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Innovative finance imperative to unlock the social, economic, environmental, and risk-reduction benefits of drought preparedness Bonn/Stockholm, 22 August 2023 – Preparing for droughts, instead of waiting until they strike, saves lives and livelihoods. Building drought resilience comes with an array of social and environmental co-benefits, and the economic returns are between 2 and 10 times bigger than the initial investment, according to new analysis by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The policy brief ‘Investing in resilience: Innovative finance for drought preparedness’, demonstrates that enhancing resilience is one of the most cost-effective actions countries can take, and is typically far less expensive than interventions focused on responding to the impacts of droughts. But innovative financing mechanisms such as insurance schemes, risk pools, and government issued bonds are essential to fund the necessary long-term investments. The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, H.E. Teresa Ribera, said: “As we know too well in Mediterranean countries, drought can devastate vital economic sectors such as agriculture and tourism. Our planet reached the hottest month on record in July: a reminder that investing in early warning systems and better land and water management is not a choice, but an existential imperative.” The Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry of Kenya, H.E Soipan Tuya, noted: “With the Africa Climate Summit just days away, the need to invest in drought resilience becomes both urgent and clearer. By building our preparedness to drought, we also pave the way for a resilient tomorrow that echoes our commitment to combat climate challenges and chart a course toward prosperity for Africa and the world.” Mobilizing investments in drought resilience is a key pillar of the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), a growing coalition of more than 30 countries and 20 institutions driving drought resilience in the face of climate change that is hosted by UNCCD. Benefits beyond mitigating risk Investing in drought resilience comes with a triple dividend: it helps avoid future losses; reduces risk, boosting productivity and innovation; and can improve human health, rural livelihoods, soil and water quality and climate change adaptation, among other benefits. For example, improving early warning systems and weather forecasts could save 23,000 lives and up to USD2 billion in developing countries every year. According to the brief, sound economic evidence is essential for decision- and policy-making. An investment of USD 1.8 trillion in resilience and adaptation, focused on five priority areas from 2020 to 2030, could generate USD 7.1 trillion in total net benefits. Also, for every USD 1 spent in building resilience there could be up to USD 3 in benefits from reduced need for humanitarian aid and avoided losses. Innovative finance solutions Despite all multiple benefits, the costs of drought to societies and economies are often underestimated and investments in drought resilience are insufficient. Over the past decade, for instance, the official development assistance linked to disasters reached USD 141 billion, but only 5 per cent was allocated to preparedness. The public sector will continue to be a major source of finance for drought resilience, meaning that governments must both make a more effective use of existing resources and increase available funding through innovative finance options. The policy brief encourages governments to incorporate drought preparedness into existing financing plans, and to leverage a mix of financial strategies such as national disaster funds, credit lines, social protection programmes and weather-indexed insurances. Policies, regulations and environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards can make it easier for private actors to invest in adaptation and resilience while staying competitive, and blended finance arrangements can draw on public resources to de-risk private investment. UNCCD’s Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “Droughts are one of the world’s costliest and deadliest natural hazards, and they are hitting harder and faster because of climate change. Decision-makers must urgently leverage innovative financing mechanisms to boost resilience and deliver new economic opportunities for their countries, communities and companies.” Notes to editors Access the policy brief and its recommendations for governments, development partners, financial institutions and businesses here. For media related inquires please contact the UNCCD Press Office: email@example.com About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner. About IDRA IDRA is the first global coalition creating political momentum and mobilizing financial and technical resources for a drought-resilient future. As a growing platform of more than 30 countries and 20 institutions, IDRA draws on the collective strengths of its members to advance policies, actions, and capacity-building for drought preparedness, acknowledging we are only as resilient to drought and climate change as our land is. The work of IDRA is aligned with, and supportive of, the mandate of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which hosts the IDRA Secretariat.
About UNCCD Land Heroes The UNCCD Land Heroes campaign recognizes and supports young individuals and youth-led/based organizations making positive impacts against desertification, land degradation, and drought. Through online engagement, we raise awareness, share success stories, and empower youth as change agents in sustainable land management, engaging them in implementing the convention. Building on the success of the inaugural 2020 cohort, the second cohort of Land Heroes continues to inspire and mobilize youth to promote the UNCCD's objectives. About the Land Heroes campaign Part of the Land for Life Programme, #LandHeroes showcases youth's dedication to sustainable land management. These organizations and individuals share transformative journeys through social media, videos, blogs, and our dedicated website, amplifying their contributions and recognizing both young men and women as critical forces for positive change. Join us in celebrating these remarkable land champions. Objective The Land Heroes campaign aims to identify, celebrate, and support youth aged 18-35 engaged in sustainable land management, raising awareness of land's link to biodiversity and climate. By sharing stories, we inspire change, unite youth, provide mentorship, and showcase the transformative power of collective efforts. Campaign goals Raise awareness of land's connection to biodiversity and climate Spotlight diverse ways youth positively impact the land Share inspiring stories showcasing collective progress Empower youth to spread campaign messages and take action Provide mentorship in sustainable land management Share success stories to foster understanding and awareness Categories of Land Heroes Drought resilience: Early warning systems: Implementing proactive measures to anticipate and respond to drought conditions effectively. Mitigating the effects of drought: Innovative strategies for drought impact mitigation and ensure water availability. Adopting scalable and inclusive approaches: Promoting strategies that can be expanded to larger scales and inclusive of vulnerable populations to enhance drought resilience. Land restoration: Large-scale land restoration: Leadership in restoring degraded land on a large scale, contributing to ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation. Community-level land restoration: Impactful initiatives restoring degraded land at the community level, enhancing livelihoods and resilience. Inclusivity and equality: Gender equality and women's empowerment: Initiatives promoting gender equality in land ownership, decision-making, and conservation efforts Social equity: Initiatives promoting poverty eradication, social cohesion, etc. Indigenous knowledge: Amplifying indigenous knowledge and practices, recognizing their vital role in sustainable land management Science and innovation: Innovation: Innovative approaches in sustainable land management Technology: Harnessing technology for land monitoring, data analysis, and knowledge-sharing on sustainable practices Science and Research: Contributions to scientific research and evidence-based decision-making in land management Key features of Land Heroes Youth engagement (18-35) in addressing land challenges Role models inspiring peers through dedication Inspirational leadership mobilizing youth for collective responsibility Passionate and dedicated to combating desertification and degradation Vision for change: Clear understanding and innovative strategies Collaboration with stakeholders for effective partnerships Strong communication: Effective online presence to inspire action Benefits for Land Heroes Grant of US$1,000 for top finalists in each category Attendance at high-level UNCCD meetings Publicity and recognition through interviews, media, and social platforms Mentorship for leadership, communication, and project management Opportunities to support UNCCD through advocacy, workshops, and content creation Participation in challenges and innovation forums Coordination with other Land Heroes for workshops and collaborative projects Identification of Land Heroes Ten Land Heroes are selected over two years based on criteria aligned with categories. Timeline 15 August 2023: Launch call for submissions 15 October 2023: Submission deadline November 2023: Jury evaluation December 2023: Winner's announcement June 2024: Desertification and Drought Day December 2024: Participation at COP16 Apply now! Submission form Meet the current cohort: Land Heroes Follow Us on social media: Twitter X | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (UNDER) gains momentum, UNCCD and WOCAT are partnering up on a video series that highlight the central role of sustainable land management (SLM) in restoring and maintaining the health of ecosystems. SLM has a central role in each of the eight UNDER ecosystems – farmlands, grasslands, forests, mountains, freshwaters, urban areas, peatlands, oceans and coasts – by combating land degradation, improving production and securing livelihoods while simultaneously generating multiple environmental co-benefits. While people have directly contributed to ecosystem degradation, they can also be the primary agents of change toward a sustainable land management restoration when armed with knowledge to adopt and upscale SLM. The new video series presents successful practices for each ecosystem, demonstrating how SLM can deliver powerful solutions to ecosystem degradation.
24 July 2023 – HEALV3RSE,a groundbreaking new game promoting real-world action for the planet, launches today on Metaverse. HEALV3RSE, which brings together the worlds of gaming and sustainability, invites players to become the heroes our planet desperately needs. It takes players on an epic journey through captivating realms, each representing a vital element of our planet's wellbeing. From the fiery depths of the Fire Kingdom to the enchanting expanses of the Oceanic Realm, players will face challenges, solve puzzles, and embark on missions to heal the planet. As the players advance through the game, they discover facts about drylands and the challenges of desertification, making educated choices to restore these unique and vulnerable ecosystems by planting trees. What sets HEALV3RSE apart is the unique integration of player avatars actually performing healing actions within the game, such as planting trees, conducting ocean cleanups, or installing solar panels. This interactive feature, which the creators call ‘Play to Heal’, brings a sense of empowerment to the gameplay experience. The Game, which launches with an accompanying digital Avatar collection, was created by Code Green in support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). It was developed in partnership with The Sandbox and , designed in collaboration with Interactive Studio. "HEALV3RSE's innovative approach is a game-changer. By merging gaming with sustainability, it amplifies the urgency of combating land loss and inspires action. This aligns with UNCCD's goals and proves that everyone can contribute to the health of our planet in their own unique ways," - said Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary. "We are thrilled to present HEALV3RSE to the world," said Inna Modja, Code Green’s CEO and UNCCD Goodwill Ambassador. "Our goal is to inspire players to take action and make a positive impact on the planet. Through immersive gameplay and the captivating artworks, we aim to ignite a global movement of healers who understand the urgency of healing our Earth." The Sandbox said: ‘’The Sandbox is proud to announce its partnership with Code Green, a Web3 non-profit foundation supporting social, climate, and gender justice causes. Code Green’s origins go back to the worldʼs largest land restoration movement — Africa's Great Green Wall. ‘’ A portion of the proceeds from the digital avatar collection will be used to deliver free inspiration sessions with experts, activists and artists for anyone who wants to learn more about desertification, climate action and web3 technology. Those who support the new HEALV3RSE by purchasing special avatars will be also generating funds for one of the projects along the Great Green Wall — a game-changing African-led initiative to restore the continent’s degraded landscapes and transform millions of lives in the Sahel. HEALV3RSE is available to access via The Sandbox metaverse. Trailer for HEALV3RSE in The Sandbox For more information firstname.lastname@example.org About the UN Convention to Combat Desertification The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner. Goodwill Ambassadors inspire the public and decision-makers to take practical actions and drive policies to achieve the Convention’s mission to promote sustainable land stewardship. They also help advance efforts to reduce poverty and promote gender equality, especially among climate-vulnerable, land-dependent populations About Code Green Code Green is a mission-driven web3 organization, harnessing the power of art and blockchain technology to spark a healing revolution for the planet. Inna Modja, CEO of Code Green, is a Malian actress, singer and environmental activist, and Goodwill Ambassador for the UNCCD. www.codegreen.earth @codegreen_nft About The Sandbox The Sandbox is a leading decentralized gaming platform where players can create, own, and monetize virtual worlds and gaming experiences. About Interactive Studio Interactive Studio offers comprehensive support to help brands establish themselves in the ever-changing world of Web3 and gaming.
The frequency of sand and dust storms (SDS) is on the rise in various regions across the globe. This rise is attributed to factors such as human-driven climate change, desertification, land degradation, and persistent droughts. These storms occur when strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from dry, arid soils into the atmosphere. They often carry these particles long distances, sometimes hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. The effects of these storms are widespread and often devastating. The World Health Organization estimates that 7 million people die from poor air quality every year, which is at least partly attributed to dust. Sand and dust storms pose numerous threats to human health, disrupt livelihoods, and wreak havoc on the environment. Managing these impacts is a major challenge, as human activity, and desertification in one region can trigger sand and dust storms that cause significant damage in remote regions. Recognizing the urgent need for international cooperation to address SDS, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/77/294) on 8 June 2023, designating 12 July as the International Day to Combat Sand and Dust Storms. This day is intended to raise awareness of the link between health and sustainability in the context of SDS. To mark the first observance of the International Day to Combat SDS, several events were organized around the world. The “Commemoration of the International Day of Combating Sand and Dust Storms” event, co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Senegal at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, featured various speakers from organizations collaborating in the UN SDS Coalition. At the same time, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) hosted a series of regional webinars bringing together stakeholders from different regions. In line with the observation of the day, the UNCCD launched the new SDS Toolbox, a result of its collaboration with SDS Coalition partners. The toolbox provides a comprehensive set of tools, strategies, and guidelines for understanding and mitigating the impact of SDS. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, extended a warm welcome to this initiative, stating, "We welcome the focus and efforts to raise awareness of this serious phenomenon. It shows how desertification and drought can have far-reaching effects beyond national borders and underlines the crucial role of cooperation in addressing these issues. We anticipate that the newly launched SDS Toolbox will foster much-needed collaboration by providing tools and guidance to our stakeholders." During the commemoration of the International Day to Combat SDS in New York, representatives of the SDS Coalition discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the Coalition and various national and regional initiatives. They emphasized that regional cooperation is essential to address the transboundary nature of sand and dust storms and their impacts, and that regional action can complement national efforts to achieve sustainable development goals. See also: General Assembly Proclaims 12 July International Day of Combating Sand and Dust Storms, Aiming to Raise Awareness about Importance for Health, Sustainability SDS toolbox