Rio+20 Outcome Yields New Milestone for Global Land Stewardship
The Rio+20 outcome on desertification, land degradation and drought is considered as one of the successes of the Conference. Contained in five short paragraphs (205-209
) of the Outcome Document
, the world governments underline the economic and social significance of good land management, including soil.
In the outcome document, world leaders agree:
- to strive for a land-degradation neutral world
- to reaffirm their resolve under the UNCCD to take coordinated action nationally, regionally and internationally
- to monitor, globally, land degradation and restore degraded lands in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas.
At present, every year, 12 million hectares of land become unproductive through desertification and drought alone. This is an area half the size of the United Kingdom. In the same period, 75 billion tons of soil are lost forever. Globally, 1.5 billion people are directly affected by land degradation.
Land degradation comes with a huge opportunity cost for society. The 12 million hectares lost annually have the potential to produce 20 million tons of grain - food that would minimize growing food insecurity and alleviate hunger.
World leaders have responded positively in response to the Rio outcome:
“I want to follow up Rio with firm action so that the momentum for protecting the earth's land and soils becomes unstoppable and a key element of the world's environmental agenda.”
-- Mr Janez Potočnik, EU Environment Commissioner
"I am pleased to acknowledge that in the context of sustainable development, a new concept calling for a paradigm shift to build a land degradation neutral world was born here.”
--Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD
“I believe that it clears the way for a forward-looking, science-based approach to championing vigorous action throughout the world to regenerate land and soils, and to developing and implementing a sound assessment system for tracking progress.”
--Dr. Dennis Garrity, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador and
Distinguished Board Research Fellow, World Agroforestry