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A new tree grows in Bonn

Bonn, Germany – A tree planting ceremony to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of UNCCD took place at the UN Campus in Bonn, attended by the Mayor of Bonn and many other distinguished guests. UN staff members, visitors and media gathered in front of the Langer Eugen building, where a young Liquidambar (sweetgum) tree was planted, symbolizing friendship and cooperation between the UN and its host city of Bonn as well as longevity, vision and ambition for a better future for all. "It is twenty five years since the UNCCD was adopted. So, this is a year of celebration. We celebrate what has been achieved. We think more about land now; there is an increasing realization that land feeds us and provides us with much of what we really need.  It can help us mitigate and adapt to climate change and stem the loss of biodiversity. We know more about land now; our data and science on land use are now cutting edge and increasingly space-based.  We can take smarter decisions, so land use in our 197 Parties gets back into balance." – said UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw during the ceremony. "Wherever the climate changes, our land will degrade, and our biodiversity will die. Where trees grow, our land will stay healthy and nourishing, offering habitats and preserving life. So there is no better way to mark the anniversary of the Convention dedicated to combating land degradation than planting a tree." – emphasized Mayor of Bonn Ashok Sridharan. "Look how the world has changed in twenty five years. Now climate is a global issue, it is on the global agenda, everyone is striving for it." – said Mr. Stefan Schmitz  of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The initiative is part of the celebrations that mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of UNCCD and the 2019 World Day to Combat Desertification.  You can access the Executive Secretary's full speech here.  

A new tree grows in Bonn
Desertif’Actions 2019 - We are the land defending itself!

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – “We are the land defending itself!” Nearly 400 participants from 40 different countries, representing 240 organizations, met at the International Civil Society Summit Desertif’Actions from 19-21 June to address land, climate and biodiversity. The summit was organized by the associations CARI, SPONG and the UNCCD Secretariat. It also served as a preparatory meeting for the forthcoming 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP14), which will be held from 2-13 September this year in New Delhi. The participants sent a strong message to the world through their outcome statement: “We are convinced that we, development actors, must raise awareness among forces present in the farming, pastoral, and oasis environments, as well as in many others, as we are all together citizens of the world: together, we are not defenders of the land fighting desertification, we ARE the land defending itself!” The summit was opened by Mr. Bassiere Batio Nestor, Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change in Burkina Faso. Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, Ms. Juliette Compaore, President and the board of directors of the Secrétariat Permanent des ONG (SPONG) and Mr. Patrice Burger, President of CARI. “The UNCCD is at the heart of the action. Civil society has an essential and multidimensional role to play,” Thiaw said in his opening statement. Noting that this is the 25th year of the UNCCD, he invited the participants “to look at the horizon of the next 25 years, reflecting on the roles and responsibilities of civil society in combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought.” The Summit addressed the issue on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel, the importance of land rights and governance in achieving land degradation neutrality, the role of the pastoralist people to combat desertification and the ways to improve water management in the drylands. The outcome document of the Summit will be transmitted to the COP14 by the participants.

Desertif’Actions 2019 - We are the land defending itself!
Global Landscapes Forum hears voices from land advocates

Bonn, Germany - Under the theme “Rights in the Landscape,” over 600 participants of the 2019 Bonn Global Landscapes Forum shared the vision towards a more inclusive and sustainable future in which the rights of indigenous communities and women are recognized and sustainable land management is promoted under such recognition. During the session on Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Pradeep Monga stressed the balanced approach to achieving land degradation neutrality by having a common voice for global movements for ecosystem restoration among others. The 14th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP14), which will be held in New Delhi from 2-13 September this year, will address responsible land governance as a fundamentally important component of sustainable land management and as a contributing factor to the achievement of land degradation neutrality. At the 13th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP13), more than 80 Ministers from around the world issued the Ordos Declaration which acknowledged the importance of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions, sound policies and incentives, good governance and the rule of law to improving land governance for sustainable land management and access to ownership and control over land. It encouraged countries to give due consideration to the dissemination, promotion and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security.

Global Landscapes Forum hears voices from land advocates
UNCCD attends the fifth Bonn Challenge meeting in Latin America

Delegates from Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Cuba, together with representatives of the German government, attended the fifth meeting of the Bonn Challenge/Latin America on 12–13 June 2019. They delegates from the governments, CSOs and academia met to discuss the role of landscape restoration in climate change adaptation as well as national perspectives on reforestation and revival of landscapes in 2020–2030.

UNCCD attends the fifth Bonn Challenge meeting in Latin America
2019 Land for Life Award winners announced

Ankara, Turkey – On the occasion of the Word Day to Combat Desertification, His Excellency Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid, Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, congratulated the three laureates of the 2019 Land for Life Award.   First prize: MERET project of the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia, created to respond to food crises in the 1970s. Since then, it has enabled the restoration of more than 2.5 million hectares of degraded watersheds in more than 72 districts, reducing food shortages by 50 per cent and lifting millions of people out of poverty.   Second prize: Mr. Mathieu Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso, for his lifelong commitment in land restoration, developing and promoting contour stone bunds – a simple water harvesting technique combined with zaï planting, which proved very efficient in empowering farmers of the Sahel region.   2019 Land for Life China Award: Mr. Yun Da, incumbent head of the Department of Finance of Tibet Autonomous Region, for playing an active role in overcoming technological challenges to plant trees in the high-altitude Nagqu area of Tibet, alleviating poverty through ecological compensation by creating close to 300 000 foresting-related jobs. Read more: Detailed information about the winners Detailed information about the finalists

2019 Land for Life Award winners announced
UNCCD COP14 logo unveiled in India

New Delhi, India – During World Day to Combat Desertification celebrations, Mr. Prakash Javedkar, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, officially launched the logo of the upcoming COP 14 that will take place on 2-13 September 2019. The minister expressed a warm welcome to the global community and encouraged the active participation in the COP 14.  “India will lead the world in reversing land degradation and addressing desertification,’’ the minister stated. He emphasized the dedication of the Indian government under the leadership of ,Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improving soil health, restoring of degraded lands as means for increasing farmer’s income, building climate change resilience and improving water management with focus on most degraded and vulnerable land.  Ms. Renata Lok-Dessallien, the United Nations Resident Coordinator thanked the minister for India’s commitment to combating land degradation and the country's generosity in hosting the upcoming UNCCD COP. On behalf of UNCCD, Mr. Juan Carlos Mendoza, the Managing Director of Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, praised the strong commitment of India for championing the agenda for land as integral part of  achieving Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 15 on ‘’Life on Land,’’  During the event, high-level officials from key ministries, including the Ministry of Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Water, and the government’s policy think tank Niti Aayog presented India’s experience in integrated approaches to tackling land degradation through community participation.  India is strongly committed to  achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) by 2030 and further reversing land degradation through restoration. A multi-stakeholder expert consultation brought together 100 experts from national and state-level government agencies, research organizations, UN agencies, NGOs and youth groups to discuss voluntary LDN targets and a legacy program to be launched during COP 14.  Read more: Official press-release  

UNCCD COP14 logo unveiled in India