Land degradation neutrality in Small Island Developing States

SIDS report cover

The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with multiple partners, have published the Briefing note and Technical report Land Degradation Neutrality in Small Island Developing States.

The report presents the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) vision created by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and shows how SIDS are linking their sustainable land management agendas with areas relevant to achieving their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

More specifically, the report addresses two key policy areas:

  1. Fostering policy coherence by integrating national priorities and other commitments into the LDN targets: improving livelihoods and reducing poverty (SDG 1), food and water security (SDGs 2 and 6), and climate change mitigation and adaptation (SDG 13) 
  2. Preventing migration and conflict (SDG 16) and safeguarding life on land (SDG 15)

The key messages from the report:

  • Land degradation undermines the economic potential in SIDS because it exacerbates the environmental vulnerabilities unique to SIDS, such as climate change, flash floods, soil erosion, lagoon siltation, coastal erosion and sea level rise
  • LDN contributes to achieving multiple SDGs in SIDS, preserving biodiversity and increasing resilience to climate change
  • Using high-resolution data is an important step for SIDS
  • Building partnerships is key to ensuring big actions for small islands
  • Investment in land will be important for SIDS to drive transformational change, and synergies across all sectors are needed
  • SIDS are progressing towards translating LDN commitments into actions, with a focus on the sustainable management of forests, agriculture and land use planning

Land-use management and the urbanization process are very complex issues for SIDS due to their limited land resources. The adverse effects of climate change and land degradation now pose an existential threat to SIDS.

Thus, achieving Land Degradation Neutrality is a practical and effective means for SIDS to achieve multiple SDGs, including land-based adaptation and mitigation actions to address the challenges posed by climate change.

Under the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP) of the UNCCD, 24 SIDS have committed to establish LDN targets and associated measures. They will use the best available data on land degradation trends and baselines, adopt informed sustainable land management policies and practices, engage all relevant stakeholders, and identify concrete opportunities for implementing LDN Transformative Projects and Programmes on the ground.

LDN Target Setting Programme participant SIDS include Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mauritius, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago.

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