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Three new publications on Land Degradation Neutrality target setting

"Ignoring land degradation neutrality (LDN) could be political suicide.” Monique Barbut, the UNCCD Executive Secretary

Moreover, she stressed that LDN remains a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target – under Goal 15 – and populations will experience real benefits in terms of climate change, rural employment and food security.

Ten billion people on earth by 2050 will require food production to increase by 70 per cent, and that means expansion and exploitation of at least four million hectares of new land each year,” she said. However, there are only two billion hectares of degraded land at our disposal, 500 million of which can be restored, she added. In order to recover the ecosystems and feed the entire population, just 300 million hectares need to be restored.

“We would be able to sequester a significant amount of CO2 as well. It is the fastest and most cost-effective way to do so.” Ms. Barbut said.

Early in 2015, even before the global agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a number of UNCCD country Parties embarked on a pilot project to explore how our LDN concept could be put into practice.

The plan was to see how a voluntary LDN target, if developed and delivered, could underpin a number of SDGs and deliver practical, tangible results on the ground in terms of food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and biodiversity conservation.
Fourteen countries, from all regions, in different ecological and socio-economic conditions, were at the forefront of this exciting experiment.
Some of the biggest lessons learned from the pilot and the recommendations for the UN SDG process are showcased..

  • We found that land degradation is a universal problem.
  • It takes a variety of forms and affects communities and ecosystems differently in different climatic zones.
  • But with the right combination of management options, remarkable results are within our reach.
  • The simple fact is that by removing barriers and providing the right incentives and promoting good practices, the extent and rate of further land degradation can be rapidly reduced without jeopardizing food availability.

Taking this a step further and moving systematically towards sustainable landscapes and land management practices, and massively scaling up rehabilitation of degraded land in a cost-effective manner, Parties can accelerate and amplify the implementation of a range of sustainable development goals.

The UNCCD Secretariat and the Global Mechanism, in collaboration with close to 20 bilateral and multilateral partners are supporting countries on the LDN target setting journey.

  • 102 countries have already committed to translating the global Land Degradation Neutrality target into country-specific targets and actions that generate multiple benefits: from climate change mitigation and adaptation to zero hunger; from ensuring access to clean water to creating decent work and green jobs.

The LDN target setting process provides a major opportunity for countries to increase coherence, scale, and resource mobilization by:

  • First, using LDN as a lens to foster coherence of national policies, actions and commitments – from agricultural policy to climate action and restoration commitments;
  • Second, moving from pilots to scale, from a plethora of small scale, sometimes scattered and fragmented projects, to large scale, transformative, bold projects to achieve the country’s LDN targets; and
  • Third, creating blended finance packages to finance the transition towards Land Degradation Neutrality, creatively combining public and private, national and international, climate and development resources.

Together with our partners, we are committing to supporting countries in tapping these opportunities. Let us boldly move ahead on the journey of achieving a Land Degradation Neutrality, country by country.

We are therefore delighted to announce the release of three new publications: 

  • Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality at the country level: Building blocks for LDN Target Setting 
  • Land in Balance(SPI policy brief)
  • Scaling up Land Degradation Neutrality Target Setting - From Lessons to Actions: 14 Pilot Countries’ Experiences