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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
Drought, Food Security, Migration and Climate: Implications for Policy and Conflict

Stockholm, Sweden, 26 August 2016 – Given the multi-faceted nature and interconnectedness of drought, food security, conflict and migration, the UNCCD is co-hosting a panel event focusing on the need for integrated approaches and the institutional coherence in order to identify solutions, minimize cross-sectoral trade-offs and harness synergies. The panel event will take place at 11:00 am to 12:30 pm on 1 September 2016, at the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. Climate induced hazards such as droughts, heat waves, floods and typhoons have clear negative impacts on food security, conflicts and migration. The influx of migrants witnessed in countries such Israel and Jordan, with already highly stressed water resources, can elevate migration as a security issue.  Robert Mcleman, Wilfrid Laurier University, will deliver the keynote address titled, “Climate change, droughts, and migration: Adaptation or conflicts, which will we choose?" The panelists are Ousman Sowe, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Wildlife, the Gambia, Rikke Olivera, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Martina Climesova, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Daniel Tsegai, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Michael Brüntrup, German Development Institute (DIE) will moderate the event.  Drought and water scarcity are considered a contributing factor to the civil unrest and subsequent migration in Syria. Unfortunately, countries continue to manage drought and water scarcity as a ‘crisis’ and react only after the event has taken its tall with often poorly coordinated emergency relief measures. A silo approach is still the norm.  The event will highlight the interconnectedness of drought, food insecurity, conflict and migration. The role of empowering the vulnerable rural population, relevance of coherent and coordinated proactive policy approach will be discussed. For more information, contact: dtsegai@unccd.int For interview with UNCCD staff, contact: wwischnewski@unccd.int

Drought, Food Security, Migration and Climate: Implications for Policy and Conflict
Regional training course on combating desertification

Konya-Mersin, Turkey, ​23 August 2016 – Each year Turkey’s General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion organizes an International Training Course on Combating Desertification. This year, the training will take place from 23-27 August in Konya-Mersin for experts from Central Asia and the Balkans. The training is supported by Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). The training course covers technical issues such as causes of desertification/land degradation, seed and seedling production, forestation, erosion control and participatory approach with the aim of increasing the level of regional collaboration among the countries of the region and enabling each country in the region to share the technical experience. The training course is open for two representatives of the countries (see below for eligible countries). The course has been developed for decision makers, forest engineers and NGO’s involved in the management of environmental problems related to desertification, land degradation, afforestation, erosion control and forestry. The deadline for application is 15 July 2016. For more information and application, download the attached documents. Information noteEligible countriesApplication form For more information of the training course, contact: Mr. Sebahattin ACIKGOZ (sacikgoz@ormansu.gov.tr) or Ms. Eda AKDEMİR (eakdemir@ormansu.gov.tr) At the last UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP12), the Ankara Initiative was launched to strengthen implementations of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for the period from 2016 to 2019. The Initiative supports the global sustainable development agenda and leverage the lessons learned from Turkey’s past experience and approaches to land management. The training course is part of the Ankara Initiative actions.

Regional training course on combating desertification