Nominations for prestigious UN Award Open 

Press Release

Nominations for the 2021 Land for Life Award of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) opened today. The submission of nominees will close after two months, on 28 January 2021. 
 
The Award recognizes initiatives to halt, reduce and/or reverse land degradation that have had a positive impact on people and their land by using a holistic approach as well as practices that address both the environmental and social aspects of land management.  

Under the theme “Healthy Land, Healthy Lives,” the 2021 Award will spotlight changemakers doing innovative land restoration and conservation that is both promoting the well-being of communities and improving their relationship with nature. It will reflect land as part of the solution, as the communities around the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build back better around a social contract for nature. 
 
Winners will be invited to present their projects and work at international forums, including the Kubuqi International Desertification Forum in China, where the Award Ceremony will take place in mid-2021, and at the Fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at the end of 2021.   These forums offer winners special access to potential new funding partners and stakeholders. 
 
Previous winners include World Vision (Australia), SEKEM (Egypt), Watershed Organization Trust (India) and Réseau MARP (Burkina Faso).  

By winning the prestigious award, some have expanded their projects, secured new partnerships or been recognized by other international and national awards. 

Mr. Tony Rinaudo, World Vision Australia, said “The Land for Life Award has played a significant role in lifting the profile of a relatively obscure intervention – Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) globally, giving it wider visibility and validating it as an effective tool in land and tree restoration. […] Today, FMNR is a normal part of the development lexicon when it comes to land restoration approaches and is considered a ‘best practice’ by many donors and development practitioners alike.” 

“So much has awareness grown that the flagship intervention being promoted by the Global Evergreening Alliance, a coalition of NGOs, conservation groups, research institutions and professionals – is FMNR. In the seven years since World Vision was granted the Land for Life Award, the practice of FMNR, and individuals promoting it, have gone onto win other nationally and internationally significant awards,” Mr Rinaudo said. 

”In our quest to establish a new social contract for nature and ensure a healthier and safer future for all, we need to promote the connection between people and their environment, on the one hand, and focus on innovative approaches that involve communities, empower women and promote new technologies on the other. In these uncertain times where a growing number of infectious diseases is coming through land use change, we are searching for positive and inspiring models that are creating healthy lives by turning degrading land into healthy land,” says Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. 
 
The Land for Life Award also has a special China Award that celebrates exceptional commitment to sustainable land management in China.  
 
Elion Foundation  is the main sponsor of the Land for Life Programme, but leads the special China Award together with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Provincial Governmental of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.  
 
Notes to Editors 
 
For further information regarding the rules and criteria, visit the Land for Life Award webpage. 
 
Contact: Land for Life programme: L4L@unccd.int
 
Additional Quotes from Previous Winners: 

Ms. Marcella D’Souza, WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS):  "The L4L Award helped us connect and engage with the ELD Secretariat at the GIZ based out of Bonn, who we had met at Kubuqi. This resulted in a new project on Economic Valuation of regenerating degraded lands through Watershed Development, implemented by our research unit – the WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS). In addition, the Award and the exposure it provided us helped transition our watershed-focussed interventions to a more holistic ecosystems-based approach targeted at building adaptive capacities and resilience of rural communities to climate and non-climate risks. This led to another partnership and project with the ambition to develop a state level "Roadmap for Ecosystems-based Adaptation" which involves multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral engagement and collaboration across scales." 

Mr. Mathieu Ouédraogo, Réseau MARP: “Winning the Land for Life Award is certainly a great honor, but above all a major opportunity. This distinction led the communities we work with to be more thorough in the actions they carry out daily, focusing on tangible results. Quantitatively, we have doubled our objective in terms of achievements in the field, thanks to the worldwide recognition of our efforts.” 

Mr. Awadalla Hamid, Practical Action Sudan: “The award has definitely a great impact on the project and the life of the people of Darfur, as we managed to secure an additional fund for a second phase of the same project, 10M Euros from the European Union to support more families in Wadi ElKu project area, and to cover additional 180km along the Wadi ElKu Catchment in North Darfur.” 

About the UNCCD 

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an international agreement on good land stewardship. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage land degradation and drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on a sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss. Land also plays a key role in the prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, securing rural livelihoods and creating green jobs, supporting community resilience and maintaining the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services.