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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
Land for Life Award: UN Calls for Applications, Announces Expert Jury

Bonn, Germany, 20 December 2011 – The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has recently announced the Land for Life Award, with a fund of up to 100,000 USD, to recognize excellence in sustainable land management, particularly efforts that promote the natural health and productivity of the earth's soils. The deadline for applications is 29 February 2012. The award will go to outstanding initiatives which reduce land degradation through sustainable land management, or are outstanding examples of political leadership, policy, business, advocacy campaigns or scientific research. With the launch of the award, the UNCCD secretariat and partners aim to raise awareness about the benefits of soil preservation, and that restoring degraded land is a key solution to some of the pressing problems of our time, such as hunger and global climate change. "Globally, two billion hectares of degraded forest and agricultural land offers opportunity for restoration and investment, and that does not include the potential in some dry areas such as the Sahel," said Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, when launching the award. "Turning this degraded land into productive land will require action from people at all levels, from business and policy makers, to community groups and farmers. By rewarding success stories and best practices through the Land for Life Award, we aim to celebrate and bring visibility to these unsung 21st Century heroes, to contribute towards the scaling up of their work and hopefully generate interest among others to support their initiatives. We also want to cultivate a culture of learning new and innovative ways to restore degraded land. Only then can we hope to achieve a land degradation neutral world." A jury of ten prominent leaders from the field of sustainable land management will select the award winners and determine the prize money allocation. Representing civil society, the jury includes: Dr. Vandana Shiva, a renowned seed sovereignty activist and founder Nevdanya International in India; Professor Mick Dodson, a prominent indigenous land rights advocate and the 2009 Australian of the Year; and Ms. Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International and former Minister of the Environment in Ecuador. From the field of academia and science, the jury includes: Dr. Camilla Toulmin, Director, International Institute for Sustainable Development in the UK; Dr. Mary Seely, Founder, Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, and Dr. Dennis Garrity, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador and former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya. Dr. Joachim von Braun, Director of the Center for Development Research in Germany, and Dr. Naomi Kipuri, a Masaai anthropologist and Executive Director of the Arid Lands Institute in Kenya, will also serve on the jury. From the inter-governmental side, the jury will include the Minister of the Korea Forest Service, Dr. Don Koo Lee, who is also currently the president of the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the UNCCD, and Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. The winners will be announced on the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June 2012, and honoured at the 11th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention. The 2012 Land for Life award is a collaboration between the UNCCD and the Korea Forest Service, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Global Environment Facility, International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Qatar National Food Security Programme, the Business Forum in Korea and the Elion Resources Group, China. 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 the Land for Life web page. Or contact: Emily Davila Email: L4L@unccd.int Tel: +49 (0) 228 815 2831

Land for Life Award: UN Calls for Applications, Announces Expert Jury
UNCCD and ITTO Join Forces to Reverse Timber-Related Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Dry Tropical Forests

Bonn, Germany, 14 December 2011 – Tropical timber is a valuable agricultural commodity whose production however has been associated with excessive forest clearing in dry tropical forests, causing degradation of these biomes with all its implications. To stop and reverse this detrimental process, measures for a sustainable management of the resource base of tropical timber are necessary, as is transparency in its international trade and utilization. This is addressed by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), whose members represent about 80% of the world's tropical forests and 90% of the global tropical timber trade. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has now joined forces with ITTO by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed by the Executive Director of ITTO, Mr. Emmanuel Ze Meka, and the Executive Secretary of UNCCD, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, during the 17th Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa on 7 December 2011. In an initial three-year cooperation within the framework of their respective ongoing work programmes, ITTO and UNCCD will aim to advance the implementation of sustainable forest management and sustainable land use management in dry tropical areas. Both bodies are well placed to further these endeavours, since all ITTO consumer and producer member countries, signatories of the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), are also members and signatories of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). For more information: Sergio A. Zelaya-Bonilla Coordinator Policy for Advocacy on Global Issues and Platforms United Nations Secretariat Hermann-Ehlers-Str. 10 53113 Bonn, Germany Tel: +49 228 8152825 Fax: +49 228 8152898/99 szelaya@unccd.int

UNCCD and ITTO Join Forces to Reverse Timber-Related Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Dry Tropical Forests