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Welcome back, Canada

Canada Deposits its Instrument of Ratification to Re-Join the UNCCD Statement of Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD Yesterday, the Government of Canada communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations its accession to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). We welcome the action Canada has taken to rejoin the Convention, which will become a full party after 90 days, on 21 March 2017. The international community is facing new and growing challenges to its peace and security, wealth and sustainable development. No country is immune. No country can face these challenges alone. Many of these challenges stem in large part from the crises poor rural people are facing in meeting their daily needs of food, water, energy and income, and made worse by climate change. Canada’s contribution will take us further and faster in ensuring that the 2.8 billion people affected by land degradation today have the means and knowledge to avoid further degradation of their land and to recover what they have lost. Canada’s scientific expertise and practical experience in combatting desertification and drought can benefit rural households to improve their food and water security, and ensure every child has a fighting chance for a better life.  Further information About the Convention List of ratification Media release by the Government of Canada (external link)English  Français

Welcome back, Canada
Colombia advances on the SDG 15 agenda on “life on land” through the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management

According to the National Institute for Hydrometheorological and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), 40% of the national territory presents some degree of soil degradation by erosion. Additionally, it is estimated that 24% of land in Colombia is susceptible to degradation by aridity. Within the affected areas are the Colombian main cities, irrigation districts and regions with the highest population density. “Sustainable land management is a responsibility that concerns all sectors of society, so I invite you to join efforts and create joint actions aimed at protecting this natural resource that fulfills vital functions for human survival" said the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Luis Gilberto Murillo during a national event to celebrate World Soil Day, held on December 5th. In order to address this issue, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, together with other national and regional actors, are working in the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management. This policy seeks to promote sustainable soil management in a context in which biodiversity, water and air protection, land and disaster risk management converge, contributing to the sustainable development and the well-being of all Colombians. This policy proposes the implementation of a plan of action and the development of six strategic lines such as institutional strengthening and harmonization of standards and policies; education, training and awareness; strengthening of environmental and sectoral planning tools; monitoring of soil quality; research, innovation and technology transfer and preservation, restoration and sustainable use of the soil. Moreover, Colombia has been advancing in the assessment of soils, through the development of soil inventories, assessment of land use conflicts and degradation by erosion and salinization, among other aspects. The promotion of sustainable soil management in the region will contribute to addressing the global challenges and the fulfillment of Colombian international commitments, including: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Commitments to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought, especially efforts to achieve the national Land Degradation Neutrality targets (currently under preparation) Eradication of hunger and malnutrition and ensuring food security for a growing population Adaptation and mitigation to climate change, especially in the light of the Paris Agreement, which contains a firm commitment to address climate change and at the same time attributes to the agriculture sector a leading role in this process The Aichi Targets, which highlight an important agenda for preserving biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services.

Colombia advances on the SDG 15 agenda on “life on land” through the implementation of the National Policy for Sustainable Soil Management
Be inspired by the 15 amazing young activists!

The UNCCD Land for Life Youth Social Media Activists Challenge semi finalists' result is out. 15 semi finalists were selected to be considered for the finals. Check here  to find out more about their activism.  The Challenge aims to recognize young people efforts in protecting natural resources and promoting environmental/ land resources justice. The selected finalists will be  recognized by UNCCD secretariat for their work and will be tasked to spread the UNCCD messages, in particular, creating awareness on land related issues among young people through social media. Currently, we are launching a public voting / polling to select the finalist candidates from 9 Dec - 22 December 2016. You are invited to have your say on who qualifies for the finals by casting their vote here :  http://woobox.com/6avg72. The public votes will be counted as part of the final decision of the winners. Related link: Land for Life programme

Be inspired by the 15 amazing young activists!
UNCCD Marketplace Writers Competition winner meets Monique Barbut

Russian national and one of the winners in the recently concluded Marketplace Writers Competition, Ms. Olga Sazonova paid a visit to the UNCCD Secretariat where she was welcomed by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Monique Barbut.  Mrs. Barbut presented to Ms. Sazonova the prizes she won for placing third in the Competition with her story “Бесценные «услуги» природы” which is loosely translated in English as, “Invaluable services of nature.” Mr. Sazonova received a certificate, a UNCCD package and a cash prize for her efforts. In presenting the prizes, the Executive Secretary expressed hearty congratulations to Ms. Sazonova and thanked her for participating in the competition. She encouraged her to help promote the UNCCD in her own country and in particularly to do her part to educate Russian speaking peoples on the concept and importance of Land Degradation Neutrality. Mrs. Barbut recalled Ms. Sazonova’s academic achievements thus far, impressing upon her that she could use her skills in both English and Russian to help people have a clearer understanding of the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought. In her response, Ms. Sazonova thanked the Executive Secretary for the opportunity to meet with her and remarked how happy and excited she was to be among the winners of this international competition. She assured the Executive Secretary that she was wholly committed to the issues of sustainability; explain that it was one reason why she is in pursuit of a second Master’s in the subject. She promised not only to participate in future Marketplace competitions, but to spread the word among her friends and colleagues. She underlined that this was indeed a special occasion for her as she considers it a great honor and privilege to meet the Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. Attending the presentation were Ms. Yoon-kyoung Cho, who organized and administered the competition; Mr. Jijo Karthikeyan who provided technical assistance; and Dr. Richard Byron-Cox, Head of the Marketplace, who conceived the idea of the Marketplace Writers Competition. They too thanked Ms. Sazonova for participating in the completion, and in congratulating her reminded that the Capacity Building Marketplace is always open to the world free of cost!

UNCCD Marketplace Writers Competition winner meets Monique Barbut
FAO and Global Mechanism launch new publication on financing for forest and landscape restoration

5 December 2015, Paris – More than USD 300 billion are needed per year to restore the world’s degraded land in order to achieve a new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target by 2030, according to a new publication by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (GM). The joint discussion paper, Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration: opportunities, challenges, and the way forward, was launched today at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris during a session on "Investing in integrated landscapes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals". Currently, the world’s degraded land amounts to 2 billion hectares, which is equal to an area the size of South America. Each year an additional 12 million hectares of land are degraded, while 7.6 million hectares of forest are converted to other uses or lost through natural causes. “The degradation of the world’s land and forests is a serious threat to the livelihoods and food security of millions of people who depend on them, and there is an urgent need to invest in forest and landscape restoration to bring a significant portion of that degraded land back to a productive state,” said Douglas McGuire, Coordinator of the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism hosted by the Forestry Department of FAO. Funding falls short of global commitments Countries have already made ambitious commitments to forest and landscape restoration, including under Goal 15 of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which sets a target (15.3) to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030. In addition, some countries had previously pledged to restore 150 million hectares by 2020 in the framework of the 2011 Bonn Challenge, and 350 million hectares by 2030 under the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests. However, mobilization of funds is one of the chief constraints to achieving these global targets. The USD 300 billion a year needed for SDG target 15.3 aside, the Bonn Challenge is estimated to require USD 36 billion a year, and the New York Declaration USD 49 billion a year. “One of the main barriers is insufficient awareness of financing opportunities and investors’ lack of understanding of forest and landscape restoration,” said Markus Repnik, Managing Director of the GM. Key questions addressed at the Global Landscape Forum session on ‘’Investing in integrated landscapes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’’ The GLF is one of the largest events held on the sidelines of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The session on ‘’Investing in integrated landscapes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’’, at which the publication was launched, addressed a number of key questions on forest and landscape restoration financing, including: How are investments coordinated within integrated landscape initiatives? How can investors better engage with landscape stakeholders? How can these models be scaled-up and applied in the implementation of SDGs? The joint FAO-GM discussion paper addresses these issues by providing an overview of existing funding sources and financial instruments that could be adapted specifically for forest and landscape restoration purposes both at the local, national, regional and global levels. The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative launched a complementary publication at the same discussion forum entitled “Scaling up investment & finance for integrated landscape management: Challenges and innovations”. Innovative financing solutions proposed in the publication launched in Paris The FAO-GM discussion paper sets out key messages on financing for forest and landscape restoration for governments, development banks, international agencies, environmental funds, NGOs and private companies. It also proposes innovative and non-traditional ideas such as crowdfunding and green bank cards.  “With both governments and development agencies facing increasing funding shortages, long-term financing solutions may rely on private-sector investors – businesses and individuals – whether in the framework of corporate social responsibility or as investors looking for a mix of social and financial returns,” said Ludwig Liagre of the GM. The joint publication also identifies ways to create an enabling environment for sound investments in forest and landscape restoration and proposes recommendations for building and strengthening financial alliances. A joint FAO-GM public policy brief and infographic with key messages on sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration included in this publication were launched in October 2015 at the Forests and Landscape Forum - organized by the GM, FAO, and LPFN, among other partners- during the 12th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD in Ankara, Turkey.   Related links: Discussion Paper on 'Sustainable financing for Forest and Landscape Restoration: opportunities, challenges, and the way forward' Infographic on Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration: key messages Policy brief on ‘’Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration: the role of public policy makers’’ FAO’s Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism Landscapes for People, Food and Nature publication

FAO and Global Mechanism launch new publication on financing for forest and landscape restoration
Mirova and the Global Mechanism join forces to establish the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), through its operational arm - the Global Mechanism – together with Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers dedicated to responsible investing, have signed an agreement to structure the first global fund dedicated to achieving Land Degradation Neutrality - the LDN Fund. French Caisse des Depôts is supporting the initiative. The Global Mechanism and Mirova are pleased to announce the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with the objective of structuring the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund. The LDN Fund aims at creating a new investment territory: land rehabilitation and avoided degradation. The LDN Fund will be launched in December 2016. Achieving LDN is one of the year 2030 targets (target 15.3) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). LDN refers to a state whereby the amount of healthy and productive land resources necessary to support ecosystem services in a given community or country, or globally, remains at least stable. In October, the Parties to the UNCCD agreed to set up voluntary national targets to support the realization of the LDN target on a global level. The concept of an LDN Fund emerged in 2014 following consultations among institutions that were engaged in the identification of sustainable solutions to the challenge of land degradation. The Global Mechanism presented the first concept at the World Investment Forum in Geneva in October 2014. The fund should provide a coordination platform for blended finance and is expected to be set up as a Public-Private Partnership among institutional investors, impact investors, development finance institutions and donors committed to supporting LDN. It should be structured as a privately managed layered fund intending to generate returns for investors in line with their respective risk/return profiles. The Global Mechanism and Mirova are joining forces to turn the project into reality. Text from the joint press release issued by Mirova and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD in Paris on 3 December 2015.   Related links: Land Degradation Neutrality Fund Brochure (English) (1 MB) Land Degradation Neutrality Fund Brochure (French) (1021.15 KB) Land Degradation Neutrality Fund Brochure (Spanish) (1.13 MB) Download the Press Release (English) (470.14 KB) Download the Press Release (French) (397.38 KB)   For more information:  Simone Quatrini The Global Mechanism Tel. +49 228 815 2860 squatrini (at) unccd.int

Mirova and the Global Mechanism join forces to establish the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund