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G20 initiative 

The G20 is a multilateral platform that connects the world’s major developed and emerging economies. Together the G20 countries represent more than 80 per cent of world GDP, 75 per cent of international trade and 60 per cent of the world’s population.  

In November 2020, the G20 launched The Global Initiative on Reducing Land Degradation and Enhancing Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats. The goal of this initiative is to prevent, halt and reverse land degradation and reduce degraded land by 50 per cent by 2040. 

This initiative shows an unprecedented resolve by the world’s largest economies to conserve the terrestrial environment. It also focuses on capacity building as well as engaging the private sector and civil society.  

The initiative has three interrelated objectives: 

Conserving land and halting habitat loss, fragmentation and land degradation through:  

  • sharing knowledge and best practices on conservation incentives 
  • enhancing land conservation 
  • promoting sustainable land management practices 
  • promoting active fire management 

Promoting integrated, sustainable, and resilient land and landscape management through:  

  • nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches 
  • financing mechanisms 
  • urban and land use planning processes at different levels and scales 
  • stronger implementation of international agreements and local environmental governance and laws 
  • the empowerment of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (including women, youth, and smallholders) in land management 
  • secure land tenure, property and land-use rights in accordance with national legislation, as well as supporting sustainable land and water management policies and sustainable agricultural practices, including traditional practices, in order to maintain and enhance ecosystem functionality 

Restoring degraded land through:  

  • sustainable and locally or regionally appropriate reforestation, afforestation 
  • natural regeneration/revegetation, restoration of ecosystem services, sustainable agricultural practices, and deployment of nature-based solutions or ecosystem-based approaches for biodiversity conservation 

Speaking at the initiative’s launch, Antonió Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, said: “The [COVID-19] recovery must help to reconcile humankind and nature on all fronts. From climate to biodiversity, from protecting the oceans to stopping deforestation and land degradation.”  

During the launch event Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “In the Middle East and across the world, land degradation is a substantial and growing problem. The leadership of the G20 countries through this Global Initiative may become a watershed moment in the global turn to good land stewardship and the restoration of balance with nature.”