Bonn, Germany – At least 90 countries have already set voluntary national targets to restore more than 450 million hectares of land under UNCCD – the largest global restoration initiative and a significant milestone for the Convention. But where is the land that is being restored? How many people will benefit from land restoration? What social, economic and environmental gains will communities in these areas receive from all this work?
What if countries had the tools to visualize the data they are generating in the exact spots where the restoration is happening? What if the visuals could help them to assess understand this mapped data for better decision-making?
This possibility is now within reach. In February 2021, the UNCCD became the thirty-seventh member of the UN Geospatial Network, the coordination mechanism of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) set up in 2011 to strengthen the coordination and coherence of geospatial information management within the UN system. The network, whose members are among the top tier professionals in the field of geospatial information management, is led by a chair, two vice-chairs and a steering group.
Now UNCCD will be able to leverage the network to develop the new geospatial reporting platform based on best practices and standards. The convention will focus its participation in the network on two of its seven transformation pathways: innovation and technology, and data and standards. UNCCD can contribute demonstration projects to the network and will use the lessons learned to make geospatial data and technology more relevant to the land agenda. For example, the GEO Land Degradation Neutrality Initiative (GEO LDN) aims to unite the Earth Observation and geospatial community to assist countries and other users, particularly those with limited capacities, to carry out assessments and implement LDN activities.