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The Changwon Initiative has been an important success factor for some of the most significant results achieved by the UNCCD over the past decade. Its collaborative and evidence-based approach empowers countries to safeguard the soil our lives depend on.

Contribution to Land. Life. Legacy 

By the time the tenth UNCCD Conference of Parties met in 2011, it was obvious that land needed a truly global advocate, uniting multiple stakeholders around strategic initiatives designed to optimize land health and productivity. That’s why the Republic of Korea as host of the conference in Changwon put forward an initiative that provides reliable funding and rallies partnerships for “action oriented” UNCCD programmes towards ending land degradation

The Changwon Initiative has helped enhance scientific processes, for example through the UNCCD Science Policy Interface, mobilized collaborative efforts like the Greening Drylands Partnership and promoted best practices. The supported projects provide tools for countries to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation.

By preventing and compensating for any future land degradation, by 2030, we will enable our planet and future generations to thrive. Land is our legacy.

The road to Land Degradation Neutrality 

The Changwon Initiative was one of two major outcomes of UNCCD-COP10, and it became a pillar of support for the other one: the global target of “zero net land degradation”. Activities sponsored through the initiative turned the vision of Land Degradation Neutrality into a concrete concept to stabilize the quantity and quality of land resources supporting ecosystems.

Defining Land Degradation Neutrality and ensuring its inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals has drawn a spotlight on the urgency of the issue - and with it on the UNCCD.

The Changwon Initiative also supports  the Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting Programme, which helps countries setting national baselines, creating voluntary national LDN targets and defining measures towards achieving them. So far, 128 countries have joined the programme and more than 100 of those have already committed themselves not to degrade more land than they restore.

The Land for Life Award

Showcasing good practices in sustainable land management is a key objective for the Changwon Initiative. From 2012-2021, the Land for Life Award has put a spotlight on 18 outstanding projects in more than a dozen countries worldwide that recover and restore degraded landscapes.

The winning projects demonstrate effective ways to safeguard nature and people: land restoration is an important solution for mitigation and adaptation to climate change and biodiversity loss. It also contributes to job creation and food security.

Research on desertification, land degradation and drought

While the scientific basis and indicators for Land Degradation Neutrality have played the most prominent role in UNCCD’s success story, they are not the only research outcomes supported by the Changwon Initiative.

Connecting researchers and policymakers through the UNCCD Science Policy Interface, the initiative has also helped make sure the available knowledge is reflected in policies. It has also initiated research on issues in need of scientific input, and UNCCD Parties receive scientific guidance to effectively plan, implement and monitor their 2030 targets.

Products like the Global Land Outlook and the UNCCD Knowledge Hub ensure information is readily available to scientists and policymakers alike.