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Tapping opportunities for LDN transformative action

Delivering Land, Climate and Biodiversity Benefits at Scale UNCCD COP 13 provided the forum to explore opportunities for LDN transformative bold action. These are the highlights from the multiple discussions:  Ministerial Round Table on "LDN: from targets to action, what will it take?" and launch of the brochure on "LDN transformative action, tapping opportunities." About 200 country representatives, private sector and partners attended the COP 13 Ministerial round table on how to move from ambitious LDN targets to action. Three elements were summarized as essential for bold action: Strong political commitment – 113 countries have committed to setting LDN targets; Private capital as the “holy grail” – 90 trillion USD is the estimated pool of private capital looking for investment opportunities and; Using public resources to leverage private finance is a central part of the equation to achieve LDN. The LDN Fund provides a good example of blended finance and use of public resources to mobilize impact investments.  The brochure on "LDN Transformative action, tapping opportunities" portraits the opportunities to move from targets to action, including the features of transformative projects and programmes, good practices and financing opportunities. You can download the brochure here. Side event on land-based transformative projects co-hosted by the three Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD). Country Parties, project promoters from Peru, Bhutan and Turkey and representatives from GEF, West African Development Bank, World Bank and LDN Fund got together to discuss on what it takes to deliver transformative projects and programmes. Participants confirmed a common understanding that LDN transformative projects contribute to the achievement of LDN targets, deliver on the three Rio Conventions objectives, scale up what works, enhance national capacities and leverage finance from multiple sources. The Three Rio Conventions Project Preparation Facility will support countries in putting these features in practice by developing transformative LDN projects and programmes that can tap increasing finance opportunities for sustainable development. You can see the side event flyer here. Follow this link to read more about the Rio Conventions Pavilion. GCF–UNCCD Training on “How to Access Green Climate Fund Financing for Land-based Projects.” During the training countries’ representatives and partners were able to increase their understanding of the opportunities for LDN transformative projects under the Green Climate Fund (GCF). GCF Specialists, Mr. Juan Chang and Mrs. Janie Rioux presented the recent GCF developments on the land-based sector under the GCF investments priorities. Delegates with experience in GCF mobilization (for example, from Bhutan, Mrs. Karma Dorji, BOAD as a regional accredited entity, Mrs. Solange Yayi Allechi) shared their experience and Mr. Boris Spassky, from Mirova/LDN Fund complemented the session with a presentation on how to generate bankability in land-based climate action projects and mobilizing the private sector. Ludwig Liagre from the Global Mechanism highlighted the UNCCD recently obtained GCF international observer status, which will enable a deeper collaboration with GCF in developing guidance on land-based transformative climate action. You can follow the following links to see the training flyer and the GCF presentation. Read more: Green Climate Fund Land and Climate Change UNCCD – GCF international observer status

Tapping opportunities for LDN transformative action
Ecuador to host WDCD 2018

Next year, Ecuador will host the global observance of World Day to Combat Desertification. The announcement was made by the GRULAC representative at the closing session of COP13. The country has been actively observing WDCD, promoting programs that involve young people in land restoration and reforestation. In 2017, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs of Ecuador, together with representatives of local government authorities, beneficiary organizations and the general public, gathered in the Paltas canton on 17 June to commemorate WDCD. During the event, collaborators have signed agreements for the implementation of the investment project "Integrated Management for Combating Desertification, Land Degradation and Adaptation to Climate Change’’(GIDDACC) to apply sustainable land management measures for climate change adaptation, focusing on gender equity and interculturality. Afterwards, authorities and beneficiaries of the project went on a field trip to observe the adaptation measures and to witness the improvements in agriculture, livestock production and general quality of life. In addition to the event held in Paltas, several meetings took place at universities in various provinces that can be engaged under the GIDDACC Project. Also, the Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge has organized an event “I Plant my Future: Responsible Reforestation to Fight Desertification” on June 17. The event informed young people on reforestation practices and engaged them with nature, building environmental awareness (See programme). Further reading: World Day to Combat Desertification WDCD 2017 events around the world

Ecuador to host WDCD 2018
Countries agree on a landmark 2030 strategy to save fertile lands

15 September 2017 – Ordos, China – By the end of the 13th meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, 113 countries had agreed to specify concrete targets with clear indicators, to rehabilitate more land and reverse degradation, which currently affects over a third of the world’s land resources.   At UNCCD COP13, countries also agreed on a new global roadmap to address land degradation. The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast swathes of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and to reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations.   “Some battles took place, but you took bold measures for our Convention. We have a new strategic framework and a new reporting cycle. We have a Drought Initiative. We have taken fundamental decisions on gender, capacity-building, migration and sand and dust storms.” said Ms Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary.    The Conference also witnessed the birth of the first global private sector fund dedicated to implementing the SDGs. Known as the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, it will be a source of transformative capital bringing together public and private investors to fund projects to restore degraded lands, which come with environment, economic and social benefits.    With an initial target size of USD 300 million fund capital, the LDN Fund is co-promoted by Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Global Asset Management that is dedicated to socially responsible investment, and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD.  A separately-operated Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) will advise the Fund on the development of promising sustainable land use activities in order to build a strong portfolio of projects.    The Global Land Outlook, a new landmark publication unveiled at the Conference spotlighted the urgency for swift action. It reported that 20 percent of the world’s land has become degraded in just the last two decades.   “This is the most comprehensive study of its type, mapping the interlinked impacts of land on a range of thematic areas including urbanisation, climate change, erosion and forest loss,” Ms. Barbut said of the publication at its launch.   To reaffirm the progress made at the summit, more than 80 Ministers from around the world issued the Ordos Declaration urging countries to step up efforts on all fronts to tackle desertification – one of the planet’s most pressing global challenges.   “The Ordos Declaration reaffirms the contribution of ecological services to food security and peace and security…. It also recognizes the importance of addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity and addressing food security,” said Zhang Jianlong, Minister of State Forestry Administration, China, when he closed the Conference.   He said the Convention will pay attention to regional hotspots and intensify cooperation, and underlined the Belt and Road Cooperation Mechanism that will support capacity building along the Silk Road in the region.   The Conference also took action to address three new and emerging issues linked to increasing land degradation – drought, sand and dust storms and  migration.    Sand and dust storms threaten the health of millions of people across the globe, and is a major concern in China where the Conference took place.    “Equally, drought mitigation,” Ms Barbut asserted, “would for the first time be an area of focus under the New Strategy.”   “National drought policies with effective early warning systems would be crucial in promoting vulnerability assessment and risk mitigation measures, particularly in light of the devastating droughts witnessed in Africa this year that have left more than 20 million people on the verge of starvation,”  she added.    The Conference took place from 6-16 September in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China.  About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the only legally binding international agreement on land issues. The Convention promotes good land stewardship. Its 196 Parties aim, through partnerships, to implement the Convention and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The end goal is to protect our land, from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide us all with food, water and energy. By sustainably managing land and striving to achieve land degradation neutrality, now and in the future, we will reduce the impact of climate change, avoid conflict over natural resources and help communities to thrive.

Countries agree on a landmark 2030 strategy to save fertile lands
LDN Fund officially launched

12 September 2017 – Ordos, China – The Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (LDN Fund) was launched on 12 September 2017 at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Ordos, China. With an initial target size of US$300 million, the LDN Fund is a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle leveraging public money to raise private capital for sustainable land management and landscape restoration activities worldwide that contribute to the achievement of land degradation neutrality,  one of the global targets under Sustainable Development Goal no. 15 ‘Life on Land’.  Opening the launch event, Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary highlighted: ‘The LDN Fund is a very innovative instrument that we developed over the past three years through the Global Mechanism in close collaboration with Mirova and numerous partners from the public sector, the private sector, and civil society. We are proud to see it enter into the operational phase as it will significantly increase finance for transformative projects addressing land degradation.’ Philippe Zaouati, Chief Executive Officer of Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers dedicated to responsible investing, said: ‘Rehabilitating degraded land, protecting vital ecosystems and empowering sustainable business around the world is what the LDN Fund is all about, and we believe this can be achieved along with competitive market-level returns. To do so, it takes a strategic vision supported by specialist capabilities. Combining on-the-ground experience and extensive investment resources, Mirova values innovative solutions for financing sustainable development, and will demonstrate the commitment required for the natural capital investing market to develop and grow.’ A separate Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) is being set up to support project operators in the development of quality projects, in line with the Scientific Conceptual Framework for LDN, which was also presented at COP13, for consideration by the Fund. The LDN Fund and its TAF are backed by a large network of partners, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the government of Luxembourg, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Credit Agricole du Maroc, the Canadian pension fund FondAction, WWF and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, all present at the event.  Christopher Knowles, Head of Climate Change and Environment Division at EIB, commented: ‘Reflecting EIB’s commitment to supporting climate related investment I am pleased that we were able to support such a sound and sustainable investment fund initiative. The LDN Fund is designed as a vehicle to complement innovative financing instruments with a range of technical assistance tools to provide rounded solutions for commercially promising sustainable land management projects, in ways that are greatly beneficial to local communities. In EIB’s vast portfolio, these type of projects are like the jewels of the crown’. Roland Reiland, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of China, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, added: ‘Luxembourg has supported the LDN Fund since the early days. Through a public-private partnership, the LDN Fund is expected to unlock new channels and higher levels of impactful financing for the fight against desertification and land degradation, thereby contributing to sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Luxembourg’s decision to invest 5 million Euro in the LDN Fund is part of our commitment to international climate finance and comes on top of our ODA.’ More photos from the launch event (courtesy of IISD). Related news: Fund profile: Inside Mirova’s $300m LDN vehicle (Agri Investor) Here come the SDG-finance unicorns: Rockefeller Foundation’s ‘Zero Gap’ portfolio of financial innovations with billion-dollar potential (ImpactAlpha) UNCCD’s Global Mechanism, Mirova, Launch US$300 Million LDN Fund (IISD) China joins action on desertification (China Daily) IDH named TA Facility Manager at the launch of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (IDH) Launch of the “Land Degradation Neutrality Fund” (Mirova) UN conference ends with world commitment to stop desertification (Xinhua) More about the LDN Fund

LDN Fund officially launched
Better land use and management critical for achieving Agenda 2030, says a new report

12 September 2017 – Ordos, China – “Consumption of the earth's natural reserves has doubled in the last 30 years, with a third of the planet's land now severely degraded. Each year, we lose 15 billion trees and 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil. Smallholder farmers, women and indigenous communities are the most vulnerable, given their reliance on land-based resources, compounded by their exclusion from wider infrastructure and economic development,” according to the new publication, The Global Land Outlook (GLO), launched today, at the 13th meeting of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Ordos, China.   Currently, more than 1.3 billion people are trapped on degrading agricultural land, drastically increasing competition for crucial ecosystem services such as food, water and energy. The GLO draws on an analysis of recent trends in land productivity and modelling of land demand scenarios up to the year 2050. It outlines how reversing trends in the condition of land resources could accelerate efforts to achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals, by adopting more efficient planning and sustainable practices.   Speaking at the launch, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut said, “land degradation and drought are global challenges and intimately linked to most, if not all aspects of human security and well-being – food security, employment and migration, in particular.”   “As the ready supply of healthy and productive land dries up and the population grows, competition is intensifying, for land within countries and globally. As the competition increases, there are winners and losers. To minimize the losses, The Outlook suggests it is in all our interests to step back and rethink how we are managing the pressures and the competition. The Outlook presents a vision for transforming the way in which we use and manage land because we are all decision-makers and our choices can make a difference – even small steps matter,” she further added.   Welcoming the UNCCD’s new flagship publication, UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner stated, “over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about one billion people in over one hundred countries are at risk. They include many of the world‘s poorest and most marginalized people. Achieving land degradation neutrality can provide a healthy and productive life for all on Earth, including water and food security. The Global Land Outlook shows that each of us can in fact make a difference, and I hope that in the next edition we are able to tell even more stories of better land use and management.”   This landmark publication on the current and future state of the world’s land resources is the first in-depth analysis of the multiple functions of the land viewed from a wide range of interrelated sectors and thematic areas, such as the food-water-land nexus, as well as the ‘less obvious’ drivers of land use change, notably the nature of economic growth, consumer choice and global trade patterns. Crucially, the report examines a growing disconnect between the financial and socio-economic values of the land and how this affects the poor.   The first edition of the GLO was published by the UNCCD secretariat with the support of numerous partners, including the European Commission, the Governments of Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and UNDP. It is available in both print and digital formats on a dedicated web platform.   About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the only legally binding international agreement on land issues. The Convention promotes good land stewardship. Its 196 Parties aim, through partnerships, to implement the Convention and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The end goal is to protect our land, from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide us all with food, water and energy. By sustainably managing land and striving to achieve land degradation neutrality, now and in the future, we will reduce the impact of climate change, avoid conflict over natural resources and help communities to thrive.   About UNDP UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. Find more on the Global Land Outlook on the UNCCD Knowledge Hub

Better land use and management critical for achieving Agenda 2030, says a new report
Better land use and management critical for achieving Agenda 2030, says a new report

Ordos, September 12 – “Consumption of the earth's natural reserves has doubled in the last 30 years, with a third of the planet's land now severely degraded. Each year, we lose 15 billion trees and 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil. Smallholder farmers, women and indigenous communities are the most vulnerable, given their reliance on land-based resources, compounded by their exclusion from wider infrastructure and economic development,” according to the new publication, The Global Land Outlook (GLO), launched today, at the 13th meeting of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Ordos, China.   Currently, more than 1.3 billion people are trapped on degrading agricultural land, drastically increasing competition for crucial ecosystem services such as food, water and energy. The GLO draws on an analysis of recent trends in land productivity and modelling of land demand scenarios up to the year 2050. It outlines how reversing trends in the condition of land resources could accelerate efforts to achieve many of the Sustainable Development Goals, by adopting more efficient planning and sustainable practices.   Speaking at the launch, UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut said, “land degradation and drought are global challenges and intimately linked to most, if not all aspects of human security and well-being – food security, employment and migration, in particular.”   “As the ready supply of healthy and productive land dries up and the population grows, competition is intensifying, for land within countries and globally. As the competition increases, there are winners and losers. To minimize the losses, The Outlook suggests it is in all our interests to step back and rethink how we are managing the pressures and the competition. The Outlook presents a vision for transforming the way in which we use and manage land because we are all decision-makers and our choices can make a difference – even small steps matter,” she further added.   Welcoming the UNCCD’s new flagship publication, UNDP Administrator Mr. Achim Steiner stated, “over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and about one billion people in over one hundred countries are at risk. They include many of the world‘s poorest and most marginalized people. Achieving land degradation neutrality can provide a healthy and productive life for all on Earth, including water and food security. The Global Land Outlook shows that each of us can in fact make a difference, and I hope that in the next edition we are able to tell even more stories of better land use and management.”   This landmark publication on the current and future state of the world’s land resources is the first in-depth analysis of the multiple functions of the land viewed from a wide range of interrelated sectors and thematic areas, such as the food-water-land nexus, as well as the ‘less obvious’ drivers of land use change, notably the nature of economic growth, consumer choice and global trade patterns. Crucially, the report examines a growing disconnect between the financial and socio-economic values of the land and how this affects the poor.   The first edition of the GLO was published by the UNCCD secretariat with the support of numerous partners, including the European Commission, the Governments of Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and UNDP. It is available in both print and digital formats on a dedicated web platform.   About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the only legally binding international agreement on land issues. The Convention promotes good land stewardship. Its 196 Parties aim, through partnerships, to implement the Convention and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The end goal is to protect our land, from over-use and drought, so it can continue to provide us all with food, water and energy. By sustainably managing land and striving to achieve land degradation neutrality, now and in the future, we will reduce the impact of climate change, avoid conflict over natural resources and help communities to thrive.   About UNDP UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. Find more on the Global Land Outlook on the UNCCD Knowledge Hub  

Better land use and management critical for achieving Agenda 2030, says a new report