Nigeria, 195 others okay strategy to contain land degradation
Nigeria and other countries have agreed on a new global roadmap to address land degradation at the 13th meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification held in Ordos, China.
The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast swathes of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and to reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations.
To reaffirm the progress made at the summit, more than 80 Ministers from around the world issued the Ordos Declaration urging countries to step up efforts on all fronts to tackle desertification – one of the planet’s most pressing global challenges.
The Conference also witnessed the birth of the first global private sector fund dedicated to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Known as the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (LDN Fund), it will be a source of transformative capital bringing together public and private investors to fund projects to restore degraded lands, which come with environment, economic and social benefits.
With an initial target size of $300 million fund capital, the LDN Fund is co-promoted by Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Global Asset Management that is dedicated to socially responsible investment, and the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). A separately-operated Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) will advise the Fund on the development of promising sustainable land use activities in order to build a strong portfolio of projects.
“Some battles took place, but you took bold measures for our Convention. We have a new strategic framework and a new reporting cycle. We have a Drought Initiative. We have taken fundamental decisions on gender, capacity-building, migration and sand and dust storms,” said Ms Monique Barbut, UNCCD Executive Secretary.
In an effort to slow land degradation and maintain productive soil, over 110 countries have joined a global campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of reaching land degradation neutrality by 2030 a national target for action.
Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa are among those that have committed to the national targets during the meeting in Ordos, a significant move for some of the world’s largest and most populous nations that could mean regaining resources, job security and resilience to climate change.
Meanwhile, a new United Nations report warns that a third of the planet’s land is now severely degraded thanks to a doubling in the consumption of natural resources over the past 30 years.
Some 15 billion trees and 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost each year, according to the Global Land Outlook (GLO), launched by the secretariat of the UNCCD, at the meeting of States parties.
The GLO takes a critical look at financial and socio-economic values of land, and its impact on the poor. It marks the first in-depth analysis of land functions viewed from multiple lenses such economic growth and global trade patterns, highlighting the inextricable links between land, these sectors, and the people that can work to save it.
“Smallholder farmers, women and indigenous communities are the most vulnerable, given their reliance on land-based resources, compounded by their exclusion from wider infrastructure and economic development,” stated a news release issued by UNCCD.
Barbut said at the launch that land degradation and drought are global challenges and intimately linked to most, if not all aspects of human security and well-being, particularly food security, employment and migration.
“As the ready supply of healthy and productive land dries up and the population grows, competition is intensifying, for land within countries and globally,” she pointed out.
More than 60 countries have established national land degradation baselines and set neutrality targets.Ms. Barbut noted that with the human population growing an extra 200,000 people daily, and 20 countries declaring drought emergencies over the last 18 months, there are unforeseeable challenges.
“We were clearly not sufficiently prepared for these challenges,” she said. “Hundreds of millions of people go to bed desperate, hungry and thirsty as a result. Under business-as-usual scenarios, there is no future relief.”
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