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Address to the Parliamentary Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil

Mr Chairman, Honorable members of the Committee Your excellency, Minister of Environment and Climate, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), I would like to thank the Committee for welcoming me today; especially, as Brazil is looking to secure productive lands and build the resilience of economic sectors, communities, and ecosystems to drought. Promoting sustainable Land management and building resilience to drought: these are the two pillars, the two reason d’être of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.   As the only global treaty dealing with land and drought, the UNCCD celebrates its 30th birthday on 17 June. Remember, it is one of the three Conventions conceived in Rio de Janeiro, at the famous 1992 Summit. After two years of gestation, the Convention was signed in Paris in 1994. We support countries and regions in developing plans, policies and interventions to halt and reverse the loss of fertile land; to create national plans for drought resilience. Brazil ratified the Convention in 1997, integrating the treaty into its legal framework. Brazil is a global leader in agricultural commodity trading; one of the top hydropower producers in the world; and is home to ecosystems that regulate rainfall patterns across the country —and the entire region. Yet, Brazil is affected by more and more severe and frequent droughts, disrupting food production, rural economy and human security. This means Brazil is uniquely placed to appreciate the centrality of sustainable land and water management to all economic and social sectors. Now, why are land degradation and drought a top concern? Consider this: in optimum conditions, it takes between 200 and 400 years for 1 cm of topsoil to form. However, every second, I repeat every second, the world loses the equivalent of four football fields of healthy land due to the destruction of native vegetation and poor land management. Annually, this adds up to 100 million hectares, an area larger than the State of Mato Grosso. If current trends continue, we will need to restore 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030 to reach the Land Degradation Neutrality goal. Brazil accounts among the countries that continue to lose fertile land every day, every second. In parallel, droughts are hitting faster and more often, posing an unprecedented emergency on a planetary scale: last year, 1 in 4 people in the world were affected by drought, and events have increased by 29% since the year 2000. Drought is a natural phenomenon. However, global warming and the way we treat our land are combining to create human-made droughts. We see their devastating consequences all around us: crop failure, disruptions in freight transportation (as is the case this year with the disruption of the Panama Canal), soaring energy costs, loss of livelihoods, conflicts over scarce resources, large-scale forced migrations. Again, Brazil is one of the most freshwater in the world. Yet, it is no stranger to the impacts of land degradation and drought: from the lingering impacts of a historic drought in the Amazon, to pressures on hydropower and agricultural production, to the expansion of semi-arid and even arid lands. Mr Chairman, Drought is a hazard, but it needn’t be a disaster, as long as we manage it proactively. With the right investments, policies, and incentives, it is possible to decouple the severity of drought from its most serious impacts on societies, economies, and ecosystem functions. Any single dollar invested in drought resilience and prevention can yield up to ten dollars in return. It is therefore encouraging to see Brazil join the International Drought Resilience Initiative. While we can not stop droughts from occurring, with early warnings, preparedness and adapted responses, we can better mitigate its impacts. Since we are as resilient to drought and climate change as our lands are, it is crucial we make agrifood systems part of the solution, incentivizing sustainable land and water management practices that replenish, rather than squander, the natural capital all of us depend on. From that perspective, what I saw two days ago in Caatinga is encouraging. It was indeed inspiring to witness a whole of Government, in fact a whole of society approach to combatting desertification and building the resilience to drought. This said, much remains to be done in Caatinga and other areas affected by land loss and drought. As representatives of the People of Brazil, your role, honourable Parliamentarians can not be understated. We need to plan at the landscape level. This calls for land-use planning to identify the areas that are best suited for food production, protection of water sources, and ecosystem conservation. At the farm level, sustainable land management can combine precision agriculture to optimize the use of irrigation and fertilizers, with low-tech and nature-based solutions like agroforestry, crop rotation or reduced tilling. Again, coming back to Caatinga, low-tech approaches such as the cisternas are making a difference. To further buttress productive systems, and to protect the livelihoods of the 38 million Brazilians who are most vulnerable to desertification and drought, it is also vital this Parliament allocates a robust budget to support the communities: enhancing water management, building resilience to drought; monitoring and assessment; and supporting a just land transition. Especially, in the Caatinga drylands and the Cerrado, which underpins the water security in Brazil and beyond. At the UNCCD secretariat, we stand ready to support Brazil in its journey towards a more resilient future — but it all starts with your decision to prioritize land and drought in your policies and in the budget you allocate to implementing them. Your leadership ---Brazil’s leadership--- can prevent human suffering, protect economic sectors and set an example for nations across the region and around the world. Particularly, in the lead-up to UNCCD COP16, which will be held from 2-13 December in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. UNCCD COP16 is gearing up to be the largest, and most ambitious, global summit on land and drought to date. Together, we will chart the way for Land Degradation Neutrality targets, drought resilience frameworks, and stronger agrifood systems, and work to unlock a multibillion land restoration industry. Given Brazil’s active environmental diplomacy, the country has a particular role to play as a member of groups such a the G20, BRICS, G77 and LAC. Land degradation and Drought issues are rather unifying. They provide excellent opportunities for countries to play their soft power. Brazil’s active diplomacy and extraordinary political influence will be needed to make the Riyadh COP a moonshot moment for land and fought in the world. Finally, COP16 provide opportunity to Members of Parliament from country Parties to actively participate in the Conference. We look forward to your active engagement in the lead up to, and during COP16, and stand ready to support Brazil in its drive to be a beacon for sustainable land management. Thank you

Address to the Parliamentary Committee for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil
Brazil joins the International Drought Resilience Alliance

The country reinforces its commitment to combat desertification and drought in the face of climate change Bonn (Germany)/ Petrolina (Brazil), 10 June 2024—Brazil is the latest country to join the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA), the global coalition mobilizing political, technical, and financial capital to prepare the world for harsher droughts. This addition brings the total membership of IDRA to 38 countries and 28 intergovernmental and research organizations, showing an increasing willingness to tackle one of the world’s most deadly and costly natural hazards. Launched at UN Climate Summit COP27 by the leaders of Spain and Senegal, IDRA drives action against droughts in the face of global warming, acknowledging that we are only as resilient to drought and climate change as our land is. The IDRA secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). At a joint event with the UNCCD in Petrolina, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Brazil H.E. Marina Silva said: “Brazil's accession to the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) demonstrates the government's determination to combat drought and desertification, promote food and water security, and combat inequalities. Our objective is to promote sustainable development, while ensuring the protection of biodiversity and the communities of the semi-arid region. The cooperation with UNCCD reinforces Brazil's commitment to combating desertification and climate change.” The event, which launched a national campaign to combat desertification and drought, put an end to a visit to the semi-arid region of Caatinga, a unique ecoregion that covers around 70 percent of northeastern Brazil, and 11 percent of the total country area. Brazilian researchers recently identified the country’s first arid region and projected the expansion of semiarid lands across much of the territory. Nearly 38 million Brazilians from 1.561 municipalities are vulnerable to desertification and drought , as are 1,4 million square kilometers of land across 13 states, according to the Environment and Climate Change Ministry. In Caatinga, authorities are supporting community-led initiatives to restore watersheds, improve agricultural practices, and harvest water as a means of building their resilience to drought. Around the world, addressing challenges at the water-land-and-climate nexus is essential to protecting agricultural and energy production, and to maintaining vital ecosystem services like the provision of clean water and fertile soils for present and future generations. Speaking at the event in Petrolina, the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Ibrahim Thiaw, said: “I commend Brazil’s commitment to proactively investing in resilient lands and livelihoods. Science and experience show time and again that preparing societies and economies for droughts before they strike prevents human sufering and is much more cost-effective than emergency responses. Drought is a hazard, but in needn’t be a disaster.” A decisive year for land and drought UNCCD COP16 will be the largest-ever meeting of UNCCD’s 197 Parties, the first to be held in the Middle East region, and the largest multilateral conference ever hosted by Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom recently hosted the 2024 World Environment Day global celebrations with a focus on land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience. On 17 June, the 2024 Desertification and Drought Day will mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), one of the three Rio Conventions alongside climate and biodiversity. The High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy , co-organized by the UNCCD, (Geneva, 30 September-3 October) will bring together policy-makers and practitioners with a twin objective: taking stock of progress and lessons learned in the past decade and charting the way forward for the implementation of drought resilience actions. *** Notes to editors For interviews and enquires please contact: press@unccd.int  Social media X: @UNCCD / Instagram: @unccd  For information about IDRA visit: https://idralliance.global  About IDRA The International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA) is the first global coalition creating political momentum and mobilizing financial and technical resources for a drought-resilient future. As a growing platform of more than 30 countries and 20 institutions, IDRA draws on the collective strengths of its members to advance policies, actions, and capacity-building for drought preparedness, acknowledging we are only as resilient to drought and climate change as our land is. The work of IDRA is aligned with, and supportive of, the mandate of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which hosts the IDRA Secretariat. For more information: https://idralliance.global. About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Brazil joins the International Drought Resilience Alliance
Address to authorities in Caatinga, Brazil

Your Excellency Minister Marina Silva, Your Excellency Minister Wellington Dias, Dear governor Jerónimo Rodrigues, I also would like to recognize here the authorities of the University of the São Francisco Valley - Univasf   that is hosting us today, Ladies and gentlemen, On behalf of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) I thank you wholeheartedly for the warm welcome to Caatinga. Especially, for sharing your experience in securing resilient lands and livelihoods in the drylands. On 17 June, the United Nations Convention on Land and Drought (UNCCD) will mark a significant milestone - 30 years of commitment to our planet. As the only legally binding global instrument focused on land and drought, the UNCCD stands proudly alongside the Biodiversity and Climate Conventions as one of the three Rio Conventions, born out of the world famous 1992 Summit. We support our 197 Parties in designing policies, investments, and interventions to halt and reverse the loss of productive land; to create national plans for drought resilience; and to reduce the negative impact of land and soil loss in vulnerable communities. Brazil ratified the Convention in 1997, integrating the treaty into its legal framework. Caatinga is home to scores of species, many of them unique to this biome, and is said to be the most populous dryland area on the planet. Its very existence acts as living proof of the ability of plants, animals, and culturally diverse communities to adapt to semiarid environments. However, life in the planet’s —life that required hundreds and even thousands of years to evolve— is now under pressure from the combined effects of land degradation and climate change. Every year, the world loses 100 million hectares of fertile land, an area larger than the state of Mato Grosso. More than half of the world’s rangelands are degraded, compromising food security and the soil carbon stock, which comes only after the ocean’s.  If current trends continue, we will need to restore 1.5 billion hectares of land by 2030 to reach the Land Degradation Neutrality goal. Barren lands cannot adequately infiltrate and retain water, increasing runoff and accelerating erosion, instead. As a result of global warming and the way we treat our lands, droughts are hitting faster and more often, posing an emergency on a planetary scale: last year, 1 in 4 people were affected by drought worldwide, and events have increased by 29% since the year 2000. Drought is a hazard, but it needn’t be a disaster. With evidence-based policies, practices, and investments, it is possible to decouple the severity of drought from its most serious impacts on lives and livelihoods. Earlier today, I joined a visit to the community of Malhada da Areia. There, I had the opportunity to see how nature-based solutions, sustainable land and water management practices, and simple technologies are building drought resilience. The community is investing in rainwater harvesting; water reuse systems; and agricultural practices that replenish, rather than deplete, the soils. Across Caatinga, this and dozens of other communities are also fencing selected areas to enable natural regeneration of the native vegetation; keeping the grazing stock within the carrying capacity of their land; and diversifying their sources of income. Each and every one of them shows, with tangible results, that it is very much possible to reset our relationship with the land, and prepare for drought before it strikes. With support from civil society organizations, governmental entities, research institutions, and international partners —with your support— the estimated 38 million Brazilians that live in semiarid lands shall also be able to lay the ground for a more resilient, and prosperous, future. Consider the UNCCD Secretariat your trusted ally. Along with the International Drought Resilience Alliance, to which we are delighted to welcome Brazil. Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, from 2 to 13 December, Saudi Arabia will host UNCCD COP16 - the largest and most ambitious global summit on land and drought to date. Together, we will set targets for land degradation neutrality, set up frameworks for drought resilience, strengthen agri-food systems, and work to unlock a multi-billion-dollar land restoration industry.  Where human-made drought says crop failure, we say proactive drought management; where land degradation says migration, we say sustainable land management; where unchecked land conversion says deforestation, we say land use planning; where the lack of prioritization says reactive, we say proactive. In the lead-up to COP16, I count on Brazil’s leadership to help steer our collective boat to a sustainable, and equitable, future for all. Thank you.

Address to authorities in Caatinga, Brazil
Лидеры и молодые активисты отметят в Бонне 30-летие Конвенции ООН по земельным ресурсам

Рассылка для СМИ: День борьбы с опустыниванием и засухой 17 июня 2024 года   17 июня 2024 года в Бонне состоится глобальное мероприятие, посвященное Дню борьбы с опустыниванием и засухой 2024, организованное правительством Германии. Мероприятие будет приурочено к 30-летию Конвенции ООН по борьбе с опустыниванием (КБО ООН), одного из трех глобальных соглашений, известных как конвенции, Рио ди Жанейро, наряду с конвенциями по климату и биоразнообразию.     В соответствии с лозунгом этого года «Объединенные во имя Земли: Наше наследие. Наше будущее", мероприятие будет посвящено охране здоровых земель ради будущих поколений в целях глобального процветания и стабильности.    Присоединяйтесь к лидерам правительства, научных кругов и гражданского общества, чтобы вместе выступить за рациональное использование земельных ресурсов. Познакомьтесь с молодыми людьми со всего мира, которые работают над восстановлением земельных ресурсов, повышением устойчивости к засухе, развитием устойчивого сельского хозяйства, а также используют технологии и инновации для решения глобальных экологических проблем.    О программе:   17 июня 2024 года, с 14:30 до 17:00 по центральноевропейскому времени, Художественно-выставочный зал Федеративной Республики Германия (Бундескунстхалле), Бонн, Германия.   Ключевые моменты программы:   В центре внимания молодежь: внимание к роли молодых лидеров и новаторов в преобразовании практики управления земельными ресурсами, презентация новой группы Героев земли КБО ООН (профили прилагаются), презентация стратегии КБО по вовлечению молодежи, запуск программы молодежных посредников КБО.   В центре внимания законодательная политика: освещение основных вех в истории Конвенции и обмен мнениями о предстоящих переговорах КБО КС-16 в Эр-Рияде, Саудовская Аравия, 2 по 13 декабря 2024 года.   Подробная информация о мероприятии доступна здесь.   Для личного участия перейдите по этой ссылке и зарегистрируйтесь в категории «СМИ» до 10 июня. Для онлайн-присутствия прямая трансляция будет доступна здесь.   Почему это событие важно:   Деградация затрагивает до 40 % мировых земельных ресурсов, в результате чего ежегодно теряется 100 миллионов гектаров здоровой земли – площадь, равная площади Египта. С 2000 года количество засух увеличилось на 29 %, что вызвано не только изменением климата, но и тем, как мы распоряжаемся нашими землями.   Опустынивание, деградация земель и засуха угрожают мировому продовольственному снабжению, повышают риск засух, наводнений и лесных пожаров, а также являются основными причинами конфликтов и вынужденной миграции.    Одна четвертая часть или 187 миллионов человек из сельской молодежи мира (общее число 778 миллионов) проживает в районах с наибольшим потенциалом для развития сельского хозяйства и торговли, что представляет ключевую область для целенаправленного развития.    Инвестиции в восстановление земель могут принести значительную экономическую отдачу: каждый вложенный доллар приносит до 30 долларов выгоды. Привлечение молодежи к преобразованию продовольственной системы и восстановлению земельных ресурсов может способствовать созданию 600 миллионов рабочих мест, необходимых к 2030 году.   Для получения дополнительной информации нажмите здесь.   Для доступа к социальным сетям и другим визуальным материалам нажмите здесь.  По вопросам СМИ и заявкам на интервью обращайтесь на почту press@unccd.int     

Лидеры и молодые активисты отметят в Бонне 30-летие Конвенции ООН по земельным ресурсам
Leaders at World Water Forum urged to prioritize drought resilience

Experts share key success factors in reducing vulnerability to drought Drought is a hazard, but it needn’t be a disaster. That is, provided all communities are adequately equipped before it strikes. At the 10th World Water Forum, held in Bali from 18 to 25 May, experts urged decision-makers to prioritize drought resilience in the face of climate change, drawing inspiration from success cases around the globe. Representatives from the scientific, non-profit, and technical sectors made the case for building resilience to the world’s costliest and deadliest hazard at an event featuring partners of the International Drought Resilience Alliance (IDRA.) The session took place at the Spanish Pavilion under the auspices of the General Directorate for Water of Spain and the UNCCD. The experts convened as the need to bridge science and policy for drought risk management is becoming more apparent: global warming is ushering in a new era of rapid-onset, or flash, droughts, just as the global freshwater demand is set to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030, putting societies, economies, and ecosystems on the line. These are the key takeaways from the conversation: California to East Africa “Drought and desertification are not just problems for the Sahel region of Africa and for developing countries,” said UNCCD policy officer Daniel Tsegai before an international audience. “We already see impacts in highly productive and populated parts of the developed world like California, Spain, and Australia.” In the past two decades, the Colorado river basin (US), which is home to 40 million people, has been experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years; Australia, has recently grappled with the harshest drought in 800 years; in the Horn of Africa, the worst event in 40 years has left 23 million people severely food-insecure, and Spain has seen the water level of some dams drop to 1% of their capacity. “The good news is that investments in drought resilience have an up to tenfold return, and we know what it takes to decouple the severity of a drought from its most serious impacts on lives and livelihoods,” explained Tsegai. Unconventional water resources For thousands of years, mobile pastoralism has been a prime survival strategy in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the most arid regions in the world. However, urbanization, population growth, and lifestyle changes have brought new challenges —and are spawning new solutions. “We are looking to expand sewage water treatment and desalination, for example, to irrigate crops, and we are also keen on further building local capacity on sustainable land and water management,” said Omar Ouda, senior water management advisor at the Ministry of Water, Environment and Agriculture of Saudi Arabia. The country will host the largest-ever UN land and drought summit, or UNCCD COP16, from 2-13 December. Spain, in the Mediterranean basin, has more than 700 desalination plants, including the largest in Europe for drinking water, which is now catering to more than 4.,5 million people in the drought-struck Barcelona area. The amount of energy required to desalinate water, though, remains a key consideration when opting for this tool. “We make decisions based on indicators like dam water levels,” said water commissioner at the Júcar River Basin Authority in Spain Marc Garcia, who noted the importance of adopting a proactive approach to drought management. “On the basis of such information, authorities assess options like intensifying desalination, decommissioning wells and, if necessary, restricting water use in certain basins.” Nature-based solutions While technology and grey infrastructure can contribute to building resilience, nature-based solutions and sustainable land and water management remain central to mitigating, and adapting to, future droughts, according to several panellists. Land degradation, for example, disrupts regional rainfall patterns by disrupting the amount of water that regularly moves from the earth to the air. Conversely, healthy lands support consistent seasonal and annual rainfall; facilitate aquifer recharge; and mitigate the risk of droughts and floods. “Nature can be a big part of the solution,” said the Director of Water Scarcity and Markets at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Tom Iseman. “For instance, it is essential we protect source watersheds, keeping their storage capacity intact, slowing runoff, and protecting water quality,” said the expert of TNC, which is engaged in source water protection initiatives across Africa. Success factors for water governance The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is helping communities conserve and use water more efficiently, based on the latest scientific insights and innovations —from drought-tolerant seeds and improved irrigation methods to remote sensing technologies to explore new water resources. They also support policy-makers in creating drought policies across Africa and Asia. “To define drought policies, it ideally needs to be raining outside because it takes time to put them together,” said IWMI deputy director general Rachael McDonnell, and explained they involve the ministries of health, environment, agriculture, economy, infrastructure, and finance, as well as statistical and meteorological agencies. The process must engage all governance levels, from national institutions to local administrations and communities, she said, and make sure crucial data is available to all of them —a consideration they keep front and centre as they support the creation of early warning systems in countries like Zambia, Morocco, Jordan, and Lebanon. For director general of the US National Drought Mitigation Centre at the University of Nebraska, Mark Svoboda, another key is involving users in the co-design of information systems and tools to build ownership in the long run. From his experience in southern Africa, countries that successfully appropriate and put to use drought early warning systems create a ripple effect. “They generate positive peer pressure: neighboring countries want to understand how to do what they do, so building trust now takes one year, instead of eight,” said Svoboda. “It all starts with political will, and showing tangible results is the best way to get buy-in from decision-makers.” Drought communications In the lead up to major international events like UNCCD COP16 and Drought+10, participants called on the Alliance to get the word out on the urgency of building drought resilience. “Drought is a major threat multiplier, but it is too often lost to audiences, overshadowed by geopolitics and other conflicts,” said McDonnell from IWMI. Executive secretary and CEO of the Global Water Partnership (GWP) Alan AtKisson echoed the need to boost communications on drought at all levels, from the public and affected communities to political leaders and the finance sector: “We need to talk much more about drought resilience, and we need investors to understand how drought can impact their value chains going forward,” said AtKisson. “Tropical storms get the headlines, but the hazard that destroys most economic value on our planet is drought.”

Leaders at World Water Forum urged to prioritize drought resilience