The winners of 2017 Land for Life Award received their recognition during the award ceremony that took place on 29 July 2017 at the 6th Kubuqi International Desert Forum in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.
The ceremony was attended by about 300 participants – among them land management experts, representatives of the government, the private sector and the media from China and other countries.
Mr. Wang Wenbiao, Secretary General of Kubuqi International Desert Forum together with Dr. Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNCCD, presented the Award trophies to the winners: the Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) of India, UN Environment with partner Practical Action Sudan and Ms. Pan Yingzhen, director of National Bureau to Combat Desertification of the State Forestry Administration of China.
The winners thanked UNCCD for the recognition of their efforts and expressed their commitment to continue their work in sustainable land management and share their experiences with others to combat desertification, restore land, advance green economy and ensure sustainability and stability of land-based communities.
In his thank-you remark, Mr. Lobo from the Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) highlighted the role of community-led watershed development and landscape regeneration to secure water, livelihoods and the environment for the communities based in the rain-dependent drylands. “Scaling up and achieving sustained impact requires active collaboration of multiple stakeholders from across the governance, public, private and civil society sectors working on all levels, from the village upwards to the province, state, national and even international,” Mr. Lobo added.
The representative of another winner, UN Environment and partner Practical Action Sudan, Mr. Awadalla Hamid Mohamed Osman, emphasized that the work on rehabilitation of Wadi el Ku catchment does not end after the ECO-DRR pilot project is completed – the community nursery, community forests and their management committee remain active. Larger Wadi El Ku catchment management project will start in October 2017, building on the experience from ECO-DRR Darfur pilot. The project received financial support from EU in the amount of ten million EUR to further rehabilitate the degraded land in Darfur, ensuring food security and creating jobs. As Mr. Mohamed Osman said: “When you give life to your land, the land will give you a really good life.”
The statement from Ms. Pan outlined that desertification is a serious threat for China, where it affects 27 per cent of land area. However, with the strong commitment of the Chinese government to address the issue and with the support of people from all walks of life, the country is working hard to fight this global challenge and have already substantially reduced the spread of desertification.
The Land for Life Award recipients also gave interviews to the media during the Forum. Their success stories will be also showcased during the upcoming UNCCD COP13 in Ordos, China.
Read more stories about winners.