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African Soil Seminar Discusses Follow Up and Review of Sustainable Development Agendas

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) highlighted ongoing efforts to leverage private funding for large-scale land restoration, through the newly launched LDN Fund, Impact Investment Fund for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN Fund) is a public-private funding mechanism. Simone Quatrini, Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, said more than 100 countries so far have received support to develop their land degradation neutrality (LDN) targets. On the types of initiatives that could be eligible for support by the LDN fund, Quatrini identified sustainable agriculture initiatives such as cocoa renovation and rehabilitation, linking cattle production to pasture restoration, sustainable charcoal production and green infrastructure in urban areas. 

Ethiopia’s experiences in boosting soil productivity and promoting SLM and water conservation practices at the landscape level – covering an initial land area of 20.17 million hectares, with an additional 7.1 million hectares to be added by 2020 – was cited as a best practice at the national level.

Various farm-level studies, such as an Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative cost-benefit analysis of the application of diverse SLM practices by small-scale farmers in Western Kenya were highlighted to show that it pays to invest in soil restoration.

Participants called for the lessons learned from these and other practical experiences to be used to inform indicators for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 15.3 on land degradation neutrality (LDN) or the “4 per 1000” under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Highlighting efforts at the continental level, Mamadou Diakhite, NEPAD Agency, discussed the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which seeks to restore 100 million degraded hectares of land by 2030, and reported that 21 countries so far have made high-level commitments, amounting to 63% of the overall target.

Gender and youth perspectives were another key theme at the meeting

  • The inaugural African Soil Seminar issued a call for scaling up soil and land restoration that supports inclusive agricultural growth and is focused on the needs of the poor and food insecure.
  • The Seminar produced two key outputs, a ‘Co-Hosts Statement’ and 'Chairs’ Conclusions'.
  • The Seminar featured a number of presentations and projects addressing, inter alia, local, country and regional experiences and best practices, action on land degradation neutrality, and the role of partnerships, youth and gender in land restoration. 
  • The Seminar produced two key outputs, a ‘Co-Hosts Statement’ and ‘Chairs’ Conclusions.’ The Statement and the Conclusions will feed into the Global Soil Week 2017 and provide inputs to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development(HLPF), scheduled to convene in July 2017.
  • The African Soil Seminar took place at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28-30 November 2016.  Read more following IISD report.
  • The landmark meeting culminated in a communiqué from the four host governments, which called for “soil restoration that supports inclusive agricultural growth that focuses on the needs of the poor and the food-insecure.” It also called for increased investments in soil rehabilitation, acknowledging that smallholders already make significant investments on their land.
  • Read the co-chairs statements "SOIL RESTORATION FOR ACHIEVING THE 2063 + 2030 AGENDAS IN AFRICA:
    LINKING GLOBAL AMBITIONS TO LOCAL NEEDS" here
  • The African Soil Seminar was conceived by African stakeholders at the Global Soil Week 2015, who expressed strong interest in creating a regional African platform for sustainable soil and land management.