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Implementing SDG target 15.3 on “Land Degradation Neutrality”. Development of an indicator based on land use changes and soil values

Given that land and soils are increasingly threatened by degradation, this project investigated how SDG target 15.3, which strives to achieve a land degradation neutral world by 2030, can be implemented. The report suggests necessary steps towards the implementation of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) at the national level, gives an overview of land and soil degradation and existing monitoring schemes and policy processes relevant for the implementation of LDN in Europe, summarizes the ongoing process of conceptualizing and implementing LDN in Germany and finally, introduces an approach for a new indicator based on land use categories as a possible proxy indicator for LDN in Germany.

This report serves as a contribution to inform and prepare the implementation of LDN in the EU. It was developed as part of the research project “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals on Soils”1, carried out by Ecologic Institute on behalf of the German Environment Agency. Parts of this report have also been used in a background paper for a workshop with representatives from EU Member States held on December 6, 2016 at the European Commission in Brussels in order to exchange on approaches of implementing LDN in the EU.

More specifically, the report (i) gives an overview of the definitions and concepts behind LDN, (ii) pro-vides a suggestion of necessary steps and guiding questions towards the implementation of LDN at the national level, (iii) gives an overview of land and soil degradation in Europe, existing monitoring schemes and policy processes that are relevant for the implementation of LDN in Europe, (iv) summa-rizes the ongoing process of conceptualizing and implementing LDN in Germany and, finally, the report (v) introduces an approach for a new indicator which uses land use categories as a possible proxy indicator for LDN in Germany. 

Each category is assigned with a certain soil value that considers the exposure to soil threats, building on and further extending the hemeroby (naturalness) concept. With regards to (iv) and (v), a report in German (“Land Degradation Neutrality - Handlungsempfehlungen zur Implementierung des SDG-Ziels 15.3 und Entwicklung eines bodenbezogenen Indikators”) has been developed within the same project. It provides more detail on the German implementation pro-cess and the concept of the developed indicator. These two reports are complementary.

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