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Desertification Convention Breaks New Ground

Changwon City, Republic of Korea, 22 October 2011 – "This session will be remembered as the session that has brought a lot of innovation both in the actions proposed and the way parties interact among themselves. We have brought together the pieces that will enable the engine called science to move this process forward. We have dealt with knotty issues of institutional governance. The COP's high level segment showed an unmatched level of political will and there is a renewed spirit of international cooperation," said UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja. Some of the COP10 achievements mark a first among the three environmental conventions of climate change, biodiversity and desertification that emerged from Rio in 1992. Speaking at the end of the two week COP in Changwon City on Saturday morning, Mr. Gnacadja commended the parties for agreeing on a set of tools to measure the impact of their work, a first for the Rio Conventions, and the frameworks to address the foremost effects of climate change, food security and gender among the affected populations. "We have brought on board this process, business community, which is part of the problem, but can be a greater part of the solution, and we have put forward a strong message for the Rio+20 process to ensure sustainable land management is a cornerstone of the green economy," he added. Mr. Gnacadja said the COP10 outcomes will have a positive impact on the situation of the over 1.5 billion people who directly depend on degrading land for their livelihoods, and on the ecosystems affected by land degradation. Every year, 12 million hectares of land are lost through desertification and drought. Policy-making in the climate change and biodiversity Convention processes is backed by a strong independent science and knowledge community. Without a similar mechanism, policy-making in the desertification and land degradation process has often faltered. Progress has also been constrained by an institutional governance arrangement that has the left parties divided on crucial questions such as the accountability and financing of its bodies, and the support they give to affected developing country Parties. Both challenges were largely addressed at COP10. In what was widely seen as a very positive COP, attended by more than 6,000 people including over 80 ministers, deputy ministers and civil society representatives, as well as nearly 100 businesses representatives, Mr. Gnacadja said "the Changwon Initiative introduced by the COP10 Presidency will ensure that these outcomes do not end up on the shelves. They will be carried forward both in future scientific work and complement activities that could be considered in line with the Strategy laid out for 2008-2018." Highlighting what he termed one of his favorite outcomes because it strikes at the heart of the problem, Mr. Gnacadja said the Land for Life Award unveiled at the session "is for the 21st Century Heroes," who are conserving the land and preventing its degradation "against all odds of life. The odds of nature, such as climate change…of policy failure, such as neglect...of poverty, with no financial investments and incentives." In another first among comparable international environmental treaties, the emerging economies of Turkey, the Republic of Korea and Qatar made commitments to support the implementation of the Convention in affected developing countries. Under the treaty, these countries have no obligation to support other developing countries. The President of COP 10, Lee Don Koo, Minister, Korea Forest Service, said "the Conference performed its role as the place for environmental diplomacy. Countries from Africa, South Asia, Central and South America showed deep interest in Korea's greening success and asked to share our technology, knowhow and support in afforestation." "It provided an opportunity for raising awareness of desertification in the northeast Asian region such as China, Mongolia, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Till now, the awareness of the desertification problem has been mainly focused on Africa," he said. Further, Dr. Lee said, "COP10 will be remembered as a turning point for the Convention both on the key topics and process." Stressing that he will make every effort to concretize the Changwon Initiative, he said "it will bring a paradigm shift" that could lead to the achievement of a global target of zero net land degradation. The Land for Life Award, which was launched during this COP, is for emulation in order to promote proactive actions that deserve global recognition, he said. The participation of the business community will serve as a major platform to drive the private sector in combatting desertification, land degradation and drought, Dr. Lee added. As the president of the UNCCD COP 10 for the next two years, Dr. Lee pledged that his country would work hard "to fulfill our duties as President and play the leading role in combating desertification, land degradation and mitigating the effects of drought." The tenth session of the COP, held from 11-21 October, was attended by 161 Parties to the Convention, and was the first to be held in Asia. It was addressed by high-raking political figures and officials, including Mr. Kim Hwang-sik, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. COP10 was held two weeks after a related gathering of over 100 heads of state, government and delegations at the UN headquarters in New York on 20 September, which focused on "addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable land management and poverty reduction." Mr. Nassir Albdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the sixty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly, presented the outcomes of the high-level meeting at COP10. 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 Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi Tel: +49-228-815-2820 Email: wmwangi@unccd.int

Desertification Convention Breaks New Ground
World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum

​Private sector involvement in sustainable land management vital to ensuring future of productive lands around the world Changwon, Republic of Korea, 19 October 2011 - Nearly 100 business leaders have declared their support to combat land degradation and restore productive lands during the tenth session of the Conference of the Partiesto the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Over the next 25 years land degradation could reduce global food production by as much as 12 per cent leading to a 30 per cent increase in world food prices. More than 12 million hectares of productive land are lost due to desertification every year. 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. With the need growing for a diminishing natural resource, the private sector must be included to ensure protection of productive lands and restoration of degraded lands. "Sustainability is the opportunity for the 21st century,"UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said at the opening of the forum. "Businesses should be encouraged to adopt a precautionary approach to land management and to move towards 'zero net land degradation.'" The forum gathered representatives from related companies and organisations, including Yuhan-Kimberly, Cargill Korea, Ellion Resources Group and KPMG, to examine the challenges associated with corporate activities on land and soil and to showcase best practices and lessons learned from businesses. Designed as a private-sector-led initiative and voluntary action platform, participants noted that current environmental challenges cannot be solved without dynamic private sector involvement. Participants emphasised the critical role of the business community can play in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought. To catalyse long-term business engagement in land stewardship and to make the forum a lasting body, participants adopted the "Gyeongnam Declaration." The declaration stressed the need to reach a land degradation neutral world. It also contained a set of commitments agreed by the forum's business leaders. "In the declaration all of our thoughts are reflected, and I believe this declaration embodies our spirit," Kook-Hyun Moon, President of the New Paradigm Institute, said. "Soil and the body is not two but one. Soil is the soul of the land and with the soil the land will be useless in the same way that without the soul the body will be useless". The Gyeongnam Declaration is based in five main pillars: raising awareness within the private sector on the importance of land and the problems of desertification, land degradation and drought; promoting an effective public-private corporation to combat desertification; working together with governments to integrate the advanced technologies and creativity of business community and civil society in decision-making; Involving the universities and academia in the development of schemes that promote innovative business ventures aiming at sustainable land management;and encouraging the governments to develop new policies and incentives related to sustainable land management. The forum, which took place from 17-18 October, was organized by Korea Forest Service of the Republic of Korea, the New Paradigm Institute and UNCCD. 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 Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please visit http://www.unccd.int/cop/cop10/menu.php Or contact Mr. Marcos Montoiro, tel: +49-228-815-2826, email: mmontoiro@unccd.int Mr. Kook-Hyun Moon, tel: +822 2646 2001, email: moonkhorea@yahoo.co.kr

World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum
Land for Life Award seeks nominees for prize worth up to USD 100 000 to scale up sustainable land management

​Award announced to recognise significant and innovative contributions to reversing land desertification, land degradation and drought Changwon, Republic of Korea, 19 October 2011 – Seeking to promote efforts for sustainable land management, the Land for Life Award was launched at the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Land for Life Award will provide global recognition to individuals, teams, institutions, businesses, research institutes, public offices, political leaders, decision-makers, journalists, media, nongovernmental organizations and civil society organizations whose work and initiatives have made a significant and innovative contribution to sustainable land management. The Award will reward initiatives which contribute directly or indirectly to the regeneration and/or enhancement of soils' natural health and productive capacity or to the sustainable regeneration of depleted or drought affected lands. It recognizes innovative achievements which favour collaborative schemes, partnership-building across sectors, free knowledge sharing and capacity building, empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized groups and communities, and which foster gender equality, cultural diversity and social inclusion. In 2012, three awards will be granted from an amount up to USD 100,000. The use of the award money is limited to scaling-up the award-winning sustainable land management activity. The recipients of the Award will receive rewards in accordance to the kind of activities for which they are honoured, and free transportation and accommodation to attend the presentation ceremony on the occasion of the 11thsession of the UNCCD's next Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. The laureates will be notified in June 2012. A jury to determine winners will be composed of qualified and geographically balanced experts and renowned men and women in the field of development, sustainable land management and soil science. 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 Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information contact Ms. Yukie Hori, tel: +49 228 8152829, email: yhori@unccd.int

Land for Life Award seeks nominees for prize worth up to USD 100 000 to scale up sustainable land management
World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum

Private sector involvement in sustainable land management vital to ensuring future of productive lands around the world Changwon, Republic of Korea, 19 October 2011 – Nearly 100 business leaders have declared their support to combat land degradation and restore productive lands during the tenth session of the Conference of the Partiesto the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Over the next 25 years land degradation could reduce global food production by as much as 12 per cent leading to a 30 per cent increase in world food prices. More than 12 million hectares of productive land are lost due to desertification every year. 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. With the need growing for a diminishing natural resource, the private sector must be included to ensure protection of productive lands and restoration of degraded lands. "Sustainability is the opportunity for the 21st century,"UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said at the opening of the forum. "Businesses should be encouraged to adopt a precautionary approach to land management and to move towards 'zero net land degradation.'" The forum gathered representatives from related companies and organisations, including Yuhan-Kimberly, Cargill Korea, Ellion Resources Group and KPMG, to examine the challenges associated with corporate activities on land and soil and to showcase best practices and lessons learned from businesses. Designed as a private-sector-led initiative and voluntary action platform, participants noted that current environmental challenges cannot be solved without dynamic private sector involvement. Participants emphasised the critical role of the business community can play in addressing desertification, land degradation and drought. To catalyse long-term business engagement in land stewardship and to make the forum a lasting body, participants adopted the "Gyeongnam Declaration." The declaration stressed the need to reach a land degradation neutral world. It also contained a set of commitments agreed by the forum's business leaders. "In the declaration all of our thoughts are reflected, and I believe this declaration embodies our spirit," Kook-Hyun Moon, President of the New Paradigm Institute, said. "Soil and the body is not two but one. Soil is the soul of the land and with the soil the land will be useless in the same way that without the soul the body will be useless". The Gyeongnam Declaration is based in five main pillars: raising awareness within the private sector on the importance of land and the problems of desertification, land degradation and drought; promoting an effective public-private corporation to combat desertification; working together with governments to integrate the advanced technologies and creativity of business community and civil society in decision-making; Involving the universities and academia in the development of schemes that promote innovative business ventures aiming at sustainable land management;and encouraging the governments to develop new policies and incentives related to sustainable land management. The forum, which took place from 17-18 October, was organized by Korea Forest Service of the Republic of Korea, the New Paradigm Institute and UNCCD. 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 Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, please visit http://www.unccd.int/cop/cop10/menu.php Or contact Mr. Marcos Montoiro, tel: +49 228 8152826, email: mmontoiro@unccd.int Mr. Kook-Hyun Moon, tel: +822 2646 2001, email: moonkhorea@yahoo.co.kr

World business leaders launch Sustainable Land Management Business Forum
UN reveals "The Forgotten Billion"

Changwon City, Republic of Korea, 18 October 2011 – They are marginal and marginalized. There are one billion of them and they struggle to subsist in the world's drylands. They are the poor the world forgot. Initially unveiled for consultation last year, the UNCCD/UNDP report, "The Forgotten Billion: MDG Achievement in the Drylands," was formally launched today at the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP 10) where leaders, scientists, civil society organizations and others are striving to reach agreements to combat desertification, land degradation and drought. Drylands cover tracts of land encompassing North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They include the rangelands, temperate grasslands and savanna woodland but all have aridity in common. Nearly a billion of the two billion inhabitants of the world's drylands also share something else in common, poverty. The joint assessment report says that "in certain regions, human well-being, particularly female adult literacy and child survival, decline in parallel with the aridity gradient," which is related to water scarcity. It stresses development challenges faced by people in the drylands and states that, "It will be impossible to halve the world's poverty and hunger by 2015 unless life is improved for the poor people of the drylands." Supporting the "Forgotten Billion" will require concerted political will and a coordinated commitment of all development partners. Impressive successes can be attained with the right mix of leadership, policy and financial investments. The time has come for governments, donors and private sector partners to step up together to support lasting MDG achievement in the drylands and beyond. In response to this challenge, UNDP has developed a Millennium Development Goals Acceleration Framework, an innovative approach designed to help countries identify and resolve barriers to eradicating extreme poverty, and achieving sustainable development. Similarly, the UNCCD in 2007 agreed on a 10-year strategic plan and framework for the implementation of the Convention whose foremost strategic object is to improve the living conditions of the populations affected by desertification, land degradation and drought. The UNCCD COP taking place in Changwon is developing two supporting policy frameworks, one guiding action on food security, climate change and the other on gender. COP10 ends on Friday. If you need more information please contact our media and press officer whose details are below. Ms Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Secretariat Email: wmwangi@unccd.int Internet: www.unccd.int Ms. Anne Juepner UNDP-DDC Email: Anne.Juepner@undp.org Internet: www.undp.org About the UNCCD Developed as a result of the Rio Summit, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that has brought attention to land degradation to some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and people in the world. Fifteen years after coming into force, the UNCCD benefits from the largest membership of the three Rio Conventions and is increasingly recognized as an instrument which can make an important contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty reduction. About UNDP UNDP is the UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 177 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. The UNDP Drylands Development Centre is a unique global thematic centre that provides technical expertise, practical policy advice and programme support for poverty reduction and development in the drylands of the world. The Centre's work bridges between global policy issues and on-the-ground activities, and helps governments to establish and institutionalize the link between grassroots development activities and pro-poor policy reform. The main areas of focus are mainstreaming of drylands issues into national development frameworks; land governance; marking markets work for the poor; decentralized governance of natural resources; and drought risk management.

UN reveals "The Forgotten Billion"
UNCCD COP10 goes digital with use of tablet PCs

UNCCD first major UN conference to be eco-friendly through a partnership with the Gyeongnam Provincial Government and SK Telecom Changwon, Republic of Korea, 17 October 2011 – In an effort to bring state of the art service provision to parties and reduce overall environmental impact, conference participants are using tablet personal computers (PCs) during the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). “Using the latest advances in technology, the UNCCD is constantly seeking ways to improve its conference management process and contribute to enhanced environmental standards”. UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said. “Encouraging sustainability in all areas also helps our work on combating desertification, land degradation and drought.” The UNCCD partnered with the Gyeongnam Provincial Government and SK Telecom to provide 1000 Android-based Samsung Galaxy 10.1 Tablet PCs to conference participants for accessing official documents and the daily journal along with a variety of other material, directly from the tablet PC, using an Android based application. The tablets further offer internet access, photos and videos programmes together with Android-based web applications. “We have reduced the time it would take normally for participants to access key conference documents,” said Mr. Tarun Wadhawan, the Information Technology officer who first developed the idea. “Participants no longer need to carry and maintain the nearly 100 official documents produced at previous conferences and the Conference’s Internet café is underutilized,” he pointed out. The present first phase focuses on an eco-friendly approach that maximizes the sustainable use of paper while offering to participants an enhanced in-session access to documentation services, through state of the art electronic tools. Based on the participants’ feedback and post session statistics, further phases will be gradually introduced over the forthcoming sessions of the UNCCD governing bodies. The tablet application was presented to Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik of the Republic of Korea and UN General Assembly President in the afternoon, following the opening of the COP’s Ministerial segment. Each of the 194 Party delegations is allowed up to four tablet PCs. Representatives of international organisations and civil society organisations receive one Tablet PC each on a first come, first served basis. A loan station, using an interface application with the UNCCD registration system, was set up at the conference for participants to collect their tablet PCs with a dedicated help desk. The UN plans to follow COP10's example at future UN conferences, including at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, often referred to as Rio +20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro next year. The vision is to minimize the ecological footprint of UN conferences to the greatest extent possible. “This is only the beginning,” Mr. Gnacadja said. “As we head towards the Rio +20 Conference, our vision of becoming land degradation neutral entails an in depth look at the impact of all products on the land all the way from the supply chain to the consumer.” 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 Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land's productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought.

UNCCD COP10 goes digital with use of tablet PCs