12 September 2017 – Ordos, China – The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (LDN Fund) was launched on 12 September 2017 at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Ordos, China.
With an initial target size of US$300 million, the LDN Fund is a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle leveraging public money to raise private capital for sustainable land management and landscape restoration activities worldwide that contribute to the achievement of land degradation neutrality, one of the global targets under Sustainable Development Goal no. 15 ‘Life on Land’.
Opening the launch event, Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary highlighted: ‘The LDN Fund is a very innovative instrument that we developed over the past three years through the Global Mechanism in close collaboration with Mirova and numerous partners from the public sector, the private sector, and civil society. We are proud to see it enter into the operational phase as it will significantly increase finance for transformative projects addressing land degradation.’
Philippe Zaouati, Chief Executive Officer of Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers dedicated to responsible investing, said: ‘Rehabilitating degraded land, protecting vital ecosystems and empowering sustainable business around the world is what the LDN Fund is all about, and we believe this can be achieved along with competitive market-level returns. To do so, it takes a strategic vision supported by specialist capabilities. Combining on-the-ground experience and extensive investment resources, Mirova values innovative solutions for financing sustainable development, and will demonstrate the commitment required for the natural capital investing market to develop and grow.’
A separate Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) is being set up to support project operators in the development of quality projects, in line with the Scientific Conceptual Framework for LDN, which was also presented at COP13, for consideration by the Fund. The LDN Fund and its TAF are backed by a large network of partners, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the government of Luxembourg, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Credit Agricole du Maroc, the Canadian pension fund FondAction, WWF and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, all present at the event.
Christopher Knowles, Head of Climate Change and Environment Division at EIB, commented: ‘Reflecting EIB’s commitment to supporting climate related investment I am pleased that we were able to support such a sound and sustainable investment fund initiative. The LDN Fund is designed as a vehicle to complement innovative financing instruments with a range of technical assistance tools to provide rounded solutions for commercially promising sustainable land management projects, in ways that are greatly beneficial to local communities. In EIB’s vast portfolio, these type of projects are like the jewels of the crown’.
Roland Reiland, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of China, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, added: ‘Luxembourg has supported the LDN Fund since the early days. Through a public-private partnership, the LDN Fund is expected to unlock new channels and higher levels of impactful financing for the fight against desertification and land degradation, thereby contributing to sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Luxembourg’s decision to invest 5 million Euro in the LDN Fund is part of our commitment to international climate finance and comes on top of our ODA.’
More photos from the launch event (courtesy of IISD).