The Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Target Setting Project recently won the inaugural Impact Award of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The award recognizes the project’s innovative, science-based and participatory approach to support countries in setting targets to halt land degradation by 2030.
The IUCN Impact Award was designed to recognize the most successful or innovative project implemented by IUCN in 2018. An expert panel, consisting of members of IUCN’s leadership team, selected the LDN Target Setting Project for its support of national commitments worldwide to spearhead action on the ground.
The LDN Target Setting Project supports countries in setting voluntary targets to achieve LDN by 2030 as a means to protect and restore land as well as contribute to food security and biodiversity conservation along with climate change mitigation and adaptation. The project is implemented by the IUCN Global Drylands Initiative and executed by the Global Mechanism of UNCCD. The project is a key step in advancing the UNCCD LDN Target Setting Programme that is implemented with the technical, institutional and financial support of some 20 international partners. The Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The Programme has mobilized almost USD 8 million from multiple bi-lateral and multi-lateral donors, including Türkiye’s Ankara Initiative and the Republic of Korea’s Changwon Initiative. To date, over 120 countries have committed to setting voluntary LDN targets. Of these, 84 countries have already set their LDN targets, and 76 of them are directly supported by the GEF-funded LDN Target Setting Project.
Since its launch in 2016, the LDN Target Setting Project has generated strong momentum. By helping countries define measurable LDN targets, it has helped implement the UNCCD priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national level.
This Impact Award recognises the LDN vision of the participating countries and the collaborative efforts to foster stronger international engagement and commitment for achieving this vision. The number and the spectrum of countries, institutions and partner agencies involved in LDN target setting along with high-level political commitment for LDN have helped to bring LDN into the mainstream sustainable development agenda. This creates a foundation for achieving target 15.3 of the SDGs and developing operational synergies with related SDGs, Rio Conventions and other initiatives both globally and nationally.
The recently declared 2021–2030 UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration offers an unprecedented opportunity to scale up actions to restore ecosystems, create jobs and address climate change. LDN can play a pivotal role in these efforts, and IUCN, together with the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, are leading the way to inspire bold actions through the development of innovative and transformative projects and programmes to achieve LDN.
Image: (c) FAO