The UNCCD COP 14 Local and Regional Governments Day, co-organized by the UNCCD Secretariat, ICLEI South Asia and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India, took place on 7 September 2019. The event focused on the theme “Land degradation and cities: The essential role of local and regional governments” and was attended by over 100 participants, from 13 counties including mayors, deputy mayors, representatives of UN organizations, governments and civil society. The all-day session explored the relationship between urbanization and land degradation and aimed at better understanding of linkages between urbanization and land degradation, along with the role of local governments in establishing good practices for sustainable land management.
Mayors shared their experiences and confirmed that the adverse effects of climate change such as desertification, droughts and floods are putting additional pressures on limited resources and are impacting the provision of basic infrastructure services for the local population, such as water, food and secure shelter. The acute effects of desertification and drought on populations living in informal settlements are bringing climate action and adaptation to the forefront of cities' concerns.
The multidimensional role of land was pointed out and the prioritization of land use, diversity of employment opportunities, particularly in peri-urban areas were emphasized. Capacity building and creating opportunities for rural livelihoods were recommended as measures against rural – urban migration.
he Executive Secretary of UNCCD Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw pointed out that cites are not just part of the problem, but can become a part of the solution. He called for a new common development paradigm for urban and rural areas, using land as a foundation for positive change. The Local and Regional Government Day is followed by a High-Level Segment on ‘Rural and Urban Communities – Failing or Flourishing Together” scheduled for 9 September 2019.
Photo (left to right): Eduardo Mansur, Durector, Land and Water Division, FAO; Morgane Chiocchia, Associate Programme Officer, UNCCD; Dr. Divya Datt, Programme Management officer, UN Environment India; Dr. Babu, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, University of Delhi; Ms. Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, Thematic Specialist on Migration, Environment and Climate Change, IOM.