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Land degradation gets high visibility at sustainable development summit

Bonn, 20/02/2018 - Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India, says India will achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030. At a meeting with Executive Secretary Monique Barbut held last week in Delhi, India, Dr. Vardhan also conveyed New Delhi’s willingness to co-host the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop for Capacity-building. The meeting took place in the margins of the World Sustainable Development Summit, which was held on 15 to 17 February in Delhi. UNCCD and The Energy Research Institute (TERI) of India co-hosted a ministerial session on implementation of land degradation neutrality and three thematic sessions on The Governance challenges and policy solutions for combatting land degradation, The Business of Land and on Civil Society Engagement in Land Degradation Neutrality. Nitin Desai, former Under-Secretary of the United Nations, summarized the outcomes of the Ministerial session. The pressures on land come from many sources – agriculture, mining and climate. The solutions must be connected – land, water and biodiversity. If we want the small farmer to think long term, we need to take care of the short term challenge of livelihoods. Participants at the thematic issues discussed: (1) the important role of land management as an accelerator for Sustainable Development Goals and climate action; (2) how CSOs can and are contributing to the local and global land agenda, including in the critical roles of land tenure, gender equity and policy incentives for sustainable land management; and (3) the private sector as a critical partner in scaling up actions on the ground and shifting production practices. Their concerns centered on a few issues: •    how to operationalize sustainable land management (SLM) incentives that deliver multiple benefits •    how national policy frameworks can encourage and support action at the local level; and •    how land use planning can be used to negotiate the competing demands for land resources from industrial agriculture, urban and infrastructure expansion, and extractive and energy concerns, including water intensive industries. Participants observed that civil society organizations are highly effective in achieving change at small scale. But scaling up these successes would require information sharing, public campaigns and peer to peer learning facilitated by both the public and private sectors. They noted that even when gender equity and tenure security are guaranteed on paper they are rarely achieved due to multiple barriers, such as bureaucracy and political and cultural beliefs. Participants observed that land degradation poses significant risks, but also offers opportunities, to multiple industries. However, these calculations are rarely taken into account in most business decision making. Land is still not viewed as a “core business” but rather as a peripheral standard business calculation or toolkit. They argued that the private sector can – and should – invest in good land management considering that healthy land is always an essential economic, either directly or indirectly. Participants then identified several pathways for possible action. The noted the need for an integrated approach that is based on the principles of rights, rewards and responsibilities. They called for the adoption of sustainable land management (SLM) practices that ensure productivity of land resources as well as food, water and livelihood security for present and future generations. To this end, policies on the governance of land and soils are needed in order to create the enabling environment that will ensure restoration outcomes are sustainable and pro-poor. Participants highlighted that local communities and CSOs are key drivers in the innovation, experimentation and adaptation needed in the search for new pathways and solutions. Through partnerships, governments, businesses and local communities can mobilize resources and increase efforts to protect and improve rural livelihoods. Such partnerships should seek to overcome the barriers to land rights and to gender equality, which undermine the achievement of land degradation neutrality. Finding new sources of money to finance small scale producers and other livelihood activities of rural communities was also emphasized. Two options could be to work with green value supply chains and with investors committed to corporate social responsibility. Participants also stressed that businesses should not degrade the land. Instead, they need to promote sustainable land management, including through consumer demand, product procurement, and value-added processing. They argued that businesses with enormous land and water footprints should find new ways to shift production patterns. During the Summit, Ms. Barbut also met representatives of 7 leading media houses in India. Mr. Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister inaugurated the Summit. Click here for the WSDS news bulletin. For more reporting on the sessions, click the links below. http://wsds.teriin.org/land-at-risk-india-needs-to-combat-degradation.php http://wsds.teriin.org/towards-sustainable-land-management.php http://wsds.teriin.org/articles.php http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/blog-world-sustainable-development-summit-delhi For more information on the event, contact salexander@unccd.int. Sasha Alexander, Policy Officer, contributed to this report.

Land degradation gets high visibility at sustainable development summit
World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 opens in New Delhi, India

UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut participated in the meeting with the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi as the World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 (#WSDS2018) opened in New Delhi, India. Bringing together representatives from over 40 countries, many at the ministerial level, #WSDS2018 is a global forum where governments, industry, academia and institutions come together to discuss the challenges of sustainable development and climate change. During the Forum the UNCCD presented on the governance challenges and opportunities for the private sector and civil society to become fully engaged in delivering on India’s commitment to achieving LDN by 2030. You can follow the event here. Photo: TERI  

World Sustainable Development Summit 2018 opens in New Delhi, India
"Ma terre, héritage pour mes enfants" video showcases Madagascar's efforts reforestation efforts

Video "Ma terre, héritage pour mes enfants" ("My land, a heritage for my children") has been produced by the Ministry of the Environment, Ecology and Forests, Madagascar, and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD. Madagascar, known as the Green Island, committed to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030. In order to stop soil erosion and water shortage, the Government and the people of Madagascar have put efforts in reforestation. Watch the video to learn more. 

"Ma terre, héritage pour mes enfants" video showcases Madagascar's efforts reforestation efforts
UNCCD to focus on consumers making smart investments in the land

Unveiling the theme of the 2018 World Day to Combat Desertification, Monique Barbut, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, said “the campaign slogan, ‘Land has true value. Invest in it’, reminds us that land is a tangible asset with measurable value beyond just cash. That value is lost through degradation. But we can encourage land users to use land management practices that keep the land productive by the decisions we make every day in what we buy to eat, drink and wear.” Read full article from Africa Science News.

UNCCD to focus on consumers making smart investments in the land
UNCCD presents Drought Initiative at UN-Water meeting

1-2 February 2018 − Rome, Italy − UNCCD has presented its new Drought Initiative to the UN-Water members and partners who gathered for the 28th UN-Water meeting at the IFAD Headquarters in Rome to discuss global water challenges.  The preparations for the first phase of the Drought Initiative are in full swing with the focus on helping countries develop national drought preparedness plans. The initiative has been adopted by the recent UNCCD COP13 in Ordos, China in response to the growing need to assist countries, communities, agriculture, businesses and individuals threatened by drought − a disaster that has a negative effect on a broad spectrum of social and economic aspects, from food production to public health. The UNCCD secretariat aims to implement the Initiative in the biennium 2018−2019 by taking action on: •    national drought preparedness plans  •    regional efforts to reduce drought vulnerability and risk, and •    a toolbox to boost the resilience of people and ecosystems to drought By being prepared and acting early, people and communities can develop resilience against drought and minimize its risks. UNCCD experts can help  country Parties review or validate existing drought measures and prepare a national drought plan to put all the pieces together, identify gaps and ensure that necessary steps are taken as soon as the possibility of drought is signaled by meteorological services. It is envisaged that such a plan would be endorsed and eventual action triggered at the highest political level. Read more: Advocacy Policy Framework on Drought (pp. 9-13)  COP Decision on drought 

UNCCD presents Drought Initiative at UN-Water meeting
Desertification Day to focus on consumers making smart investments in the land

French Spanish Bonn, 7 February 2018. The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) to be marked worldwide on 17 June 2018 will focus on how consumers can regenerate economies, create jobs and revitalize livelihoods and communities by influencing the market to invest in sustainable land management through what we buy. Unveiling the theme, Monique Barbut, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said “the campaign slogan, ‘Land has true value. Invest in it.’, reminds us that land is a tangible asset with measurable value beyond just cash. That value is lost through degradation. But we can encourage land users to use land management practices that keep the land productive by the decisions we make every day in what we buy to eat, drink and wear.” A mapping of the impacts of our individual decisions by the Global Land Outlook shows the real picture. An analysis of the food consumed in the city London found that around 80 per cent of the food is imported from other countries. The footprint for the Netherlands shows that the country needs four times its own land area to feed its people. Thirty percent of all land is degraded, and has lost its true value. Land grabbing and a headlong rush for productive land signals a growing recognition that access to productive land will be crucial for future economic growth, peace and stability.  The sustainable development goal target to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030 is an important response to these challenges. It will help to recover degraded lands, stop land grabbing, fight climate change, increase food production and provide clean water. “Every coin a consumer spends determines where investments by the private sector and governments go – either to land degrading ventures or towards good land use practices. Let’s not underestimate how our small individual decisions transform the world, so let’s choose wisely with our purchases,” Ms Barbut said. The global observance of the Day in 2018 will be hosted by the Government of Ecuador.  Ecuador promotes smart and healthy consumerism and supports the use of sustainable land use practices such as bioeconomy, which is an impact indicator of the National Development Plan (2017-2020). The World Day to Combat Desertification was established by the UN General Assembly 23 years ago to be celebrated by every country in order to raise global awareness about the status of, and the priority actions taken at global and national levels to reverse desertification land degradation and strengthen responses to drought.  Notes to Editors

Desertification Day to focus on consumers making smart investments in the land