News & stories
Latest news & stories
The Global Youth Caucus on Desertification and Land is inviting new membership applications. The UNCCD Youth Caucus is a formal mechanism for youth engagement, set up under the Convention to facilitate the active involvement of children and young people in the UNCCD activities and processes that address desertification, land degradation, drought, sustainable development and climate change. Learn more about our work and help us grow – submit your application using this link.
Bonn, 15 August 2022 – Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), welcomed the announcement of Grenada’s former minister for climate resilience and the environment Simon Stiell as the next Executive Secretary to lead the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Stiell’s appointment was announced earlier today by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres following the endorsement by the UNFCCC Bureau. Ibrahim Thiaw, who in addition to his ongoing functions as UNCCD Executive Secretary has also served as UNFCCC Acting Executive Secretary since 17 July 2022 and was a member of the team that pre-selected Simon Stiell, said: “I warmly congratulate Simon Stiell on his appointment and look forward to his leadership in the years ahead and to working closely with him in preparing for the crucial UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh this November. As someone who hails from a vulnerable Caribbean island nation, Simon Stiell knows first-hand the profound and immediate impacts of climate change on finite land and water resources. At a time when we are seeing record-breaking heatwaves, severe droughts and devastating wildfires across many parts of the world, we must more than ever unite our efforts to build resilience and protect people and planet.”. “Land and climate are inextricably linked. Sustainable land management can be a big part of the climate solution that can help keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees—we cannot afford to miss this chance. Every fraction of a degree of temperature rise is a matter of life and death to millions, especially the most vulnerable people. Yet, no nation is immune, and all nations can work together to restore land and boost resilience to drought,” Mr Thiaw added. For more information, contact: UNCCD Press Office, Tel.: +49-228-815-2820 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
A region covering a total land area of 10 million km,2 of which 84% is drylands, Southern Africa is acutely affected by land degradation driven by both natural and human-induced processes. These include soil erosion which accounts for 15% of degraded land, as well as unsustainable agricultural practices, tree harvesting for charcoal production, contamination, pollution and biodiversity loss. Multiplied by climate change and intensified periods of drought, these hazards negatively impact the health, prosperity and livelihoods of millions dependent on agriculture, as evident from the recently launched Global Land Outlook Thematic Report on Southern Africa. To address these challenges in line with the Regional Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030, all sixteen of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have committed to accelerating land, water and energy transformation. Leveraging the land, water and energy nexus for economic and business development became the focus of the recent stakeholder engagement and capacity building workshop in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop focused on key investment pillars for future land restoration efforts in the region: water security for all, access to renewable energy, productive and resilient ecosystems, climate-smart infrastructure, strengthened agricultural productivity and sustainable food systems. The workshop, organized by the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA NEPAD), Commonwealth Secretariat, SADC secretariat and the African Union Commission, brought together representatives of the environment, land, climate change and finance sectors, as well as technical and development partners. It provided an opportunity to pinpoint key environmental, social and economic challenges that face each of the 16 SADC countries and identify the key areas of action, with the specific focus on launching technical and financial partnerships for implementation of the regional strategy for the Great Green Wall Initiative. The workshop, which marked a significant milestone under the tripartite partnership between the UNCCD, Commonwealth Secretariat and AUDA-NEPAD, also allowed country representatives to explore innovative project ideas to match each country’s challenges with the technical and financial support from key partners and institutions. Potential projects include floating solar photovoltaic farms, improvement of agricultural value chains to reduce post-harvest loss and increase job creation, as well as improvement of water harvesting technologies to enhance drought resilience. As the next step, the SADC countries will take stock of current initiatives to ensure coordination, avoid duplication, identify gaps and build on and upscale best practices and successful investments. National action and investment plans outline the ambitions of the SADC countries at national, transboundary, multi-country and regional scales.
The UNCCD Land Anthem “Born from the Land’, performed by the Land Ambassador Ricky Kej, became an emotional curtain-raiser for the high-level thematic debate "Moment for Nature" that took place on 19 July 2022 in the General Assembly Hall of the UN Headquarters in New York. The debate focused on ways to achieve the Paris Agreement's 1.5-degree target and ensure humanity's future by promoting greater coordination of the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect biodiversity on land and sea, restore life to degraded land and soils, combat pollution and enable circular economies. Somewhere along our journey as humans, we have forgotten that we are not the only species, we need to live in absolute peace and absolute harmony with every single entity of nature, co-existing with the land we walk on and the air we breathe" – Ricky Kej The two-time Grammy Award winner and a long-standing UNCCD Land Ambassador, Ricky Kej embodies and inspires positive change through the emotional language of art and music. The UNCCD Land Anthem that he created together with another Land Ambassador Baaba Maal and other musicians from Canada, India, the USA, Senegal, South Africa and Vietnam has already been produced in eight languages. The song that celebrates Life on Land has been performed at key international events, such as the UNCCD COPs and the Desertification and Drought Day global observances. You can download the lyrics in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian, and watch the original release on our YouTube channel.
In recent yeas, water scarcity and drought have been seriously affecting the Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe, with major impacts on the economy and welfare of people. To address the growing concern over the negative impacts of water scarcity, national focal points, country representatives and scientists gathered for an online Drought Dialogue on 13 July 2022. Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the dialogue to discuss the development of national drought plans and facilitate the exchange of effective approaches to drought preparedness and drought impact monitoring. Following the UNCCD COP mandate, the secretariat of the convention and the Global Mechanism are implementing a Drought Initiative, with the input from the Science-Policy Interface. The initiative aims to support UNCCD country Parties in their efforts to establish effective national drought action plans and improve the resilience of ecosystem and people to drought. To date, more than 70 countries are engaged in the process of designing national plans of action, including five countries from Central and Eastern Europe. Contributing to these efforts, the outcomes of the Drought Dialogue will support the production of a technical brief that will aim to address the gaps and needs of the region to building drought resilience with available knowledge and solutions. It will also include a number of case studies, initiatives and good practices on drought risk mitigation from a broad range of stakeholders: governmental, non-governmental, private sector, civil society and international organizations. The technical brief will follow the path laid out by the recent Global Land Outlook 2 Central and Eastern Europe thematic report “Ecosystem restoration for green recovery and a sustainable future,” which offers a comprehensive analysis of commitments under international and national initiatives promoting land and ecosystem restoration to address the impacts of drought.
The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are stealing our future. But they have also opened and exposed us, as young people worldwide, to countless opportunities for digital possibilities and a more sustainable future. But will we really run with these opportunities and transform the world to the future we really want?