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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 UNCCD, IUCN, WWF and ICRAF held a regional dialogue on 2 November 2021 for Asia-Pacific UNCCD country Parties on “Advancing global actions for native grassland and rangeland restoration.” This is the second in a regional dialogue series that began with the first one in July for Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe. The main objective of the dialogue was to raise awareness on rangeland restoration, identify the challenges and opportunities in implementation and explore how national commitments to rangeland restoration can be strengthened through the UNCCD process. During the meeting, the participants shared the national status of rangelands and grasslands, current initiatives, policies and best practices as well as the challenges and opportunities their countries are facing. Among others, capacity building on data collection, knowledge sharing, monitoring systems, policy coordination and collaboration, land tenure and governance were highlighted in the discussion. This meeting built on the results from the multi-actor dialogue on rangeland restoration held in December 2020, organized by IUCN, WWF and UNCCD and the information provided the first Global Rangelands Atlas launched in May 2021. According to the Global Rangelands Atlas, rangelands that cover 54 per cent of global terrestrial surface, are home to billions of people and hold many economic, ecological, social and cultural values, and a wealth of biodiversity. However, they have been neglected, receiving much less attention, investment, and advocacy than other ecosystems. The conversation to recognize the importance of rangeland restoration will continue through upcoming regional dialogues and other activities to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, the UNCCD COP15 in May 2022 and the International Year on Rangelands and Pastoralism in 2026.
This year's Land for Life Award goes to Familial Forestry of Rajasthan, India, a unique concept of Shyam Sunder Jyani, Associate Professor for Sociology at in Rajasthan that relates a tree with a family, making it a green "family member." Placing a family at the cornerstone of society, the concept ensures the success of any social campaign. Familial Forestry means transferring the care of tree and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness. More than a million families from more than 15,000 villages of desert-prone northwest Rajasthan in over 2.5 million saplings have been planted in the past 15 years, with active participation of students and desert dwellers. "The journey of desertland Rajasthan towards a lush green Rajasthan has been a dream for me, and Familial Forestry is my dedicated endeavor in this direction." — ShyamSunder Jyani, founder of Familial Forestry. 2021 Land for Life Special Mention The special nomination has been awarded by the UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw to the Global Landscapes Forum in recognition of the exceptional work as one the world’s largest knowledge-led platforms on sustainable and inclusive landscapes. "Land degradation and desertification is a multi-faceted problem where single sectoral approaches won’t work. By working together, across sectors and regions we can restore the balance between people, animals, and the environment to sustain productivity in these ecosystems, while supporting the aspirations of the next generation. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with UNCCD to restore and protect the biodiversity and livelihoods of the world’s drylands." — Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research, which leads GLF together in collaboration with co-founders UNEP, World Bank and Charter Members. The Land for Life Award ceremony will take place in August at the Eighth Kubuqi International Desert Forum in China. The award winner will also have an opportunity to present their work at the UNCCD Fifteenth Conference of the Parties UNCCD COP15. Learn more: Land for Life Award Land for Life Programme Familial Forestry Greater Sahel call to fund 5 new GLFx chapters
This year UNCCD Science-Policy Interface member Dr. Rattan Lal has received the prestigious civilian Padma Shri Award from the Indian government for his revolutionary research in the field of soil science, which helped millions of smallholder farmers produce larger yields while taking better care of their land. The innovative soil-saving techniques developed by Dr. Lal have helped improve food and nutritional security of more than two billion people, saved hundreds of millions of hectares of natural tropical ecosystems, promoted restoration of degraded soils and aided in reducing global warming. Dr. Lal's achievements have been previously recognized by the World Food Prize. Read more: Padma Shri Awards 2021 Dr. Lal wins the 2020 World Food Prize Dr. Lal featured by Ohio State University PBS presents the 2020 World Food Prize UNCCD Science-Policy Interface Land and climate