UN Land for Life Award winners honored in China meeting

Press Release

Bonn, 28 September 2021  The winners of prestigious 2021 Land for Life Award of the United Nations have been honored at an international forum for their innovation in land restoration and conservation methods that promote the well-being of communities and improve their relationship with nature.

Familial Forestry of India won the international category. Saihanba Forest Farm from China won the national category. Global Landscape Forum based in Germany received the special mention from Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

“Land restoration projects must recognize the harmony in our relationship with land. When we restore land, we benefit ecology and all life. And so, we also benefit the livelihoods of communities – especially youth and women,” Mr Thiaw said. 

“With effective land restoration projects, we can do so much. We can strengthen our ability to withstand the effects of climate change. We can create green jobs, bringing income and stability. We can combat food instability and hunger,” he added.

The winners received their trophies at a ceremony held during the Eighth Kubuqi International Desert Forum taking place on 28 and 29 September 2021. 

In his acceptance remark, Prof ShyamSunder Jyani, founder of Familial Forestry, said the award would encourage the spread of the concept of adopting trees as the green members of a family, and the cause of Familial Forestry. 

He dedicated the award to the familiar community because their role is crucial in managing the ecosystem, and invited the participation of all stakeholders who want to join in supporting their efforts. 

The two winning initiatives will present their work and share experiences during the forthcoming Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UNCCD, which is scheduled to take place in May 2022 in Côte d'Ivoire.

Mr. Thiaw, Mr. Wang Wenbiao, Secretary-General of the Eighth Kubuqi International Desert Forum, and Mr. Guoji Sun, representing the Government of China, presented the trophies and congratulated the winners. 

In his opening remarks, Mr Thiaw commended the forum’s continuing success as it advances the fight against desertification and land degradation, which he said, shows the value of collaboration at all levels in tackling issues such as biodiversity loss and climate change. 

He further stated that sustainable, integrated, systematic, and innovative land management can help combat climate change by keeping the land balance for multiple benefit.

Representatives of the government, the private sector, land management experts and the media from China attended the event. 

The 2021 Land for Life Award winner was announced during the Global Observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification on the 17th of June.

Notes to Editors

For interviews and information about the Land for Life award, contact: wwischnewski@unccd.intKjimenez@unccd.int or sbandagenchev@unccd.int

For interviews and information on Familial Forestry, contact: sssjyani@gmail.com

For interview and information on Familial Forestry: http://familialforestry.org/

About Land for Life Award

Every two years, UNCCD organizes the Land for Life Award. The Award recognizes excellence and innovation in efforts towards land in balance. The past editions shed light on inspiring initiatives of recovery and restoration of degraded landscapes worldwide. They all made a significant contribution towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15: "Life on Land", in particular Target 15.3 land degradation neutrality (LDN)

The award is an initiative of UNCCD, and is supported by the Elion Foundation and the Kubuqi International Desert Forum.

Website: https://www.unccd.int/actionsland-life-programme/land-life-award-2021-healthy-land-healthy-lives

About Familial Forestry

Familial Forestry is a unique idea of Shyam Sunder Jyani, Associate Professor for Sociology from Rajasthan. Familial Forestry relates the tree with family, and thereby a tree is treated as a green member of the family. Website: http://familialforestry.org/

About the Global Landscapes Forum

The Global Landscapes Forum is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on sustainable and inclusive landscapes. It is dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. Website: https://www.globallandscapesforum.org/about-us/

About Saihanba Forest Farm

Saihanba Forest Farm is located in Hebei's far north. In 59 years, three generations of Saihanba people have successfully planted over 76,700 hectares of land on 93,300 hectares. The forest coverage rate has risen from 11.4 percent to 82 percent. The total forest stock has risen from 330,000 to 10.36 million cubic meters. Website: http://www.saihanba.com.cn/


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 Saihanba Forest Farmjobs, supporting community resilience and maintaining the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services. Website: www.unccd.int

About Kubuqi International Desert Forum

The Kubuqi International Desert Forum (KIDF) is the only large international forum in the world that is dedicated to promoting global desertification control and green economic development. Since its inception in 2007, the biennial forum has been held on seven occasions. It is jointly organized by The People's Republic of China Ministry of Science and Technology, The State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China and People's Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, in cooperation with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the support of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs and the China Science and Technology Association. It is co-hosted by the Municipal Government of Ordos and the Elion Foundation.