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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
Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes Appointed Drylands Ambassador

Bonn, Germany/New York, United States, 16 November 2011 – The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Luc Gnacadja, has named Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011, as the Drylands Ambassador of the Convention. Drylands Ambassadors are appointed to take a lead in raising international awareness of land degradation, its causes and possible solutions. The other recent appointees are Dr Dennis Garrity, outgoing Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, South African gospel singer Deborah Fraser, and Spanish football star Carlos Marchena. "Miss Lopes comes from the African region where desertification, meaning the degradation of the land in the dryland areas, is the foremost environmental challenge. Part of her home country of Angola is threatened by desertification," said Mr Gnacadja during the announcement. Recent studies show that up to 2 billion hectares of degraded land and forest globally have the potential for restoration. "Land degradation entrenches affected populations into poverty, food insecurity and hunger and corrodes the three pillars of sustainable development. Achieving the change needed will take strong advocacy and outreach, but for long-term sustainability to be achieved three things are essential," Mr Gnacadja said. "We must commit to making the world land degradation neutral through preventive actions and by restoring an equivalent amount of the land we degrade every year. We must cultivate a culture of innovation and knowledge sharing required for an effective land stewardship, and we must contribute to the mainstreaming of sustainable land management techniques. The influence and aura that the Drylands Ambassadors possess can help us to achieve this essential endeavor for our common future, and we are delighted that Miss Lopes has agreed to be a part of this cause." Accepting the appointment, Miss Lopes said: "I am humbled and honored to be called upon to serve as a Drylands Ambassador for the Convention. This is an opportunity for me to be another voice for attending to land degradation and desertification throughout the world in order to create awareness on this important policy issue. By sharing knowledge and working together, we can help secure the health and productivity of all the drylands." Miss Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011 in São Paulo, Brazil, on September 12, 2011 after beating 88 competitors. Prior to being crowned, Miss Lopes held the title of Miss Angola Universe and was active with various social causes in her country. She worked with poor children and the elderly, as well as helped educate the Angolan community about HIV/AIDS. These are all concerns that resonate with a majority of the 1.5 billion poor people around the world who live off degrading land. In addition to speaking on behalf of these populations, the appointment of Miss Lopes as the Drylands Ambassador to advance the cause of the world becoming land degradation neutral enables her to fight for future generations, ensuring that we are good stewards of the land they have entrusted to us. For more information about Drylands ambassadors, or interviews with the UNCCD Executive Secretary contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi Tel: +49 228 8152820 Email: wmwangi@unccd.int For interviews with the Miss Universe, contact: Ms Brenda C. Mendoza Tel: + 1-212-373 4983 Email: bmendoza@missuniverse.com

Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes Appointed Drylands Ambassador