“Land-Solar Plus” : New promising approach to unlock land opportunities

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The two-day stakeholders' virtual meeting on “Land-Solar Plus” : Integrated solution combining solar-powered Land Degradation Neutrality for food, water and energy security, and ecosystem services organized by UNCCD Secretariat took place on 16 - 17 September 2020 in collaboration with Tsinghua University, China. The UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Dr. Pradeep Monga delivered the keynote speech on the potential of solar energy for empowering land and people. Experts, specialists and policy makers from universities, research institutes, international organizations, funding agencies, government offices and the private sector, including FAO, IUCN, IEA, UNIDO, ADB, AfDB, LDN Fund, ISA and WOCAT, gathered to explore synergies and challenges in promoting integrated solutions that use solar energy to achieve sustainable development and climate goals. 

Three thematic sessions that convened during the meeting were focused on:

  • Land-Solar Plus model for food, water, energy and ecosystem services
  • Empowering land-solar value chain for green jobs and rural-urban development 
  • Challenges and opportunities for scaling up Land-Solar Plus model

Participants exchanged  insights and shared examples of innovative practices worldwide that combine sustainable land management and solar energy systems to enable better water management, improve agricultural productivity and provide access to sustainable energy sources. 

Speakers and panelists discussed potential multiple benefits of Land-Solar Plus approach for the environment and local communities and emphasized that the opportunity to capitalize on the nexus between land and food-water-energy security and ecosystem services depends on establishing funding policies as well as capability building and technology transfer mechanisms. Participants agreed that to ensure successful implementation of Land-Solar Plus projects, the energy development should be incorporated into integrated land use planning to enhance public-private partnerships, enable job creation, aid poverty alleviation and ensure environmental protection.

Participants expressed their strong interest in scaling up the Land-Solar Plus model, with UNCCD as the platform to mobilize stakeholders for the implementation of this approach that can help achieve land, food, water and energy-related Sustainable Developement Goals for a better and more inclusive future.  

land solar plus virtual meet