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Lesson 4: Integrating land degradation neutrality (LDN) into national development priorities and commitments


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

Key lesson


The Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target setting pilot project made the case for the multiple cross-sectoral benefits of LDN as an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals. The importance of LDN target setting as a lens to ensure policy coherence among existing initiatives, plans and strategies to combat desertification and loss of biodiversity and to address climate change and reduce poverty was underscored by the stakeholders. Whenever possible, countries integrated LDN into their UNCCD national action programmes (NAPs), and in some cases, were able to integrate LDN into other relevant development policies such as their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and relevant land-related legislation.

Key takeaways

For all countries, the national LDN targets and associated measures include actions that contribute to the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, such as conservation of forest and wetlands for ecosystem services, creating biological corridors and increasing the number of habitats for rare and endangered species of wild animals and plants, in particular wetlands.

Many identified measures also aim to achieve a significant reduction of chemical pollution in soils and waters through more sustainable agricultural practices. The measures therefore contribute to other national commitments on sustainable development matters.

For most countries, the expected gains in soil carbon were recognized as an important contribution to achieving their NDCs.

Country case studies

Integrating LDN into the National Action Programme: As underlined in the Evaluation Report of the pilot project, the review and refinement of the National Action Programme was an integral part of the project and one which, in the opinion of most participating countries, has added value.

  • When updating its UNCCD NAP for 2014-2024 (NAP3), Namibia seized the opportunity to use the NAP as a strong policy vehicle to support LDN by integrating LDN objectives into the targets aimed at reducing land degradation. The LDN targets set during the project were then aligned with the NAP3 Implementation Strategy. Since the NAP has political support at the highest level and benefits from multi-institutional support via the National Sustainable Land Use Management Committee, LDN targets could be set at all levels. This will help to achieve outcome 3 of the NAP, in which “a functional DLDD Monitoring System is in place by 2018 and supportive processes are in place by 2018 for Namibia to move towards Land Degradation Neutrality.”
  • For Costa Rica and Ethiopia, their involvement in the pilot project accelerated and simplified the process of aligning the NAP with the UNCCD 10-Year Strategy. Thanks to the integrated approach used during the LDN target setting process, Costa Rica, which had begun NAP alignment in 2013, found new momentum to complete the alignment while it was developing the LDN country report. Ethiopia used the project consultation process provided to solicit input in order to revise its NAP.

Learn more about the other LDN target setting lessons:

Lesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 5

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