The fifteenth session of the Committee of the Review of Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (CRIC 15) concluded last October 19 in Nairobi, Kenya. Three issues are deemed particularly important to move forward with Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).
First, a very successful interactive session on the voluntary national LDN target setting exercise was conducted. More than 40 speakers embraced the ground covered after the decisions of COP 12, including the work done by the UNCCD Science Policy Interface in developing the LDN conceptual framework, the 17 international partners supporting the LDN target setting exercise and how far it has come. Overall, the CRIC interactive discussions left a flavor of a growing appetite for LDN and setting national targets as a real game changer for the implementation of the Convention. The discussion reinforced an echoing voice of the benefits of LDN as pursuing coherence to very well developed planning through the neutrality approach; LDN as a sine qua non of the Sustainable Development Goals; LDN as a cornerstone for food security, poverty eradication and resilience to climate change; and LDN as a catalyzer for synergistic opportunities between the 3 Rio Conventions.
Second, 102 countries already committed to set voluntary national LDN targets, shared their experiences and started to pave the road for implementation. Two workshops that preceded the CRIC session set the tone for very fruitful following discussions by bringing together the group of pioneer countries and the increasing number of new countries embarking on the journey of LDN targets setting. After two days of workshops from 14 to 15 October, representatives of participating countries had a broad picture of how to move forward for LDN implementation and identified concrete action paths to tap into the increasing financing opportunities that LDN is already bringing, including the private sector.
Third, increasing finance opportunities. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement are reshaping the financing landscape for development. During CRIC discussions, countries and partners welcomed these new windows of opportunity for scaling up finance to support the implementation of the Convention, including through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as well as the catalytic role of the private sector.
After the productive CRIC deliberations, opportunities ahead can be summarized in two areas of work: 1) Deliver results through transformative projects and, 2) leverage finance and finding new and innovative ways to mobilize resources at the scale required to achieve LDN.
Development partners, governments, private sector, civil society and the UNCCD Secretariat and Global Mechanism are ready to step up their efforts to make of the LDN targets a transformational paradigm shift.
Let’s be bold and keep working together!