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SciencePolicy
Sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing for health and land

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, one fact has never been more evident – our world, our planet and our lives are inextricably interconnected. There are very few issues that can be considered simply “health problems,” as nearly every aspect of life is connected to other societal, economic and environmental issues. While we recognize the negative impact of tobacco on our health, we tend to think less frequently about the economic impact of tobacco use on health costs and productivity losses. What is even less well known is how tremendously destructive tobacco cultivation and tobacco use is for the environment – on land, water and air.

Sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing for health and land
Sahel the most resilient place to global warming in the future?

There is growing evidence of regreening in the Sahel. It is widespread. It cuts across the entire area, and it’s dynamic. In fact, almost all of West Africa is experiencing this regreening that is considered the ultimate weapon in the fight against global warming. Sahelians also growing valuable trees that act as natural air conditioners, provide food and ertilize the land in the Sahel in ways that could be making a difference to resilience that is far better than elsewhere in the world.

Sahel the most resilient place to global warming in the future?
Portrait of the week: SPI members

UNCCD relies on the input of expert women in implementing its mandate. In particular, the members of our Science-Policy interface (SPI), which guides the application of world-leading science into meaningful and impactful policy that we, our Parties, and our partners can use on the ground. The SPI includes female specialists in desertification, forestry, soil, dust-modelling and weather extremes. Guided by all these women, the UNCCD continues to strive for a better, more equal world. During the month of March, we are featuring them here: Nichole Barger is an ecologist who works in partnership with diverse entities in the US on land degradation and restoration issues such as the ecological risks of fire mitigation treatments, historical drivers and biogeochemical responses to woody plant encroachment, forest decline and regeneration, and more recently restoration of degraded dryland ecosystems with a specific focus on soil ecology Anna Luise is working in Romeat ISPRA – Institute for the Environmental Protection and Research (Italy’s environmental agency) on issues related to sustainable development at local, national and global level, the assessment of the environmental damage, the monitoring, evaluation and governance issues related to sustainability issues, land degradation and desertification, the analysis of policies and the development of indicators, playing a role of technical support in decision and policymaking processes as well as in the negotiation within the UNCCD. She is Italy’s science and technology correspondent for the convention  Everlyne Nairesiae is a social scientist known for her contribution in coordinating and facilitating global networks, development of global methodologies and tools for  land governance, including monitoring of land in the SDGs and impact evaluation; research and analytical frameworks and strategies for mainstreaming gender in natural resource governance and management; and capacity development for governments, CSOs and other actors. Caroline King-Okumu's expertise includes work on institutional, policy and economic aspects of global environmental challenges with focus on land, water and climate-related issues in the global drylands, especially in Africa. She works with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology on international development issues and business cases for the environment. Katrin Ehlert is an environmental scientist with over eight years research and consultancy experience in the field of soil protection in the context of agricultural usages,  soil and water quality assessments and environmental impact studies. Katrin is part of tech support unit at the Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP) which works with stakeholders globally and on all levels to develop drought early warning systems and policies Karma Dema Dorji serves as the Programme Director of the National Soil Services Centre in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in Bhutan which works on sustainable aspects of soil and land management to achieve food security and protect the country’s pristine environment. As the national focal point for UNCCD, Ms. Dorji oversees the fulfillment of the Convention’s requirements, including the development of the national action program to combat land degradation and national reporting Marijana Kapović Solomun is a member of UNCCD Roster of experts, LDN national expert for Bosnia and Herzegovina and expert for the national drought management plan. Dr. Kapović Solomun has broad international and national experience in scientific projects, as leader or expert for soil, land degradation and forestry, who published significant number of scientific papers  Read more: UNCCD Science-Policy Interface

Portrait of the week: SPI members
Why and how land health can prevent a future global pandemic

January 2021 marked a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with over two million people dead. Since the new strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged on the global stage in early 2020, an historical and unprecedented effort has been deployed to quell this global health crisis. As we settle into a new year with increased optimism following the successful development of vaccines against COVID-19, we are turning our sights toward the future, with critical policy questions in mind.

Why and how land health can prevent a future global pandemic
Chefs advocating for a change in our food systems to improve soil health

When populations experience economic growth, their appetite for more food and more resource intensive food grows. While this is welcomed in many parts of the world in which communities suffer malnutrition and hunger, the gap between the haves and have nots is growing. The Chefs’ Manifesto is championing a better food future, inspiring people to make changes in their kitchens and communities and empowering them to call on governments and companies to play their part.

Chefs advocating for a change in our food systems to improve soil health
My dream Is valid: From drought and conflict to security & jobs

The establishment of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on Drought is welcome news. This new inter-governmental process has immense value addition to the immediate positive outcomes of saving lives, livestock, rangelands and livelihoods in case of drought. It will improve major drought driven insecurity in some of the world’s most fragile areas by strengthening policy actions and improving coordination during implementation.

My dream Is valid: From drought and conflict to security & jobs
Shifting power for a gender-equitable land degradation-neutral world

Awareness that gender biases exist in land‐based activities has grown significantly. Yet, weak legal and social protections for women’s land use continue. This leads to women’s needs, realities and knowledge being overlooked. Although land supports humanity in many ways, progress remains slow in the global efforts to move towards a future where more balanced relations make it possible for women and men to interact with and care for land in equitable and non-hierarchical ways.

Shifting power for a gender-equitable land degradation-neutral world
25 years of growing together: A convention is born after more than two decades

Some international agreements emerge quickly. But the birth of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was a long tortuous journey. In particular, it was undermined by the perception that it was a development Convention. Yet the evolution of its sister Rio Conventions on Climate Change and on Biological Diversity shows that a purist approach to environmental conservation is at best misguided, and at worst dangerous.

25 years of growing together: A convention is born after more than two decades