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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
UN Secretary General: Governments need to adopt a target of no more land degradation by 2020

New York, USA, 22 September 2011 – A historic United Nations General Assembly meeting on desertification and drought, the first times heads of state and government have met to discuss the issue, concluded in New York yesterday. Closing the high-level meeting attended by over 100 heads of state and government, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the current session of the General Assembly said "unless desertification, land degradation and drought are addressed urgently wherever they occur, the three pillars of sustainable development would be corroded." In his summary, Al-Nasser said many leaders supported the establishment of an advisory panel to strengthen the scientific basis of the work. They also stressed making the UN Convention to Combat Desertification a global policy and monitoring framework to address the issues of soil and land degradation, building a land degradation neutral world and improving funding activities to recover degraded land. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the meeting, UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said, "recent studies show that land degradation is occurring in humid, tropical areas at a faster rate than ever before. It is a phenomenon that now affects every region of the world. Let us resolve today to adopt a target of no more land degradation by the end of this decade. Let us make sustainable land-use a cornerstone of the green economy for poverty eradication and sustainable development." More than 100 Heads of State and Government and other high-ranking officials, attended the meeting three weeks before the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) at its tenth session (COP 10), to be held in Changwon, Republic of Korea, from 10 to 21 October 2011. The UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said "to sustain life on Earth we must build a land degradation neutral world. If we do not take bold actions to protect, restore and manage land and soils sustainably, we will miss climate change, biodiversity, forests and MDG targets. We will not alleviate rural poverty and hunger, ensure long-term food security, build resilience to drought and water stress. This will lead to consequences including more political conflicts over scarce resources and continued forced migrations." "Our most significant non-renewable geo resource is fertile land and soil. Nevertheless each year, an estimated 24 billion tons of fertile soil are lost. Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. In the drylands, due to drought and desertification 12 million ha are transformed in new man-made deserts each year. The world has continued building towards 'a soil peak' which will have far-worse consequences than the current 'oil peak'," he said. Land degradation is a global phenomenon, with 78% of the degrading land taking place in the non-drylands. A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shows states that 900 million hectares of degraded land still offer opportunities for restoration, which is an opportunity for investment. During the opening Plenary, the UNCCD COP President, on behalf of the G77 and China and the incoming UNCCD COP10 President, Republic of Korea, as well as the representatives of the African States, the European Union and the United States of America echoed urgent calls for greater international awareness of the issue and concerted action to address it. At the beginning of the event, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, French photographer and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador previewed his new film 'Desertification'. It shows the impact the world's people have on the planet. At the launch of an earlier film he remarked, "It's too late to be pessimistic." At the press conference, Hifikenye Pohambo, President of Namibia, said "land degradation is a global problem, thus it must be addressed through joint efforts and cooperation." About the 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. The Convention focuses on all the world's drylands, home to over 2 billion people, 50% of the world's livestock and accounting for 44% of all cultivated ecosystems. The Convention's 194 Parties are dedicated to combating land degradation and mitigating the effects of drought in the drylands by improving the living conditions of the affected populations and ecosystems. Contact UNCCD Secretariat: Wagaki Mwangi, +49 228 8152820, mobile +49 173 2687593, email: wmwangi@unccd.int Yukie Hori, +49 228 8152829, mobile +49 173 2687590, email: yhori@unccd.int  

UN Secretary General: Governments need to adopt a target of no more land degradation by 2020
Actions to reverse increasing loss of productive lands in world's dry regions the focus of UN high-level meeting

More than two billion people are affected by desertification, which leads to poverty, drought, famine, demographic pressures New York, United States, 19 September 2011 – The United Nations will convene a high-level meeting on Tuesday, 20 September to focus on actions to protect the drylands, home to two billion people. Productive lands in dry regions around the world are under increasing threat due to poor land management practices and climate change. More than 12 million hectares of productive land are lost due to desertification every year, the equivalent of losing an area the size of South Africa every decade. While productive land becomes scarcer, providing food for the 9 billion people predicted to live on Earth in 2050 will require a 70 per cent increase in global food production. The UN high-level meeting aims to spur actions to reverse desertification. To develop better policies for sustainable land management with a firmer scientific basis, one of the meeting's main discussion points will be the establishment of a global scientific panel to foster stronger connections between the scientific community and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). More than 100 Heads of State and Government, or Heads of Delegation, will participate in the high-level meeting, which will open with a 9:30am plenary, followed by interactive panels and a closing plenary at 5:45pm. A short film, "Desertification", by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, cinematographer and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme, will be screened at the meeting. "The people who live in the arid lands, which occupy more than 40 per cent of our planet's land area, are among the world's poorest and most vulnerable to hunger," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "Frequently, they depend on land that is degraded and where productivity has shrunk to below subsistence levels." While the term desertification often conjures up visions of land turning into barren tracts of sand, it actually refers to a less dramatic but equally destructive process - the loss of the capacity to grow crops or raise livestock in arid, semi-arid or dry sub-humid areas, so-called drylands, where some 2.3 billion people live in nearly 100 countries. "This high-level meeting will provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the global land degradation threat and the urgent need for stronger action," UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said. "We are all at risk. Just 6-10 inches of top soil stand between us and extinction." By controlling and reversing desertification, curbing the effects of drought and restoring productive lands, there is an opportunity to make a direct positive contribution to reducing poverty, improving people's lives and meeting the targets of the Millennium Development Goals. Addressing desertification ensures that reducing poverty and improving development are sustainable over the long term, especially with an expanding global population. After the meeting's conclusion, the President of the General Assembly will present a summary of the discussions to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification at its tenth session (COP 10), to be held in Changwon, Republic of Korea, from 10 to 21 October 2011, and to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, often referred to as Rio +20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 4 to 6 June 2012. About the UNCCD Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention's 194 signatory countries, or Parties, work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. More information on the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting: /meetings/global/unga/menu.php For media information, contact: UN Department of Public Information: Dan Shepard, 1 212 9639495, shepard@un.org Wynne Boelt 1 212 9638264, boelt@un.org UNCCD Secretariat: Wagaki Mwangi, +49 228 8152820, wmwangi@unccd.int Issued by the UN Department of Public Information and UNCCD

Actions to reverse increasing loss of productive lands in world's dry regions the focus of UN high-level meeting