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Welcome back, Canada

Canada Deposits its Instrument of Ratification to Re-Join the UNCCD Statement of Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD Yesterday, the Government of Canada communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations its accession to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). We welcome the action Canada has taken to rejoin the Convention, which will become a full party after 90 days, on 21 March 2017. The international community is facing new and growing challenges to its peace and security, wealth and sustainable development. No country is immune. No country can face these challenges alone. Many of these challenges stem in large part from the crises poor rural people are facing in meeting their daily needs of food, water, energy and income, and made worse by climate change. Canada’s contribution will take us further and faster in ensuring that the 2.8 billion people affected by land degradation today have the means and knowledge to avoid further degradation of their land and to recover what they have lost. Canada’s scientific expertise and practical experience in combatting desertification and drought can benefit rural households to improve their food and water security, and ensure every child has a fighting chance for a better life.  Further information About the Convention List of ratification Media release by the Government of Canada (external link)English  Français

Welcome back, Canada
Colombia advances on the SDG 15 agenda on “life on land” through the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management

According to the National Institute for Hydrometheorological and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), 40% of the national territory presents some degree of soil degradation by erosion. Additionally, it is estimated that 24% of land in Colombia is susceptible to degradation by aridity. Within the affected areas are the Colombian main cities, irrigation districts and regions with the highest population density. “Sustainable land management is a responsibility that concerns all sectors of society, so I invite you to join efforts and create joint actions aimed at protecting this natural resource that fulfills vital functions for human survival" said the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Luis Gilberto Murillo during a national event to celebrate World Soil Day, held on December 5th. In order to address this issue, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, together with other national and regional actors, are working in the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management. This policy seeks to promote sustainable soil management in a context in which biodiversity, water and air protection, land and disaster risk management converge, contributing to the sustainable development and the well-being of all Colombians. This policy proposes the implementation of a plan of action and the development of six strategic lines such as institutional strengthening and harmonization of standards and policies; education, training and awareness; strengthening of environmental and sectoral planning tools; monitoring of soil quality; research, innovation and technology transfer and preservation, restoration and sustainable use of the soil. Moreover, Colombia has been advancing in the assessment of soils, through the development of soil inventories, assessment of land use conflicts and degradation by erosion and salinization, among other aspects. The promotion of sustainable soil management in the region will contribute to addressing the global challenges and the fulfillment of Colombian international commitments, including: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Commitments to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, especially efforts to achieve the national Land Degradation Neutrality targets (currently under preparation) Eradication of hunger and malnutrition and ensuring food security for a growing population Adaptation and mitigation to climate change, especially in the light of the Paris Agreement, which contains a firm commitment to address climate change and at the same time attributes to the agriculture sector a leading role in this process The Aichi Targets, which highlight an important agenda for preserving biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services.

Colombia advances on the SDG 15 agenda on “life on land” through the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management
Be inspired by the 15 amazing young activists!

The UNCCD Land for Life Youth Social Media Activists Challenge semi finalists' result is out. 15 semi finalists were selected to be considered for the finals. Check here  to find out more about their activism.  The Challenge aims to recognize young people efforts in protecting natural resources and promoting environmental/ land resources justice. The selected finalists will be  recognized by UNCCD secretariat for their work and will be tasked to spread the UNCCD messages, in particular, creating awareness on land related issues among young people through social media. Currently, we are launching a public voting / polling to select the finalist candidates from 9 Dec - 22 December 2016. You are invited to have your say on who qualifies for the finals by casting their vote here :  http://woobox.com/6avg72. The public votes will be counted as part of the final decision of the winners. Related link: Land for Life programme

Be inspired by the 15 amazing young activists!
UNCCD Marketplace Writers Competition winner meets Monique Barbut

Russian national and one of the winners in the recently concluded Marketplace Writers Competition, Ms. Olga Sazonova paid a visit to the UNCCD Secretariat where she was welcomed by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Monique Barbut.  Mrs. Barbut presented to Ms. Sazonova the prizes she won for placing third in the Competition with her story “Бесценные «услуги» природы” which is loosely translated in English as, “Invaluable services of nature.” Mr. Sazonova received a certificate, a UNCCD package and a cash prize for her efforts. In presenting the prizes, the Executive Secretary expressed hearty congratulations to Ms. Sazonova and thanked her for participating in the competition. She encouraged her to help promote the UNCCD in her own country and in particularly to do her part to educate Russian speaking peoples on the concept and importance of Land Degradation Neutrality. Mrs. Barbut recalled Ms. Sazonova’s academic achievements thus far, impressing upon her that she could use her skills in both English and Russian to help people have a clearer understanding of the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought. In her response, Ms. Sazonova thanked the Executive Secretary for the opportunity to meet with her and remarked how happy and excited she was to be among the winners of this international competition. She assured the Executive Secretary that she was wholly committed to the issues of sustainability; explain that it was one reason why she is in pursuit of a second Master’s in the subject. She promised not only to participate in future Marketplace competitions, but to spread the word among her friends and colleagues. She underlined that this was indeed a special occasion for her as she considers it a great honor and privilege to meet the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. Attending the presentation were Ms. Yoon-kyoung Cho, who organized and administered the competition; Mr. Jijo Karthikeyan who provided technical assistance; and Dr. Richard Byron-Cox, Head of the Marketplace, who conceived the idea of the Marketplace Writers Competition. They too thanked Ms. Sazonova for participating in the completion, and in congratulating her reminded that the Capacity Building Marketplace is always open to the world free of cost!

UNCCD Marketplace Writers Competition winner meets Monique Barbut
Drylands must not be ‘deserts’ of investment, top UNCCD official urges

Bonn, Germany, 17 June 2011 – “Yesterday, the ‘First Africa Drylands Week’ ended with a simple, yet new, message: the drylands are areas with great potential for the development and sustainable growth of its populations and nations. We must translate this into reality in economic terms with regard to the costs of inaction in relation to the costs and benefits of action in order to convince treasuries that the drylands should no longer be ‘deserts’ of investment,” Mr. Luc Gnacadja, the UN’s top advisor on land degradation, desertification and drought, said this morning. “I am certain that the discussions and field trips this week [in Senegal] have clarified much better than I could ever do in words, that the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought while real, are solvable,” he added. Mr Gnacadja was speaking in Dakar, Senegal, at the global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification, which also ended today. At a parallel event, taking place in Madrid, Spain, world football star Mr Carlos Marchena was designated a Drylands Ambassador of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The events in Dakar brought together over 100 participants, including scientists, policy-makers and representatives of the international and civil society organizations and community groups, to consider ways to ensure the long-term sustainable management of the forests in the drylands. The Government of Senegal hosted both events, which were organized with the leadership of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in cooperation with the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF). In its joint press release dispatched from the events, the CPF said the First Africa Drylands Week “demonstrated renewed solidarity and unity throughout the Circum-Saharan region. Scientific and operational partnership, based on comprehensive consultation and inclusive approaches and methodologies between the development and cooperation partners, countries and civil society will reinforce governance systems, including sustainable land management, land tenure and secure livelihoods. Under this framework, individual countries, or groups of countries will be able to develop their own initiatives that will together contribute to successful land management, combat effects of climate change, prevent and combat desertification, conserve biodiversity and mitigate the vulnerability of rural and urban societies and ensure food security for the tens of millions of families, across the Sahara and the Sahel.” The CPF’s 27 partners are among the largest international organizations that focus on forest issues. About UNCCD Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. It focuses on drylands, which cover 41% of the Earth and are in habited by over 2 billion people. Drylands account for 44% of the world’s cultivated ecosystems and have provided 30% of all the world’s cultivated plants. However, eight of the world’s 25 biodiversity ‘hotspots’ are in the drylands and up to one fifth of the drylands have been steadily degraded since the 1980s. The Convention’s 193 Parties are dedicated to improving the living conditions of the world’s poorest 1.2 billion resident in the drylands, to maintaining and restoring the land’s productivity, and to mitigating the effects of drought.

Drylands must not be ‘deserts’ of investment, top UNCCD official urges
Qatar to champion food security issues in the drylands

Bonn, Germany, 9 June 2011 – A special event expected to establish a Global Drylands Land Alliance (GDLA) is planned for the eve of the UN High level meeting to be held on 20 September 2011. The special event, to be co-hosted by the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) and the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), was one of the outcomes of meetings held by the chief executives of the two institutions on 15-17 May 2011 in Doha, Qatar. During his meeting in Doha at the invitation of the QNFSP, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, recalled that the Convention’s aim for the future is “to forge a global partnership to reverse and prevent desertification/land degradation and provide a global framework to support the development and implementation of national and regional policies, programmes and measures through scientific and technology excellence. The vision and mission of the GDLA would be to achieve food security and sustainable development in the world’s drylands at national, regional and global levels. Building a global alliance of governments, research and development institutions, NGOs and the private sector to partner in the sustainable development of the drylands and food security worldwide is a step in that direction.” Mr. Fahad Al-Attiya, Chairman of the QNFSP, with Mr Gnacadja, UNCCD. Mr. Fahad Al-Attiya, Chairman of the QNFSP, said the Global Drylands Land Alliance is a partnership “to catalyze the UNCCD process and implementation” and demonstrate the shared vision and mission of the Alliance and the Convention’s Ten-Year Strategy. He concurred that the alliance can constitute a tool to achieve the UNCCD vision and mission. Mr. Gnacadja and Mr. Al-Attiya committed to work hand-in-hand to ensure that drylands issues receive the required attention from the world leaders. Mr. Gnacadja also met with Mr. Ahmad Bin Abdullah Bin Z. Al-Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar. Mr. Gnacadja commended the leadership of the Government of Qatar in championing the dryland issues, including those related to food security. Minister Al-Mahmoud expressed Qatar’s commitment to play its role in these respects, stressing that the world has become a global village. Mr Al-Mahmoud and Mr. Gnacadja underscored the historic nature of the upcoming High level meeting on desertification and discussed the future role that Qatar could play in UNCCD processes. Minister Al-Mahmoud said his Government was committed to playing a leadership role on these matters. Mr. Gnacadja visited other Qatari institutions, particularly those involved in environment and energy resources, including the Qatar Foundation, where he held exchanges on the Qatar Sustainable Water and Energy Utilization Initiative (QWE), the Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute (QEERI) and the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP). He urged them to advance the agenda of the GDLA by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by five upcoming milestones, namely, the UN General Assembly’s High level meeting (20 September 2011), the UNCCD tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (Changwon, South Korea, 11-20 October 2011), the Rio Plus 20 Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 4-6 June 2012), the Food Security Summit (Doha, November 2012) and the eleventh session of the UNCCD COP (September 2013). In September 2010, the Office of the Heir Apparent of Qatar hosted a similar side event on the margins of the General Assembly meeting on the Millennium Development Goals. For more information on the UNGA High level meeting contact: Melchiade Bukuru UNCCD New York Liaison Office Email: bukuru@un.org Tel: +1 917 367 4081 For all other media-related inquiries, contact: Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Secretariat Email: wmwangi@unccd.int Tel: +49 228 815 2820

Qatar to champion food security issues in the drylands