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Connecting the dots between climate and land

The UNCCD and UNFCCC country Parties, civil society, partners got together to reflect on how to connect the dots between the challenging agendas on climate and land. Working lunch, “Why land degradation neutrality matters for climate?” was held on 16 May in Bonn. The event was organized by the UNCCD, the UNFCCC and the Government of the Republic of Korea. The panelists were representatives from Dominican Republic, Ghana and Philippines, which are steadily advancing in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). The discussion focused on how commitments, policies and implementation under the different frameworks of action of the 3 Rio Conventions can programmatically deliver breaking the silos and fragmented landscape of governance and investments in the context of the SDGs.  The conversation particularly focused on the role of LDN as a powerful tool to deliver multiple benefits, including climate change. “The sustainable management of land and its rehabilitation are key factors for closing the emissions gap and staying within the agreed temperature limit of the Paris Agreement”, stressed Mr. Keum Chang Rok, Consul General of the Korean Government.  Mr. Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, said the importance of land has gained political recognition over the years as championed by countries like the Republic of Korea and others. By quoting a famous proverb, "where there's a will, there's a way," Mr. Monga stressed the clear will of all the stakeholders from the outset for achieving the land degradation neutrality. He further said that now we have found the way to do this effectively and deliver on multiple benefits. To date, 108 countries have committed to translate the global LDN target into country specific actions. A keynote speaker Mr. Kihyun Kim from the Korea Forest Service showcased the success story of forest restoration and the commitment of the Republic of Korea to LDN target setting and implementation through the Changwon Initiative. The Changwon Initiative launched at the UNCCD COP 10 has been essential in defining and testing the LDN concept.   Mr. Asher Nkegbe, from Ghana emphasized that even though agendas such as climate change, reduction of emissions and LDN are “conceptual frameworks” for global action, at local level food security; jobs and livelihoods is what matters. Those are the tangible benefits where the synergies between climate and land action need to deliver effectively.  “The economic argument of land degradation is what mobilizes national politicians”, stressed Mr. Nkegbe.  Mr. Nick Nuttall, Coordinator of Communications and Outreach of the UNFCCC, highlighted that important global transformations have taken place in the last decades such as the penetration of renewable energy. However, more action is still needed in transforming the way we interact with ecosystems at the scale and level required. “The Paris Agreement lays out a long-term destination, which is climate neutrality, an aim which cannot be achieved without also attaining LDN”, said Mr. Nuttall.   Ms. Dominga Polanco and Mr. Samuel Contreras from Dominican Republic and the Philippines coincided in the strong interlinkages between their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets and land, and how LDN represents one of the most cost efficient pathways to deliver on their NDCs and multiple SDGs.  “Sustainable land management to reduce and minimize land degradation is strongly linked to the climate change adaptation and reducing GHG emissions”, stressed Mr. Samuel M. Contreras from the Philippines. The scale of the challenge doesn’t allow us to keep working on silos.  Mr. Markus Repnik, Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD concluded the event, emphasizing that it doesn’t matter whether projects are labeled as climate change or LDN - what matters are the outcomes. It is all about synergies and large-scale transformative projects that bundle resources from different actors. We live in a complex and fragmented development agenda. “We need to connect the dots one by one,” as Mr. Repnik concluded.   

Connecting the dots between climate and land
INTERNATIONAL PRESS CARTOON CONTEST

Désertif’actions 2017 (D’a17) is organizing an international competition of cartoons. The competition is open to professional and amateur cartoonists under the theme, “Land degradation and climate: Europe and the world facing the ultimate borders?” The 30 best drawings selected by the jury will be exhibited in Strasbourg before and during Desertif'actions 2017 and can subsequently be used for pedagogical and educational and awareness purposes. There are two prizes awarded by the organizers: The first prize: 750 € The second prize: 350 € In addition to the monetary prize, the winner of the first prize will be invited to Strasbourg in France to attend Desertif'actions 2017 on 27 and 28 June 2017. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony during the meeting. The deadline for submission is 12 June 2017. For more information, visit: www.desertif-actions.fr/en/press-cartoon The contest flyer: English  French

INTERNATIONAL PRESS CARTOON CONTEST
Success stories in Agadez region, Niger

During a mission of UNCCD in the Agadez region in Niger in January 2017, the team discovered the “Projet d’Appui au Développement Agricole de l’Irhazer, du Tamesna et de l’Aïr” (project to support agricultural development of Irhazer, Tamesna and Aïr), supported by AREVA during 5 years, until 2020. This very amazing experience aims to cultivate 5000 ha and shows how it’s possible by mobilizing water resources to cultivate vegetables with high level of productivity and good yield in one of the driest region of the country. You can make growth onions, mais, carots, alfalfa … and sell them on the market at local and national level. In this project, green jobs were created by restoring degraded lands, involving vulnerable populations, particularly young, women and former rebels that left weapons to become farmers and thus, regaining their dignity. This great experience should provide good guidance to implement 3S projects to be developed in Niger and elsewhere within the West African sub-region.   <br />

Success stories in Agadez region, Niger
High-level event on Land Degradation held at UN Headquarters

The Permanent Missions of Qatar, Iceland and Namibia, in conjunction with the office of the President of the General Assembly, organized a High-Level Event on Land Degradation, Desertification and Drought at United Nations headquarters on Monday, 1 May 2017. The event underlined the role of Land Degradation Neutrality as an accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ambassador Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, in his opening remarks, pointed out that, on average, 12 million hectares of land is lost due to desertification and land degradation every year. "More than half of the world’s agricultural land is affected by soil degradation, and the deterioration of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares of land,” he said. He said the impact of this loss has been devastating and “the lives and livelihoods of more than one billion people are currently under threat, with soil loss, erosion, contamination and degradation affecting food security, health, and sustainable local economic opportunities.” Thomson drew attention to the catastrophic drought and famine that is currently endangering the lives of millions of people across Africa, which, he said, is a stark reminder of both the devastating consequences of desertification and land degradation and of how it can undermine our ability to achieve sustainable peace and development. He urged the international community “to ensure that desertification, land degradation and drought-related are at the forefront…when it sets its shoulder to the wheel to drive the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.” Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNCCD and the event’s moderator, in his welcoming remarks, highlighted that “land degradation leads to a reduction in everything that societies need to survive…” and is the “exact opposite of sustainable development,” considering that “it disproportionately impacts the poorest and most vulnerable communities.” He said the high level event was timely and well poised to contribute to the review of SDG 15 during the High Level Political Forum in 2018. Monga praised the Group of Friends on DLDD for its catalytic role in bringing international attention to the importance of land degradation, desertification and drought issues, ensuring they were in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda). The Group is co-chaired by Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland and Ambassador Neville Gertze of Namibia.   In their opening remarks, the co-chairs said “the successful implementation of target 15.3 - on land degradation neutrality (LDN) - can connect the dots between many of the SDG's goals and targets.”  “By safeguarding life on land, we deliver for all life on Earth. We establish the basis for communities – all citizens - everywhere to not just survive, but thrive, by building a future on a healthy and productive foundation,” the Ambassadors of Iceland and Namibia noted.  They stressed that achieving SDG target 15.3 would empower women and girls who mostly bear the brunt of desertification, land degradation and drought, and also contribute to ending poverty and ensuring food security. The co-chairs said as “an SDG accelerator, land degradation neutrality is an important instrument that responds effectively to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’,” adding that above all, the key message of the high level event was that the 2018 High Level Political Forum review of SDG.15 should have a special focus on target 15.3, given its central role in accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Melchiade Bukuru, Chief of the New York liaison office of UNCCD, said with 17 Sustainable Development Goals and hundreds of targets and indicators, “there is a need to identify areas where investments will yield maximum benefits and impacts… Achieving land degradation neutrality - will deliver many co-benefits, from biodiversity conservation and combating climate change to ensuring economic growth and human well-being.” He briefed the meeting about the support the UNCCD is providing to countries under the national Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target setting process (TSP), including the definition of national baselines, targets and associated measures to achieve LDN by 2030. Bukuru acknowledged that substantial financial resources must be mobilized to achieve the target of a land degradation neutral world (SDG target 15.3) by 2030, and said it will be necessary to go beyond public resources and tap new financial instruments and intermediaries as well as to create enabling conditions to catalyze private capital around SDG implementation. Diplomats from a range of countries, including France, Morocco, Iran, Niger participated in the well-attended event that was addressed by, among others, the Permanent Representatives of Qatar, Iceland and Namibia, Manoel Sobral, the Director UN Forum on Forests, Eva Muller, Director of  FAO’s Forestry Resources and Policy division, Reena Ghelani, Deputy Director of Operations of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Cecile Ndjebet, President, African Women’s Network for community Management of Forests. For more information on the event, contact: Melchiade Bukuru, bukuru@un.org

High-level event on Land Degradation held at UN Headquarters
Unlocking the Investment Potential of Forest & Landscape Restoration

“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

Unlocking the Investment Potential of Forest & Landscape Restoration
The Global Mechanism supports forest and landscape restoration processes

“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.”

The Global Mechanism supports forest and landscape restoration processes