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Science Day Session 5

The diagnosis: Scientific Assessment to inform Policy

Facilitator: Barron Joseph Orr

Welcome address: Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary

Introduction to session: Jean-Luc Chotte

  • Land Restoration and Sustainable Development : Jeffrey Herrick, UN Environment International Resource Panel (IRP)/IRP Think Piece “Land Restoration for Achieving the SDGs”
  • Convergence of Evidence: Michael Cherlet, EC-Joint Research Centre/World Atlas of Desertification
  • Land, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Josef Settele, IPBES/Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    • Land and Climate Change
    • The interconnections between climate and land: Fatima Denton, IPCC SRCCL Coordinating Lead Author
  • Achieving co-benefits through managing land and climate risks: Jagdish Krishnaswamy, IPCC SRCCL Coordinating Lead Author
  • Making Assessments Matter: The Knowledge Hub Approach: Douglas Cripe, GEO, Group on Earth Observations
  • Reflections: Barron Joseph Orr

The intention of this session:

This session was dedicated to the presentation of current initiatives tackling land issues, the objective being to share views and priorities in order to emphasize convergence between these initiatives.

The structure of this session:

Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, highlighted the importance of the most recent reports developed by different science-policy interfaces and organizations, which are leading to converging evidence on the need to orchestrate common actions worldwide to tackle land degradation, desertification and drought. Jean-Luc Chotte outlined the objective of this session as part of the whole Science Day, by indicating that representatives of initiatives and organizations relevant for the activities of the UNCCD-SPI had been invited to this session to provide insight into their ongoing work which is relevant for implementing and maintain LDN. The session was chaired by Barron Orr, lead scientist at the UNCCD secretariat.

Jeffrey Herrick, UN Environment International Resource Panel (International Resources Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-IRD)), introduced the recent publication on “Land Restoration for Achieving the SDGs”. Michael Cherlet, EC-Joint Research Centre, stressed the collection of multiple evidences outlined in the World Atlas of Desertification. Josef Settele (UFZ/iDiv/University of Halle), co-chair of the “Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” (IPBES) presented its major findings and pointed out the key role of local knowledges in managing biodiversity as a crucial component for safeguarding land ecosystem services. The interconnections between climate and land were detailed by Fatima Denton (coordinating lead author of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land) while Jagdish Krishnaswamy, coordinating Lead author of the same IPCC Special Report described means to achieve co-benefits through managing land and climate risks. Douglas Cripe (Group on Earth Observations (GEO)), presented the GEO knowledge Hub including SDG 15.3.1 target. Barron Orr shared with the audience general comments to open up the debate.

Major aspects emerging from this session:

Convergences between these initiatives were obvious, making land a key driver to address climate, biodiversity, livelihood targets. From the debate the following findings emerged

Common diagnosis

  • Human activities are drawing on land resources faster than we can restore them
  • Land is part of the solution, but land can’t do it all
  • Land and climate cannot be tackled in isolation
  • Land and Food systems are interconnected
  • Land is impacted by remotely consumption
  • Solutions do exist

To strengthen the role of land as a driver for solutions, the is a need 

  • To share data acquired by each initiative
  • To merge Indigenous local knowledges and Scientific knowledges
  • To Empower local communities (women and youth)
  • To encourage collective actions: government, local communities, 
  • To focus on the most vulnerable communities (sharing risks)
  • To address urban degradation (complementing rural land degradation)

As an overarching message, transparency and evidence-based actions are needed

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