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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
Ten Million People at risk as East Africa faces worst drought in 60 Years, WMO-UNCCD action underway

Geneva, Switzerland/Bonn, Germany, 1 August 2011 – The latest famine in Somalia has put a spotlight on the urgent need to develop national and regional drought policies, according to the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which are jointly leading the international action to address the growing impact of droughts. Drought is expected to continue in hard-hit southern Somalia during August and September, as well as parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, according to the latest WMO Climate Outlook Forum for the region, which provides regional climate forecasts. The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) already called for preparedness for an ongoing long period of drought over parts of the equatorial region in its climate update for the Greater Horn of Africa on 15 January 2011. Droughts have become more common over the past two decades. This is consistent with reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stating that the world has become more drought-prone over the last 25 years, and will see an increased frequency of droughts in the future. "Droughts do not happen overnight," said Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), responding to the declaration of famine by the United Nations earlier this month. "The UNCCD joins the calls on the international community to respond urgently to this crisis. At the same time, we stress the need for effective, long-term solutions to the root causes of famine in drought-prone regions, such as implementation of drought management systems and measures to stop desertification, which means land degradation in drylands." "We are moving forward quickly to provide integrated drought information to help decision-makers deal with drought, such as the one underway right now in East Africa," said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. "Drought is a serious and growing problem in many countries. Adaptation to drought, desertification and climate change urgently needs to be mainstreamed in national development policies." Mr Gnacadja visited Mr Jarraud at WMO earlier this month to discuss cooperation between the two organizations, following the UN declaration of famine for two provinces in southern Somalia on 13 July 2011. The two organizations have a long-standing partnership. Most recently they have championed the use of the Standard Precipitation Index, as a universal meteorological drought index to improve monitoring and climate risk management among countries. "It's high time for UN joint action on droughts," said Mr Jarraud. "We need more coordinated action for monitoring and early warning systems that deliver timely information to decision-makers; improved impact assessment procedures; pro-active risk management measures and preparedness plans; and stronger emergency response programmes." WMO is working with its scientific network to offer the best policy advice available on drought management. A WMO international meeting on national drought policies, hosted by George Mason University (USA) on 14-15 July 2011, outlined steps for countries to learn from each other to reduce drought risks. WMO is compiling a "best-practices" compendium to help countries move rapidly to develop their own national drought policies appropriate to their local conditions. As part of this process, WMO and UNCCD will lead international discussions in November to build integrated drought information systems. To this end, the two organizations, along with Morocco's national meteorological service and the US National Integrated Drought Information System, are organizing an international symposium in Casablanca, Morocco from 9 to 11 November 2011. World Meteorological Organization is the United Nations System's authoritative voice on Weather, Climate and Water The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The UNCCD focuses on the drylands, which cover 41% of the Earth and are inhabited by over 2 billion people, and works to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please contact: At World Meteorological Organization: Carine Richard-Van Maele Chief, Communications and Public Affairs Tel: +41 22 7308315 email: cpa@wmo.int Clare Nullis Press Officer, Communications and Public Affairs Tel: +41 22 7308478; 41 79 7091397 (cell) email: cnullis@wmo.int web: www.wmo.int At UNCCD: Yukie Hori, Coordinator, Awareness Raising, Communication and Education Unit Tel. +49 228 8152829

Ten Million People at risk as East Africa faces worst drought in 60 Years, WMO-UNCCD action underway