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Three Civil Society Organizations Win the USD100 000 Land for Life Award

Doha, Qatar, 4 December 2012 – Three civil society organizations, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) from Haiti, Conservation Efforts for Community Development (CECOD) from Uganda and the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA) of Türkiye took home international recognition and financial awards totaling 100,000 United States dollars and medals at an evening gala held in Doha, Qatar. They won the global Land for Life Award that attracted over 100 applicants, and were recognized for their innovative, inspiring and transformative work to increase the natural health of soils and restore its productivity. The annual soil loss of 75 billion tons translates into that a loss of 4 and 10 tons of soil loss per person per year. And every year, 12 million hectares of land – an area equal to the size of Benin or the Dominican Republic – are lost to desertification or drought alone, and with it, the opportunity to produce 20 million tones of grain.  “Tonight we are celebrating three of the many hidden champions of this 21st century - those who have chosen, at their own expenses, to be the guardians of our soil, to take care of the health of our land for the sake of present and future generations,” said Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at the award gala. “We can create laws to protect the soil. If our children can be agents of change, why can’t we? Poverty is not an excuse – even in the worst of conditions, opportunities exist,” he said, referring to the achievements of the winners. SOIL, the first prize winner of US$40,000, has made specially designed toilets – ecotoilets – to collect human waste, which is then treated and turned into safe, nutrient-rich compost that is well-suited to regenerate depleted soil that can increase agricultural production. Coming from Haiti, the innovation is particularly notable and timely because not only is all the land in Haiti seriously degraded and in need of repair, but sanitation facilities are in short supply, the people depend on the land, as will the nation’s recovery from the 2010 earthquake disaster. “We will use this award to develop an integrated agricultural livelihood learning center that will have a full-scale composting operation, fruit tree nursery and solar-powered drip irrigation demonstration farm,” said Ms. Leah Nevada, who received the award on behalf of SOIL. CECOD and TEMA tied as runner-ups. Uganda’s CECOD won the award for mobilizing school children to be the agents through which new innovations on land-use are disseminated. It has mobilized 34,700 schools and over 12,000 households. “We will use the US$30,000 we have received to launch our own Green Flag Award to recognize schools and communities that are leading efforts in collaborative sustainable nature resource management,” said Robert Isingoma, Country Director of CECOD. TEMA’s achievement was the mobilization of 1million signatures to petition Türkiye’s Parliament for a law to protect Türkiye’s soil. It got 450,000 volunteers to do so, and has filed 158 successful legal cases in favor of environmental conservation. “The prize of 30,000 dollars will contribute to our awareness-raising activities,” said Mr. Sedar Sarigul, TEMA’s General Manager. Chief Guest at the event, Mr. Fahad Bin Mohammed Al- Attiya, Chairman of Qatar Nation Food Security Programme – one of the Awards’ sponsors – said these achievements support global food security, an issue of great interest to Qatar, which imports 90% of its food. Qatar has an ambitious vision – to be food secure by 2024 – which Mr. Al-Attiya compared to America’s 1960s aspiration to land a man on the moon. In a country that has no rivers or fresh water, “to produce our food does not seem feasible…. For us, it will be revolutionary and will help other people, including those who have no sources of food and water. The solution will spur a lot of unintended multipliers that will spread to other regions and help those like us who have food and water shortages,” he said. Mr. Gnacadja announced that the 2013 Land for Life Award will have two new prizes. A special prize will be designated for gender, to recognize the contribution of women. A new prize will be established targeting action in Africa, a region with highly vulnerable soils and where restoration of degraded land is urgently needed. At a subsequent press conference, Mr. Gnacadja said “what the winners have done is particularly notable because it one of the new and hot issues on the agenda of the global Climate Conference under way in Doha because the restoration of degraded land boosts adaption, and has the added benefits of alleviating poverty as well as mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon into the soil.” “Carbon is a pollutant in the air, but it boosts the fertility of the soil, and these three organizations show how we can channel it there. Land use and land use change, deforestation and agriculture are all major causes of global warming. Often, they are drivers of land degradation and soil erosion,” he says. “The restoration of degraded land, increasing soil fertility and land use techniques such as sustainable land management can reverse this process,” he added. Also speaking at the press conference, Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Bin Jassim Al-Thani, Vice-Chair, QNFSP, said Qatar has had an overall strategy for food security under the Global Dry Land Alliance, and when the Award was launched they found the kind of new, innovative and creative initiative focused at the grassroots that they were looking to support. The award, he said, shows some “thinking outside the box” that addresses the big global challenges facing humanity, like hunger and food security. The Land for Life Award was established last year at the tenth session of the Parties to the UNCCD held in Changwon, Republic of Korea. It is part of the Changwon Initiative spearheaded by the Government of Korea, which has committed to provide a contribution towards the Award for five years. The 2012 Land for Life Award attracted 109 applications from all regions of the world. The 2013 award was launched on 3 November 2012 and nominations will close on 15 March 2013. About the UNCCD Desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Established in 1994, UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment, development and the promotion of healthy soils. The Convention’s 195 signatory Parties work to alleviate poverty in the drylands, maintain and restore the land’s productivity, and mitigate the effects of drought. Notes to Editors Videos of the award winning projects are available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrNcN_HokFA&feature=results_video To download the high-resolution videos to go: https://spaces.hightail.com/resolve/1833854178/8c5f2c9f7c724acb475adaa10030d281 Pictures of the award ceremony are available on request at the email address below. For additional information on the Award, click here. For more information contact: Wagaki Mwangi Email: wmwangi@unccd.int Cell: +974 5584 6163 (in Doha)

Three Civil Society Organizations Win the USD100 000 Land for Life Award
Rio Conventions Join Forces for Sustainable Development and the Future We Want

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 13 June 2012 – At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the secretariats of the biodiversity, climate change and desertification conventions and the Global Environment Facility are joining forces under the Rio Conventions Pavilion to promote implementation of these three multilateral environmental agreements on sustainable development. The 1992 Rio Earth Summit gave rise to the three Rio Conventions:  the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Twenty years on, partners from around the world are back in Rio de Janeiro to take stock of the ways these agreements have enabled the world to address the interrelated challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and combating desertification and land degradation. Running from 13 to 22 June in a dedicated space in Athletes Park adjacent to the conference centre, the Pavilion comprises daily events highlighting themes and cross-cutting issues relevant to the Rio+20 Conference and to achieving synergies between the three conventions. The Pavilion opens on 13 June with the Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s (ENB) “curtain-raiser” for the Rio+20 conference. A new mobile application designed for smartphones will be launched at the Pavilion that evening.  During the Pavilion, ENB will provide daily coverage of its events at: http://www.iisd.ca/uncsd/rio20/pavilion/?utm_source=www.iisd.org&utm_medium=web&utm_content=events&utm_campaign=uncsd2012  Themes will focus on Africa, Indigenous and Local Communities (both on 14 June), Oceans (16 June), global celebration of the World Day on Desertification (17 June), business and sustainable development (18 June), mainstreaming the issue of gender in the implementation of the Conventions (20 June), and the role of cities (22 June). A series of high-level events will be held on 21 June to mark the twentieth anniversary of the three conventions. As one of many highlights of the ten-day programme, on 20 June Lord Nicholas Stern, Pavan Sukhdev and Jeffrey Sachs, the study leaders of ground breaking economic assessments on the issues addressed by each of the three conventions, will, for the first time, meet in a joint panel moderated by Caroline Spelman, UK Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity said:  “We cannot afford to wait any longer to tackle the interlinked challenges of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss through concerted action at global, national and local levels. Rio+20 is an historic opportunity to learn what has worked well, and what has not, and to redouble our efforts to build the Future We Want. The Rio Conventions Pavilion is a key space to support this dialogue.” Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary said: "Global efforts to combat climate change, along with those to slow desertification and biodiversity loss, are pointing in the right direction, and governments are in many cases designing increasingly ambitious national policies. But we urgently need to accelerate the pace and scope of what is being done today to safeguard the future we want. All areas of society have crucial roles to play. At the pavilion, we will for example be showcasing the potential of business to act and demonstrate how momentum for change is building via public- private partnerships. And we will address the crucial role women play in making their societies more climate-resilient."  Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary to the UNCCD said: “Efforts to combat desertification by fostering sustainable land management practices have potential co-benefits for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use through protecting and restoring the productive potential in drylands.” GEF CEO and Chairperson, Monique Barbut said: “The GEF came into being the year before the first Earth Summit but it was here that we really got our mission as the financing mechanism for the three Rio Conventions. In becoming the largest public funder of projects to protect the global environment, we have moved far along the path of scaling up projects and developing synergies linking biodiversity conservation, climate change and sustainable land management. The GEF’s solid relationships with donor and developing nations, NGOS and local communities have helped make us both a provider and a catalyst of investment in the environment. The leverage generated by these relationships is what helps the GEF make such a significant contribution to sustainable development.” The Pavilion will host presentations, discussions and panels covering the successes of integrating climate change, biodiversity and sustainable land management into sustainable development policies.  The Pavilion at the Rio + 20 conference has been made possible by the strong support of the Government of Brazil, along with substantial contributions from the UK, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Norway and other partners. The Programme for the Pavilion at Rio + 20 can be found at: www.riopavilion.org/programme/ Follow the Pavilion on twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/RioPavilion Notes for editors The Rio Conventions Pavilion is a platform for raising awareness and sharing information about the latest practices and scientific findings on the co-benefits that can be realized through implementation of the three Rio Conventions. The Pavilion is a collaborative effort between the Secretariats of the three Rio Conventions and the Global Environment Facility, in addition to a growing list of other global and local partners.  It was launched during the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010 at the margins of the CBD Conference of the Parties (CBD COP10) in Nagoya, Japan. It was subsequently held at the UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. In 2011, at the UNCCD COP 10 in Changwon, Republic of Korea, and the UNFCCC COP 17 in Durban, South Africa. For more information contact:  David Ainsworth, information officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity david.ainsworth@cbd.int or +1 514 561 2720.

Rio Conventions Join Forces for Sustainable Development and the Future We Want
UNCCD Calls for Rio+20 to Agree on a Sustainable Development Goal on Land

Chifeng, China/Bonn, Germany, 23 May 2012 – The international community needs to agree on a sustainable development goal with a measurable target of achieving zero net land degradation by 2030. Such a bold decision would enhance efforts in all regions of the world to restore degraded land and sustainably manage non-degraded land by means of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) practices and techniques. “Land is the earth’s natural and indispensable infrastructure for life,” and demands “sustainable land use for all and by all, especially in the agricultural activities.” Dr Mansour N’Diaye, Chef de Cabinet, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) made these remarks this morning at the opening of the Asia Regional Media Workshop on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought taking place in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China. The three-day workshop which ends on Friday, 25 May 2012, brings together journalists from 10 countries in Asia for an interaction with experts on the lessons learned over the last 20 years on the progress made towards the long term sustainability of land and soil, in light of the June UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio +20 Conference as it is commonly known. N’Diaye warned that the goals on climate change, on conservation of biological diversity and on forests would not be achieved unless “there is sufficient care and proactive measures for the soil.” “We will not alleviate rural poverty and hunger. We will not ensure long-term food security, nor build resilience to drought and water stress. This will lead to severe consequences, including more conflict over scarce resources,” he added. “Asia is the most severely affected continent in terms of the number of people affected by Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought,” and so is expected to be actively engaged in the negotiations at the Rio+20 Summit, he said. N’Diaye’s call was echoed by Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, at a media event also held today in Berlin, Germany, where he spoke to journalists on the need for Rio+20 to agree on sustainable development goal on land.  Hyo-Tae Hwang, Director of the International Cooperation Division of Korea Forest Service, speaking at the Chifeng workshop on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Korea, which is the current President of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD, said left unchecked, desertification, land degradation and drought could threaten up to 90% of Asia’s total land area. He said the Republic of Korea once suffered from land degradation, especially in the aftermath of the Korean War. But with massive reforestation the country was restored. “Today,” he said, “we are sharing our experiences and technologies with nearby countries suffering from land degradation.” Hyo-Tae said as COP10 President, the country would collaborate with the UNCCD to highlight the importance of sustainable land management at national and the global levels. National, regional and local authorities in China presented cases of land rehabilitation in Northern China, particularly the Inner Mongolia area, including Chifeng, where journalists will visit some of the projects. Many South East Asian countries are affected by desert dust storms that originate from the region. The UNCCD was conceived at the Rio ’92 Summit and is the sole Convention that links environment and development, an emphasis now central to the Rio+20 theme of a Green Economy. The Asia Regional Workshop on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought is jointly organized with the State Forestry Administration of China, Republic of Korea and China’s largest media organization, Xinhua News Agency. A similar workshop for the African region will take place from 29-31 May in Algiers, Algeria. About the UNCCD Developed as a result of the Rio Summit, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that has brought attention to the land degradation affecting some of the most vulnerable people and ecosystems in the world. The UNCCD has 195 Parties (194 countries plus the European Union) and is one of the three “Rio Conventions”, along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The UNCCD is increasingly recognized as an instrument that can make an important contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty reduction. For more information contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Secretariat Email: Wmwangi@unccd.int Tel: +49 228 8152820 +49 173 2687593 (mobile)

UNCCD Calls for Rio+20 to Agree on a Sustainable Development Goal on Land
2012 World Day to Combat Desertification Calls For Land Degradation Neutrality

Bonn, Germany, 17 February 2012 – The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) announced the theme for the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification, which will be celebrated on 17 June all over the world. UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja presented the slogan for the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification – “Healthy soil sustains your life: LET’S GO LAND-DEGRADATION NEUTRAL”.  “Fertile soil is a finite and irreplaceable resource, which feeds seven million people today and is expected to feed nine billion in 2050. It is a common wealth that provides us not only with food, but also secures water and energy for present and future generations”, Mr. Gnacadja said. “But soil’s caring capacity is often forgotten in global policies for sustainable development. Therefore, the international community should set a zero-net land degradation target. This target can be achieved by sustaining healthy soil and restoring degraded land. We should start with drylands, which support half of the world’s food production systems and are highly vulnerable to desertification, and then adopt successful practices elsewhere.” At the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on “addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” in September 2011, many world leaders said that the commitment to build a land-degradation neutral world should become an important outcome of the Rio+20. During this meeting, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for sustainable land-use to become “a cornerstone of the green economy for poverty eradication and sustainable development”. The global observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification this year is planned in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Sunday before the start of the Rio+20 Conference. Notes to Editors: About UNCCD Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda. The UNCCD addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands. The Convention’s 194 Parties are working to improve the living conditions in the drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. About World Day to Combat Desertification In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared 17 June the "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought" to promote public awareness and the implementation of the UNCCD in the desertification affected countries. Since 1995, Parties to the Convention, the United Nations organizations, international and non-governmental organizations have celebrated 17 June with a series of outreach activities worldwide. The World Day to Combat Desertification is a unique occasion to remind global community that desertification can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. About Rio+20 The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio+20, will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. The Conference will result in a political document, which will renew political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and address new and emerging challenges. For more information, please see the concept note on the 2012 World Day to Combat Desertification: Contact: Ms Wagaki Mwangi Public Information and Media Officer UNCCD Secretariat Tel: +49-228-815-2820 E-mail: wmwangi@unccd.int

2012 World Day to Combat Desertification Calls For Land Degradation Neutrality
Webinar on Desertification and Citizen Action

Bonn, Germany, 14 February 2012 – UNCCD Secretariat with EarthAction and The Global Citizens Initiative (TGCI) will organize a Virtual World Community Forum on Desertification and Citizen Action – Saving the Life-Giving Soils of the World that will take place Tuesday, February 28 through Tuesday, March 6, 2012. This online forum is being made available at no cost to participants.

Webinar on Desertification and Citizen Action
Two Weeks Left to Apply for the Land for Life Award

Rewarding leadership for sustainable land management Bonn, Germany, 9 February 2012 – Applications for the 2012 Land for Life Award are now open. The award will go to inspiring initiatives which secure the health and productivity of soil for the well-being of present and future generations. The prize will be awarded to those efforts which reduce land degradation through sustainable land management, or are outstanding examples of political leadership, policy, business, advocacy campaigns or scientific research. More on criteria. The Jury particularly welcomes nominations of candidates whose work is: innovative, collaborative, achieved in partnership across sectors, supports free knowledge sharing and capacity building, empowers vulnerable and marginalized groups, and fosters gender equality, cultural diversity and social inclusion. Three awards will be granted in 2012 from a total prize fund of up to USD 100,000. The deadline for applications is 29 February 2012. Nominations are welcome from: individuals institutions non-governmental organizations and civil society private sector academic and research organizations policy makers journalists and media Winners will be announced on the World Day to Combat Desertification,17 June 2012.

Two Weeks Left to Apply for the Land for Life Award