Achieving water security through LDN targets that fight land degradation

water security report cover

Land Degradation Neutrality for Water Security and Combatting Drought is a new briefing note released by the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Wageningen University and Research (WUR) on the occasion of the World Water Day 2020. The publication shows that avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation have positive long-term gains in water security.

Countries all over the world are setting voluntary targets to help them maintain a balance between land, as a natural capital, and its use, which often leads to its degradation. To date, 123 countries have committed to achieve these targets, known as the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets, by 2030.

LDN targets offer a new way of managing land that is also helping countries to achieve many goals at once. They can manage both land and water resources sustainably at the landscape level. Countries can address water insecurity and drought. LDN targets also open opportunities for synergy on the policy and operational levels in the context of land and water use and management.

However, the focus of the briefing note is the examination of countries with targets that address both soil and water conservation. Water is the most disruptive element in the ongoing climate change crisis, and the way is which the land is managed plays a major role in taming this disruption.

The analysis shows that achieving LDN offers much more than the immediate local returns. It makes major contributions to other international environmental and development objectives. Key among these are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Biological Diversity, Climate Change and Ramsar conventions and the targets in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The findings presented in the briefing note are based on the analysis of 94 reports. Of these, 77 are national reports from countries participating in the UNCCD led LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP), and the rest are reports from countries that also participated in the UNCCD Drought Initiative.

The study assessed the water-related targets and measures adopted by countries to achieve LDN by 2030, in line with the SDG Agenda, more specifically SDG 6, whose purpose is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” 48 of the 77 analysed countries (62 per cent) have also connected their contribution to the UNFCCC (through their Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) with their LDN and water security targets.

For more information on the specific recommendations of this study, please refer to the briefing note now available for download from the UNCCD library.