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Welcoming US President’s Executive Order on Climate Change

Statement by UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw: Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish  Joseph Biden Jr., President of the United States, issued an Executive Order yesterday outlining the bold steps his administration will take to tackle the climate crisis at home and throughout the world. I welcome this decision and the President’s offer to host a Leaders Climate Summit in April. President Biden’s Executive Order moves forward the goals he set on his first day in office. The actions laid out are expected, among other results, to revitalize the country’s energy sector, conserve natural resources and leverage them to drive the country toward a clean energy future and deliver justice for communities that have been subjected to environmental harm. These actions are not only bold. They reflect the policy priorities that people all over the world are demanding. People want responses on climate change to focus on the land and forests, according to the largest survey ever conducted of public opinion on climate change. The conservation of land and forests, a switch to renewable energies and adopting climate-friendly farming techniques are the top three calls to action identified through a global poll conducted by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with Oxford University, and others. Over 1.2 million people in 50 countries that make up 56 percent of the global population responded to the poll. The public has witnessed the dangers of land use change across all countries. And it is not just in the loss of species or of productive land. It is in the increase in extraordinary and dangerous weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and floods. It is in recurrent food shortages and crop failures. It is from the society-wide impacts of a pandemic of the kind that is linked to land use change. And it is in these impacts worsening with every passing year. It is not a question of whether change is possible. It is whether the will to change exists. More than 70 percent of the natural ecosystems are significantly altered already according to a Special Report of the authoritative Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change. One in every five hectares is degraded beyond repair, according to country reports submitted to this Convention. At the same time, close to 800 million hectares of degrading land can be restored to health. About 250 million hectares of this is farmland. Reversing these processes will create green jobs and offer multiple benefits. It will revitalize farmlands where communities are falling behind. It is an opportunity to turn unusable land into clean energy farms. It will discourage the conversion of natural land, reduce emissions from the land and sequester significant amounts of carbon into the soil. The public is asking us to build back better for a resilient future through better decisions and smart plans. We know what needs to be done and where, and the framework for action exists. We must stop financing activities that encourage land users to convert natural ecosystems into other uses. Instead, finance must be directed to three concrete activities. First, better foresting activities. Second, fixing land that was converted and damaged. And third, farming practices that fix the land while increasing its output. This is a time like no other. We know what the public wants. I call on world leaders to heed the public’s call for bold policy actions on the land. For more information, contact: Wagaki Wischnewski, wwischnewski@unccd.int  

Welcoming US President’s Executive Order on Climate Change
Canada to support land restoration in developing countries

Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw welcomes the announcement that the Government of Canada is set to invest up to 55 million Canadian dollars in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund. The Fund supports private sector projects in developing countries that use sustainable land management techniques to restore degraded ecosystems and adapt to green economies. 

Canada to support land restoration in developing countries
Great Green Wall pledges to regreen Sahel hit 14 billion USD

The ambitious Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative has received at least 14.326 billion United States Dollars in new funding. The funding will fast track efforts to restore degrading land, save biological diversity as well as create green jobs and build resilience of the Sahelian people. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, made the announcement at the just concluded One Planet Summit for Biodiversity on 11 January 2021, co-organized by France, the United Nations and World Bank. Read more: Full press release Summit communique Great Green Wall Initiative Photo: (c) MakeWaves Media

Great Green Wall pledges to regreen Sahel hit 14 billion USD
Over 14 billion USD raised for Great Green Wall to regreen the Sahel

The ambitious Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative has received at least 14.236 billion United States Dollars in new funding. The funding will fast track efforts to restore degrading land, save biological diversity as well as create green jobs and build resilience of the Sahelian people. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, made the announcement at the just concluded One Planet Summit for Biodiversity co-organized by France, the United Nations and World Bank.

Over 14 billion USD raised for Great Green Wall to regreen the Sahel
Great Green Wall at One Planet Summit 2021

Biodiversity is our life insurance, but it is under threat. The COVID19 crisis has dramatically changed our lives; and it has also brought to the forefront the crucial need to better preserve biodiversity. Our lives and economies rely on nature. France, together with the United Nations and the World Bank, is organizing a "One Planet Summit" for biodiversity on 11 January 2021 in Paris. The Summit will bring together heads of state and government, leaders of international organizations, financial institutions, companies and NGOs, all ready to demonstrate that their commitments are leading to concrete actions to preserve and restore biodiversity, and to lead systemic transformations of our economies. This high-level meeting is a major milestone for the political mobilization for nature in 2021, the year that should lead to an ambitious new international agreement on biodiversity. At the summit, UNCCD presents the Great Green Wall Initiative – a game-changing African-led project that aims to restore degraded landscapes and improve millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions, the Sahel. The Great Green Wall Initiative is regreening the Sahel, restoring degraded lands and providing decent livelihoods for its people, snaking the Sahel all the way from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East, restoring degraded lands and providing jobs and opportunities for millions of people in Africa.  In a post COVID context where Sahelian countries are struggling with budgets and funding, the new commitments launched at One Planet Summit will help meet financial requirements and turbo charge the achievement of GGW goals. To complete the Wall, it is estimated that USD 33 billion US dollars of investment – from private, national and international sources will be needed.  Read more: Great Green Wall Request for interviews

Great Green Wall at One Planet Summit 2021