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Listening to our Land: Stories of Resilience-by UNDP, GEF, the Government of Namibia, and UNCCD launched at COP 13

“…With the knowledge we are gaining, we will become better land and natural resource managers, because we’re understanding how we need to treat our land, and the plants and animals on it.”

These are the words of Rinouzeu Karizembi, one of only two women in the nine-member management committee of the Wild Dog Conservancy from the Otjozondjupa Region in eastern Namibia. Rinozeu and her friend Jaqueline Tjaimi are pastoralists who hope one day to make a better living from raising livestock, but, they are also acutely aware of the constraints presented by the arid Kalahari landscape which is their home, the impacts of their livestock, and the effects of a changing climate. With the support their community has  received through the GEF-financed, UNDP-supported project on Sustainable Management of Namibia’s Forest Land (NAFOLA),  these pioneering young women  envision creating a diversified, communally-managed landscape that supports sustainable use of local natural resources for subsistence livelihoods, and provides a safe habitat for plants and wildlife, for the benefit of people and the land.

Rinouzeu and Jaqueline’s story is one of eight included in a new publication, titled Listening to our Land: Stories of Resilience,” launched by UNDP, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Government of Namibia and the Secretariat for the UN Convention on Combatting Desertification (UNCCD) at the 13th Conference of the Parties to UNCCD being held in Ordos, China from 6 to 16 September, 2017. This publication features a selection of stories that demonstrate how sustainable land management (SLM) addresses land degradation, and promotes the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Through the experiences of people who earn their livelihoods by tending the land, these eight ‘Stories of Resilience’ reflect how, in countries as varied as Namibia, Cuba, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, SLM is improving living conditions of communities and strengthening environmental resilience. They also highlight the importance of improved land stewardship in striving to achieve land degradation neutrality, by restoring productivity and fertility to degraded land and preventing future degradation. This is the essence of target 15.3 under SDG 15 (Life on Land), which works towards meeting growing demands for food, water and other land resources, without depleting the systems that provide them.

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