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Some international agreements emerge quickly. But the birth of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was a long tortuous journey. In particular, it was undermined by the perception that it was a development Convention. Yet the evolution of its sister Rio Conventions on Climate Change and on Biological Diversity shows that a purist approach to environmental conservation is at best misguided, and at worst dangerous.
Iceland will reach carbon neutrality before the year 2040. This is the ambitious goal that my government set in September 2018 when it introduced a new climate action plan to get us there. We are taking actions that tackle the three major global environmental challenges – on biological diversity, climate change and desertification – simultaneously.
If you track science in the news regularly, you may have noticed the release of the IPBES Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration, a landmark global scientific assessment of land degradation and restoration and its summary for policy makers. Most of the press reported the almost unfathomable extent of the problem. About 75% of all land is impacted by degradation. This is compromising the well-being of nearly half of the people on Earth and costing 10% of the annual global gross product in lost ecosystem services. The impending doom is not to be taken lightly. But the press reports obscure a wealth of information in the Assessment, which can lead to solutions