This block type should be used in "unccd one column" section with "Full width" option enabled

Keyword

Filter by

Year

‘Silent demise’ of vast rangelands threatens climate, food, wellbeing of billions: UNCCD

Rangelands cover 54% of all land; as much as 50% are degraded, imperilling 1/6th of humanity’s food supply, 1/3rd of Earth’s carbon reservoir  UNCCD report points way to restore, better manage rangelands, urges protection of pastoralism Bonn/Ulaanbaatar – Degradation of Earth’s extensive, often immense natural pastures and other rangelands due to overuse, misuse, climate change and biodiversity loss poses a severe threat to humanity’s food supply and the wellbeing or survival of billions of people, the UN warns in a stark report today. Authors of the Global Land Outlook Thematic Report on Rangelands and Pastoralists, launched in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), say up to 50% of rangelands are degraded. Symptoms of the problem include diminished soil fertility and nutrients, erosion, salinization, alkalinization, and soil compaction inhibiting plant growth, all of which contribute to drought, precipitation fluctuations, and biodiversity loss both above and below the ground. The problem is driven largely by converting pastures to cropland and other land use changes due to population growth and urban expansion, rapidly rising food, fibre and fuel demands, excessive grazing, abandonment (end of maintenance by pastoralists), and policies that incentivise overexploitation. What are rangelands? The rangelands category of Earth’s land cover consists mostly of the natural grasslands used by livestock and wild animals to graze and forage. They also include savannas, shrublands, wetlands, tundra and deserts.  Added together, these lands constitute 54% of all land cover, account for one sixth of global food production and represent nearly one third of the planet’s carbon reservoir. “When we cut down a forest, when we see a 100-year-old tree fall, it rightly evokes an emotional response in many of us. The conversion of ancient rangelands, on the other hand, happens in ‘silence’ and generates little public reaction,” says UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw. “Sadly, these expansive landscapes and the pastoralists and livestock breeders who depend on them, are usually under-appreciated,” Mr. Thiaw adds. “Despite numbering an estimated half a billion individuals worldwide, pastoralist communities are frequently overlooked, lack a voice in policy-making that directly affects their livelihoods, marginalised, and even often seen as outsiders in their own lands.” Mongolia Environment Minister H.E. Bat-Erdene Bat-Ulzii says: “As custodian of the largest grasslands in Eurasia, Mongolia has always been cautious in transforming rangelands. Mongolian traditions are built on the appreciation of resource limits, which defined mobility as a strategy, established shared responsibilities over the land, and set limits in consumption. We hope this report helps focus attention on rangelands and their many enormous values – cultural, environmental, and economic –  which cannot be overstated. If these rangelands cannot support these massive numbers of people, what alternatives can they turn to?” Mongolia will host the 17th UNCCD Conference of the Parties meeting in 2026, the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP), declared by the United Nations General Assembly on Mongolia’s initiative. Two billion people – small-scale herders, ranchers and farmers, often poor and marginalised – depend on healthy rangelands worldwide. Indeed, in many West African states, livestock production employs 80% of the population. In Central Asia and Mongolia, 60% of the land area is used as grazing rangelands, with livestock herding supporting nearly one third of the region’s population. Ironically, the report underlines, efforts to increase food security and productivity by converting rangelands to crop production in mostly arid regions have resulted in degraded land and lower agricultural yields. The report calls out “weak and ineffective governance,” “poorly implemented policies and regulations,” and “the lack of investment in rangeland communities and sustainable production models” for undermining rangelands. An innovative approach The new report’s 60+ expert contributors from over 40 countries agree that past estimates of degraded rangeland worldwide – roughly 25% – “significantly underestimates the actual loss of rangeland health and productivity” and could be as much as 50%. Rangelands are often poorly understood and a lack of reliable data undermines the sustainable management of their immense value in food provisioning and climate regulation, the report warns. The report details an innovative conceptual approach that would enable policy-makers to stabilise, restore and manage rangelands.  The new approach is backed by experience detailed in case studies from nearly every world region, drawing important lessons from successes and missteps of rangeland management. A core recommendation: protect pastoralism, a mobile way of life dating back millennia centred on the pasture-based production of sheep, goats, cattle, horses, camels, yaks, llamas or other domesticated herbivores, along with semi-domesticated species such as bison and reindeer.  Says Mr. Thiaw: “From the tropics to the Arctic, pastoralism is a desirable default – and often the most sustainable – option for that should be incorporated into rangeland use planning.” The economic engine of many countries Rangelands are an important economic engine in many countries and define cultures. Home to one quarter of the world’s languages, they also host numerous World Heritage Sites and have shaped the value systems, customs and identities of pastoralists for thousands of years. The report includes detailed analyses of individual countries and regions. For example, livestock production accounts for 19% of Ethiopia’s GDP, and 4% of India’s. In Brazil – which produces 16% of the world’s beef – fully one-third of agribusiness GDP is generated by cattle livestock. In Europe, many rangelands have given way to urbanisation, afforestation and renewable energy production. In the United States, large tracts of grassland have been converted to crops, while some Canadian grasslands have been made fragile by large-scale mining and infrastructure projects.  There are also many positive notes such as, for example, growing efforts in both countries to reintroduce bison – an animal of great cultural importance to indigenous peoples – to promote rangeland health and food security. World areas most acutely affected by rangelands degradation, ranked in descending order: Central Asia, China, Mongolia The replacement of government management and oversight with privatisation and agricultural industrialization left herders abandoned and dependent on insufficient natural resources causing widespread degradation. The gradual restoration of traditional and community-based pastoralism is leading to critical advances in sustainable rangeland management. North Africa and Near East The impact of climate change in one of the world’s driest regions is pushing pastoralists into poverty and degrading the rangelands on which they rely. Updated traditional institutions, such as Agdals – reservoirs of fodder used to feed animals in periods of critical need and allowing for the regeneration of natural resources – and incipient supportive policies are improving the way rangelands are managed. Sahel and West Africa Conflict, power balance and border issues have interrupted livestock mobility leading to rangelands degradation. Unified policies, recognition of pastoralists’ rights and cross-border agreements are reestablishing mobility for animal herders, crucial for landscape restoration. South America Climatic change, deforestation linked to industrialised agriculture and extractive activities, and land use conversion are South America’s main drivers of rangeland degradation. Multifunctionality and diversity of pastoralist systems hold the key for restoring some of the most interesting rangelands in the world, including the Pampa, the Cerrado and Caatinga savannahs, and the Puno Andean systems. East Africa Migration and forced displacement caused by competing uses of land (such as hunting, tourism, etc), are evicting pastoralists from their traditional lands, causing unanticipated degradation consequences. Women-led initiatives and improved land rights are securing pastoralists’ livelihoods, protecting biodiversity, and safeguarding the ecosystem services provided by rangelands. North America The degradation of ancient grasslands and dry rangelands threatens the biodiversity of iconic North American ecosystems such as the tall-grass prairies or the southern deserts. The incorporation of indigenous people to rangeland governance is a clear step to help recover these historic landscapes. Europe Policies favouring industrial farming over pastoralism and misguided incentives are causing rangelands and other open ecosystems to be abandoned and degraded. Political and economic support, including legal recognition and differentiation, can turn the tide and help address critical environmental crises such as the rising frequency and intensity of wildfires and climate change. South Africa and Australia Afforestation, mining, and the conversion of rangelands to other uses are causing the degradation and loss of rangelands. The co-creation of knowledge by producers and researchers, and respect for and use of traditional wisdom held by indigenous communities, open new paths for restoring and protecting rangelands. Paradigm shift Halting the deterioration requires a paradigm shift in management at every level – from grassroots to global, the report concludes. Pedro Maria Herrera Calvo, the report’s lead author, says: “The meaningful participation of all stakeholders is key to responsible rangeland governance, which fosters collective action, improves access to land and integrates traditional knowledge and practical skills”. Achieving “land degradation neutrality” (Sustainable Development Goal 15.3) – balancing the amount and quality of healthy land to support ecosystem services and food security – also requires cross-border cooperation.  Pastoralists with generations of experience in achieving life in balance with these ecosystems should help inform this process at every step, from planning to decision-making to governance, the report noted.  Solutions must be tailored to the characteristics and dynamics of rangelands, which vary widely from arid to sub-humid environments, as seen in West Africa, India or South America. The report notes that traditional assessment methods often undervalue the real economic contribution of rangelands and pastoralism, highlighting the need for the innovative approach recommended. Among key recommendations: Integrated climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies with sustainable rangeland management plans to increase carbon sequestration and storage while boosting the resilience of pastoralist and rangeland communities Avoid or reduce rangeland conversion and other land use changes that diminish the diversity and multifunctionality of rangelands, especially on indigenous and communal lands Design and adopt rangeland conservation measures, within and outside protected areas, that support biodiversity above and below ground while boosting the health, productivity, and resilience of extensive livestock production systems Adopt and support pastoralism-based strategies and practices that help mitigate harms to rangeland health, such as climate change, overgrazing, soil erosion, invasive species, drought, and wildfires Promote supportive policies, full people’s participation and flexible management and governance systems to boost the services that rangelands and pastoralists provide  to the whole society. ADDITIONAL KEY FIGURES 80 million sq. km: Area of the world’s terrestrial surface covered by rangelands (over 54%) 9.5 million sq. km: Protected rangelands worldwide (12%) 67 million sq. km (45% of Earth’s terrestrial surface): Rangelands’ area devoted to livestock production systems (84% of rangelands), almost half of which are in drylands.  Livestock provide food security and generate income for the majority of the 1.2 billion people in developing countries living under the poverty threshold 1 billion: animals across more than 100 countries maintained by pastoralists, supporting 200 million households while providing about 10% of world meat supply, as well as dairy, wool and leather products 33%: global biodiversity hotspots found in rangelands 24%: proportion of world languages found in rangelands 5,000 years ago: When pastoralism first emerged as a land-use system in sub-Saharan Africa REGIONAL FACTS & FIGURES Over 25% and 10%: Supply of world beef and milk, respectively, provided by Latin America’s cattle industry Over 25%: GDP of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad attributed to livestock production Over 50%: land in the Middle East and North Africa regions deemed degraded (25% of arable land) 60%: area of Central Asia and Mongolia used as grazing rangelands, with livestock herding supporting nearly one third of the region’s population 40%: area of China covered by pastoral lands. (Notably, the country’s livestock population tripled between 1980 and 2010 to 441 million livestock units) 308 million hectares: area of the contiguous United States covered by rangelands, 31% of the country’s total land area, with ~55% of rangelands privately owned Additional comments “Imbalance between the supply of and demand for animal forage lands leads to overgrazing, invasive species, and the increased risk of drought and wildfires – all of which accelerate desertification and land degradation trends around the world.” “We must translate our shared aspirations into concrete actions - stopping indiscriminate conversion of rangelands into unsuitable land uses, advocating for policies that support sustainable land management, investing in research that enhances our understanding of rangelands and pastoralism, empowering pastoralist communities to preserve their sustainable practices while also gaining tools to thrive in a changing world, and supporting all stakeholders, especially pastoralists, to implement measures that effectively thwart further degradation and preserve our land, our communities, and our cultures.” -       Maryam Niamir-Fuller, Co-Chair, International Support Group for the UN’s International Year for Rangelands and Pastoralists – 2026 "For the sake of future generations and economic stability, we need to improve awareness of and safeguard the immense value of rangelands. Due to their dynamic nature, predicting the consequences of rangelands degradation on economics, ecology, and societies is challenging. Managers require authoritative insights into the response of rangelands to different disturbances and management approaches, including policy tools that better capture the broad social importance of rangelands." -       Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility  “More than half of the world’s land mass is rangeland – and yet these landscapes and the people who inhabit and manage them have been largely neglected. They are a main source of food and feed for humanity, and yet they are also the world economy’s dumping ground.  It is time to shift perspective – from ‘a rangeland problem’ to ‘a sustainable rangeland solution’.” -       UN International Year of Rangelands & Pastoralists (IYRP) Working Group “Pastoralists produce food in the world’s harshest environments, and pastoral production supports the livelihoods of rural populations on almost half of the world’s land. They have traditionally suffered from poor understanding, marginalisation, and exclusion from dialogue. We need to bring together pastoralists and the main actors working with them to join forces and create the synergies for dialogue and pastoralist development.” - UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)   “To have any chance of meeting global biodiversity, climate and food security goals, we simply cannot afford to lose any more of our rangelands, grasslands and savannahs. Our planet suffers from their ongoing conversion, as do the pastoralists who depend on them for their livelihoods, and all those who rely on them for food, water and other vital ecosystem services. The Global Land Outlook reinforces that too little political attention or finance is invested in protecting and restoring these critical ecosystems. National and sub-national authorities must take place-based action to safeguard and improve the health and productivity of rangelands, grasslands and savannahs – to benefit people and planet.”  - Joao Campari, Global Food Practice Leader, WWF  "The rangelands of the world sustain two billion small-scale herders, ranchers and farmers. They are a source of food and feed to the world, and their ecology contributes to biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Resilient as they are, today pastoral communities face compounding challenges where land degradation, driven by climate variability, poses a serious threat to both production and economic growth. Solutions with the full participation of pastoralists and flexible management and governance systems to boost the services that rangelands and pastoralists provide will benefit everyone. This report underscores the need for ongoing dialogue and actionable measures that can propel resilience and prosperity for pastoral communities across the world."  - Midori Paxton, Nature Hub Director, United Nations Development Programme * * * * * About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an international agreement on good land stewardship. It helps people, communities and countries create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food, clean water and energy by ensuring land users an enabling environment for sustainable land management. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss. https://unccd.int About the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists On the initiative of Mongolia, the United Nations General Assembly has designated 2026 the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP 2026) to enhance rangeland management and the lives of pastoralists. With this declaration, UN Member States are called upon to invest in sustainable rangeland management, to restore degraded lands, to improve market access by pastoralists, to enhance livestock extension services, and to fill knowledge gaps on rangelands and pastoralism. The IYRP 2026 will coincide with the UNCCD COP17 to be hosted by Mongolia. https://iyrp.info Media contacts: Fragkiska Megaloudi, fmegaloudi@unccd.int; press@unccd.int Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, xscanlon@unccd.int Terry Collins, +1-416-878-8712 (m), tc@tca.tc Photos: https://bit.ly/3UqU31m, video: https://bit.ly/3U8K9QI

‘Silent demise’ of vast rangelands threatens climate, food, wellbeing of billions: UNCCD
Land issues high on UN Environment Assembly agenda

Nairobi, 1 March 2024 – Healthy land’s contribution to addressing global challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable development was the focus of the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 6), which concluded today in Nairobi. The week-long meeting saw the adoption of the first-ever UNEA resolution on land degradation as well as the announcement of the logo and slogan for the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP16), to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 2 to13 December 2024. Speaking at the high-level event on combating land degradation for climate and biodiversity, UNEA 6 President and Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development for the Kingdom of Morocco, Leila Benali, noted: “Land is the only common denominator among the three Rio conventions, and it is only through land restoration that we can achieve their objectives. We need to build on what unites us rather than what divides us and start with working and credible solutions when it comes to land and soil health”. Announcing the slogan for COP16, “Our Land. Our Future.”, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “COP16 will be a moonshot moment for land, the Paris equivalent for UNCCD. It is crucial that there is convergence and synergy among the three COPs – biodiversity, climate change, and desertification, all taking place this year". For the first time, UNEA adopted a resolution calling for strengthening international efforts to combat desertification and land degradation, restore degraded lands, promote land conservation and sustainable land management, contribute to land degradation neutrality and enhance drought resilience. These issues will be front and center at UNCCD COP16. On behalf of the COP16 Presidency, Osama Ibrahim Faqeeha, Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia, said: "Land is not only important for human life but also crucial for biodiversity and maintaining the delicate balance of our environment. We have to recognize the importance of land and other natural elements of our planet, as 24 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are associated with various land use schemes." Through the Saudi Green Initiative, the Saudi government aims to plant 10 billion trees and protect 30 per cent of the Kingdom’s land. Additional quotes: Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which hosted the meeting to review progress in UNCCD implementation last November, said: "Every minute Uzbekistan loses nine square meters of fertile land, and this is a big problem for any country facing land degradation. It is important to bring together political will, science, and finance to address the challenges of climate change, land degradation, and biodiversity loss". Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said: “Land is where food begins, and without land, we cannot produce food or feed the planet. We need a holistic approach, avoiding fragmentation, and investing in sustainable transformations of our agri-food systems to ensure food security and address climate change and biodiversity loss”. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), said: “Indigenous peoples, who make up 5 per cent of the world's population, protect 80 per cent of the world's biodiversity. They are the guardians of ecosystems and masters of restoring land using traditional knowledge. Direct access to finance, policy coordination, and inclusive decision-making are essential to empowering communities and implementing successful land restoration projects”. UNCCD Land Hero Patricia Kombo from Kenya, who moderated the high-level event at UNEA 6, concluded: “Land degradation is a global challenge that requires concerted action at all levels. It is only by working together that we can restore our land ecosystems, ensure food security, and mitigate the effects of climate change”. For more information: UNCCD Press Office, press@unccd.int, +49 228 815 2820, https://www.unccd.int/, @unccd Recording and photos available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_oSZoVZJF8 https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1QhHqfX_pOFWBuot0ET5hGTogyrWDsq6Q For more information about UNEA 6 and UNCCD COP16 visit: https://www.unep.org/environmentassembly/unea6 and https://www.unccd.int/cop16 About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Land issues high on UN Environment Assembly agenda
Desertification and Drought Day 2024: “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future” 

Bonn, Germany, 21 February 2024 – This year’s Desertification and Drought Day, observed on 17 June, will focus on the future of land stewardship. Every second, an equivalent of four football fields of healthy land becomes degraded – adding up to a total of 100 million hectares every year. Engaging present and future generations is more important than ever to halt and reverse these alarming trends and meet global commitments to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030. The theme chosen for this year's Desertification and Drought Day — “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future.” — seeks to mobilize all parts of society in support of sustainable land stewardship. 17 June 2024 will also mark the 30th anniversary of the Bonn-based United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)— the sole legally binding international treaty on land management and drought ; one of the three Rio Conventions alongside climate change and biodiversity. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “Up to 40 per cent of the world’s land is already degraded, affecting  close to half of humanity. Yet the solutions are on the table. Land restoration lifts people out of poverty and builds resilience to climate change. It is time to unite for land and show a red card to land loss and degradation worldwide.” Hosted by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the global observance event will take place at the Bundeskunsthalle (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) in Bonn on Monday, 17 June 2024. “Around a quarter of the world’s population is affected by drought. The condition of our soils in Europe is also deteriorating rapidly. Protecting soil and land is a global challenge. We need to take action together today so that the generations to come can have access to vital natural resources. We will only be able to feed humankind and deal with the climate and biodiversity crisis if we have healthy soils,” Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Bringing together leaders from all over the world, youth and prominent personalities from academia, civil society, sports and entertainment, the global observance event will showcase a strong ambition to be united for land, ahead of the largest-ever UN conference on land and drought in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in December 2024 (UNCCD COP16). Throughout May and June, UNCCD together with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the City of Bonn as their partner, will kick-start a #UNited4Land public awareness campaign and will be engaged in various events in and around Bonn on the future of land stewardship. Katja Dörner,  Lady Mayor of Bonn said: “As the home of the UNCCD and a city on the path towards climate neutrality in 2035, Bonn can only think and protect climate, nature and land together. Land is everything— and so much more than the area our city is built on. Land is the soil on which our crops grow, a habitat for plants and animals, a sponge for water, open space and cooling corridor— and a legacy that we pass on to future generations.” Countries around the world are mobilizing to mark Desertification and Drought Day with an array of educational, cultural and sporting activities—from film screenings to football tournaments and from tree planting to gardening competitions. A full programme of events will be available online at: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day. About Desertification and Drought Day Officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 (A/RES/49/115), Desertification and Drought Day, marked annually on 17 June, has the following objectives:   To promote public awareness of the issues linked to desertification, land degradation and drought To showcase human-led solutions to prevent desertification and reverse intensifying droughts To strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Take part in this year’s celebration: To find out more about this year’s Desertification and Drought Day, click here: https://www.unccd.int/DDD2024 To access #UNited4Land campaign materials, click here: https://trello.com/b/VdJGolcp/desertification-and-drought-day-2024 To learn more about Desertification and Drought Day activities around the world, click here: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day/2024/events-around-world For online participation in the global observance event in Bonn, please contact: communications(at)unccd.int For more information, please contact: UNCCD: Xenya Scanlon, +49 152 5454 0492, xscanlon@unccd.int or Yannis Umlauf, +49 178 285 8629 yumlauf@unccd.int with copy to press@unccd.int   BMZ: Press Unit, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Tel: +49 (0)30 18 535-2451, Email: presse@bmz.bund.de, www.bmz.de

Desertification and Drought Day 2024: “United for Land: Our Legacy. Our Future” 
Saudi Arabia to host largest-ever UN conference on land and drought

Riyadh, 31 January 2024 – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) signed an agreement paving the way for the 16th session of the Convention’s Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Riyadh from 2-13 December 2024.  The Riyadh COP16 will be the largest-ever meeting of UNCCD’s 197 Parties, the first to be held in the Middle East region and the largest multilateral conference ever hosted by Saudi Arabia. 2024 also marks the 30th anniversary of the UNCCD, one of the three major environmental treaties known as the Rio Conventions, alongside climate change and biodiversity.  At the signing ceremony in Riyadh today, Eng. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen AlFadley, Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and COP16 President, said: “The hosting of the conference (COP16) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reflects the commitment of the wise leadership to environmental protection at the national, regional, and international levels. Additionally, Saudi Arabia launched several groundbreaking environmental projects, such as the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative.”  UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “Today, we are losing fertile lands at an alarming rate, jeopardizing global stability, prosperity and sustainability. The Riyadh COP16 must mark a turning point in the way we treat our most precious resource—land—and collectively tackle the global drought emergency.”  According to UNCCD data, up to 40 per cent of the world’s land is degraded, affecting half of humanity and with dire consequences for our climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. If current trends continue, restoring 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030 will be necessary to achieve a land-degradation-neutral world.   Droughts are hitting more often and harder all over the world—up by 29 per cent since 2000—driven by climate change but also the way we manage our land. One-quarter of the world’s population is already affected by droughts, with every three out of four people around the world projected to face water scarcity by 2050.  The Riyadh COP16 will focus on mobilizing governments, businesses and communities worldwide to accelerate action on land restoration and drought resilience as a cornerstone of food, water and energy security.   The two-week event will feature a high-level segment, as well as associated events including the Gender Caucus and the Business for Land Forum.   Taking place in the most water-scarce region and one that is severely affected by desertification and land degradation, the Riyadh COP16 will showcase efforts underway in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East region and beyond towards a green transition based on sustainable land stewardship.   For more information, please contact: Wael A Bushah, Managing Director, Environmental Awareness and Capabilities Enhancement, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Wbushah@mewa.gov.sa. Xenya Scanlon, Chief, Communications, External Relations and Partnerships, UNCCD, xscanlon@unccd.int   UNCCD Press Office, press@unccd.int, +49 228 815 2820, https://www.unccd.int/, @unccd #UNited4Land #COP16Riyadh #UNCCDCOP16 About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Saudi Arabia to host largest-ever UN conference on land and drought
CYNK, KenGrow and UNCCD join new climate-smart agriculture project to empower female farmers 

Together KenGrow, Flux, Hiveonline and CYNK will deliver digital infrastructure alongside new regenerative agriculture techniques to increase climate finance inclusion for Kenyan women in rural communities.    Dubai, December 2023. CYNK, a leading climate finance platform founded in Nairobi, Kenya, announces a new partnership with KenGrow and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to provide funding and expertise to women smallholder farmers in emerging economies. The first climate smart regenerative agriculture project, based in Kisumu, Kenya, will see CYNK teaming up with KenGrow, a foundation that builds bridges between communities within Kenya and Flux, an organisation specialised in Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW), headquartered in Nairobi. Leveraging Hiveonline’s digital community finance platform KenGrow members will have access to financial inclusion tools that give women greater control of their finances.   CYNK's cutting-edge technology is set to empower women members of the KenGrow group in rural communities through a groundbreaking UNCCD Climate Smart Agriculture project. This partnership unlocks a triple win: increased income, climate resilience, and digital inclusion.    Women farmers will generate additional income by sequestering carbon on their farms and earning carbon credit revenue streams via CYNK's platform. This reduces their reliance on expensive synthetic fertilizers, further boosting their profits and yields. Additionally, CYNK's virtual training empowers them to adopt innovative, nature-positive farming techniques, specifically tailored to the cyclical nature and seasonality of agriculture. This builds resilience and paves the way for long-term success. The Kisumu-based project will combine Flux’s pioneering regenerative agriculture technique, with KenGrow’s networking and training opportunities. Flux reduces the overreliance on synthetic fertilizers by providing a natural soil health improver in the form of volcanic rock powders. This technique has the potential to sequester up to 5 gigatons of CO2 per year globally. It will support the socio-economic development of 2,000 Kenyan women in grassroots rural and peri-urban communities. Sudhu Arumugam, CEO at CYNK, commented: “We are proud to partner with these prestigious organisations to provide female smallholder farmers an opportunity to enhance their farming expertise and generate additional revenue streams via our carbon credit platform. It is critical to deploy scalable technology like regenerative agriculture to promote women’s financial resilience, protect soils relied upon by local communities and contribute to global climate goals.”  Louise Baker, Managing Director of the Global Mechanism at UNCCD, added: “We are excited to launch our Climate Smart Agriculture project in partnership with KenGrow and CYNK. It is clear that female smallholder farmers need to be at the forefront of climate action - this program will strengthen their capacity to apply positive agricultural and climate resilient practices. Investing in women’s access to funding and expertise is not only a question of justice but a commitment to the prosperity of our lands.”    For media inquiries contact London  Tristan Peniston-Bird, Portland Communications  +44 7772 031 886, Tristan.Peniston-Bird@Portland-Communications.com Pauline Guenot, Portland Communications +44 7379 068 832, Pauline.Guenot@Portland-Communications.com  Nairobi Joel Chacha, Portland Communications +254 722 909 251, Joel.Chacha@Portland-Communications.com About CYNK CYNK is an end-to-end platform that covers the lifecycle of a carbon or biodiversity credit. From origination, financing and secondary trading of carbon, CYNK is a one-stop platform for the origination of high-integrity credits with fully immutable audit trails of digital Monitoring Reporting and Verification (dMRV) via blockchains. https://www.CYNK.io

CYNK, KenGrow and UNCCD join new climate-smart agriculture project to empower female farmers 
Germany to host 2024 Desertification and Drought Day in Bonn

Bonn/Dubai, 9 December 2023 – Germany will host the next Desertification and Drought Day on 17 June 2024, which will also mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), one of the three Rio Conventions alongside climate and biodiversity. The announcement was made today on the margins of UNFCCC COP28 underway in Dubai, UAE by Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, and Ms. Katja Dörner, Lord Mayor of Bonn and member of the Local Government for Sustainability (ICLEI) Global Executive Committee on Climate Action and Low Emission Development Portfolio. Land is the foundation of human wellbeing and plays a key role in regulating the planet’s climate. Yet up to 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded, affecting nearly half of the world's population. Since 2000, the number and duration of droughts has increased by 29 per cent, representing a severe risk to ecosystems and peoples’ livelihoods. The 2024 Desertification and Drought Day will focus on the transformative power of healthy land for addressing today’s most pressing and interconnected challenges, including climate change, biodiversity loss, food and water security—a blueprint for providing future generations with a healthy planet. The Day will amplify a renewed global commitment to sustainable land management and drought resilience in the run-up to UNCCD COP16, scheduled for 2-13 December 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “Desertification and Drought Day 2024 will mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In 1994, the world community sent a clear signal by ratifying the only legally binding treaty promoting good land stewardship. Restoring degraded land and soil provides the most fertile ground to take immediate and concerted action for our planet's health. Now, it is time to reaffirm this global commitment by unleashing land’s potential—for present and future generations.” The Federal Republic of Germany, through the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will host the global observance on 17 June 2024. The event will engage prominent international and German personalities and the public at large to raise awareness about desertification, land degradation and drought. Mr. Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development, said: “No matter whether we are talking about climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics, or food crises – soil quality plays a central role for meeting these global challenges. Soils retain water and allow trees and plants to grow. We will only be able to feed humankind and deal with the climate crisis and its impacts if we have healthy soils. In 2024, when the UN Convention to Combat Desertification celebrates its 30th anniversary, the German government will be hosting Desertification and Drought Day thus sending a signal for strong international efforts against the loss of fertile soils.” The City of Bonn, which has hosted the UNCCD Secretariat since 1999, will organize a series of events around 2024 Desertification and Drought Day. The City will play its part in highlighting the role of local governments in land restoration efforts, by displaying examples of sustainable land use practices linked to urban policies. “As Mayor of Bonn, home to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, I am thrilled that Germany is hosting the Desertification and Drought Day 2024. Here in Germany’s United Nations City is the place where the debates on climate, nature and land come together – and from where cross-cutting actions for implementing the 2030 Agenda are advanced. I full heartedly welcome the Desertification and Drought Day here in Bonn! Together with the Federal Government of Germany and under the leadership of the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Ms. Svenja Schulze, I will be delighted to host a meaningful event engaging political leaders, the land community, cultural stakeholders and a broader public alike”, Katja Dörner, Lady Mayor of Bonn, said via video statement. Officially declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 (A/RES/49/115), Desertification and Drought Day, marked annually on 17 June, is a unique occasion to highlight human-led solutions to prevent desertification and reverse intensifying droughts by investing in sustainable land use practices. 2024 will mark the 30th anniversary since the adoption of UNCCD, one of the three Rio Conventions. Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. With its 197 Parties, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention seeks to support countries to address desertification, land degradation, and drought. A remarkable journey from milestone initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall, the largest living structure on the planet, to the establishment of Land Degradation Neutrality targets – a pledge by 130 countries to end land degradation by 2030. Germany has been a strong supporter of the convention throughout its history. During the past 30 years, Germany has contributed politically and financially as one of the most active partners acknowledging the importance of healthy land and soil - both as a cause of and a solution to some of the most critical challenges for humanity these days. For more information, please contact: UNCCD: Xenya Scanlon, +49 152 54540492, xscanlon@unccd.int or Yannis Umlauf, +55 21 979820903, yumlauf@unccd.int with copy to press@unccd.int and/or unccd@portland-communications.com Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ): Press Office, +49 30 18 535 – 2158, presse@bmz.bund.de, www.bmz.de City of Bonn: Department of Press, Protocol and Public Relations, +49 228 77-3000, presseamt@bonn.de, www.bonn.de About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Germany to host 2024 Desertification and Drought Day in Bonn
Global Alliance for Drought Resilience builds momentum with new members

IDRA co-chairs Senegal and Spain hold a high-level event at COP28 Australia, Colombia, Comoros, Italy and the Commonwealth are latest to join   Dubai, 1 December 2023—As 2023 is ending as the warmest year on record, the global platform to prepare the world for harsher droughts, the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) , welcomes eight new members, signaling a growing political will to act against one of most deadly and costly natural disasters in the face of climate change. The addition of six countries and several major intergovernmental and research organizations, announced at the UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai, brings the total membership of IDRA to 36 countries and 28 organizations. The countries joining the alliance this year are Australia, Colombia, Jordan, Italy, Uruguay and the Union of the Comoros, which currently chairs the African-Union. In addition, the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as three other organizations-- the Climate Commission for the Sahel Region (CCRS), the Central American Commission for Climate and the Environment (CCAD) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), member of the global research partnership CGIAR – were also announced as joining IDRA. Together, they represent efforts to build evidence-based resilience at the country, regional and global level. Launched at UN Climate Summit COP27 by the leaders of Spain and Senegal, IDRA is the first global coalition creating political momentum and mobilizing financial and technical resources for a drought-resilient future. The alliance devoted 2023 to building awareness at the highest political level. From 2024, IDRA will draw on the collective strengths of its expanding membership to advance concrete policies, actions, and capacity-building initiatives for drought preparedness, acknowledging we are only as resilient to drought and climate change as our land is. The IDRA secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). United in action IDRA co-chairs emphasized the urgency of building drought resilience as global freshwater demand is projected to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030, and they commended new members for their commitment to changing the way the world addresses drought. “Drought knows now borders, meaning we need common action and solidarity to face the emergency,” said President of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, who noted that droughts affect 1.84 billion people throughout the world, 85 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries. Central to that action, he said, is the transfer of technologies, sharing of experiences, and exchange of best practices, as well as a just energy transition. Prime Minister of Spain, H.E. Pedro Sánchez, summed up the achievements of IDRA in its first year, from mobilizing countries and global organizations, to outlining a common framework for action with priority investments for drought resilience, to supporting affected countries to develop their strategies in areas like the Central American Dry Corridor. “Drought is a global phenomenon. For those of you who are not yet members of IDRA, I invite you to join this Alliance to leverage individual efforts and transform them into collective action,” said Sánchez. “Let us build on the political momentum of this COP28 to increase resilience to extreme events.” In turn, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, H. E. Patricia Scotland said: “Many of the 56 Commonwealth countries experiencing extreme weather events will welcome IDRA as a timely opportunity to promote mutual learning and collaborative action on drought resilience. By working together, our countries will be much better placed to implement effective solutions and protect the most vulnerable communities.” The UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, concluded: “Droughts are a natural phenomenon, but we are making them worse through poor land use, deforestation, and the disruption of the planet’s natural systems, including the climate. What humanity did through neglect, must and can fix through concerted action—or face an increasingly harsh future. Drought resilience at COP28 The latest IDRA members were announced during a high-level event ‘From awareness to action: united for drought resilience in a changing climate’ at COP28. The event brought together the IDRA co-chairs—Senegal and Spain—and members of the alliance to take stock of IDRA’s first year and usher in a next phase focused on action. During the event, UNCCD launched its ‘Global Drought Snapshot’ report, an authoritative compendium of drought-related information and data looking to inform negotiators at COP28, as well as decision-makers and practitioners from around the world. A second high-level IDRA event, scheduled for 9 December and focused on nature-based solutions and financing for drought resilience, will bring together leaders from different countries and agencies to exchange on practical ways to accelerate action. Notes to editors For interviews and enquires please contact: press@unccd.int and/or unccd@portland-communications.com  Photos (credit: UNCCD): https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1rNhWAFqQxc5ZoDK1QdISbRhaRszoONaF?usp=sharing Social media Twitter: @UNCCD / Instagram: @unccd  For information about IDRA and UNCCD events at COP28 visit: https://idralliance.global and https://www.unccd.int/cop28pavilion About IDRA The International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) is the first global coalition creating political momentum and mobilizing financial and technical resources for a drought-resilient future. As a growing platform of more than 30 countries and 20 institutions, IDRA draws on the collective strengths of its members to advance policies, actions, and capacity-building for drought preparedness, acknowledging we are only as resilient to drought and climate change as our land is. The work of IDRA is aligned with, and supportive of, the mandate of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which hosts the IDRA Secretariat. For more information: https://idralliance.global. About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Global Alliance for Drought Resilience builds momentum with new members
Drought data shows “an unprecedented emergency on a planetary scale”: UN

UNCCD launches ‘Global Drought Snapshot’ report at COP28 in collaboration with International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) Recent drought-related data based on research in the past two years and compiled by the UN point to “an unprecedented emergency on a planetary scale, where the massive impacts of human-induced droughts are only starting to unfold.” According to the report, ‘Global Drought Snapshot,’ launched by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at the outset of COP28 climate talks in the UAE, few if any hazard claims more lives, causes more economic loss and affects more sectors of societies than drought. UNCCD is one of three Conventions originated at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The other two address climate change (UNFCCC) and biodiversity (UN CBD).  Says UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw: “Unlike other disasters that attract media attention, droughts happen silently, often going unnoticed and failing to provoke an immediate public and political response. This silent devastation perpetuates a cycle of neglect, leaving affected populations to bear the burden in isolation.” “The Global Drought Snapshot report speaks volumes about the urgency of this crisis and building global resilience to it.  With the frequency and severity of drought events increasing, as reservoir levels dwindle and crop yields decline, as we continue to lose biological diversity and famines spread, transformational change is needed.”  “We hope this publication serves as a wake-up call.” Drought data, selected highlights: 15–20%: Population of China facing more frequent moderate-to-severe droughts within this century (Yin et al., 2022) 80%: Expected increase in drought intensity in China by 2100 (Yin et al., 2022) 23 million: people deemed severely food insecure across the Horn of Africa in December 2022 (WFP, 2023) 5%: Area of the contiguous United States suffering severe to extreme drought (Palmer Drought Index) in May, 2023 (NOAA, 2023) 78: Years since drought conditions were as severe as they were in the La Plata basin of Brazil–Argentina in 2022, reducing crop production and affecting global crop markets (WMO, 2023a) 630,000 km2 (roughly the combined area of Italy and Poland): Extent of Europe impacted by drought in 2022 as it experienced its hottest summer and second warmest year on record, almost four times the average 167,000 km2 impacted between 2000 and 2022 (EEA, 2023) 500: years since Europe last experienced a drought as bad as in 2022 (World Economic Forum, 2022) 170 million: people expected to experience extreme drought if average global temperatures rise 3°C above pre-industrial levels, 50 million more than expected if  warming is limited to 1.5°C (IPCC, 2022) Agriculture and forests 70%: Cereal crops damaged by drought in the Mediterranean, 2016–2018 33%: loss of grazing land in South Africa due to drought (‌Ruwanza et al., 2022) Double or triple: Expected forest losses in the Mediterranean region under 3°C warming compared to current risk (Rossi et al., 2023) 5: Consecutive rainfall season failures in the Horn of Africa, causing the region’s worst drought in 40 years (with Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia particularly hard hit), contributing to reduced agricultural productivity, food insecurity and high food prices (WMO, 2023). 73,000 km2: average area of EU cropland (or ~5%) impacted by drought, 2000-2022, contributing to crop failures (EEA, 2023) $70 billion: Africa’s drought-related economic losses in the past 50 years (WMO, 2022). 44%: Expected drop in Argentina’s soybean production in 2023 relative to the last five years, the lowest harvest since 1988/89, contributing to an estimated 3% drop in Argentina’s GDP for 2023 (EU Science Hub, 2023) Water conditions 75%: Reduction of cargo capacity of some vessels on the Rhine due to low river levels in 2022, leading to severe delays to shipping arrivals and departures (World Economic Forum, 2022) 5 million: People in southern China affected by record-low water levels in the Yangtze River due to drought and prolonged heat (WMO, 2023a) 2,000: backlog of barges on the Mississippi River in late 2022 due to low water levels, causing $20 billion in supply chain disruptions and other economic damage (World Economic Forum, 2022) 2–5 times: Acceleration of long-term rates of groundwater-level decline and water-quality degradation in California's Central Valley basins over the past 30 years due to drought-induced pumpage (Levy et al., 2021)  Social dimensions  85%: People affected by droughts who live in low- or middle-income countries (World Bank, 2023) 15 times: Greater likelihood of being killed by floods, droughts and storms in highly vulnerable regions relative to regions with very low vulnerability, 2010 to 2020 (IPCC, 2023) 1.2 million: people in the Central American Dry Corridor needing food aid after five years of drought, heatwaves and unpredictable rainfall (UNEP, 2022) Remedies Up to 25%: CO2 emissions that could be offset by nature-based solutions including land restoration (Pan et al., 2023) Almost 100%: Reduction in the conversion of global forests and natural land for agriculture if just half of animal products such as pork, chicken, beef and milk consumed today were replaced with sustainable alternatives (Carbon Brief, 2023) 20 to 50%: Potential reduction in water waste if conventional sprinkler systems were replaced by micro-irrigation (drip irrigation), which delivers water directly to plant roots (STEM Writer, 2022). 20%: EU’s land and sea areas to be made subject to restoration measures by 2030, with measures in place for all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050 (European Council, 2023) $2 billion: investment by AFR100 in African organizations, businesses and government-led projects, announced this year with further anticipated investments of $15 billion to foster the restoration of 20 million hectares of land by 2026, generating an estimated $135 billion in benefits to around 40 million people. (Hess, 2021) 6: Riparian countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Togo) participating in the Volta basin Flood and Drought management project, the first large-scale, transboundary implementation of Integrated Flood and Drought Management strategies, including an End-to-End Early Warning System for Flood Forecasting and Drought Prediction (Deltares, 2023) ~45%: global disaster-related losses that were insured in 2020, up from 40% in 1980-2018. However, disaster insurance cover remains very low in many developing countries (UNDRR, 2022) 50 km: the resolution of the water distribution maps thanks to a recently-developed method of combining satellite measurements with high-resolution meteorological data, an major improvement from the previous 300 kilometers resolution (Gerdener et al., 2023) The report was unveiled at a high-level event with the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) in Dubai (webcast at www.youtube.com/@THEUNCCD, 16:00 Dubai time / 12:00 GMT.  It is part of UNCCD’s series of Land and Drought Dialogues at COP28: https://bit.ly/3Gh7GZd).  Launched by the leaders of Spain and Senegal at COP27, IDRA is the first global coalition creating political momentum and mobilizing financial and technical resources for a drought-resilient future. Australia, Colombia, Italy and the Union of Comoros, together with the Commonwealth Secretariat and other major international organizations, are being announced at COP28 as IDRA’s latest members, bringing the Alliance’s total membership to 34 countries and 28 entities. Additional highlights from the report: Several findings in this report highlight land restoration, sustainable land management and nature positive agricultural practices as critical aspects of building global drought resilience. By adopting nature-positive farming techniques, such as drought-resistant crops, efficient irrigation methods, no-till and other soil conservation practices, farmers can reduce the impact of drought on their crops and incomes. Efficient water management is another key component of global drought resilience. This includes investing in sustainable water supply systems, conservation measures and the promotion of water-efficient technologies. Disaster preparedness and early warning systems are also essential for global drought resilience. Investing in meteorological monitoring, data collection and risk assessment tools can help respond quickly to drought emergencies and minimize impacts.  Building global drought resilience requires international cooperation, knowledge sharing as well as environmental and social justice. “Several countries already experience climate-change-induced famine,” says the report. “Forced migration surges globally; violent water conflicts are on the rise; the ecological base that enables all life on earth is eroding more quickly than at any time in known human history.” “We have no alternative to moving forward in a way that respects the planet’s boundaries and the interdependencies of all forms of life. We need to reach binding global agreements for proactive measures that are to be taken by nations to curtail the spells of drought.” “The less space the developed human world occupies, the more natural hydrological cycles will stay intact. Restoring, rebuilding and revitalizing all those landscapes that we degraded and destroyed is the imperative of our time. Urban intensification, active family planning, and curbing rapid population growth are prerequisites for societal development that respects planetary boundaries.” About  The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an international agreement on good land stewardship. It helps people, communities and countries create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food, clean water and energy by ensuring land users an enabling environment for sustainable land management. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss. 

Drought data shows “an unprecedented emergency on a planetary scale”: UN
UNCCD and partners to host first-ever Land and Drought Pavilion at COP28

Land & Drought Pavilion to be set in the Blue Zone / Opportunities Petal from 1-10 December Bonn (Germany), 23/11/2023 – To mark their presence at the UN Climate Conference (COP28), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will be co-hosting the first-ever Land & Drought Pavilion together with its two flagship initiatives: the G20 Global Land Initiative and the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), as well as partners, the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA). From 1st to 10th December, the Pavilion will curate a broad range of high-level dialogues, innovation showcase sessions, and interactive discussions highlighting the importance of healthy land as a climate solution and the urgent need to build drought resilience. UNCCD will also be launching its Drought in Numbers 2023 report and announcing next year’s Desertification and Drought Day– which will mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention. All sessions will be open to accredited COP28 delegates and held in the Blue Zone / Opportunities Petal, Thematic Arena 4, 1st floor, stand 205 and livestreamed on UNCCD’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Among the highlights of the programme: The Opening Dialogue, Raising Land & Drought on the Climate Agenda on 1 December will convene partners and experts to discuss expected outcomes from land and drought conversations at COP28. The high-level event of the International Drought Resilience Alliance co-chaired by Spain and Senegal leaders on 1 December will see the launch of Drought in Numbers 2023 report. IDRA will also welcome new member countries and update on progress achieved thus far. A high-level event “Rio Conventions on the Road to 2024” will bring together the leadership of the three Rio Conventions: CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD. A high-level dialogue on women’s land rights will be hosted on 4th December, which will also coincide with Gender Equality Day at COP28. On 6th December, several start-ups will gather in the Pavilion to showcase their land restoration innovations, in a hackathon format. A high-level session will take place on 9th December, where the Convention will announce the host country of the next Desertification and Drought Day, 17 June 2024. Remarks from high-level representatives from the host country and city are expected. Youth-led dialogues, including panels on empowering female ecopreneurship and a Youth4Land Intergenerational Dialogue. A ‘Dry delights reception’ will be hosted on the last day of the Pavilion (10th December). Experts will showcase drought-resilient foods, namely water lentils, explaining the production process, walking attendees through its nutritional benefits, and providing an opportunity to taste. Notes to Editors The detailed programme and timings can be found here: https://unccd.int/cop28pavilion Daily highlights from the sessions will be available on UNCCD’s website. Visual assets are available here: https://trello.com/b/6EexwgYj/unccd-cop28-dubai-2023 For additional information on UNCCD’s presence at COP28 and other media-related enquiries, please contact press@unccd.int and/or unccd@portland-communications.com About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 Parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

UNCCD and partners to host first-ever Land and Drought Pavilion at COP28
Healthy land crucial for global climate, security and prosperity

Samarkand, 17 November 2023 – Halting and reversing rapid land loss around the world is key for addressing global challenges of climate change, food and water security, and forced migration, concluded the five-day conference of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The 21st session of the Committee to Review the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC21) was hosted by the Government of Uzbekistan in Samarkand from 13-17 November, bringing together some 1,000 delegates from 117 countries representing governments, civil society and academia. The meeting marked a halfway checkpoint towards reaching the global goal to end land loss by 2030. It also focused on tackling worsening sand and dust storms and droughts, in the region and beyond, and empowering women in land restoration efforts. UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “Land degradation and drought are disruptors, wreaking havoc on societies and people’s lives, and throwing millions on the dangerous roads of migration. We must urgently scale up investment in land restoration to ensure stability and prosperity for billions of people around the world.” The meeting convened against the backdrop of new UNCCD data collected from 126 countries, indicating that some 420 million hectares, an area roughly the size of Central Asia, were degraded between 2015-2019. If current trends persist, a staggering 1.5 billion hectares of land will need to be restored by 2030 to reach global goals. Commenting on the outcomes of CRIC21, Biljana Kilibarda, CRIC Chair, said: “Convening for the first time in Central Asia, this meeting was an opportunity to put stronger emphasis on the relevance of problems of land degradation and drought to the whole region and the role of international cooperation in solving them. We reviewed the progress in the implementation of the Convention and provided recommendations to accelerate our efforts.” On 15 November, the Government of Uzbekistan convened a high-level event on sand and dust storms. According to UNCCD experts, more than 2 billion tonnes of sand and dust enter the atmosphere every year, with far-reaching implications for economies, human health, and even security. Obidjon Kudratov, First Deputy Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change of Uzbekistan, commented: “This high-level event brought recognition of sand and dust storms as a global problem.” He also noted that the Central Asian region is losing US$ 6 billion a year to land degradation. For the first time, a two-part Gender Caucus convened during CRIC to advance the implementation of the Convention’s Gender Action Plan, and bolster women’s engagement in land restoration and drought resilience efforts. CRIC21 recommendations will inform decision-making by the Convention’s 196 country Parties and the European Union ahead of the next UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP), to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2024. UNCCD is one of three Conventions originated at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro alongside climate change (UNFCCC) and biodiversity (CBD). CRIC21 convened just under two weeks before the start of the UNFCCC COP28 in Dubai, UAE. “We are in a vicious circle, where land degradation is fueling climate change and climate change is exacerbating land loss in the world. Our message to COP28 is clear: we are only resilient to climate change as our land is,” concluded Thiaw.   Notes to editors For interviews and enquires please contact: press@unccd.int and/or unccd@portland-communications.com More information about the 21st session of the UNCCD Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC21): https://www.unccd.int/cric21 About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Healthy land crucial for global climate, security and prosperity