- UNCCD Drylands Ambassadors
UNCCD Drylands Ambassadors
The Drylands Ambassador programme raises awareness among decision makers and the public at large about the importance of combating desertification, land degradation and mitigating the effect of drought. These issues are vital to solving major global challenges such as poverty alleviation, sustainable water management, food security and greening energy.
Drylands Ambassadors emphasize the opportunities generated by sustainable land management (SLM), land rehabilitation and reclamation. Drylands Ambassadors also help reach target groups such as youth, children and women.
Some Drylands Ambassadors are targeting the public at large, while others are drawing the attention of decision makers to the importance of topics such as land management within relevant policy agendas, and as a priority for increased investment.
Highly regarded Drylands Ambassadors could draw attention to the issues upheld by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and provide the impetus needed to fully implement the objectives of the UNCCD 10-Year Strategy. Below is a list of dry land ambassadors,their drylands messages and biographies.
Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland
Soil protection and the promotion of sustainable land management and agriculture are central tools for tackling poverty. I intend to promote sustainable land management at all levels, and its inclusion in the new sustainable development goals and the post-2015 Development Agenda. This is crucial for effective poverty eradication.
— Tarja Halonen
Her current campaign "Fangfei Green Handkerchief Initiative" aims to protect land resources and reduce deforestation by encouraging public to use and reuse handkerchiefs.
More about her activities on the 2016 Global Observance Day here.
Byong Hyon Kwon, Former Korean ambassador and chairman of the NGO Future Forest
Desertification is one of the most severe and most serious problems we are now facing. We are trying to stand up in action in preventing and combatting decertification. We are dedicated and devoted and determined to do every effort to prevent desertification.
— Amb. Kwon
Born in 1938, Amb. Kwon, a national of the Republic of Korea, is a lawyer by profession. He has served in various diplomatic capacities in Australia, China, Japan, Myanmar and the United States. His exceptional achievements earned him both the Red (1979) and Yellow (1992) Orders of Merit for Excellent Civil Service and the Order of Merit for Outstanding Diplomatic Performance (1987) from the Government of Korea. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States, the second such award to a foreigner, and holds the 2nd Annual Award of international cooperation for North East Asia, sponsored by the Association of the North-East Asia Community and supported by Ministry of Unification and the Daily Economy Newspaper. Amb. Kwon has also served as Invited Eminent Professor at Myungji University, Korea, and Professor Emeritus at Luo Yang University, China.
Upon retirement from the civil service, Amb. Kwon founded Future Forest to raise awareness on the issues of desertification and yellow dust storms, to promote the participation of young people in environmental activities and to establish friendship among youth all over the World. In 2005, he began constructing the “Korea-China Friendship Great Green Wall” made of natural forests in order to, what he calls, "tame the yellow dragon", or the encroaching desert sands.
His goal is to plant one billion trees in China’s Kubuchi Desert to demonstrate that degraded land can be reclaimed, and to provide a research site on reclaiming degraded land. The Great Green Wall is already taking shape, with a 70 percent success rate in tree planting.