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UNCCD Science to Policy Blog

The UNCCD Science to Policy Blog is designed for scientists, experts, practitioners, policy-makers and journalists to share their insights, expertise and ideas with other UNCCD stakeholders. It is also a means for the UNCCD to reach out to the general public and promote specific issues of interest in an understandable way. Publication of the content does not necessarily mean an endorsement of the piece but rather a facilitation of an exchange of diverse and critical perspectives that promote learning.

Why and how land health can prevent a future global pandemic

11 February 2021 – Nichole Barger

Nichole BargerJanuary 2021 marked a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with over two million people dead. Since the new strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged on the global stage in early 2020, an historical and unprecedented effort has been deployed to quell this global health crisis. As we settle into a new year with increased optimism following the successful development of vaccines against COVID-19, we are turning our sights toward the future, with critical policy questions in mind.

Chefs advocating for a change in our food systems to improve soil health

Paul Newnham20 May 2020 – Paul Newnham

When populations experience economic growth, their appetite for more food and more resource intensive food grows. While this is welcomed in many parts of the world in which communities suffer malnutrition and hunger, the gap between the haves and have nots is growing. The Chefs’ Manifesto is championing a better food future, inspiring people to make changes in their kitchens and communities and empowering them to call on governments and companies to play their part.

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My dream Is valid: From drought and conflict to security and jobs

Ibrahim Jarso Gollole

31 March 2020  Ibrahim Jarso Gollole 

The establishment of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) on Drought is welcome news. This new inter-governmental process has immense value addition to the immediate positive outcomes of saving lives, livestock, rangelands and livelihoods in case of drought. It will improve major drought driven insecurity in some of the world’s most fragile areas by strengthening policy actions and improving coordination during implementation.

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Shifting power for a gender-equitable land degradation-neutral world

Uche OkparaLindsay StringerMariam Akhtar-Schuster13 February 2020 - Uche T. Okpara, Lindsay C. Stringer and Mariam Akhtar‐Schuster 

Awareness that gender biases exist in land‐based activities has grown significantly. Yet, weak legal and social protections for women’s land use continue. This leads to women’s needs, realities and knowledge being overlooked. Although land supports humanity in many ways, progress remains slow in the global efforts to move towards a future where more balanced relations make it possible for women and men to interact with and care for land in equitable and non-hierarchical ways. 

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25 years of Growing Together: A convention is born after more than two decades

Gunilla Bjorklund16 June 2019 - Dr. Gunilla Bjorklund 

"Some international agreements emerge quickly. But the birth of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification was a long tortuous journey. In particular, it was undermined by the perception that it was a development Convention. Yet the evolution of its sister Rio Conventions on Climate Change and on Biological Diversity shows that a purist approach to environmental conservation is at best misguided, and at worst dangerous."

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Iceland counting on land to reach carbon neutrality by 2040

Katrín Jakobsdóttir7 January 2019 - Katrín Jakobsdóttir

"Iceland will reach carbon neutrality before the year 2040. This is the ambitious goal that my government set in September 2018 when it introduced a new climate action plan to get us there. We are taking actions that tackle the three major global environmental challenges – on biological diversity, climate change and desertification – simultaneously."

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Business could have a role in reversing desertification and restoring the landscape

Keith Bowers11 October 2018 - Keith Bowers, FASLA, RLA, PWS

"It is my experience that ecological restoration creates jobs, spurs innovation, and offers new opportunities in the green economy. The growing recognition worldwide that there is a connection between healthy robust ecological processes and a healthy robust economy will continue to spur the demand for ecological restoration, which demand businesses are poised to meet."

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Brazil sets up a novel model to reverse desertification

Valdemar Rodrigues (c) ENB13 September 2018 - Prof. Dr. Valdemar Rodrigues

"Brazil has committed US$100 million dollars raised from domestic environmental fines to finance activities to reverse land degradation in an initiative known as the URAD model that combines social inclusion, local development and environmental sustainability. The results are amazing, with activities being completed well ahead of schedule and behaviour change in the communities evident long before reaping the expected long-term fruits."

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Governments agree on measures to help migrants fleeing degrading lands

Mariam Traore  17 August 2018 - Mariam Traore

"The plight of people migrating in the context of environmental degradation, climate change impacts and natural disasters and the potential governance responses to such challenges have received a lot of attention in recent years. Therefore, the finalization of the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCN) in July 2018 represents an important milestone for many of the policymakers and practitioners working on environmental migration matters."

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Progress in Land Indicators

Oumar Sylla

Everlyne Nairesiae9 July 2018 - Oumar Sylla and Everlyne Nairesiae, Global Land Indicators Initiative

"This July is the first time the United Nations will review the progress made towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 15, which is about Life on Land. Healthy and productive land is important in the achievement of many of the SDG goals and targets – poverty reduction, food security, gender equality, access to clean water and energy, urban development, peace and stability."

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Recurring droughts are clear and present dangers

Vikram Mehta29 May 2018 - Vikram Mehta

"Is climate change the force behind the mass migrations into Europe? Is the rising radicalization and extremist behavior emerging in places like Pakistan and the Sahel region in sub-Saharan Africa linked to drought or climate change in any way?
These are legitimate questions. And, although we lack sufficient evidence now that is supported by robust data to make very firm claims, history offers some lessons, which suggest that we should prepare for the worst now, and hope that the future reality will prove us wrong."

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Gender=? Probing the gender equation to get it right

Victor Tsang11 May 2018 - Victor Tsang

"Generally, the #gender equation is still largely viewed as, gender equals #women (Gender = Women). Often, the equation is more precisely defined as “Gender = Women’s Vulnerabilities.”  But this is only a small part of the equation.  As I demonstrate below through recent field work in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nepal, South Sudan and Uganda over the last six months, we have to address a missing parts of this equation to get to the bottom of #genderequality."

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Fixing what the land is losing between the farm and your fork

Barron Orr10 April 2018 - Barron Joseph Orr

"If you track science in the news regularly, you may have noticed the release of the IPBES Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration, a landmark global scientific assessment of land degradation and restoration and its summary for policy makers. Most of the press reported the almost unfathomable extent of the problem. About 75% of all land is impacted by degradation. This is compromising the well-being of nearly half of the people on Earth and costing 10% of the annual global gross product in lost ecosystem services. The impending doom is not to be taken lightly. But the press reports obscure a wealth of information in the Assessment, which can lead to solutions."

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