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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
Climate: Fix the land or it will be an emitter

The Earth is warming fast, and even faster on the land. This trend is “virtually certain” to continue and no region of the world will be spared, according to the Working Group 1 assessment report released Monday by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate: Fix the land or it will be an emitter
Restored land, healthy people, green recovery

Protecting and restoring nature can help drive a green recovery and prevent future pandemics. Investing in nature-based solutions, specifically land restoration, will allow us to build forward better, greener, healthier, stronger, and more sustainably. COVID-19 has revealed how vulnerable our societies and economies are to global, systemic risk. Its root causes - land degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change – are interlinked. Furthermore, they are planetary crises in themselves. The pandemic, rooted as it is in exploitation of the environment, has been a devastating but timely wake-up call. It has shown that if we continue to abuse nature, waves of crises will cascade across our economies and societies. On the other hand, it has also shown that we can respond decisively when political will, collective action and sustained investment are aligned. Today, more than ever, societies are ready for change; there is broad consensus that it is not only desirable but possible to build forward better, towards sustainable development anchored in multilateralism and global solidarity. Land restoration is an essential component of any building-forward strategy. In preparation for the UN PGA High-level event on desertification, land degradation and drought, the UNCCD secretariat prepared a brief that presents land-centered solutions for green recovery post COVID-19. Read more: High-level dialogue on desertification, land degradation and drought Role of land in COVID response  

Restored land, healthy people, green recovery