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Participants in Cancun call for coordinated action among the Rio Conventions

Cancun, Mexico, 29 November 2010 – At launch of the Rio Conventions Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion on the opening day of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP16) under way in Cancun, Mexico, participants, called for doable coordinated action at the local, national, regional and global levels by the sister Rio conventions – Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UNFCCC. Participants stressed that such cooperation should still respect their individual mandates, but underlined the co-benefits of protecting biodiversity, reversing land degradation, desertification and drought (DLDD) while combating the impacts of climate change and capitalizing on the opportunities that the implementation of these conventions offer vulnerable populations. Participants, who included delegates from countries that are parties to the three conventions and NGO representatives, attended the side event that was organized by the Rio convention secretariats in partnership with several countries. The event’s focus was enhancing synergies through increasing awareness on opportunities and existing linkages between biodiversity, climate change and DLDD. The presenters included Grenada’s Minister of Finance and Planning, Mr. Spencer Thomas, who also chaired the meeting, Mr. Hideki Minamikawa, Vice- Minister for Global Environment, Japan, and Ms. Hyunju Lee, Deputy Director, International Cooperation Division, Korea Forest Service, for the Republic of Korea. The presentations of the outcomes of the recently held CBD COP10 and the expected outcomes of the UNCCD COP 10 to be held in the Republic of Korea in 2011 were followed by a consideration of the need to find common implementation approaches, especially at the local level, where the separation of the convention mandates is irrelevant for populations affected by desertification, land degradation and drought, biodiversity loss and climate change impacts. Participants suggested possible areas for cooperation and complementary action that include continuing cooperation on existing activities that capitalize on synergies among the Conventions, for example, through the Joint Liaison Group. Other proposals included developing common or coherent methodologies for action on specific issues and ecosystems, pursuing opportunities offered by the REDD+ mechanism, programmatic action that expert groups engaged on common issues can offer and activities under the different subsidiary bodies of these conventions. Following the success of CBD COP 10, participants called for a successful UNFCCC COP16 and UNCCD COP 10. CBD COP 10 embraced the ‘Satoyama Initiative’, a socially productive landscape-oriented set of measures to protect the land, the climate and biodiversity, and is built on a traditional Japanese agricultural production system. Participants stated that the UNCCD and UNFCCC processes too could benefit from their own Satoyama processes. The benefit for the UNCCD could be on initiatives that target SLM in specific ecosystems, taking into account the climate change priorities identified by parties. Calls were also made for a possible “Global Satoyama Initiative” that could enhance coordination at the national level from the three conventions, especially leading up to the commemoration of the 20-year of the signing of the Rio Declaration in 1992. Such a coordinated approach also calls for financial mechanisms that benefit developing countries while addressing land degradation and biodiversity loss in light of climate change. For more information, contact: Sergio A. Zelaya Policy and Advocacy on Global and Emerging Issues UNCCD secretariat

Participants in Cancun call for coordinated action among the Rio Conventions
Future Forest, UNCCD and Korea Foundation launch the G20 editorial cartoon exhibition “Save the Earth”

Seoul, Korea, 7 November 2010 – In concurrence with the G20 Seoul Summit, the international editorial cartoon exhibition “SAVE THE EARTH” will be held in Seoul from 7-14 November. A preview will take place at Artium, in COEX, on 7 November at 5 pm. The official launch, composed by a press conference and a luncheon, will be held in the Sejong Center on the 9th at 12 am. The exhibition will run from the 9th to the 14th of November in both venues. The aim of this initiative is to deliver messages from global citizens that urge world leaders not only to deal with the global financial crisis but also to contribute more to policy making and actions for saving the earth. “Save the Earth” will display some 100 works donated by world-class cartoonists and young artists from 28 different countries all over the world, becoming the first international environmental cartoon exhibition held in Korea. The exhibition is co-hosted by Future Forest, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Korea Foundation and supported by companies that have taken part in Future Forests project to combat desertification such us Korea Forest Service, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Gyonggi Province, Gyoengsangnam Province, Seoul Metropolitan Government, SK, Korean Air, Samsung Electronics, the Federation of Korean Industries, KBS and Yonhap News Agency. Background information About the hosts: Future Forest is a Non-governmental Organization that acts to create a greener future by raising awareness to desertification and sustainable land management. One of its most famous initiatives is the development of a 16 km-long windbreak forest named “Great Green Wall” by planting more than 4 million trees in the Kubuqi desert of Inner Mongolia, China which is one of the main sources of yellow dust blown to Korea. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), established in 1994, is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soil. The Convention’s 194 signatory Parties, including all G20 members, work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity and mitigate the effects of drought. Korea joined the Convention as the 156th party in 1999. The 10th UNCCD COP will take place from 10-21 October 2011 in the Korean city of Changwon. Korea Foundation mission is to promote a better understanding of Korea in the international community and to foster global friendship by conducting exchange activities between the Republic of Korea and foreign countries around the world. Venue and dates: Artium, COEX (159 Samseong 1-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul CEOX Mall) Preview: Artium, COEX 7 November, 5 pm Exhibition: From 7-14 November 2010 Sejong Center (Seoul-si Jongno-gu Sejong-ro 81-3) Press conference: Foreign News Reporter’s Club, 18th floor, Press Center. 9 November, 12 am. Opening ceremony: Outdoor Exhibition Space. 9 November, 2 pm Exhibition: Outdoor Exhibition Space. From 9-14 November 2010

Future Forest, UNCCD and Korea Foundation launch the G20 editorial cartoon exhibition “Save the Earth”
UN Secretary-General appoints Luc Gnacadja as ES of the UNCCD for a second term

​New York, United States, 11 October 2010 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has re-appointed Mr Luc Gnacadja as the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification for another three year-term, with effect from 1 October 2010. “It is indeed a privilege granted to me and a responsibility to further advance our collective endeavors to service the Parties to the UNCCD in speeding up the effective implementation of the ten-year Strategy, “ Mr. Gnacadja responded on learning of his reappointment. “A lot has been achieved but there is a lot more to do in the months and years to come to meet the Strategy’s expected outcomes,” he added. “Desertification has far-reaching consequences and impacts” Mr. Gnacadja said, stressing that the mainstreaming of desertification and drought issues into the policy framework at all levels is still the major hurdle to the implementation of the UNCCD. Since the Parties have agreed in 2009 on the way to measure the progress in implementation, the next major milestone is to the move towards target setting at all levels that will trigger action, cooperation and effective partnerships to improve the livelihoods of the affected populations and the conditions of their ecosystems, he said. In that regard, Mr. Gnacadja asserted, a comprehensive assessment of the cost of inaction will be crucial. In his first three-year term, Mr. Gnacadja has already made his mark by steering the secretariat in the implementation of the Convention’s first 10-year Strategy approved by the parties in September 2007. During his tenure, the UNCCD process moved to the “realm of measurability” with the adoption of the performance and impact indicators to assess and monitor the implementation of the Convention. Also, the Global Environment Facility, the largest multilateral environment fund, amended its Charter to include the financing of country activities related to the Convention. Mr. Gnacadja is credited with increasing global policy attention to the plight of the drylands, the threat desertification poses to global human well-being and the latent potential in the drylands to contribute to global sustainability. Mr. Gnacadja was appointed Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the UNCCD in September 2007. An architect by profession and a native of Benin in West Africa, he served as Benin’s Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development from 1999 to 2005 and received the World’ Bank’s “2002 Green Award” in March 2003. About the UNCCD Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally biding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 194 signatory Parties (193 countries and the European Union), work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity and mitigate the effects of drought. For more information, contact: Wagaki Mwangi Public Information and Media Officer, UNCCD Email: wmwangi@unccd.int Tel: +49 228 815 2820 Internet: www.unccd.int

UN Secretary-General appoints Luc Gnacadja as ES of the UNCCD for a second term
Nations call for reversal of soil degradation

The Ministerial Global Forum on Food and Agriculture, hosted by Germany, concluded today with a call from 68 nations across the globe to prevent and reverse soil degradation. While 90 per cent of our food production depend on soil, which is also one of the earth’s most important carbon sinks, its quality is increasingly deteriorating, and fertile land is becoming more scarce. To stop this trend, countries must unite in their efforts to bring life back to degraded soils. Recognizing that land degradation and drought destroy the soil quality and threaten global food security, the communiqué issued at the closing of the Forum urges the countries to combat desertification and restore degraded land to achieve a land degradation-neutral world by 2030. The communiqué specifically notes the crucial role of land-restoration initiatives such as the Great Green Wall of Africa for political and social stability. UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, who moderated one of the Forum's sessions, expressed the convention's strong commitment to supporting countries in making the spirit of the communiqué a reality and shaping ambitious long-terms goals on soil restoration at the upcoming UNCCD COP15 in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, in May 2022.  "The decisions taken at our next Conference of the Parties will ramp up response actions of countries that have committed to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality for a sustainable and resilient future.​​​​​" — UNCCD Executive Secretary Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw While the global extent of land degradation is estimated at between 20-40 per cent of the total land area, restoring degraded land has been proven as an efficient and cost-effective solution to reverse degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss and to reduce the risk and intensity of disasters. Moreover, our food systems can be redesigned to ensure positive outcomes for nature and climate. Shifting from inefficient, resource-intensive production models to conservation and regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and other integrated systems, we can rebuild healthy and resilient food systems and restore degraded soils. Read more: Full communiqué UNCCD COP15 Sustainable food systems

Nations call for reversal of soil degradation
UNCCD at UN Food Systems Summit 2021

The UN Food Systems Summit will be held during the UN General Assembly in New York on 23 September 2021. It is expected to set the stage for global food systems transformation to accelerate action towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The Summit aims to raise global awareness and shape global commitments that can transform food systems to eliminate hunger, reduce diet-related diseases, and restore planetary health. As the UN Anchor Agency for Action Track 3 – “Boosting nature-positive food production” – the UNCCD has prepared a series of Action Guides on priority issues for the UN Food Systems Summit: Nature-positive food production Restoring soil health Managing drought and water scarcity Livestock management Gender equality Youth engagement The goal of Action Track 3 is to boost nature-positive food production at the scale needed to meet the fundamental human right to healthy and nutritious food while at the same time restoring balance with nature. This series of Action Guides introduces agroecological approaches and regenerative practices that make food production systems more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient. The strategies and actions presented in these Action Guides are evidence-based, proven to be effective, and can be adapted in a variety of diverse settings. Each Action Guide focuses on key elements that influence the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of food production: soil, gender, tenure, youth, drought and water scarcity, livestock and pastoralism, among others. Collectively, the series offers a systems perspective to guide regenerative actions for both small and large producers to promote nature-positive transformation. Read more: Restoration. Land. Recovery

UNCCD at UN Food Systems Summit 2021