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Responsible investment to combat land degradation emerges from Dragons’ Den

Restoring degraded land could inject $84 billion a year to the global economy, according to researchers, but public resources fall short of unlocking this potential. 

Enter the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund, which aims to help fill the funding gap by investing in projects on land rehabilitation and sustainable land management worldwide. The scope of its initial target is $300 million.

A first-of-its kind mechanism, the fund was initially presented at the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Investment Case Symposium in London as part of the “Dragons’ Den” competition, and it aims to leverage public resources to raise private money.

Through the initiative, public funders are expected to de-risk investments by private investors while simultaneously advancing climate and sustainable development goals.

Investments include enterprises in sustainable agriculture and livestock management; agro-forestry; sustainable forestry, renewable energy, infrastructure development and eco-tourism.


Launched at the GLF symposium held during the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Ordos, China in 2017, the fund was brokered by the UNCCD and is managed by the responsible investment firm Mirova.

According to the UNCCD, the LDN Fund aims to “promote healthy land as an investment in the future that can create green jobs, ensure food security and help address the effects of climate change.”

In other words, goals include boosting investments that not only bring about financial returns, but also environmental and socio-economic benefits.

This vision aligns with UNCCD’s efforts to ensure that, from 2030, the amount of degraded land worldwide is equivalent to or less than what had been degraded by 2015 when the U.N. anti-poverty Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted. The 17 SDGs cut across various sectors, but SDG 15 was specifically designed to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss by 2030.

The LDN Fund gained further momentum at the One Planet Summit held in Paris in December 2017, where it was showcased as an initiative that crafts practical solutions to global environmental challenges. On that occasion, the investment vehicle welcomed its first private sector investor. Canada’s Fondaction joined the European Investment Bank (EIB), the French Agency for Development, the government of Luxembourg, the Global Environmental Facility, the World Wildlife Fund, and the French Foundation, which had already contributed a total of $100 million. Read further from the  GLF source

Learn more about the Landscape talks during the Investment Case symposium in Washington 30 May 2018