Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 13 November, 2023
Leaders have made a promise to the world: to combat the terrible trend of transforming healthy land into desert; to revitalize areas humanity has pushed into degradation and decay; and to create a world that is land degradation neutral.
Keeping these promises is vital for nature, and for communities. But we are moving in the wrong direction.
Between 2015 and 2019, 100 million hectares were degraded every single year, adding up to an area twice the size of Greenland. If current trends continue, we will need to restore the health of a staggering 1.5 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030.
We can and must turn this around.
Around the world we see examples of land being given a new lease of life, including in Uzbekistan. And the world could surpass its neutrality target if it works together to halt new land degradation and accelerate restoration.
To achieve this, we need governments, businesses and communities to work together to conserve natural areas, scale up sustainable food production, and develop green urban areas and supply chains.
I urge all of you to use this intersessional meeting to step up ambition and action to help make that a reality. Together, let’s see degraded lands thrive once more.