How to halt the global decline of lands: scientists define main problems and solutions

IPBES graphic
UNCCD News

Bonn, Germany – The diminishing capacity of land to support ever-increasing demands of growing human populations is among today's main challenges. The Assessment of land degradation and restoration by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has shown that land degradation across the globe is wide and severe, with no signs of slowing down. In their new publication, the lead authors of the assessment present the main policy barriers to impactful action and propose a strategy to halt the loss of productive land.

The paper emphasizes that land degradation is closely interlinked with climate change and biodiversity loss, while scientific proof exists that loss of productive land is avoidable. The publication identifies policy-makers, scientists and citizens as key groups best positioned to take on the challenge of preventing the loss of land resources and proposes a strategy with ten solutions to tackle the problem at the root, such as measuring and tracing costs and benefits of land use, setting legally-binding policy targets and using the full potential of legal institutions.

Moreover, the areas of action listed in the paper are relevant for all consumers who are willing to reevaluate what it means to live well. Acknowledging that the benefits generated by land are a global good and reducing pressure on natural resources through responsible living is a much-needed attitude shift. This urgent need to establish a more sustainable relationship between consumers and the land is also reflected in this year's theme of UNCCD Desertification and Drought Day: "Food. Feed. Fibre — Responsible production and consumption.” 

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