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Business4Land: Mobilizing private sector to reverse land degradation 

The conversion of land for agriculture to meet the demands for food, feed, fibre and bioenergy production is the leading driver of land-use change, with up to 40% of the world’s land already degraded. The global economy is projected to lose USD 23 trillion by 2050 to land degradation, desertification and drought.   Transforming our production and consumption patterns has enormous potential to reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss, as well as mitigate climate change. The economic benefits of land restoration are huge: half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature, and every dollar invested in restoration generates up to USD 30 in benefits.   Despite its importance to economic activity, Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on Land is one of the least financed SDGs. The private sector can play a critical role in achieving the goal to restore 1.5 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030. It can facilitate investments and technology for sustainable production as catalysts for a transition to sustainable land use and promote the expansion of value chains for sustainable consumption for healthy lands and people.   UNCCD made its mark at the Change Now Conference held from 25 to 27 March at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris by bringing together innovators and investors from the private sector to find solutions that have the power to reverse and halt current land degradation trends.  The Business4Land strategy, presented by UNCCD during the World Economic Forum 2024 in Davos, seeks to mobilize the power of the private sector to advance Land Degradation Neutrality by enabling transition from our current extractive and extensive land-use models towards sustainable land management.  At the Paris meeting, UNCCD launched discussions on innovative financing models, highlighting the role of private sector investments in land restoration projects and productivity enhancement business models. Highlighting the potential for carbon sequestration and natural-based solutions, the Convention showcased the economic viability of sustainable land-based projects to encourage entrepreneurs to seize untapped opportunities.   Inspired by the spirit of Gustave Eiffel who made possible what seemed impossible in his time, UNCCD invites the private sector to join the Business4Land initiative as a vehicle to leave a healthy legacy to future generations on our planet. —UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Andrea Meza During the Pioneers Dinner at the Eiffel Tower The Business4Land initiative unites private sector leaders to improve business practices, contribute to sustainable financing tools, explore leveraging mobile new technologies and best practices to support further land restoration investments. Companies are invited to join the Business4Land initiative and define voluntary actions and announce them at UNCCD COP16 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2024.   To join the Business4Land initiative, visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B4L For more information, please contact: b4l@unccd,int 

Business4Land: Mobilizing private sector to reverse land degradation 
Shea transformation: Sowing the seeds of sustainability in the Sahel 

In the Houet Province of central Burkina Faso, 43-year-old Sanou Fatimata is a key figure in the Song Taab Yalgre Association, a shea cooperative bringing together some 500 women. With more than three decades of experience in the shea industry, Fatimata seamlessly blends traditional methods with modern, eco-friendly practices, enhancing her community's cultural heritage and future sustainability. Fatimata's group is a member of the Global Shea Alliance, an industry association established in 2011.  As part of its efforts towards sustainability, the GSA supports women’s cooperatives to build their income generating capacity and more importantly their resilience.  For women’s cooperatives like Song Taab Yalgre, the shea tree, known as ‘shi yiri’ meaning 'life' in the Dioula language, serves as a cornerstone in enhancing livelihoods. Co-op members harvest shea fruit Its kernels, which are processed into shea butter used in cooking, medicine and cosmetics, are an important source of income in the wider Sahel region. Traditionally, women like Fatimata process shea kernels by hand. This involves gathering the kernels from shea parklands, transporting them back home to boil and dry and then manually crush and mill them. The kernels are then hand-kneaded to extract the oil, which in turn is heated and boiled to produce the final product, shea butter. Much of the shea butter is consumed at home but can also be sold locally or internationally, bringing income into the household. Many women also choose to sell the boiled and dried kernels directly to buyers, most of which end up in food or cosmetic products around the world. This is also another great income-generating activity especially if women are working together as a cooperative, where they can sell quantity at a negotiated price. Traditional methods blend with eco-friendly practices for sustainable production In recent years, there has been a significant decline in the number of shea trees, with approximately 8 million shea trees lost each year. This decline is attributed to various factors, including tree cutting for mechanized agriculture and fuelwood, as well as limited replanting due to cultural factors and the lengthy growth period of shea trees. This decrease in the shea tree population impacts rural economic development and women's empowerment. The availability of shea is at risk to respond to growing demand. Shea communities are at the same time disproportionately impacted by climate change, with extreme temperatures and climate events changing the landscape and impacting agricultural yields. Providing comprehensive training in sustainable shea tree management with an enhanced emphasis on conservation can ensure the long-term availability of shea resources, benefiting not only current collectors but generations to come.  Fatimata's group is a member of the Global Shea Alliance In early 2024, the GSA launched the "Reversing Land Degradation in Shea Communities” project in Mali and Burkina Faso, funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation through the UNCCD. The project focuses on land restoration and livelihood enhancement through regenerative shea agroforestry to increase shea-related incomes. The project aims to improve the income and nutrition of 2,500 women shea collectors and restore 150 ha of farmland and community land through agroforestry practices and shea tree planting. The women also plan to diversify their activities beyond production of shea butter to include crops such as moringa, baobab and fonio. To help with these activities, the project will provide access to water, through boreholes installation, and tricycles will be provided for greater efficiency. “The project activities will have a great impact on the community. The borehole will benefit both the cooperative and the community and will allow us to grow crops during the off-season. The vegetable and fonio harvests will be partly for consumption and partly for the local market, which will increase our financial income. We'll also be able to sell the baobab and moringa when they are ripe. I'm looking forward to the implementation of the activities and I'm committed to the success of the project," says Somda Leocadie, a member of one of the women's cooperatives in Burkina Faso. Despite challenges such as increasingly harsh weather conditions and market fluctuations, the cooperatives, including Fatimata's association, show remarkable resilience, strengthened by ongoing training in sustainable agriculture and financial management. Together, they envision their communities as models of sustainable growth and a brighter future for the Sahel. Photos: ULPKS – YIRIWASSO Cooperative.    

Shea transformation: Sowing the seeds of sustainability in the Sahel 
19th Meeting of the Science-Policy Interface (SPI)

The 25 members of the UNCCD’s Science-Policy Interface (SPI) have assembled at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany for a critical scientific meeting in the run up to the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from the 2nd to the 13th of December 2024. The SPI is a unique combination of independent scientists from all corners of the globe, science delegates to the Convention representing the five regions of the world, and five practitioners from implementing agencies and civil society. Over the past year half of the SPI members have been assembling the evidence base for a much more systemic approach to land use, so that our impacts can be more strategic and, ideally, much greater than the sum of the parts. The other half have been conducting a comprehensive analysis of aridity trends, projections and anticipated impacts, which under the Convention translates into land and people affected by the combined effects of land degradation and water scarcity. Both assessments have led to draft technical reports which will undergo independent scientific review following the meeting so that they can be finalized and published in the autumn.  The SPI is dedicated to building a bridge between science and policy. They are a global community of experts, united by a passion for understanding and safeguarding all life on land.

19th Meeting of the Science-Policy Interface (SPI)