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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
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