The GEF Scientific and Advisory Panel (GEF STAP) has released the Guidelines for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). LDN aims to preserve land resources by ensuring no net loss of healthy and productive land through a combination of measures that avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation. Achieving neutrality requires estimating the likely impacts of land-use and land management decisions, then counterbalancing anticipated losses through strategically planned rehabilitation or restoration of degraded land within the same land type. LDN can only be achieved through coordinated efforts to integrate its objectives with land-use planning and land management, underpinned by sound understanding of the human-environment system and effective governance mechanisms.
The technical report was written by Annette Cowie in close collaboration with Graciela Metternicht, both former UNCCD SPI members. The document was prepared in close consultation to ensure continuity with the LDN Conceptual Framework as well as guidance developed by the Global Mechanism of UNCCD. The timeliness of the publication reflects the fact that land use change and destruction of natural habitats is the primary indirect driver behind emerging infectious diseases. The no-net loss approach of LDN is a holistic policy response to optimizing land use decisions that can keep food, energy and nature in balance.