News & stories
Latest news & stories
As the second of the seven lecture series, “Research meets Development: Drought resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa,” the panel discussion focused on Early Warning systems to enhance drought resilience was held on 24 April at Geographisches Institut in Bonn, Germany. The panelists were Joanna Post (UNFCCC), Daniel Tsegai (UNCCD), Joachim Post (UNOOSA/UN-SPIDER), Olena Dubovyk (University of Bonn/ZFL), Yvonne Walz (UNU-EHS) and Lars Wirkus (BICC). The panel was moderated by Joerg Szarzynski from the United Nations University. After the moderator’s brief introduction followed by a short video on the drought episode and its severe impacts in South Africa, the panel discussion kicked off with Joanna Post who spoke about the science of climate change and drought trends, projections, temperature rise and the UNFCCC parties’ commitment to the Paris Agreement to reduce CO2 emissions. Daniel Tsegai addressed the UNCCD’s support to countries to develop and implement national drought policy plans and the efforts to support countries to strengthen their drought early warning systems. He elaborated on the key global milestones on the path of drought resilience including the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), the High-level Meeting on National Drought Policy in 2013 and the African drought Conference in August 2016. Leveraging drought as a connector of sectors and relevant actors was emphasized. Joachim Post explained the importance of space infrastructure to monitor hazards including droughts and how satellite data can be used in planning actions. He highlighted the global divide in space infrastructure and the use of earth observation data (EO) for resilience and early warning applications in Africa. Referring to the existing data gaps among African countries, Olena Dubovyk stressed that remote sensing data and indices (e.g., VCI) could be a viable option to characterize and predict drought. In developing countries, there is a lack of qualified experts to integrate drought indicators within such system. The lack of universal definition of drought is hampering the development of methods for drought assessments. Yvonne Walz stressed the importance of vulnerability and drought risk assessment (ecology, social, economic and political). Lars Wirkus spoke about drought as a migration and threat multiplier. Drought enhances migration which displaces millions of people. He showed relevant maps pointing out water resources-related conflicts. Drought areas are in many cases overlapping with conflict areas. Water scarcity could exacerbate the conflicts. The other issues raised during the panel discussion were: challenges on drought preparedness; creation of comprehensive drought early warning systems to enhance communication and dissemination channels; strengthening the responding capacity of farmers to warnings; and the need for national drought policy to reduce risks of drought. For more information about the lecture series, visit: https://www.die-gdi.de/veranstaltungen/details/drought-resilience-in-sub-saharan-africa/
This Earth Day, we invite you to take your children outside, into nature, to strengthen their connection with the environment. It is the best way to motivate them to protect it. The effects of climate change are not always obvious to us. Yet, they are undeniable. It is easier to see the harmful effects in parts of the world with very different geography from Canada: the arid lands, where three billion people live. En Français: En ce Jour de la Terre, nous vous invitons à profiter de la nature avec vos enfants pour qu'ils bâtissent un lien avec leur environnement. C'est la meilleure façon de les motiver à le protéger. Même si les effets des changements climatiques ne nous sautent pas toujours aux yeux, ils sont indéniables. Les dommages se voient davantage dans un environnement loin des réalités du Canada: les terres arides, où vivent trois milliards de personnes.
Desertif’actions is a non-State actors’ international summit dedicated to land degradation and climate change. The event will take place on 27 and 28 June 2017 in Strasbourg (France). Over 300 stakeholders from more than 50 countries are expected to participate. The two-day event shares concerns about land degradation under a changing climate and its consequences in northern and southern countries. It aims to build common positions on the issue, which will be consolidated in a Declaration at the end of the event. UNCCD is one of the supporters of the D’a17. For more information and registration to the event, visit (external site): http://www.desertif-actions.fr
As the first of the six lecture series, “Research meets Development: Drought resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa”, a kick-off event was held at Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany, on 6 April. The event started with an introductory statement by MinR. Stefan Schmitz, Commissioner at the German Federal Ministry of Cooperation and Development (BMZ), followed by a keynote address by Professor Robert McLeman from the University of Wilfrid Laurier and a panel discussion. The panelists were Mr. Schmitz, Professor McLeman, Mr. Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, and Mr. Matthias Mogge from the Welthungerhilfe. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Micheal Bruentrup from the German Development Institute (DIE). The transdisciplinary panel discussed the current critical drought situation in the Horn of Africa, in particular in Somalia where many people are risking their lives due to drought. It addressed the threats of drought from various angles, the challenges and the remedial measures in a wide spectrum of policy options. G20 Agenda, the Marshal plan for Africa under the German G20 Presidency, the role of job creation for young people were also discussed, as well as the linkage between drought, human migration, rural adaptation and conflict. The panel discussion revealed drought as a threat multiplier for human security. Food and water shortage is one of the serious consequences. Mr. Mogge reflected his recent visit to Somalia and Ethiopia, quoting the new Somalia president listing the country’s three major priorities as “water, water and water”. UNCCD’s key action-oriented policy aspects of drought resilience were highlighted by Mr. Monga as (i) monitoring and early warning systems; (ii) vulnerability assessment; and (iii) risk mitigation measures. A national drought policy needs to be developed based on the principles of risk reduction and the paradigm shift from reactive to proactive approaches with engagements of the private sector and other stakeholders. Mr. Monga also introduced related initiatives by the UNCCD including the support to countries for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality. The panel discussion was followed by an interactive dialogue with the event participants. Questions were raised about a changing relationship between rural and urban interaction, better resource management and challenges of bottom-up/top-down approaches. As a response to a question, Prof. McLeman listed water security, inter-regional migration and reliable local governance as keys to future sustainable development consideration for Africa. The lecture series continues until 13 July. It is co-organized by DIE, UNCCD, BMZ, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), KFW and University of Bonn. For more information about the lecture series, visit (external link): https://www.die-gdi.de/veranstaltungen/details/drought-resilience-in-sub-saharan-africa/
“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
“The UNCCD and its 195 country Parties work with a broad range of stakeholders not only to protect and sustainably manage land resources, but also to rehabilitate degraded land. On 20 and 21 March, the Bonn Challenge 2.0 – a high level summit – brought together governments and international organizations committed to achieving a clear vision: to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020. Of the 2 billion hectares with restoration potential, identified by the Bonn Challenge, 75% are considered mixed-use or “working” landscapes, in which people manage the land as a mosaic of multiple uses, increasing productivity in a sustainable manner while protecting natural capital for future generations. With the Bonn Challenge as a backdrop, the Global Mechanism (GM) of the UNCCD hosted two meetings which contributed to this process and also promoted relevant operational synergies between UNCCD priorities and those of relevant partner institutions working on forest and landscape restoration efforts at the country level: On 19 and 20 March, the GM hosted a meeting of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), of which it is a member. This technical meeting brought together representatives from IUCN, UNEP, WRI, USDA Forest Service, the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, IUFRO, FAO, UNEP-WCMC, CIFOR, the CBD secretariat, ICRAF, and the GM/UNCCD. It took stock of the work of GPFLR members to date, and discussed how this partnership could evolve in the near future in order to best mobilize the knowledge and expertise of its members in support of forest and landscape restoration activities on the ground. On 21 March, the GM also hosted a meeting of the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI), bringing together representatives from the CBD secretariat, the Republic of Korea’s Forest Service, Biodiversity International, UNEP-WCMC, IUFRO, FAO, CIFOR, ICRAF, ITTO, IUCN, the GEF, WRI, and the GM/UNCCD. Following the official launch of FERI at the CBD COP 12 in Korea in October 2014, this was its first operational meeting, which further defined the involvement of relevant partner organizations and the scope of upcoming activities, including the organization of relevant capacity building workshops, the assessment of degradation and restoration potential at (sub)national level, and the provision and coordination of technical support.”