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Sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing, for health & land

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, one fact has never been more evident – our world, our planet and our lives are inextricably interconnected. There are very few issues that can be considered simply “health problems,” as nearly every aspect of life is connected to other societal, economic and environmental issues. While we recognize the negative impact of tobacco on our health, we tend to think less frequently about the economic impact of tobacco use on health costs and productivity losses. What is even less well known is how tremendously destructive tobacco cultivation and tobacco use is for the environment – on land, water and air.

Sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing, for health & land
Caribbean nations collaborate on land-based climate action

The meeting on “Advancing the design of a LDN Transformative Project/Programme in Caribbean SIDS for climate change mitigation and adaptation” took place online on 20-21 May 2021 to coordinate regional collaboration on the development of the new programme and seek synergies with national climate change mitigation and adaptation agendas. The Partnership Initiative for Sustainable Land Management in the Caribbean (PISLM), the UNCCD Global Mechanism (GM) and the UNFCCC brought together 24 participants, including National Focal Points (NFPs) of both Conventions and a representative of the GCF secretariat. Following the outcomes of this inception workshop, the next step  in the process will be collecting input on suggested country-specific activities and other additional guidance to share with PISLM, once UNCCD, UNFCCC and GCF NFPs have consulted with relevant stakeholders. All the Caribbean Small Island Developing States (CSIDS) are parties to the UNCCD and UNFCCC, participating actively in the Conferences of the Parties and the activities of both conventions . Under UNCCD, CSIDS are actively engaged in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Programme of the GM. Welcoming the attendees, the Executive Director of PISLM, Mr. Calvin James remarked on the continued collaboration of the GM with the PISLM, noting that the inception workshop ia a critical stepping stone to support CSIDS in shaping a land-based transformative programme that can boost climate resiliency and address land degradation issues in the region. Ms. Louise Baker, the Managing Director of the GM, highlighted that the CSIDS have always understood the real importance of safeguarding land capital, since for small island states every hectare of healthy land is a precious resource. Ms. Baker also recognized the progress the region has made in setting voluntary LDN targets, with 11 of the 15 participating countries already completing the process. Additionally, during the first day of this workshop, representatives of the GCF secretariat, the UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre (RCC) at St .George’s and the GM of the UNCCD provided an overview of GCF financial modalities and ongoing support provided for relevant initiatives in the region, including guidance to formulate multi-country funding proposals Current climate change mitigation and adaptation priorities set by CSIDS in their  Nationally Determined Contributions and National Action Plans, highlighting the relevance of the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector and land-based interventions The status of the LDN target setting process in CSIDS and related implementation efforts that require support. The country delegates shared information on the national priorities for climate change mitigation and adaptation, LDN targets and GCF financing. On the second day of the workshop delegates discussed proposed themes and project components to define the scope of both regional and country-specific elements of the proposal and agreed to develop the concept as an umbrella programme proposal to be submitted to the GCF through its simplified approval process. They have also discussed which accredited entity would be best positioned to effectively support countries in the development of this initiative.  

Caribbean nations collaborate on land-based climate action
Portrait of the week: Ricardo Landazuri

Ricardo is an Environmental Engineer and a Master's degree candidate in Environmental Management, with studies in Economics, Environmental Consulting, environmental law and GIS. He is developing a recovery project of saline and sodic soils in the costal area of Peru and strongly believes that without science, there is no sustainable future. Ricardo has founded EnviroPro, a company that provides green solutions and technology to the public and private sectors in Peru. They develop intelligent and customized tools to allow the farmers to save money and obtain better results with a sustainable mindset.  Facebook: @rlandazurim Twitter: @Ingamblandazuri Instagram: @rlandazurim

Portrait of the week: Ricardo Landazuri
Launch of the 1st Global Rangelands Atlas

Opening remarks by UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw: As UNCCD, we care about land. We care about people’s livelihoods. We care about ecosystems. Having “Land in balance” is our motto. Reconciling the needs of a growing population -and a growing middle class- on one hand, with the need to protect our land, the most precious resource that provides us with food, fodder, water, air, and energy. I believe this is the first Global Rangelands Atlas ever published. Rangelands are social and economic systems as much as ecosystems, which makes them harder to define. This lack of definition has been a barrier to mapping them, which in turn has been a barrier to building global support to protect them. The Atlas shows that rangelands dominate the drylands, making them hugely important to the UNCCD. If we do not understand land degradation in the rangelands, then we are likely to see investments that are biased towards other land types. Or, even worse, we may see investments that are blind to specific conditions of rangelands, ending up being harmful to its systems. The lack of proper investment in rangelands is a challenge. A challenge we should address head on. Starting with the way we communicate. Our narrative about rangelands is rather reductive. “Rangelands,” “grazing lands,”c “pastoral lands” – all these terms suggest these lands are only used for domestic animals. Is this entirely true? Some say: Rangelands are degraded lands; therefore, they are not worth investing. I am sure the Atlas will debunk that myth. Think about the beautiful National Parks and Landscapes where Tourism is thriving? Where big businesses are being made. Are they not a big part of climate solutions? Are rangelands not biodiversity reservoirs and hot spots? When the extractive industry operates in areas that are rangelands, the land is called something else. I am reminded of the late Taghi Farvar’s 10 myths on mobile pastoralism (https://www.iccaconsortium.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/mobility-myths-Farvar.pdf). Among the myths he argued should be debunked, I chose the following: 1. Pastoralism is an archaic form of production not adapted to modernity. 2. All conflicts are caused by pastoralists. 3. Rangelands are degraded because of over-stocking and overpopulation. 4. Pastoralism destroys biodiversity and leads to desertification. 5. Pastoralists overgraze their land. These are wrong assumptions that are not proven by science. What is generally accepted is that investments in rangelands are low. That the economy of pastoralism has attracted less policy attention, and therefore less political interest. That hundreds of millions of pastoralists from around the world are calling for more attention; more care; more investments. Dear friends, Mapping the rangelands is only the first step in ensuring they are sustainably managed, in line with the LDN targets. We hope this Atlas will inform and influence governments to raise rangelands in their national agendas, to start allocating investments to rangeland restoration, in line with national targets under all 3 Rio Conventions as well as ambitions to improve food and water security and other development goals. The Atlas also helps us to move the conversation forward so that rangelands – half of all land on Earth – can benefit from the UN Decade on ecosystem restoration, the UN Food Systems Summit, and the International Year on Rangelands and Pastoralism in 2026. The opportunities are lining up nicely – the momentum is picking up – and we must keep building pressure to accelerate action. Thank you

Launch of the 1st Global Rangelands Atlas
GEF pledges 2 million USD for reporting on land degradation

The country Parties to UNCCD are required to submit national reports on the status of land degradation and desertification every four years. The UNCCD Secretariat and Global Mechanism provide technical advice and capacity building support in this process through a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded and UNEP (UN Environment) implemented Global Support Programme (GSP). GEF has recently approved two million USD funding to help the countries complete the next reporting cycle in 2021-2022. A new reporting platform planned for the project would ensure that a higher level of accurate assessment and analysis of land degradation trends at national and regional levels is achieved and that policy makers can make informed land management decisions.

GEF pledges 2 million USD for reporting on land degradation
Portrait of the week: Maria Wilvenna Añora

Maria has an MBA with a minor in Chemical Engineering. She is the co-founder and the strategy lead of AtoANI (produce-to-demand sustainable agriculture model) and AtoANI BioPack (biodegradable packaging from agro-industrial waste). AtoANI is currently supporting 20 farmers in Bohol (Philippines) and is planning together with World Vision Philippines to expand the initiative to Cebu via the Innovation Challenge. This project is currently being supported by the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) under its RISE UP initiative. ISIP is an NGO co-implemented by PhilDev and UNDP Philippines. AtoANI BioPack project is part of Makesense Academy Incubation Program supported by WWF. They are developing packages made of sugarcane bagasse and aspire to become a significant force in reducing plastic and agricultural waste.  Instagram: @atoani_biopack Twitter: @wilvie_anora  Facebook: @atoanibiopack 

Portrait of the week: Maria Wilvenna Añora