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Sixth Kubuqi International Desert Forum: green economy, new technologies and innovative finance come together to fight desertification

The Sixth Kubuqi International Desert Forum (KIDF) took place at the Kubuqi International Conference Center, Inner Mongolia, China, from 28 to 30 July 2017. The KIDF has been recognized by UNCCD as a platform for exchange and promotion of ideas on global desertification control and green economic development. Over 250 participants from some 35 countries have attended the Forum, including the former heads of state and government, scientists, senior government officials and international organizations. Under the theme  “Greening the Belt and Road, Sharing Desert Eco-Economy,” this year's Forum discussed the development of the Belt and Road Desert region through green economy, green industrial innovations and innovative financial mechanisms that contribute to poverty alleviation and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The outcome of the Forum, the “Kubuqi Consensus,” recommends that the Kubuqi model of land restoration be promoted for wider application beyond the Belt and Road regions to other parts of the world where desertification is a serious threat. The Consensus will be shared at the Sustainable Land Management Business Forum that will take place at the COP13 in Ordos, China. The UNCCD 2017 Land for Life Award ceremony also took place during the Forum, celebrating three Award winners. The Forum was co-hosted by the Municipal Government of Ordos and the Elion Foundation, and jointly organized by China's Ministry of Science and Technology, the State Forestry Administration and the Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in collaboration with the UN Environment and the UNCCD secretariat.

Sixth Kubuqi International Desert Forum: green economy, new technologies and innovative finance come together to fight desertification
UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut visits Lebanon to witness the adoption of the country’s national LDN voluntary targets

UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut visited Lebanon to witness the adoption of national LDN voluntary targets and discuss with the President Michel Aoun and members of the government the importance of setting LDN targets, implementing transformative projects and involving both the private and the public sector to achieve land degradation neutrality. The adopted targets include reforesting 10 000 hectares of land, restoring 1 000 hectares of grasslands in the mountains of Lebanon and implementing sustainable agriculture practices on 80 000 hectares of farmland –measures that will increase land productivity and boost SOC stocks by 2030. The importance of water management measures in fighting land degradation and the plans of the Lebanese government to build dams in more than 15 districts of Lebanon have been also discussed. During her visit, Ms. Barbut came to the village of Anjar, where bare lands and swamps have been transformed into a green city when over a million trees have been planted to create a natural reserve. The visit also included a trip to Bekaa Valley, where desertification and land degradation are addressed by planting vineyards. Ms. Barbut also visited Aamiq Wetland – the largest remaining freshwater wetland in Lebanon, which is recognized by BirdLife International as an important site for migratory birds. It is also a Ramsar site and a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. In the photo (from left to right): Director of Rural Development and Natural Resources Department at the Ministry of Agriculture Chadi Mohanna, Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture Louis Lahoud Lahoud, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut, President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Aoun, Minister of Agriculture Ghazi Zeaiter, Environmental Advisor to the President Claudine Aoun Roukoz and UNCCD Associate Programme Officer Sabine Sakr.  

UNCCD Executive Secretary  Monique Barbut visits Lebanon to witness the adoption of the country’s national LDN voluntary targets
Caux Dialogue on Land and Security

Representatives of governments, international organizations, businesses and media from different regions, cultures and age groups attended the Dialogue on Land and Security in Caux, France from 11 – 15 July 2017. The Dialogue recognized that the restoration of degraded lands is not only a key element of environmental sustainability – it is instrumental to peace and security as well. Loss of productive lands and livelihoods exacerbated by climate change, desertification and population growth are major drivers of forced migration and conflict in fragile regions and economies. Re-establishing land’s productivity is central to promoting peace and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Dr. Pradeep Monga addressed the forum in the keynote speech, presenting the organization’s activities and programmes that focus on land, security and stability. He highlighted the UNCCD flagship 3S (Sustainability. Stability. Security) Initiative, which addresses root causes of land-related migration and conflict and works to provide alternatives to forced migration and radicalization. Recognizing social and financial opportunities and challenges of fighting land degradation, the Dialogue participants emphasized the following steps to reshaping the approach to agricultural investments: Provide incentives for farmers who invest in land restoration and reward the global services of small farmers who nourish their soils Focus action and capacity building on local communities, where knowledge of land management exists, partnerships for change can be forged and land-related conflicts can be prevented or resolved Include women and youth in all sustainable action, provide them with leadership opportunities and create land-based jobs for the most vulnerable social groups Increase drought resilience by developing early warning systems and building resilience to drought through effective policies and risk mitigation Realize enormous investment opportunities of land restoration by blending public and private financing to bring successful initiatives to scale The issues of restoration and conservation of ecosystems and resources will also become the focus of the next year’s Dialogue on Land and Security, as well as the summer academy for mid-career policy-makers, experts and development partners involved in the issues of land and security.  

Caux Dialogue on Land and Security
Community mobilization to achieve LDN: Experience from the State of Eritrea

The Government and the people of Eritrea are committed to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030. In order to restore, sustain and enhance the productive functions of the country’s natural ecosystem resources, Government of Eritrea has massively invested in the agriculture sector. All Eritrean regions are involved in various land rehabilitation campaigns, mainly in soil and water conservation, as well as tree planting activities. Thanks to various initiatives, more than 41 million trees have been planted on 16 thousands ha of land, and more than 150 thousand energy-saving stoves have been distributed throughout the country. Moreover, farmers are introducing cultural farming and farmland levelling to enhance productivity of the land. Eritrean students have been engaged in afforestation and soil and water conservation programs for more than 20 years and many have been engaged in the 430 Green Clubs in their schools. The growing number of Green Clubs in recent years also means more trees planted around the country. Watch this video to learn about the journey of Eritrea to achieve LDN.

Community mobilization to achieve LDN: Experience from the State of Eritrea