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Lesson 1: Fostering land degradation neutrality (LDN) country ownership and stakeholder involvement


Scaling up land degradation neutrality target setting," a publication prepared by the The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD

Lesson 1: Fostering LDN country ownership and stakeholder involvement

Key lesson

Setting land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets provided direction by ensuring high-level government leadership. LDN targets make the objective of halting and reversing land degradation more tangible and easier to communicate to key national and international players. The LDN pilot project has provided context for setting targets and moving UNCCD objectives forward. The common approach to the project has facilitated communication on LDN, as all the project outcomes use the same language and point in the same direction. Country participants have reported that it is becoming easier to engage their governments, the private sector, civil society and the scientific community because of the increasing recognition – through the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15, target 15.3 – that LDN is a global target.

Key takeaways

Using existing institutional arrangements for LDN-related issues rather than creating new consultation bodies proved effective for most countries. They included LDN target setting discussions on the agendas of existing national UNCCD working groups and/or other consultation bodies dealing with natural resources. National LDN working groups fostered effective coordination across multiple sectors, under government leadership. The pilot countries’ experiences suggest that the working group should meet at least twice per year with the sole purpose of reviewing the LDN target setting process. While the leadership of cross-sector ministries, such as Finance or Planning, would be optimal for the LDN target setting process, in most cases, the LDN national consultations for the pilot countries were successfully led by the Ministries of Agriculture, Forests and Environment. LDN has contributed, notably, to convincing key ministries with strategic purviews, such as finance, energy and mining, to change their vision of the importance of land. Since LDN is a new concept, it is up to the countries to decide at what stage in the target setting process it should be brought to the Ministries of Finance and Planning.

Country case studies 

Making the case for LDN:

  • In Chile, severe drought has been a major driver of voluntary participation in the Land Degradation Neutrality pilot project. The country is now galvanizing political support towards establishing ambitious LDN targets.

Successful outcomes of LDN National Working Group in Namibia:

  • In Namibia, the project team identified and discussed potential opportunities with the Ministry of Land and suggested regional land use planning options accordingly. Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit supported follow-up action to the pilot work by engaging the Ministry of Land in land use planning for the Otjozondjupa region. Follow-up initiatives are being undertaken by a private company, using methods, such as the Participatory Rural Appraisal Methodology, which aims to make best use of local knowledge and views in the planning and management of development projects programmes.

High-level coordination approach based on existing institutional arrangements:

  • In Bhutan, the existing UNCCD national action programmes (NAP) National Working Group was requested to function as the LDN Working Group, coordinated by the National Soil Service Center and under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The working group included a private sector organization as a permanent member.
  • In Senegal, the LDN working group is a sub-group of the steering committee of the National Action Programme to Combat Desertification/Sustainable Land Management, which oversaw the alignment of the NAP with the UNCCD 10-year Strategy, the development of the Country Strategic Investment Framework for sustainable land management and its Integrated Financial Strategy. The group worked under the leadership of the UNCCD National Focal Point and involved members of civil society, scientists and technicians from both the private sector and government.

Learn more about the the other LDN target setting lessons:

Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5

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