Set a strong biodiversity framework, top UN official urges

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The international community needs a strong biodiversity framework to guarantee the future we want, says Ibrahim Thiaw, the UN’s top policy advisor on land.

“We live on the land and when we degrade it, we erode the soil and compromise the ability to feed ourselves…. We need a framework that is anchored in ecosystem management, particularly in sustainable land management,” he said.

“Reviving ecosystems, which includes restoration of the land, is necessary for successful climate and biodiversity action,” he said.

He laid out the triple benefits, in terms of real and immediate action, that follow when land is restored. “It reduces potential emissions from the land use sector. It stores carbon in soils and vegetation. And it enhances the ability of communities and ecosystems to withstand climate change, which also benefits biodiversity conservation.”

Ibrahim Thiaw, who heads the Convention that addresses desertification, land degradation and drought, made the remarks during the high-level event on sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The event, which was streamed live on Monday, 30 August, was hosted by the Government of Colombia, in the context of the post-2020 framework that will be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, in 2022.

The latest science on land and  biodiversity loss, desertification and climate change all shows that changing consumption and production patterns are today the leading drivers of the loss of productive land.

In response, 127 countries have committed to restore degrading land over the last six years. Over one billion hectares of land is earmarked for restoration by 2030, of which more than

450 million hectares are commitments by over 100 countries under the Convention’s Land Degradation Neutrality initiative.