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UNCCD stakeholders worldwide invited to share new insights on gender-responsive SLM

The UNCCD Gender Action Plan (GAP) emphasizes the critical importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in implementing the Convention. A key priority of the GAP is to increase women’s access to relevant knowledge and technologies. To fulfill these objectives, UNCCD and the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) joined forces in 2020 to advance gender-responsive Sustainable Land Management (SLM). This collaboration between UNCCD and WOCAT focuses on documenting, analyzing and scaling gender-responsive SLM practices by gathering gender-disaggregated data. A specialized tool, co-designed with gender and SLM experts, identifies gender-based parameters as well as the technical and socio-cultural factors that enhance the adoption of SLM by both women and men. In the initial phase of the project in 2021, WOCAT network partners in 15 countries tested the tool, showing promising results. As the Pambadeniya Women Group from Sri Lanka noted, “Women and men debated on how to guarantee equal opportunities in decision making, participation and fair distribution of benefits.” The data demonstrated that equal access to SLM technologies and approaches is both context- and technology-specific. Five technology group profiles on gender-responsive SLM were developed to show the need for further action. Building on this success and following Decision 24/COP.15, UNCCD and WOCAT are now launching a call for expressions of interest to apply the gender-responsive SLM tool. This initiative aims to gather more country-specific gender-disaggregated data on SLM practices, which will be presented at the upcoming UNCCD COP16 in Ryiadh, Saudi Arabia, this December. We are inviting up to 40 stakeholders to implement the gender-responsive SLM tool in local contexts from September to November 2024. Applications are welcome from UNCCD Parties, civil society organizations, WeCaN members and others involved in sustainable land management. The application deadline is 4 August 2024. Submissions are accepted in English, French and Spanish. For more details on the call, application requirements, and the online application form, please see the side menu. * Please note: the questionnaire is currently being reviewed and updated. The final version of the questionnaire will be available in September 2024

UNCCD stakeholders worldwide invited to share new insights on gender-responsive SLM
19th Meeting of the Science-Policy Interface (SPI)

The 25 members of the UNCCD’s Science-Policy Interface (SPI) have assembled at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany for a critical scientific meeting in the run up to the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from the 2nd to the 13th of December 2024. The SPI is a unique combination of independent scientists from all corners of the globe, science delegates to the Convention representing the five regions of the world, and five practitioners from implementing agencies and civil society. Over the past year half of the SPI members have been assembling the evidence base for a much more systemic approach to land use, so that our impacts can be more strategic and, ideally, much greater than the sum of the parts. The other half have been conducting a comprehensive analysis of aridity trends, projections and anticipated impacts, which under the Convention translates into land and people affected by the combined effects of land degradation and water scarcity. Both assessments have led to draft technical reports which will undergo independent scientific review following the meeting so that they can be finalized and published in the autumn.  The SPI is dedicated to building a bridge between science and policy. They are a global community of experts, united by a passion for understanding and safeguarding all life on land.

19th Meeting of the Science-Policy Interface (SPI)
New horizons in land restoration: 18 nations spearhead the next phase of LDN TSP

The rollout of the second phase of the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme (LDN TSP 2.0) represents a key phase in combating land degradation worldwide, as 18 countries from several regions step up their land restoration commitments ahead of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD (COP16). This significant advancement has become the focus of the recent workshop on "Strengthening land restoration targets and commitments" in Doha, Qatar, emphasizing the global community's renewed commitment to sustainable land management. Conducted on the sidelines of Expo 2023 Doha this February, the workshop saw the gathering of UNCCD National Focal Points, lead country consultants and key international organization representatives, such as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Development Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, German Development Cooperation and G20 Global Infrastructure. The workshop fostered the engagement of countries actively working on strengthening their LDN targets by introducing new tools and guidelines for integrated land use planning, and facilitating the identification of priority restoration areas that align with national policy objectives. The workshop also offered an opportunity to explore operational synergies with major environmental initiatives, putting a strong emphasis on the importance of enhancing LDN target monitoring and reporting mechanisms. “The LDN TSP 2.0 represents a unique opportunity for 18 champion countries to showcase in an innovative and bold way to bring UNCCD implementation efforts to the next level in direct response to the global land degradation crisis, paving the way for other countries to follow, ” remarked LDN TSP Team Lead Pedro Lara Almuedo. The goal of the LDN TSP 2.0's is to help countries refine their national targets towards actionable and measurable initiatives. The program stresses the importance of improving land governance by utilizing spatial mapping and monitoring to effectively combat land degradation. The progress and insights achieved through the programme will be shared at the UNCCD COP16 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this December. With 131 countries engaged in the LDN TSP since 2016, over 450 million hectares committed to restoration and 106 countries having published their LDN targets, the workshop's impact sets the stage for significant contributions at COP16 to tackle regional challenges and propel the global efforts against desertification. Land Degradation Neutrality is essential for achieving SDG 15.3, offering co-benefits like poverty reduction, food security, women's empowerment, environmental protection, biodiversity conservation and sustainable management on natural resources. LDN also aids in climate change mitigation and adaptation by transforming degraded lands into carbon sinks. The LDN TSP 2.0, championed by the 18 countries – Argentina, Benin, Central African Republic, Georgia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Republic of Moldova, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia and Türkiye – aims to demonstrate progress and guide further actions beyond COP16 in response to the urgent need for accelerated global efforts to restore productive land.  

New horizons in land restoration: 18 nations spearhead the next phase of LDN TSP
Saudi Arabia to host largest-ever UN conference on land and drought

Riyadh, 31 January 2024 – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) signed an agreement paving the way for the 16th session of the Convention’s Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Riyadh from 2-13 December 2024.  The Riyadh COP16 will be the largest-ever meeting of UNCCD’s 197 Parties, the first to be held in the Middle East region and the largest multilateral conference ever hosted by Saudi Arabia. 2024 also marks the 30th anniversary of the UNCCD, one of the three major environmental treaties known as the Rio Conventions, alongside climate change and biodiversity.  At the signing ceremony in Riyadh today, Eng. Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen AlFadley, Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and COP16 President, said: “The hosting of the conference (COP16) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reflects the commitment of the wise leadership to environmental protection at the national, regional, and international levels. Additionally, Saudi Arabia launched several groundbreaking environmental projects, such as the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative.”  UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “Today, we are losing fertile lands at an alarming rate, jeopardizing global stability, prosperity and sustainability. The Riyadh COP16 must mark a turning point in the way we treat our most precious resource—land—and collectively tackle the global drought emergency.”  According to UNCCD data, up to 40 per cent of the world’s land is degraded, affecting half of humanity and with dire consequences for our climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. If current trends continue, restoring 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030 will be necessary to achieve a land-degradation-neutral world.   Droughts are hitting more often and harder all over the world—up by 29 per cent since 2000—driven by climate change but also the way we manage our land. One-quarter of the world’s population is already affected by droughts, with every three out of four people around the world projected to face water scarcity by 2050.  The Riyadh COP16 will focus on mobilizing governments, businesses and communities worldwide to accelerate action on land restoration and drought resilience as a cornerstone of food, water and energy security.   The two-week event will feature a high-level segment, as well as associated events including the Gender Caucus and the Business for Land Forum.   Taking place in the most water-scarce region and one that is severely affected by desertification and land degradation, the Riyadh COP16 will showcase efforts underway in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East region and beyond towards a green transition based on sustainable land stewardship.   For more information, please contact: Wael A Bushah, Managing Director, Environmental Awareness and Capabilities Enhancement, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Wbushah@mewa.gov.sa. Xenya Scanlon, Chief, Communications, External Relations and Partnerships, UNCCD, xscanlon@unccd.int   UNCCD Press Office, press@unccd.int, +49 228 815 2820, https://www.unccd.int/, @unccd #UNited4Land #COP16Riyadh #UNCCDCOP16 About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Saudi Arabia to host largest-ever UN conference on land and drought
Over one-fifth of Central Asia’s land degraded, new UN data warns

New UN data warns land is degrading faster than we can restore it Healthy land the size of Central Asia degraded since 2015 around the world UNCCD meets in Uzbekistan to review global progress towards ending land loss Samarkand, 13 November 2023 – At the opening of its first-ever meeting held in Central Asia, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) unveils new data showing land degradation rapidly advancing in the region and around the world. Between 2015 and 2019, the world lost at least 100 million hectares of healthy and productive land each year. This adds up to 420 million hectares, or 4.2 million square kilometres, slightly over the combined area of five Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These statistics underscore the need for urgent action, as escalating land degradation continues to destabilize markets, communities, and ecosystems around the globe. According to the latest UN data, over 20 per cent of the total land area in Central Asia is degraded, equivalent to roughly 80 million hectares, an area almost four times the size of Kyrgyzstan. This affects an estimated 30 per cent of the region’s combined population. The UNCCD Data Dashboard launch comes at a critical juncture as world leaders and experts are gathering in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, from 13-17 November 2023 for the 21st session of the UNCCD Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 21). For the first time, an open Data Dashboard compiles national reporting figures from 126 countries, allowing users to explore the trends in their own regions and countries. UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw said: “The first-ever UNCCD Data Dashboard offers an eye-opening insight into rapid loss of healthy and productive land around the world, with dire consequences for billions of people. At the same time, we are seeing some ‘brightspots’—countries effectively tackling desertification, land degradation and drought. As we gather in Uzbekistan this week to review global progress towards ending land loss, the message is clear: land degradation demands immediate attention.” Land restoration ‘brightspots’ Despite a bleak global picture, there are examples of countries effectively tackling desertification, land degradation and drought. While Uzbekistan reported the highest proportion of degraded land in the Central Asia region, it also saw the largest decrease – from 30 per cent to 26 per cent – compared to 2015. A total of 3 million hectares of land in Uzbekistan have been degraded due to the drying of the Aral Sea. Between 2018-2022, Uzbekistan carried out saxaul planting on an area of 1.6 million ha to eliminate salt and dust emissions from the drained bottom of the Aral Sea. Kazakhstan increased irrigated lands by 40 per cent, expanding the total irrigated area to 2 million hectares. In Kyrgyzstan, some 120,000 hectares of pastures and forests are now under sustainable land management, including a pasture rotation system. Turkmenistan committed to restoring 160,000 hectares under its national ‘greening the desert’ initiative by 2025. Land Degradation Neutrality goal still within reach Although land degradation varies by region, UNCCD data warns that if current trends persist a staggering 1.5 billion hectares of land will need to be restored globally by 2030 to reach targets enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Barron Orr, UNCCD Chief Scientist, said: “Although global trends are going in the wrong direction, it is still possible to not only meet but exceed land degradation neutrality goals. This can be done by stopping further degradation while accelerating efforts on existing commitments to restore one billion hectares of land by 2030 with funding and action hand-in-hand.” Around the world, approximately USD$ 5 billion in bilateral and multilateral funding flowed into global efforts to combat desertification, land degradation and drought between 2016 and 2019. This helped 124 nations roll out a wide range of projects aimed at addressing these challenges. All Central Asian nations have joined the LDN target-setting programme under UNCCD, bringing the total number of participating countries to 131. Half of the LDN targets set by countries in Central Asia have already been achieved, with projects to deliver on the rest of the commitments currently underway. Notes to editors For interviews and enquires please contact: press@unccd.int and/or unccd@portland-communications.com To access the UNCCD’s Data Dashboard please click here: https://data.unccd.int/ For any enquires on data and methodology, please write to reporting@unccd.int. The data related to land degradation (i.e. SDG indicator 15.3.1) is compiled in global and aggregate form from 115 country reports and 52 country-estimates drawn from global data sources.  For other indicators, the data is compiled in global and aggregate form "as received" from 126 Parties in their 2022 UNCCD national reports. Therefore, the facts present a partial estimate of progress at the global and regional level, in terms of the status and trends in these indicators/metrics, as not all Parties have reported all indicators. The information presented should in no way be interpreted as a comprehensive global or regional assessment of status and trends in the indicators/metrics. More information about the 21st session of the UNCCD Committee on the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC21): https://www.unccd.int/cric21 Accredited media representatives are invited to attend and report on CRIC21 and associated events. Field visits where journalists can see land restoration and drought resilience projects will take place immediately prior to CRIC21. Online registration for media representatives is available at the following link: www.unccd.int/cric-21-online-registration. About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Over one-fifth of Central Asia’s land degraded, new UN data warns
Restoring life to land: Sustainable land management for ecosystem restoration 

As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (UNDER) gains momentum, UNCCD and WOCAT are partnering up on a video series that highlight the central role of sustainable land management (SLM) in restoring and maintaining the health of ecosystems.  SLM has a central role in each of the eight UNDER ecosystems – farmlands, grasslands, forests, mountains, freshwaters, urban areas, peatlands, oceans and coasts – by combating land degradation, improving production and securing livelihoods while simultaneously generating multiple environmental co-benefits.  While people have directly contributed to ecosystem degradation, they can also be the primary agents of change toward a sustainable land management restoration when armed with knowledge to adopt and upscale SLM.  The new video series presents successful practices for each ecosystem, demonstrating how SLM can deliver powerful solutions to ecosystem degradation.  

Restoring life to land: Sustainable land management for ecosystem restoration