The Land in numbers 2019. Risks and opportunities.

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UNCCD Publications

Numbers can tell a compelling story. In this brochure, the numbers highlight how much we rely on productive land. Amongst other valuable services, land feeds our families, provides fresh water and powers our future ambitions. Much of the data collected here, however, demonstrate how close we are to pushing our relationship with the land to breaking point.

The magnitude of the challenges and potential consequences of failing to implement bold action on land and soil, in terms of future social stability and economic development, should not be underestimated. Despite the ominous facts and figures about pressures and risks, this brochure tells a story about opportunity too. There has never been a better time to invest in the rehabilitation of the world’s degraded landscapes and make land degradation neutrality a reality for us and for future generations.

Around 2 billion hectares of land—twice the size of China— is now degraded, with little economic or ecological value. However with the adoption of the new UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and the Sustainable Development Goals especially target 15.3 Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), echoed by various other initiatives such as the Bonn Challenge, the New York Declaration on Forests, the Initiative 20x20, the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, change is in the air. Restoring degraded landscapes has the potential to become the new business paradigm.

The so called restoration economy is set to take-off. New business models are emerging, technology is advancing and governments are showing political will. This is great news for investors looking for a growth opportunity. And this is good news for the economy, jobs, food security and the planet. By protecting, securing and rehabilitating key ecosystems at scale we can ensure a more secure future.