, Panel Session 2, presented some of the highlights from the panelists, including an:
• emphasis of the wealth of knowledge of communities;
• overview of the ELD structure, its focus and efforts to bridge science to policy by reaching out to decision-makers, business and other stakeholders;
• showing that gaps in knowledge exist, particularly, what is being lost in terms of economic value, and that the next step is to create a plan to address the gaps.
Ms. Jan MacAlpine
, Moderator of Session 3, in her closing stressed that seeds that can germinate and grow by themselves, if we have the soil in the right places.
In his brief concluding remarks, Mr. Gnacadja emphasized the tremendous potential for restoration, and that finance is about getting investment right in budgets, instead of asking for more resources. He noted that the map on land restoration considered at Land Day 6 does not include all areas with the potential for restoration – the drylands are missing. Omitting these areas, he said, means resources do not get there, and urged stakeholders to assess the lenses we are using on restoration. He concluded by thanking all those who made Land Day 6 such a success, and called the meeting to a close.