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Set a strong biodiversity framework, top UN official urges

The international community needs a strong biodiversity framework to guarantee the future we want, says Ibrahim Thiaw, the UN’s top policy advisor on land. “We live on the land and when we degrade it, we erode the soil and compromise the ability to feed ourselves…. We need a framework that is anchored in ecosystem management, particularly in sustainable land management,” he said. “Reviving ecosystems, which includes restoration of the land, is necessary for successful climate and biodiversity action,” he said. He laid out the triple benefits, in terms of real and immediate action, that follow when land is restored. “It reduces potential emissions from the land use sector. It stores carbon in soils and vegetation. And it enhances the ability of communities and ecosystems to withstand climate change, which also benefits biodiversity conservation.” Ibrahim Thiaw, who heads the Convention that addresses desertification, land degradation and drought, made the remarks during the high-level event on sustainable consumption and production patterns. The event, which was streamed live on Monday, 30 August, was hosted by the Government of Colombia, in the context of the post-2020 framework that will be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, in 2022. The latest science on land and  biodiversity loss, desertification and climate change all shows that changing consumption and production patterns are today the leading drivers of the loss of productive land. In response, 127 countries have committed to restore degrading land over the last six years. Over one billion hectares of land is earmarked for restoration by 2030, of which more than 450 million hectares are commitments by over 100 countries under the Convention’s Land Degradation Neutrality initiative. Read more...

Set a strong biodiversity framework, top UN official urges
PreCOP Biodiversity 2021 statement by UNCCD Executive Secretary

Mr. President Duque, Secretary General, Ministers, Friends and Colleagues Warmest greetings from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. We are at a critical point in the discussions on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Hence the timeliness of this meeting. Biodiversity and climate are two sides of the same coin. Land, a precious and finite resource, binds them. Land links species and carbon. It sustains life, above and below ground. Much has already been said. I therefore have a single, simple message to you: We need a strong biodiversity framework to ensure the future we want. A framework that is anchored in ecosystem management. Particularly in sustainable land management. We live in land. When we degrade land, we erode our soils. We inhibit our ability to feed ourselves. We jeopardize the quality of the water we drink. Of the air we breathe. When we degrade habitats, we accelerate species loss. Ecosystem restoration - including land restoration – is a condition to successful climate and biodiversity action. It is the cornerstone of any strategy that seeks to restore balance among humans and nature. The foundation for the achievement of the sustainable development goals. Let me emphasize: restoring land health has a triple benefit in terms of real and immediate climate action: It reduces potent emissions from the land use sector, Stores carbon in soils and vegetation, Snd it enhances the resilience of communities and ecosystems, which in turn benefits biodiversity conservation. It all comes full circle. Land restoration is also a relatively quick way to create jobs to drive a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and make us less vulnerable to the next crisis. I am happy to note that restoration is being given high prominence in the current draft of the framework that is being discussed by your negotiators. I am confident that that this will remain the case. I can assure you that the UNCCD will be an active partner in supporting you to implement the global biodiversity framework once it is adopted. And this is where the synergies among the Rio Conventions will be most noticeable. A comprehensive, complementary approach to the implementation of the three Rio Conventions is necessary. No country will be fulfilling its mandate under one convention without fully implementing the other two. The tools to leveraging the synergies between the three conventions are actually in our hands. Namely: The biodiversity framework, The Land Degradation Neutrality targets and the National Action Plans from UNCCD, And the nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. A land and ecosystems restoration approach will also guide coordinated action with other processes focused on human health, pollution abatement, water management, and disaster risk reduction. Excellencies, The land is not the solution to all of humanity’s problems. We still need to fully decarbonize our economies, rethink how we produce and consume resources and intensively address the loss of species and other components of their habitats – as we are discussing in the context of this very meeting. But if we protect, manage, and restore the land, the benefits will be immense. Working together and collaboratively in policy and action, we can and must unlock these benefits, for people and the planet. Thank you very much.

PreCOP Biodiversity 2021 statement by UNCCD Executive Secretary
New global biodiversity agreement: Two-part summit announced

The Convention on Biological Diversity has issued the programme for its next Conference and Meetings of the Parties to be held in Kunming, China. It also opened the registration for media. The conferences (COP15/COP-MOP10/COP-MOP4) are organized in two parts. Part 1 will take place on 11-15 October2021 as a virtual event. It will include an online high-level segment.  The in-person meetings and Part 2 of the conference will resume on 25 April - 8 May 2022. The Parties will conclude negotiations and decide on the new Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. A high-level segment will also take place.  The Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will meet online starting next week, 23 August - 3 September 2021, to prepare the advance draft text. A high-level segment is also planned during this session. Decisive in-person meetings that were planned for October in China were paused for a few more months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Online accreditation of media for the events taking place now is available immediately. Accreditation for next years' meeting will open at a future date.  For more information, click here.  

New global biodiversity agreement:  Two-part summit announced
Media network for the Great Green Wall launched

Accelerating land restoration in the Sahel through media Media practitioners, broadcasters, representatives from print media and multimedia producers from the eleven Great Green Wall countries participated in a two-day virtual capacity building workshop with the theme "Media as agents of change to accelerate land restoration in the Sahel" on 12 – 13 August 2021. Facilitated by a team of technical experts from UNCCD, the African Union and the Pan-African Agency for the Great Green Wall, the training was held as part of capacity building activities in line with pillar five of the Great Green Wall Accelerator, announced by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders in January 2021 at the One Planet Summit on Biodiversity. The training also sought to form a coalition of Sahelian journalists to commence continuous engagements with the media for increased advocacy about the Great Green Wall Initiative, Africa’s epic ambition to restore degraded lands and grow an 8000 km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa and project the Sahel as a land of opportunities to spur investments and improve the economy of communities in the Sahel. While declaring the media workshop open, Dr. Birguy Lamizana, Senior Programme Officer for the Sahel at UNCCD stressed the important role of the media in raising awareness and advocating for land and the environment. Earlier in her remarks, Dr. Lamizana informed journalists that the Great Green Wall has been borne out of an urgent need for concerted efforts and urgent response to the challenges faced by the region like the impact of desertification, climate change, land and water resources degradation, loss of biodiversity, loss of livelihoods due to poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition and the recent conflicts by armed groups which has led to irregular migration. She noted that these challenges not only affect Africa as climate issues have no barriers, sighting the recent wildfires in Greece, Italy and the sand dust in Europe near the north of Africa – all results of climate change. A call to the media to use their tools to advocate for land and the environment even in local languages was made by Dr. Lamizana, while urging the media to be active participants in the newly launched media network for the Sahel, to advocate and lobby government to commit budgets to the National Agencies for the Great Green Wall in the 11 Great Green Wall countries, for the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative’s activities to meet the targets of the initiative as set out by the year 2030. Similarly, Mr  Elvis Paul Tangem, the African Union Coordinator for the Great Green Wall highlighted the importance of the Great Green Wall in providing peace, jobs and stability in the Sahel region. He noted that concerted efforts by all stakeholders such as the media will be required for success to be achieved. Journalists during their group and plenary sessions highlighted and presented challenges of land degradation in their communities and identified story ideas they would be working on in coming weeks to raise awareness and bring attention to issues of land degradation and drought as well as efforts of countries signing up to reverse, avoid and restore degraded land to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Targets set out by the 11 Great Green Wall countries for the LDN programme of UNCCD. Land degradation is a crisis affecting communities in the Sahel where people and communities live off the land – in a literal sense - and depend on its productivity for their everyday survival. About  80% of the population in Africa still rely on rain-fed agriculture for work but 65% of African land is degraded. In the last 30 years, the Sahel has been devastated by severe droughts and massive loss of fertile land due to climate change and unsustainable land management practices. 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. The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement launched in 2007 by leaders from the Sahelian countries, with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000 km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa, involving at least 11 countries and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is estimated that around 33 billion US dollars of investment – from private, national and international sources will be needed to achieve the targets/goals of the Great Green Wall Initiative by 2030 – restore 100 Million hectares of degraded land, create 10 million jobs and sequester 250 Million tones of carbon. In a post-COVID context where Sahelian countries are struggling with budgets and funding, the Great Green Wall Accelerator announced at the One Planet Summit in January 2021 will help meet financial requirements and turbocharge the achievement of its goals.

Media network for the Great Green Wall launched
Climate: Fix the land or it will be an emitter

The Earth is warming fast, and even faster on the land. This trend is “virtually certain” to continue and no region of the world will be spared, according to the Working Group 1 assessment report released Monday by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate: Fix the land or it will be an emitter
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