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

A capacity-building workshop on drought resilience marks achievements of the Ankara Initiative

As the international cooperation to address the growing threat of drought projected to affect over ¾ of the world population by 2050 gains momentum, the recent workshop in Istanbul on building negotiation skills and developing action plans became a fitting tribute to the successes of the Ankara Initiative that supported capacity-building under the UNCCD for many years. In his message to the participants, UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw remarked that the support provided by the Government of Türkiye since 2016 resulted in key contributions to national policy recommendations on issues such as land tenure, gender equality and land degradation neutrality (LDN).  As an arid and semi-arid country that made outstanding progress in land rehabilitation and restoration, Turkiye has been uniquely positioned to share its experience, providing a number of capacity-building and knowledge-sharing initiatives for UNCCD Parties working toward achieving LDN. The General Manager of Combating Desertification and Erosion Nurettin Taş presented a decision support system developed by Türkiye to realize the national LDN targets and confirmed the country’s commitment to sharing its expertise with other countries facing desertification, land degradation and drought. The practical part of the workshop for over 30 Parties from Africa and CEE included interactive trainings on building the knowledge base and developing an effective skill set for multilateral negotiations on drought resilience and LDN implementation, which will be an important asset for national delegates at the UNCCD CRIC21 in October 2023 and the COP16 in 2024.

A capacity-building workshop on drought resilience marks achievements of the Ankara Initiative
Sixteenth session of UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Riyadh

ENGLISH By letter dated 14 March 2023, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia confirmed its willingness to host the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Conference will be held in Riyadh from 2 to 13 December 2024. In line with the provisions of decision 34/COP15 the UNCCD secretariat will now enter into consultation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the organization of COP16. Information on further arrangements for the session will be communicated to all Parties and observers in due time. FRANÇAIS Par lettre datée du 14 mars 2023, le Royaume d'Arabie saoudite a confirmé sa volonté d'accueillir la seizième session de la Conférence des Parties (COP16) à la convention des Nations Unies sur la Lutte contre la désertification (CNULCD) . La Conférence se tiendra à Riyad du 2 au 13 décembre 2024. Conformément aux dispositions de la décision 34/COP15, le secrétariat de la Convention entrera en consultation avec le Royaume d'Arabie saoudite pour l'organisation de la COP16. Des informations sur les autres dispositions à prendre pour la session seront communiquées à toutes les Parties et à tous les observateurs en temps opportun.   ESPAÑOL Mediante carta fechada el 14 de marzo de 2023, el Reino de Arabia Saudí confirmó su voluntad de acoger la decimosexta sesión de la Conferencia de las Partes (COP16) de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas de Lucha contra la Desertificación (CNULD). La Conferencia se celebrará en Riad del 2 al 13 de diciembre de 2024. En consonancia con las disposiciones de la decisión 34/COP15, la secretaría de la CLD iniciará consultas con el Reino de Arabia Saudí para la organización de la COP16. A su debido tiempo, se comunicará a todas las Partes y observadores información sobre los preparativos del período de sesiones.  

Sixteenth session of UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Riyadh
Unlocking the potential of the urban-rural nexus through land-based actions

The world is rapidly urbanizing – within 30 years, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. 90 per cent of urban growth will occur in less-developed countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, further deepening the development gap between rural and urban areas. While cities occupy less than three per cent of the global land area, they consume the bulk of natural resources, while unplanned urban expansion often leads to human displacement and loss of productive land. Even though urban and rural areas depend on each other, rural communities often lag behind – worldwide 85 per cent of the poor still live in rural areas. UNCCD COP15 recognized the importance of rethinking urban-rural relationships when tackling desertification, land degradation and drought as drivers of forced migration and unplanned urbanization. Its decision 22/COP.15 invites Parties to promote sustainable territorial development to strengthen urban-rural linkages through territorial governance systems based on integrated territorial development to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality and address the drivers of forced migration.   Creating a sustainable future within and outside cities calls for integrated spatial planning and inclusive development to ensure an equal and mutually beneficial exchange between urban and rural communities. Sustainable land use planning and restoration offer a cost-effective way to improve well-being of urban and rural communities, create green jobs, build drought resilience and support climate mitigation. This video, which premiered at the CBD COP 15 in Montreal in December 2022, demonstrates how well-planned and inclusive land-based actions can deliver multiple benefits by strengthening the urban-rural nexus.  

Unlocking the potential of the urban-rural nexus through land-based actions
UNCCD COP15 Bureau convenes in Abidjan to review progress

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire - On the invitation of UNCCD COP15 President Alain Richard Donwahi, the members of the COP15 Bureau held their second meeting on 1 March 2023 in Abidjan. This meeting was an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved since the first COP15 Bureau meeting in Bonn in October 2022 and identify the next steps in the lead up to UNCCD COP16 in 2024. In his opening remarks, COP15 President Donwahi congratulated stakeholders who are working to realize the commitments made at COP15 and pledged his support. “My focus this year will be on supporting the UNCCD Executive Secretary in the implementation of many regional initiatives that aim at fighting drought and land degradation such as the Great Green Wall Initiative, the Middle East Green Initiative and the International Drought Resilience Alliance, but also major projects within the five regional annexes, he said. UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw stressed that much progress has been made since the COP: “Our beating of the 'drought and land restoration' drums seem to be bearing fruit. Let's continue to work towards a sustainable future for all,”  he said. Executive Secretary Thiaw also gave an update on the activities of the Secretariat and of the intersessional working groups, which are working to respond to the mandate given by UNCCD Parties at COP15. Already, 115 Parties have submitted their national reports, which will be considered at CRIC21 session, scheduled to take place in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in October 2023. COP15 Bureau members expressed their satisfaction with the progress made and readiness to continue the fight to mitigate the effects of land degradation and drought together.

UNCCD COP15 Bureau convenes in Abidjan to review progress
From potential to prosperity: the role of land restoration. UNCCD statement at LDC5

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me first join previous speakers to express, on behalf of the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Land degradation and Drought (UNCCD), our deepest appreciation and gratitude to the Government of the State of Qatar for hosting the fifth UN Conference on Least Developed countries. The world over, we are seeing common challenges. Widespread land degradation. Biodiversity in decline. Natural disasters and extreme weather events, exacerbated by climate change. Everyone is starting to feel the sting, but there is no doubt that the 46 least-developed countries (LDCs) have been facing these challenges for far longer and at a far-greater intensity. Such events have a disproportionate impact on LDCs in terms of economic losses, deaths, disrupted livelihoods and damage to infrastructure. About a quarter of people in LDCs live on severely degraded lands. Over 34 per cent of crop and livestock production loss in LDCs is traced to drought. This cost to agriculture? USD 37 billion between 2008 and 2018.  There are many ways that LDCs, with the support of the international community, can act. Today, I will focus on the critical role of the land: specifically, land restoration, drought resilience and agriculture that build on sustainable land management. Land restoration, sustainable agriculture and nature-based solutions are a smart investment, for many reasons. They create jobs quickly: on average, between 7 and 40 jobs per US$1 million invested. Planting trees or restoring floodplains, for example, are labour-intensive tasks that are well suited to public employment programs.  Such employment options are important for LDCs, in which the youth population is expected to rise to 300 million by 2050, almost double 2010 figures. Land restoration, sustainable agriculture and nature-based solutions can reach other segments of the labour market. For instance, thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises are active in forest and land restoration efforts. They could contribute to job creation and economic growth, if supported. Encouragingly, we are seeing a growing movement for healthy land. Farmers and herders using sustainable land management practices are minimizing degradation, increasing drought resilience, and nursing degraded land back to health. There are many examples. More than five million hectares have been restored in Niger’s Zinder province, boosting food security for more than 2.5 million people.  Malawi is dedicating 1.5 per cent of its domestic budget to its Youth Forest Restoration Program, employing thousands of young people to revitalize 50,000 hectares of land. In Ethiopia, large-scale land restoration of degraded watersheds over five years saw gross primary production in treated locations grew by 13.5 per cent on average in areas affected by severe droughts. A major limiting factor to wider action is domestic budgetary resources. So, we need bilateral and multilateral donors to step in. There are many ways to do this. For example, countries and donor institutions can explore opportunities linking debt forgiveness to investments in land restoration and other nature-based solutions. Backing healthy land in LDCs is a win-win solution. Employment creation would reduce poverty: building markets for products from developed countries and reducing forced migration. Increasing food production through sustainable land management in LDCs would enhance stability in the global food market. Sustainable land-use practices can also capture carbon, helping to stabilize the climate. Mr. President, distinguished delegates, Yes, LDCs are facing challenges. But LDCs, with the appropriate international support, can use their land, their biodiversity and their natural resources to overcome these challenges. To become thriving nature-positive economies. And to ensure that their people are healthy, happy and prosperous. Should LDCs prioritize their investments in restoring their degraded lands, in enhancing their resilience to droughts, when they meet at LDC6 in a decade, poverty and hunger will have substantially decreased, decent land-based jobs and exportation of agriculture produce will have thrived. This can accelerate the pace of transitioning from the LDCs to middle income group of countries. Thank you.

From potential to prosperity: the role of land restoration. UNCCD statement at LDC5
COP 15 Bureau meeting: Remarks by Ibrahim Thiaw

1 March 2023, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire It is a pleasure to be back in the wonderful city of Abidjan, at the kind invitation of our President. I have always enjoyed visiting Abidjan, but this visit has a special significance, as it is the first since our memorable COP15. So there is now in my calendar a pre-CoP15 and a post-CoP15. Much progress has been made since we last met in Bonn (in October). I would say that our beating of the “drought and land restoration” drums seem to be bearing fruit. This is good news as we certainly need to do much more, at scale. Indeed, despite our past efforts, more land is being degraded, more rivers drying up, more wetlands and more forests destroyed. Simply put, the additional demand on natural resources imposed by our lifestyle is not commensurate with the capacity of our planet to regenerate itself. Our relative prosperity (if ever the extraordinary inequality in the world allows us to use the word prosperity) our prosperity, I said, is nothing but an ecological illusion. Land, water, ecosystems and natural environments are all showing signs of weakness, if not collapse. Never - since the industrial revolution - has the world been hit by such strong and violent gusts of drought (often followed by floods). Never have we destroyed as many forests, degraded as much fertile land or extracted as much water for our agricultural, industrial or basic human needs. On the positive side, we have never had access to so much science and knowledge about how to reduce the pressure on resources; how to live better in harmony with nature; how to ration water use for irrigation; how to regenerate soils and promote more respectful practices. It is in this way that the decisions adopted by our COPs serve as political reference; as a gauge of the willingness of the Parties to contribute to solutions; of the political will of the Parties to collaborate to mitigate the effects of land degradation and drought.  It is also in this regard that we appreciate the decisions of the Group of 20 richest countries in the world to engage in land restoration, in collaboration with other interested Nations. We see this as an expression of political will. The first meeting of the Steering Committee of the G20 Land Restoration Initiative held in Saudi Arabia, is a clear signal of proactive cooperation in this area.  At the recent COP of the Climate Change Convention in Egypt, the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) was created! Spurred on by the President of the Republic of Senegal and The Prime Minister of Spain, IDRA is a high-level global alliance, to promote international cooperation and collaboration to mitigate the effects of drought. The first meeting of the Alliance's Steering Committee is scheduled to take place in a few days in New York. The International Drought resilience Alliance, which brings together more than 30 countries, Development Banks and financial mechanisms, UN entities, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. IDRA signals world leaders’ commitment to making drought resilience a priority in national development and cooperation policy. It is a partnership to address the increased centrality of the land and drought agendas in the global multilateral agenda. It responds to your calls at COP15 that we need to shift from reactive to preventive – so it will help transition quickly from the current emergency response to build drought resilience.  Very much in line with this, and as decided by our COP15, the Inter-Governmental Working Group on Drought had its first meeting also in November of last year; a second meeting is scheduled for 13 and 14 March in Yerevan – with many thanks to Armenia for hosting this important meeting.  But several other important UNCCD processes have kick started since we last met. The Science Policy Interface held its first meeting this past December. The Midterm evaluation of the UNCCD Strategic Framework is underway. Its own Intergovernmental working group met from 13-15 February to agree on the set-up for this comprehensive review of the progress made since 2018. Another positive development to note is the National Reporting. A total of 115 UNCCD Parties (the vast majority) have already submitted their national reports. The team is busy compiling the data in time for the next session of the Committee of Review of Implementation. The next CRIC session, scheduled to take place in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in October, will consider the results of these reports.  Now turning to the Global Mechanism, COP 15 requested that the Global Mechanism develop a methodology and conduct a needs assessment to determine the financial requirements for the implementation of the Convention and develop a time-bound strategy to increase fund mobilization based on this needs assessment. We are pleased to report that the methodology will be tested and show-cased at CRIC with results made available at COP 16. Progress was also made on the LDN TSP 2.0 – your plan to improve LDN targets (to ensure they are more quantitative, specific, policy-coherent, linked to the integrated land use planning and gender responsiveness).  Now let me turn to external developments which are helping boost our agenda. As you know, COP15 the Convention on Biological Diversity took place in December in Montreal, where Parties adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to galvanize halting and reversing biodiversity loss. Of particular relevance to UNCCD is the Goal which makes explicit reference to land restoration. Notably the ambition to achieve at least 30% of restoration of degraded areas by 2030. This is a good complement to the various land restoration projects across the world, including the Great Green Wall of the Sahel, the Middle East Green Initiative, the Dry Corridor of Latin America, the AFR100 in Africa to name just a few.  Which brings me to The G20 Global Land Restoration Initiative. The Coordination office is now fully staffed. The Steering Committee (made up of G20 representatives, UNEP and FAO) held its first meeting in November in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and discussed the Initiative Strategy as well as the terms of Reference for the Committee.  Now allow me to be a bit more forward looking. I recently returned from a trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who will graciously host UNCD COP 16. You will have received a more detailed briefing in writing on the status of the organization of COP16, so I just wanted to stress how engaged our future host country is in receiving us in 2024. I am sure our Bureau member from Saudi Arabia will elaborate more on this. On my part, I came back from Riyadh convinced that we will have a great COP 16.  I look forward to your deliberations and guidance on the different items of the draft agenda in front of you. Thank you.   

COP 15 Bureau meeting: Remarks by Ibrahim Thiaw