This block type should be used in "unccd one column" section with "Full width" option enabled

News & stories

news
Latest news & stories

Keyword

Filter by

Date

Year

Critical juncture in global efforts to combat desertification and mitigate drought effects

Bonn, Germany, 17 February 2011 – The UN’s top official on matters of drought, land degradation and desertification, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, claims that we are at crucial moment in history. “At the end of this year, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will, for the first time, have the tools to support national monitoring and vulnerability assessments on the biophysical and socioeconomic trends” in countries affected by these challenges. “You cannot improve what you cannot measure,” he said, so for the assessment to be conducted from 2012, “the UNCCD and its stakeholders will for the first time in history of the Convention be enabled to measure actions taken to materialize the UNCCD vision.” Executive Secretary Gnacadja made the remarks yesterday at the opening of the global gathering of scientists tasked by the Parties to the Convention, with providing guidance on how countries should measure the changes in land cover and poverty among the populations that live in the world’s drylands. The scientists drawn from governmental, non-governmental, international, intergovernmental organizations are attending a three-day meeting of the second special session of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST S-2) of the Convention taking place at the World Conference Center Bonn, Germany. Noting that the scientists are driving the agenda of the UNCCD process, Mr Gnacadja urged them to move the Convention to the realm of measurability. “There is a need to start already considering the development of possible targets, which will bring higher credibility to the process,” he added. At their meeting in 2009, the Parties agreed to assess the impact of the Convention through two mandatory and nine optional indicators. It called on the Committee on Science and Technology, through its Bureau, to guide the secretariat of the Convention to refine the methodologies and approaches that will be used with these indicators. To this end, Professor Klaus Kellner of South Africa and current chair of the CST Bureau called for the active involvement of scientists from both the countries affected and not affected by desertification in the work of refining the indicators, setting up an effective system to manage knowledge and organizing the 2nd UNCCD Scientific Conference that will take place in 2012. In this way, he said, scientists will offer their best. The outcomes of the second special session of the CST will advance work on these issues, and the resulting recommendations forwarded to the tenth session of the UNCCD’s Conference of the Parties (COP 10), which will take place from 11-21 October 2011 in Changwon City, Republic of Korea. CST S-2 ends on Friday this week. 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 Convention focuses on all the world’s drylands, home to over 2 billion people, 50% of the world’s livestock and accounting for 44% of all cultivated ecosystems. The Convention’s 194 Parties are dedicated to combating land degradation and mitigating the effects of drought in the drylands by improving the living conditions of the affected populations and ecosystems. For more information, contact: Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Secretariat Email: wmwangi@unccd.int Cell: +49 173 268 7593

Critical juncture in global efforts to combat desertification and mitigate drought effects
Dryland forests are the focus of the 2011 World Day to Combat Desertification

Bonn, Germany, 7 February 2011 – “Forests are critical to the eradication of poverty in the drylands. They are also the first step towards healing the drylands and protecting them from desertification and drought. In essence, ‘Forests Keep Drylands Working.’ This is our motto for this year.” Mr Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, made these remarks from from Bonn, Germany, this morning as he announced the theme and slogan, and unveiled the logo, for the observance of the World Day to Combat Desertification to be held on 17 June 2011. “The international community knows about temperate and tropical forests. This being the International Year of Forests, we want to introduce the public to the best-kept forest secret of all time – the forests of the drylands. Such forests cover 18% of the land in arid zones, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),” Mr Gnacadja said. “Known variously as arid lands forests, tropical dry forests and the low forest cover countries, the trees in drylands sustain the land and have come to mean the difference between living in abject poverty and a sustainable livelihood,” he stated. “We are particularly inspired by the testimony of the farmers in Africa’s Sahel region on the importance they have come to attach to dryland forests and their own existence,” he added. The peasant farmers in southern Niger recall that in the 1980s, they had to plant their crops three or four times each planting season because the plants were buried by wind-blown sand. Today, they typically plant only once because the forests now protect the seed, according to a 2009 paper by researchers working with the International Food and Policy Research Institute. Moreover, the trees they plant produce, at least, a six-month supply of fodder for on-farm livestock, as well as firewood, fruit and medicinal products for home consumption or cash sales. These results have inspired the farmers in this region to forest over 5 million hectares – an area about the size of Costa Rica or Slovakia – on their own initiative. Mr Gnacadja noted that the rest of the world is also enjoying the spill-over benefits from the achievement of these barefoot foresters. “Their forests absorb the excess carbon in the air and are important biodiversity sanctuaries; and the peasants are strengthening their own capacity to adapt to climate change. This is truly remarkable,” he said. It is no wonder that the Global Forests Resources Assessment of 2010 published by the FAO claims that “the protective functions of forests are more important in the arid zones than elsewhere.” By providing ecosystem goods such as fodder, fuel, wood for construction, medicines and herbs, forests meet the primary needs of some of the world’s poorest populations. Trees also stabilize the soil, which prevents soil erosion and helps to conserve water. In short, dry forests are a buffer against drought and desertification and a safety net for the poor. The United Nations designated 2011 as the International Year of Forests with an emphasis on forests that serve people. “If each of us makes the commitment and ensures that just one tree is planted in a degraded part of the drylands and that the tree survives through the year, we could have well over two billion trees in the drylands by the end of the year. That is a tree for every inhabitant of the drylands. So then, let us go forth and forest the drylands to keep them working for present and future generations,” Mr. Gnacadja urged. For media information, contact: Wagaki Mwangi UNCCD Secretariat Bonn Email: wmwangi@unccd.int Tel: +49 228 815 2820

Dryland forests are the focus of the 2011 World Day to Combat Desertification
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”
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

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