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SDG15.3.1 methodology

Steps to derive SDG indicator 15.3.1 from the sub-indicators where ND is not degraded and D is degraded

Steps to derive SDG indicator 15.3.1 from the sub-indicators where ND is not degraded and D is degraded

The indicator is derived from a binary classification of land condition (i.e., degraded or not degraded) based on the baseline assessment and evaluation of change in three sub-indicators:

  • Trends in land cover
  • Trends in land productivity, and
  • Trends in carbon stocks (above and below ground), currently represented by soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks

The sub-indicators are few in number, complementary and non-additive components of land-based natural capital and sensitive to different degradation factors.

The One Out, All Out principle is applied taking into account changes in the sub-indicators which are depicted as: (i) positive or improving, (ii) negative or declining, or (iii) stable or unchanging. If one of the sub-indicators is negative (or stable when degraded in the baseline or previous monitoring year) for a particular land unit, then it would be considered as degraded subject to validation by national authorities. This rule is applied as a precautionary measure, because stability or improvements in land condition in any of the three indicators cannot compensate for degradation in the others. The ultimate determination of the extent of degraded land made by national authorities should be contextualized with other indicators, data and ground-based information.

In 2017, Good Practice Guidance for monitoring SDG indicator 15.3.1 was published to assist countries in their national reporting to the UNCCD and to the SDG process at a level in line with their capacity and resource availability, and to promote harmonization and the use of international standards. The Good Practice Guidance is currently being reviewed and updated to account for rapid developments in Earth Observation datasets and evolving data user needs.

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