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The world is facing a confluence of unprecedented crises: the fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic has merged with the ongoing and relentless global changes in climate, land, and biodiversity. Collectively, these calamities are causing extraordinary levels of human suffering, social and economic instability, and environmental devastation.  

Healthy and productive land resources – soil, water, and biodiversity – are the foundation of our societies and economies. Roughly USD 44 trillion of economic output (more than half of global GDP) is moderately or highly reliant on natural capital.  

In recent decades, land resources have been subject to persistent degradation and loss due to global patterns of human domination. Countries and communities now recognize the urgent need to transform land governance and restore natural capital to create meaningful jobs, reduce emissions, and restore harmony with nature. 

The Global Land Outlook (GLO), the UNCCD flagship publication, underscores land system challenges, showcases transformative policies and practices, and points to cost-effective pathways to scale up sustainable land and water management.  

Conserving, sustainably managing, and restoring land resources – and rationalizing consumer demand and respecting planetary boundaries – is a global imperative: one that requires moving to a crisis footing, making land the focus and putting people front and center, 

The first edition of the GLO (GLO1) was launched in September 2017 at the UNCCD COP13 in Ordos, China. Speaking at the launch, then-UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut stressed how desertification, land degradation and drought are global challenges that are “intimately linked” to food security, migration and employment, among other factors. 

The second edition of the GLO (GLO2) and its Summary for decision makers was published on 27 April 2022, just before the UNCCD COP15 in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire. On this occasion, the current UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw stated:  

By restoring land, we restore life, restore our economies, restore our communities, and so much more. We cannot stop the climate crisis today, biodiversity loss tomorrow, and land degradation the day after. We need to tackle all these issues together.