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The weather alone cannot explain droughts and floods

Communities all over the world have suffered some of the most brutal effects of drought and flooding this year. Flash floods in western Europe, eastern and central Asia and southern African. And catastrophic drought in Australia, southern Africa, southern Asia, much of Latin America, western North America and Siberia are cases in point. The impacts extend well beyond the individual events. For example, the rise in food insecurity in the southern African region and unprecedented wildfires in North America, Europe and Central Asia.   What is going on? This is much more than bad weather in some cases, and is increasingly so. The UNCCD organized an event at COP26, the Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, to focus attention on the land-water-climate nexus. The science and policy responses discussed make it clear that human decisions exacerbated by climate change are significantly – and arguably, catastrophically – amplifying the impact of drought and floods.  The discussion encouraged more strategic land use decisions. Decisions that ensure what we do where, and in particular, what we plant where, mitigatesthe impacts of both extremes, be it too much or too little rainfall. It also shed light on how important it is to have healthy soils. Soils that are replete with organic matter will obtain “more crop per drop”, and reduce the risks associated with drought and flooding.  Extreme events, including both droughts and floods are on the rise. With more land projected to be get drier and more and more people living in drylandsin the future, the discussions centered on the shift more than 60 countries are making from “reactive” response to droughts and floods to “proactive” planning and risk management designed to build resilience. Participants from Malawi, Pakistan, Honduras, Grenada and Burkina Faso provided concrete examples of policy alignment and cross-sectorial approaches to implementation. Here is a quick overview of the highlights. Read more:  Land and drought

The weather alone cannot explain droughts and floods
Portrait of the week: Nature Bodies India

This team of students from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh is committed to raising awareness on sustainable agriculture and knowledge of plant properties through workshops on organic farming organic and composting under the hashtag #ExploreGreenTreasure.  They focus on empowering young people and communities to choose environment-friendly alternatives when planting a garden or buying food. In 2019 and 2020, the team planted more than 1478 saplings on school grounds and in various public space in nearby villages.  They are also planning to scale up their seed ball initiative to create a seed nursery to promote local plant varieties while making the plant material accessible for more people.   Recently, the climate impact app Captain Cool app that the team developed has been featured in the press. The app helps calculate the carbon footprint of daily activities, such as watching TV, charging mobile devices or using a washing machine, so that the users can make better and greener lifestyle choices. Instagram: @nature.bodies  Twitter: @BodiesNature  Facebook: @NATUREBODIESECOCLUB 

Portrait of the week: Nature Bodies India
Portrait of the week: Patricia Kombo

Patricia Kombo is a young social entrepreneur and a climate activist from Kenya. She studied journalism at Moi University and is known for her tree planting activities, especially her nonprofit PaTree Initiative that planted over 10,000 trees as of 2020. She is actively engaging school students in tree planting and nature conservation and strongly believes in educating them on the benefits of sustainable living. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Patricia raised 10 000 saplings from indigenous seeds in her nursery. Working with her community, she set up kitchen gardens and gave trainings on sustainable farming and land conservation to help achieve zero hunger, eliminate poverty and promote gender equality. Find Patricia on: Facebook: @patreeinitiative Twitter: @patriciakombo  Instagram: @pattykomboh

Portrait of the week: Patricia Kombo
Countries advance toward visualizing key data

At least 90 countries have already set voluntary national targets to restore more than 450 million hectares of land under UNCCD – the largest global restoration initiative and a significant milestone for the Convention. But where is the land that is being restored? How many people will benefit from land restoration? What social, economic and environmental gains will communities in these areas receive from all this work?

Countries advance toward visualizing key data