Launch of “The State of the world's land and water resources for food and agriculture 2021: Systems at breaking point (SOLAW 2021)”

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Remarks by UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw

Dear colleagues and friends

  • I am honoured to participate in the launch of this year’s State of the World's Land and Water Resources, and I thank our friends and partners at FAO for their kind invitation and for our continued collaboration.
  • The document we have in front of us today is a timely contribution to the sustainable development agenda and bolsters the evidence base needed to drive regenerative solutions that our societies urgently – and rightly - demand.
  • Observing the confluence of crises – from drought, wildfires and floods to persistent epidemics and devastating pandemics – we are rapidly approaching certain limits in the planetary system -- and if I may say -- pushing the envelope that keeps us all safe.
  • Many of the breaking points in our food systems are due to our activities, specifically the over-exploitation and poor management of land and water resources.
  • Likewise, its within our power and capacity to transform our actions so that we avoid land degradation, reduce land resource pressures, and begin planning and preparing for the future.
  • Protecting and restoring nature is an urgent priority and requires an immediate response– pivoting from reactive to proactive.
  • The objective of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is to assist countries with the “rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources, leading to improved living conditions”
  • Land restoration is all about creating opportunities for people by transforming the governance of land resources to facilitate a shift to regenerative management practices.
  • Everyone has a role to play in restoring land – individuals, communities, businesses, governments, and international organizations all have a stake in the future.
  • And we are here to support all of you in that quest. Our convention provides the multilateral legal and institutional framework not only to tackle, together, desertification, land degradation and drought, but to advance together in unveiling the opportunities that land restoration offers to all of us in terms of food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation and ecosystem conservation, to name a few.
  • Under the UNCCD, for example, response actions committed under the Land Degradation Neutrality targets focus on improving health and productivity of our land.
  • We expect to advance on this agenda, along with other important aspects of land restoration, at our upcoming COP15 that will take place in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of May 2022.
  • In closing, I would like to encourage you to join us in our journey to Abidjan and to conserve, protect and restore our precious land, for the health and the development of people and planet.

Thank you very much.