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2018: a year in review

Please join us to mark some of this year's achievements, all of which have been made possible thanks to cooperation and support of all UNCCD stakeholders: 120 countries are now part of the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP) 60 countries have established LDN targets 46 countries have mapped LDN transformative projects and programmes (TPP) GM has pledged its support to ten countries developing the LDN TPP and another three countries under the 3S Initiative  Thirteen countries have submitted project ideas under the 3S Initiative, with five major projects already under development 44 countries have joined the Drought Initiative The financing needed to develop Great Green Wall TPP portfolio has been secured Almost 3 000 new subscribers joined the UNCCD News Alert Nearly 4 000 new followers joined us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Weibo e-learning videos on the new UNCCD reporting process received close to 3 000 views on the UNCCD YouTube channel Over 80 countries reported their WDCD events, and the #2018WDCD social media campaign received over 460 000 impressions. The campaign hashtag #2018WDCD received 4 772 704 impressions UNCCD published three new titles this year  The UNCCD Library twitter activity increased five fold thanks to daily updates of the library catalogue and the library section of the Knowledge Hub that feature publications related to the UNCCD focus areas The new World Atlas of Desertification was the most accessed entry in the UNCCD e-library this year Other popular titles included the Scientific Conceptual Framework fo LDN, Global Land Outlook and Gender Action Plan

2018: a year in review
Media Advisory: How much land is degraded globally?

The first global assessment of land degradation based on Earth observation data reported by governments will be presented and reviewed at the Seventeenth Session of the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 17) to be held on 28-29 January 2019 in Georgetown, Guyana.   The assessment, conducted by reporting countries using a harmonized approach, shows trends in land degradation between 2000 to 2015. It is based on data gathered from 145 of the 197 countries that are party to the Convention. This is the most extensive compilation of official data on this subject since world governments agreed to tackle the problem of land degradation in 1994, and then adopted a binding agreement – the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – in 1996.   The assessment is expected to provide the baseline for assessing progress in the reduction or reversal of land degradation globally, going forward. It will also contribute to country efforts to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN), which is Sustainable Development Goal target 15.3.   Journalists wishing to cover the Committee meeting in January are invited to register and obtain accreditation through this online portal: https://indico.un.org/event/27508/   The secretariat of the UNCCD jointly with Guyana Land and Soils Commission will organize a media training for journalists on Sunday, 28 January 2019. A few Caribbean journalists who meet the required criteria will be sponsored for the training and to cover the event. Interested journalists are reminded that the application deadline is this Friday, 21 December 2019. Detailed information is available here.   Detailed information about CRIC17 is available via this link.

Media Advisory: How much land is degraded globally?
Media Advisory: How much land is degraded globally?

The first global assessment of land degradation based on Earth observation data reported by governments will be presented and reviewed at the Seventeenth Session of the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 17) to be held on 28-29 January 2019 in Georgetown, Guyana.   The assessment, conducted by reporting countries using a harmonized approach, shows trends in land degradation between 2000 to 2015. It is based on data gathered from 145 of the 197 countries that are party to the Convention. This is the most extensive compilation of official data on this subject since world governments agreed to tackle the problem of land degradation in 1994, and then adopted a binding agreement – the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – in 1996.   The assessment is expected to provide the baseline for assessing progress in the reduction or reversal of land degradation globally, going forward. It will also contribute to country efforts to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN), which is Sustainable Development Goal target 15.3.   Journalists wishing to cover the Committee meeting in January are invited to register and obtain accreditation through this online portal: https://indico.un.org/event/27508/   The secretariat of the UNCCD jointly with Guyana Land and Soils Commission will organize a media training for journalists on Sunday, 28 January 2019. A few Caribbean journalists who meet the required criteria will be sponsored for the training and to cover the event. Interested journalists are reminded that the application deadline is this Friday, 21 December 2019. Detailed information is available here.   Detailed information about CRIC17 is available via this link.

Media Advisory: How much land is degraded globally?
UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut becomes an International Gender Champion

The UNCCD Executive Secretary Ms. Monique Barbut joined the global leadership network that unites over 200 female & male decision-makers determined to break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence.  Ms. Barbut made a pledge to cultivate a positive and supportive organizational culture among all staff where gender equality and empowerment of women are measurable and embedded in all decision-making and programming processes of the UNCCD. She also took upon herself to advocate for concrete measures, such as women’s access to land rights, which the UNCCD Parties can champion for mainstreaming gender and the empowerment of women in achieving land degradation neutrality. Read more about the International Gender Champions here.

UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut becomes an International Gender Champion
Rio Conventions Pavilion hosts dialog on linking biodiversity, climate change and SLM for maximum benefits

Katowice, Poland – The Rio Conventions Pavilion, in a series of sessions co-hosted by the  Global Environment Facility (GEF)  at the recent COP24 Climate Change Conference, provided a space for constructive dialogue among representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society on the issue of synergies. All present were unambiguous in their message: the three conventions need to continue enhancing their close cooperation to fully take advantage of synergies in mission so that actions which follow can be fully integrated to achieve multiple benefits.  The context for these discussions goes back to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which led to the establishment of the three sister conventions: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Rio Conventions Pavilion is a platform for raising awareness and sharing information on the latest practices and scientific findings linking biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable land management. Making this happen has not always been easy at the global or national level. In Katowice, the ”why” of synergies was made clear at Pavilion sessions, in scientific, practical and financial terms: It makes sense from the science point of view because the degradation of land releases carbon into the atmosphere (including vast amounts when peatlands are drained) — carbon that is the basis for life in the soil and everything that grows above it, impacting productivity and biodiversity, water and all other ecosystem serves flowing from land; affecting the health of ecosystems, the food supply and the well-being of people It makes sense in practice when  sustainably managed land is recognized as an integrator and accelerator of virtually all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many of which compete for land resources. Land must be treated as the limited resource when planning and management decisions are made, in a way that encourages the optimization of interventions across the landscape to minimize the tradeoffs associated with multiple demands on land It makes sense from the point of view of effective and efficient use of financial resources to achieve the objectives of the three Conventions It makes sense from the perspective of developing countries that require support to design integrated projects addressing climate change, biodiversity and land degradation, because in many cases they have limited capabilities to design and implement projects, and it makes sense to use integrated approaches rather than fragmented ones Addressing the “how” of maximizing synergies is critical. A number of solutions were tabled in the Rio Pavilion sessions, including: The framework of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) provides countries the means to plan and pursue interventions with the aim of maximizing positive impacts across the landscape and navigating the inevitable tradeoffs. LDN was a part of many approaches discussed at the Pavilion, including sustainable infrastructure and ecosystem-based assessment (EbA). The mitigation hierarchy approaches outlined for individual interventions can feed into the national-scale application of the LDN response hierarchy, as countries set priorities for and pursue their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), Aichi Targets and LDN targets simultaneously and seamlessly. Excellent examples of projects pursued in such an integrated way were shared by representatives of Mongolia, Belarus, Russia, Indonesia and Guyana Taking all of this into account when interventions are designed is also on the agenda – specifically through initiatives such as the Project Preparation Facility of the three Rio Conventions. UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD are working together to put in action these calls for enhancing synergies and meeting the expectations not only of governments, to all other stakeholders working to address major environmental challenges across the globe.  Read more: Three conventions, one planet: making the case for nature and people at COP24 Synergies between Rio conventions UN Heads call for assistance to address linked climate change, biodiversity and desertification threats Scientific conceptual framework for LDN Achieving LDN Land and SDGs

Rio Conventions Pavilion hosts dialog on linking biodiversity, climate change and SLM for maximum benefits
India gears up for setting ambitious targets for LDN and SDG15.3

New Delhi, India – During a national workshop co-hosted by UNCCD and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India (MoEFCC) on 4–5 December 2018, policy makers, researchers and representatives of civil society organizations, intergovernmental organizations (CSOs) and the private sector provided their input for developing India's national strategy on land degradation neutrality (LDN).  In his opening speech, the UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Dr. Pradeep Monga emphasized the significance of LDN for fostering coherence of national policies, actions and commitments to achieve SDGs. Over the course of the workshop, the experts discussed technical issues related to setting LDN baseline, formulation of LDN targets, institutional framework and opportunities for LDN transformative projects and programs.  At the beginning of 2018, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India, had declared India’s commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030. Since then, India has stepped up its efforts towards setting the national targets to achieve LDN and SDG 15.3 that contribute towards national priorities of climate resilience, energy, water and food security and the national ambition of increasing the income of farmers and alleviation of poverty. Given the fact that land is one of the most valuable resources in India, setting national LDN targets can ensure political commitment and economic opportunity for India by achieving multiple benefits while creating job opportunities and green value chains. Experts report that over the past decade India has significantly reduced the rate of land degradation, reflecting on the success or various government policies and programmes in India. Now the country is ready to move up to the next level not only to avoid future degradation but to restore and rehabilitate already degraded land, such as wastelands and abandoned mines. Integrating land restoration, climate policy, food security and disaster risk management into a coherent policy framework is instrumental to the success of these plans. With the corporate environmentalism evolving fast in India, there is a growing array of funding options and mechanisms for supporting transformative land degradation neutrality projects and programmes.  Addressing the workshop participants, Mr. Anil Kumar Jain of MoEFCC confirmed India’s commitment to a robust and forward-looking national strategy that is inclusive of social, environmental and ecological goals. In the upcoming months, the country will continue its work towards developing the national strategic plan for achieving LDN.  Read more: More about the event Achieving LDN UNCCD partners: CSOs Land and SDGs

India gears up for setting ambitious targets for LDN and SDG15.3