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President Hollande announces that France will participate in the investment fund for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN Fund) In his address to the Heads of States Summit held on the occasion of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), French President Mr. François Hollande announced his decision to join other public and private sector investors in the establishment of the LDN Fund, as part of France’s commitment to combat desertification and mobilize the necessary resources. Watch the video of Mr. Hollande’s speech in French (or jump to min. 7’45”): Discours au sommet des chefs d'Etat et de... von elysee For more information: Simone Quatrini The Global Mechanism Tel. +49 228 815 2860 firstname.lastname@example.org
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is in Bonn, Germany, today to engage with G20 Foreign Ministers on the issues of Africa and sustainability. It is the new UN chief’s first visit to Bonn since taking office this year. Monique Barbut, current Chair of the UN Agencies in Germany and Executive-Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification says: “From Bonn, the UN is dealing with issues of burning concern for sustainable development and is indeed delivering centerpieces to the Agenda 2030.” “In the face of climate change and environmental degradation, vulnerable communities, especially those in rural areas affected by frequent droughts, are often forced to make disastrous choices. The G20 can ensure young people are secure and have a stable future.”
En français. En español. “Our land. Our home. Our Future,” is the rallying call for this year’s celebration of the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June 2017. The slogan draws global attention to the central role productive land can play in turning the growing tide of migrants abandoning unproductive land into communities and nations that are stable, secure and sustainable, into the future. The UNCCD has also released the campaign logo for use by any group, organization, government or entity that will organize a celebratory event for the Day. “Migration is high on the political agenda all over the world as some rural communities feel left behind and others flee their lands. The problem signals a growing sense of hopelessness due to the lack of choice or loss of livelihoods. And yet productive land is a timeless tool for creating wealth. This year, let us engage in a campaign to re-invest in rural lands and unleash their massive job-creating potential, from Burkina Faso, Chile and China, to Italy, Mexico, Ukraine and St. Lucia,” says Ms. Monique Barbut, the United Nations top advisor on combatting desertification and drought. “The possibility for success today is greater than ever before. More than 100 of the 169 countries affected by desertification or drought are setting national targets to curb a run-away land degradation by the year 2030. Investing in the land will create local jobs and give households and communities a fighting chance to live, which will, in turn, strengthen national security and our future prospects for sustainability,” Ms. Barbut added. Ms. Barbut also announced that Burkina Faso, in West Africa, will host the global observance of the World Day to showcase the political commitment and proactive steps the region is taking to tackle the migration and land degradation challenges. “Since the early 1980s, we have been rehabilitating degraded land by building on our traditional techniques such as the Zaï or adopting new techniques that work, such as farmer managed natural regeneration. We intend to be land degradation neutral by 2030. We are hosting the global observance on 17 June because we want to show the world, what we have achieved and is possible in order to inspire everyone into action,” said Mr. Batio Bassiere, Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso hosted the 2005 Heads of State Summit for the Sahel-Saharan countries where 11 countries reached an agreement to restored degraded land on an 8000 kilometer stretch of land cutting across the Sahel. The initiative is now popularly known as the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel. The United Nations designated 17 June as the World Day to Combat Desertification to raise public awareness about the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought and to promote the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. For more information on the World Day to Combat Desertification contact: YHori@unccd.int. For all media Inquiries, click here. Download the campaign materials here.
Monique Barbut, the United Nations Under Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and Noriko Suzuki, Senior Vice President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) met today at the JICA Headquarters in Tokyo to discuss possible areas of cooperation for Africa’s development. Despite the fact that about 874 million hectares of Africa's land – 20 times more than arable land in Japan - is considered suitable for agricultural production, about 83 percent of which have been seriously affected by desertification. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, desertification could cost a loss of natural capital valued at an estimated USD1 to 3 billion per year. On the other hand, improving land and water management on just 25% of sub-Saharan Africa’s 300 million hectares of prime cropland would result in an additional 22 million tons of food. This is a significant opportunity for Africa’s development where more than 90% of the economy depends on a climate-sensitive natural resource base like rain-fed, subsistence agriculture. Restoring land will increase food security and income of the land users most of whom are the poorest farmers. This in turn helps avoiding unnecessary movement of people, and reducing current and potential fighting over resources in degraded areas. Desertification is a cause and consequence of poverty and a push factor of migration, which can be linked to greater insecurity. Therefore, addressing desertification is a key to achieving sustainable development for Africa while contributing peace and stability to the region and around the world. Against this backdrop, Barbut and Suzuki agreed to find areas of cooperation for Africa which bring multiple synergetic benefits to ongoing programmes and projects of respective organization, especially with regard to fight against land degradation, desertification and mitigation of drought. Earlier, UNCCD and JICA agreed to co-partner “African Initiative for Combating Desertification to Strengthen Resilience to Climate Change in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa”, along with the Government of Kenya, the Government of Senegal and other partners. The areas of further exploration were discussed on the following: Support to countries to promote measures to combat desertification particularly through networking, knowledge-sharing and improving access to finance. Support to countries to achieve land degradation neutrality in view of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15. Addressing the root causes of instability in Africa, particularly migration and conflict related to natural resource degradation through harmonization with 3S Initiative on Sustainability, Security and Stability. Further, joint outreach and awareness-raising activities were proposed, taking opportunities of major global platforms on desertification and Africa’s development such as Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) and the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP). The next UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP13) is scheduled from 4-15 September 2017 in Ordos, China. Stressing the global benefits of restoring Africa’s land, Barbut said, “JICA’s long history of development support is well recognized in Africa. Land is still the most important mechanism for lifting millions of people from poverty, and our partnership in sustainable land management and drought management will accelerate the pace towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on Land, Poverty and Climate in Africa .” Suzuki commented, ”Countries’ ownership and global partnership are indispensable to addressing the mounting development challenges in Africa and achieving the world that no one left behind. The partnership with the UNCCD which plays a critical role in Africa as a convention to combat desertification is a great opportunity for JICA to accelerate our contribution to Africa’s development and peace and stability in the world.” At the end of the meeting, Barbut and Suzuki agreed to continue the dialogues towards developing concrete joint partnership aiming tangible outcomes. For further information, UNCCD Yukie Hori, Spokesperson and Communication Team Leader email@example.com +49 228 815 2829 www.unccd.int JICA Mari Miura, Deputy Director, Natural Environment Team 2, Forestry and Nature Conservation Group, Global Environment Department Miura.Mari@jica.go.jp +81-3-5226-9534 www.jica.go.jp/english/ **** 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 195 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 JICA Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as the implementing agency for providing Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) in an integrated fashion, carries out international cooperation with developing countries. JICA supports the resolution of problems faced by developing countries by combining a variety of approaches as well as expertise, technologies and funds owned by Japan with the vision of “dynamic development that benefits all people.” JICA has set four Strategic Objectives adapted to the agendas of the three Rio conventions and the SDGs, which include sustainable use of natural resources to improve livelihoods of vulnerable communities.
Majority of people in Japan tend to think desertification is happening far away from them. During the symposium today, they learned why they should care and take action in the fight against desertification and land degradation. “Japan is not immune from the impact of land degradation,” said Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary, speaking at the opening of the symposium. “For example, the Japanese government aims to increase the food self-sufficiency rate to 45%. It will be tough when nearly 30% of the agricultural land in Japan is already degraded. Meeting food self-sufficiency targets means not just food production increases but should also mean land restoration and rehabilitation in Japan.” She further mentioned the potential impact of land degradation on international peace and security because the loss of productive land is driving people to make risky life choices. Mr. Yoshihiro Seki, Vice Minister for Environment in Japan, introduced Japan’s cooperation on the drylands issues through bilateral and multilateral cooperation. He stressed the importance of land restoration in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The symposium participants then heard from three keynote speakers: Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Director, IR3S, University of Tokyo and Senior Visiting Professor, UNU-IAS; Prof. Uriel Safriel, Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and Ms. Majig Tungalag, Director, Department of Forest Policy and Coordination, Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism, Mongolia. Two panel discussions followed, the first one focusing on the UNCCD process and the second about the role of science and technology in achieving Sustainable Development Goal target 15.3 by combatting desertification to achieve a “land degradation-neutral world” by 2030. The symposium was held in the United Nations University in Tokyo, where the observance of the International Year for Desert and Desertification was held 11 years ago, and in commemoration of over the 20 years of the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). It was co-organized by the UNCCD secretariat along with the Ministry of Environment in Japan and Tottori University. Information about the symposium (English and Japanese): http://www.svc-net.jp/201727/