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UNCCD presents ways to tackle key environmental challenges at GEF sixth assembly

Da Nang, Viet Nam – The sixth Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) gathered on 27 June, 2018 to identify key environmental challenges, formulate effective solutions, evaluate the effectiveness of existing cooperation mechanisms and propose inter-regional and interdisciplinary projects to address the underlying causes of environmental degradation.  As part of discussions on food, land use and partnerships for achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs), Mr. Juan Carlos Mendoza, the Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of UNCCD, introduced programming directions prepared by the UNCCD secretariat to identify linkages between land and biodiversity, and land and climate change. Mr. Mendoza invited decision makers to pool resources for the implementation of the Rio Conventions by developing comprehensive and transformative projects that address biodiversity loss and land degradation, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.  Highlighting specific initiatives that address global issues, Mr. Mendoza spoke of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (LDN Fund) – an impact investment fund for enabling sustainable business activities that address land degradation. Mr. Mendoza emphasized that achieving LDN and managing land sustainably is the best bet to safeguard natural resources for present and future generations. Speaking of the 118 UNCCD country parties that have already set LDN targets, Mr. Mendoza encouraged the GEF to become an integral part of their journey through stronger support to the land degradation focal area as the accelerator for implementing the 2030 Agenda.  Read more: Global Mechanism Global Environment Facility

UNCCD presents ways to tackle key environmental challenges at GEF sixth assembly
Land in 2050: the challenges ahead

Bonn, Germany – How will the use and condition of land change worldwide over the next few decades? What drives those changes, and what will be the effects on agriculture, water, climate and biodiversity? How will they influence the challenge to achieve global sustainability ambitions? Which regions will see the largest challenges when it comes to land degradation and increased competition over land? And where will restoration and better management of land and soil yield the most benefits? These are some of the questions that Stefan van der Esch, senior policy researcher with the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, tried to answer when presenting the Global Land Outlook’s scenario report at UNCCD headquarters on June 27. 2018.  The report provides quantitative estimates that answer these questions, providing the backdrop to the UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework along with land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets. It explores the changes to land over future decades by analyzing different scenarios that match those applied in the IPCC, connecting land and climate. For the first time in global assessments, past and future changes to the quality of land and soil were added to the scenario analysis. The results also feature in the recent IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment. Emphasizing policy relevance as the prime concern of the presented study, Mr. van der Esch said that while forecasted challenges are expected to take place in the next few decades, policy makers still have time to respond to them effectively, provided that the quality of political and administrative decision-making is ensured by a sound and robust scientific basis. Read more: Achieving land degradation neutrality Land and sustainable development goals  

Land in 2050: the challenges ahead
In search of sustainable and profitable agriculture 

Sixty researchers from eight European countries – Spain, Italy, Holland, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and Finland – will be working together with companies and farmers for the next four years to develop a viable agricultural model as a environmentally and economically beneficial and sustainable alternative to mainstream intensive monoculture. The objective of Diverfarming project, coordinated by Cebas-CSIC and UPCT, is to orient agricultural practices towards diversified models that work with nature and create richer agricultural landscapes.  Diversification allows to improve the quality of soil, minimize the use of inputs and increase biodiversity while maintaining the productivity of crops and reducing the dependence of farmers on a single crop. It increases the soil’s capacity to retain water and nutrients and act as a carbon sink, building resistance to erosion and allowing the soil to adapt to the effects of climate change and even mitigate them. The project team intends to generate conditions in which the soils are more prepared to overcome long periods of drought and are more protected against degradation. Diverfarming brings together economists, engineers, social scientists, agronomists, ecologists, biologists and geographers to analyze, quantify and monetize the benefits of locally adapted agricultural diversification for ecosystem services and agro-economy. Diverfarming seeks to integrate and increase the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes, achieving a balance between the optimization of ecosystem services in agriculture and the economic benefits for the farmers. In Hungary, the project takes place on asparagus plantations, while in Germany the work is done in the vineyards on the steep slopes of the Rhine Valley. In Italy, the researchers and farmers work with cereals, while in Holland and Finland they focus on forage fields for cattle feed. More info (in Spanish)... (c) Images courtesy of Cebas-CSIC

In search of sustainable and profitable agriculture 
E-course on UNCCD reporting process featured on Capacity Building Marketplace

Bonn, Germany – UNCCD Capacity Building Marketplace now features a collection of specialized material to support the 2017-2018 Reporting Process, including an e-course, which contains numerous tips and training videos. The course has been developed to ensure that all reporting entities clearly understand the requirements for produce a quality report and have access to the necessary knowledge and tools that can make the reporting process more simple and straightforward. Read more...  

E-course on UNCCD reporting process featured on Capacity Building Marketplace
Just published: World Atlas of Desertification, 3rd edition

Twenty years have passed since the last atlas of desertification was published. Within that short period, enormous global changes have taken place in terms of human expansion and the impact that had on the environment. Equally significant progress has been made in understanding the fundamentals of human-environment interactions. This has been made possible, in part, by the massive increase and growth in the accessibility of global and WAD3 thus begins at a very different place than WAD2 in terms of scientific information and understanding. Read more...

Just published: World Atlas of Desertification, 3rd edition
2018WDCD workshop brings attention to best SLM practices

Brussels, Belgium – UNCCD took part in the workshop organized by the European Commission (EC) on  the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) to increase synergies between EC partners and find ways to put land on the forefront of political agenda.  UNCCD presented the 2018WDCD video message from the Executive Secretary Ms. Monique Barbut and a trailer for the new documentary on the Great Green Wall initiative – a project that brings together development partners to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time – desertification, poverty and climate change.   Participants, who represented EC, GIZ, FAO, World Bank, ICRAF and World Agroforestry, shared specific examples of best practices in sustainable land management (SLM) and discussed opportunities for collaboration on drought issues as part of joint activities developed by UNCCD together with the German Development Institute and UNU.  Learn more: Workshop video #2018WDCD campaign 2018WDCD video message from Ms. Monique Barbut Best SLM practices  

2018WDCD workshop brings attention to best SLM practices