Land in 2050: the challenges ahead


Bonn, Germany – How will the use and condition of land change worldwide over the next few decades? What drives those changes, and what will be the effects on agriculture, water, climate and biodiversity? How will they influence the challenge to achieve global sustainability ambitions? Which regions will see the largest challenges when it comes to land degradation and increased competition over land? And where will restoration and better management of land and soil yield the most benefits?

These are some of the questions that Stefan van der Esch, senior policy researcher with the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, tried to answer when presenting the Global Land Outlook’s scenario report at UNCCD headquarters on June 27. 2018. 

The report provides quantitative estimates that answer these questions, providing the backdrop to the UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework along with land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets. It explores the changes to land over future decades by analyzing different scenarios that match those applied in the IPCC, connecting land and climate. For the first time in global assessments, past and future changes to the quality of land and soil were added to the scenario analysis. The results also feature in the recent IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment.

Emphasizing policy relevance as the prime concern of the presented study, Mr. van der Esch said that while forecasted challenges are expected to take place in the next few decades, policy makers still have time to respond to them effectively, provided that the quality of political and administrative decision-making is ensured by a sound and robust scientific basis.

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