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The fifteenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15) concluded on 20 October with great strides to refine the direction of the Convention’s strategic future. At the closing of the session, the UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut expressed hope that the Convention could find solutions for the ecosystems affected by land degradation and deliver services to those affected by it. She also expressed hope that most Parties will have LDN targets and make those ambitions a reality. Further, she reiterated the importance of the coming months for addressing synergies among the Rio Conventions as the other sister conventions, namely, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will organize their Conference of the Parties in Marrakesh and Cancun respectively. In the closing statement, CRIC 15 Chair Raymond Baptiste (Grenada), asked parties to reflect one question. Can we truly achieve LDN on a global scale if the remaining countries were to set voluntary national targets? He said he raised the question in light of the issue of national sovereignty. He said this would be his last CRIC session as he would soon be retiring, but noted that his exit does not mark an end to his commitment to the work of the Convention. He urged delegates to hasten the delivery of the outputs. Each of the regional groups made its closing remarks, and Turkey, which holds the COP 12 Presidency, said the enthusiasm shown to take the Convention to a new level and to succeed was inspiring. The UNCCD turns its energy for the next COP, which will be organized in Ordos, China, next year. At the next COP, the Parties will decide on the Strategic Framework that will guide action under the Convention from 2018-2030. Press release CRIC15 webpage ENB coverage on CRIC15 Homepage carousel photo: ENB/IISD
102 countries have already committed to translating the global Land Degradation Neutrality target into country-specific targets and actions that generate multiple benefits: from climate change mitigation and adaptation to zero hunger; from ensuring access to clean water to creating decent work and green jobs. The UNCCD Secretariat and the Global Mechanism, in collaboration with close to 20 bilateral and multilateral partners are supporting countries on the LDN target setting journey. We are therefore delighted to announce the release of three new publications: Land in Balance is a science-policy brief prepared by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI). It gives an overview of the scientific conceptual framework for land degradation neutrality (LDN). The conceptual framework creates a common understanding of the LDN objective and consistency in approaches to achieving LDN. Scaling up Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting - From Lessons to Actions: 14 Pilot Countries’ Experiences, distils countries’ real cases and partners’ experiences from the pilot project findings into top lessons and takeaways. It aims to provide easy access to practical solutions for decision makers, country stakeholders and development partners interested in engaging in the LDN target setting process. Achieving Land Degradation at the country level: Building blocks for LDN Target Setting, explains in practical terms how to put the evolving LDN concept into practice. Four building blocks form the basis of the LDN target-setting process, developed with the scientific guidance of the UNCCD Science- Policy Interface (SPI) and feedback received from country Parties and stakeholders. You can download all three publications via the links, below: Land in Balance (English) (3.15 MB) Terres en équilibre (français) (2.64 MB) Una tierra equilibrada (español) (3.17 MB) Scaling up Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting - From Lessons to Actions: 14 Pilot Countries’ Experiences (1.76 MB) Achieving Land Degradation at the country level: Building blocks for LDN Target Setting (1.48 MB)
“Ignoring land degradation neutrality (LDN) could be political suicide,” said Monique Barbut, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), emphasizing the real benefits populations will feel in terms of climate change, rural employment and food security. LDN is one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. At the opening of the fifteenth session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC15) being held in Nairobi, Barbut explained why LDN is so important. CRIC, the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention, was established by decision 1/COP 5, as a subsidiary body to the COP. CRIC15 will consider LDN within the Strategic Framework that will guide action under the Convention from 2018-2030 and is set to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD next year. “Ten billion people on earth by 2050 require food production to increase by 70%. That means expansion and exploitation of at least 4 million hectares of new land each year. But we have 2 billion hectares of degraded land out there, of which 500 million ha can be restored. If we restored just 300 million hectares of that, we would be able to recover lost ecosystems and feed the entire population. We would be able to sequester a significant amount of CO2 as well. It is the fastest and most cost-effective way to do so.” Barbut said. Over 100 countries have begun setting their own practical and ambitious LDN targets. Kenya who hosts CRIC15 is among them. Opening the session, Charles Sunkuli, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources announced, “In September, 2016 the country launched an ambitious land restoration programme targeting 5.1 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes for restoration by 2030.” He underlined that the pressure on households to meet their immediate and urgent needs makes pushes them to prioritize the short term over long term interests and sustainable development. He said Kenya is working with the local and county governments in order to meet its targets to control land degradation, and other initiatives such as the Bonn Challenge. Barbut also confirmed China is set to host the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties in Ordos, Inner Mongolia in 2017. CRIC15 will be held in Nairobi until 20 October 2016. CRIC15 web page Statement by the UNCCD Executive Secretary Statement by the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya
In August 2016, the United Nations in Ukraine and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, in close cooperation with other UN organizations, joined forces to launch a series of thematic consultations at the national and regional levels to support the national Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. The purpose of consultation was to integrate the relevant decisions and outcomes of RIO+20 and SDGs into national policy. The process has been rolled-out to inform relevant national stakeholders about UNCCD implementation, the selected set of progress indicators, as well as to discuss opportunities that the LDN concept creates for Ukraine with regard to sustainable land management leverage, updating land data and creating country capacity in monitoring and accounting for voluntary LDN targets. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, the UNCCD national focal point and the national science and technology correspondent actively contributed by sharing documentation, participating at expert level meetings and at the National Dialogue, and consulting UNDP. The results of these consultations will provide the key inputs for a national report titled "SDGs for Ukraine" - the reference document on how to integrate the SDGs in national plans, strategies and programmes. The document will also inform the elaboration of the new "Five-year Government of Ukraine - the UN Development Cooperation Framework". This is an example of good practice of how LDN can be integrated in national policy processes, shaping the SDG national agenda. It reflects Ukraine's consolidated track record of fostering cooperation among relevant national processes, as previously demonstrated in the context of the UNDP/GEF Project "Integrating Rio Conventions Provisions into Ukraine's National Policy Framework" (2014 - to date). This project supports a local initiative to restore land that has degraded as a result of illegal extraction of minerals, and which directly contributes to the LDN implementation process. In an effort to reach out to the general public, Ukraine also recently devoted public space to promoting the Rio Conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals, including the production of a bill board dedicated to promote public awareness on combating desertification. UNDP was responsible for setting up the bill board in various regions and cities of Ukraine.
How can the UNCCD Parties and other stakeholders build on their achievements on empowering women to make an even stronger impact? In the eve of the 15th session of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC15), the members of the civil society organizations exchanged on how they can help shape the future by engaging parties actively on the topic. The informal consultations on gender and women’s land rights focused on (1) women’s land rights; (2) monitoring women’s empowerment/gender in the new strategy; (3) networking with women’s organizations; and (4) organization of the Ministerial Dialogue on Gender. The participants shared the view that the land rights link with many other critical issues on women’s empowerment. But religions and culture still hinder real dialogues on women’s land rights. To tackle the issue, men need to be more integrated into the process, for example, by identifying/educating gatekeepers among them about the importance of women’s land rights, utilizing the traditional family structure to discuss women’s rights to land, etc. The existing legislations on the land need to be examined at a country level. There are a number of practical examples and successful stories shared during the interactive discussion. Gender mainstreaming is integrated into the Convention text. As the Parties to the Convention is developing its strategic plan for 2019-2030, this is the critical moment to ensure that gender issues are dealt with in practical ways by governments, and that the Convention defines and outlines a designated area of work on gender for the next decade. The participants in the informal consultations felt that it is important that the UNCCD has a complete gender programme which provides a guideline and criteria, particularly indicators, on reporting gender. The participants also recommended that the UNCCD collect data from grassroots communities. See the agenda of the informal consultations
“Eighty percent of the potential land suitable for forest and landscape restoration (FLR) can be found in drylands”, said Eduardo Rojas, Assistant Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), during the closing session of a two-days expert consultation on Private investments in Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), co-organized by FAO and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD on 30 June and 1 July 2015 in Rome, Italy. Rojas also underlined that FLR contributes to the provision of livelihood opportunities for communities in rural areas and the reduction of forced migration. The workshop brought together some 30 international experts from multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental organizations, research institutes and the private sector to identify ways for increasing private sector investments in FLR. Currently, it is estimated that 12 million hectares of land are degraded every year, resulting in a total stock of more than two billion hectares of degraded land that offer opportunities for restoration, and three quarters of this area being suitable for mosaic restoration. Initiatives around the world aim at up-scaling FLR in order to contribute to global ecosystem restoration goals and promote land degradation neutrality. Impact investors like the Moringa Fund invest in agroforestry systems such as coffee plantations in order to promote sound and viable management strategies at landscape level. Private companies such as EcoPlanet Bamboo promote largescale bamboo restoration for the production of fibre. At the same time, regional initiatives such as TerrAfrica in Africa and “Initiative 20 by 20” in Latin America, as well as national initiatives such as Payment for Environmental Services for sustainable cork oak production in Portugal, supported by WWF and Coca Cola, offer a variety of mechanisms to upscale investments in FLR. The workshop identified concrete opportunities to upscale FLR, for example through aggregating financial resources at landscape level, bringing together different stakeholders and sectors involved, thus preventing inter-sectoral or resource-use conflicts. However, participants also highlighted that certain key conditions must be in place in order to tap into increased finance for FLR, including an adequate enabling investment environment, the existence of local champions with the necessary skills, and the availability of bankable investment proposals that focus on promising value chains within landscapes. Missing information on possible returns on investments (e.g. ex-ante cost benefit analysis) as well as investment risk assessment and mitigation mechanisms, unclear tenure situation, and lack of coherence among possible investors and landowners/users have been highlighted among the key barriers that need to be overcome for increased investments in FLR. In order to identify key action required to upscale FLR, FAO and the GM of the UNCCD – through its Rome Liaison Office - established a partnership to deliver a Discussion Paper on “Sustainable Finance for FLR”. The paper will review best available information, discuss issues and success stories related to FLR funding, and assess opportunities to increase access to financing in support to FLR implementation at scale. The workshop report and the Discussion Paper will be made available soon on the FAO and GM websites. All the material from the workshop, including background papers and presentations, is also available via at the links below. Related links: Workshop materials and presentations The FAO FLR Mechanism The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration The Bonn Challenge