Desertification and Drought Day marked in Spain and around the world Three out of four people may be affected by drought by 2050 Global campaign urges action now to ensure no country becomes Droughtland Countries and communities around the world pioneer solutions to boost drought resilience Bonn/Madrid, 17 June 2022 – In the face of growing impacts of drought exacerbated by land degradation and climate change, countries and communities must take action now to build drought resilience, global leaders urged today at a high-level event to mark Desertification and Drought Day in Madrid, Spain. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Droughts in all regions are getting more frequent and fierce. The well-being of hundreds of millions of people is being compromised by increasing sandstorms, wildfires, crop failures, displacement and conflict. Climate change bears much responsibility, but so does how we manage our land. Taking care of our land and its biodiversity can help address the climate crisis and assist in reaching all our Sustainable Development Goals. Let us act now to drought-proof our future.” Drought resilience is the focus of this year’s global observance hosted by Spain and led by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), with commemorative events taking place around the world. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “No nation—rich or poor—is immune to drought, and all countries can take steps to avoid the devastating impacts of droughts on people’s lives and livelihoods. Although we have made some progress, it is not enough. Drought is a natural hazard, but it does not have to be a disaster. We are calling on all countries to make this year’s global observance a pivotal moment where we commit to working together to restore our lands, protect natural resources and boost communities’ resilience to drought to ensure no country becomes Droughtland.” Teresa Ribera, Vice-President of the Government of Spain, said: “Spain is one of the most vulnerable European countries to desertification. Almost three quarters of its territory are drylands susceptible to be affected by this phenomenon, 20% of which are already considered degraded. The fact that Spain has had to live with droughts and their consequences for decades has taught us the need to integrate drought into hydrological planning and water resource management, addressing it in advance and avoiding, as far as possible, emergency actions when severe situations have already been reached.” Droughts are hitting harder According to the latest UNCCD report, droughts are up 29% since 2000, with 55 million people affected every year. By 2050, droughts may affect an estimated three out of every four people around the world. In the Horn of Africa, at least 26 million people are facing food shortages following four consecutive poor rainfall seasons. Elsewhere, communities from Chile to the United States, from Mexico to Morocco, from China to Spain are also in the grips of severe—and often unprecedented—drought. Patricia Kombo, Founder of PaTree Initiative and UNCCD Land Hero from Kenya, said: “Drought was declared a national disaster last October. And I have witnessed how it is affecting people in Turkana [County in Kenya] while we were providing emergency food relief there. I realized that droughts do not only affect food systems, but they fuel poverty, conflicts and migration… because in one village you could only find like 10 households and they were telling us the youthful generation had migrated…it’s a cross-cutting issue. ” A drought in Southern Africa five years ago put 20 million people on the verge of starvation. This year Chile marked a record-breaking 13th year of drought. A prolonged drought in the United States that started in 2000 is the country’s driest period in over 1,200 years. Monterrey, the third largest city of Mexico, is rationing water due to drought. “Desertification and drought are the primary causes of migration and inter-community conflict. It is not by chance that in most countries, years of drought are listed as years of economic downturn…. We must deal with drought, using every tool we can. Existing tools and resources may not be enough. But they can get us far, if we make a better use of the existing tools: Early Warning- Preparedness- Response…the recently held COP discussions in Abidjan have reinforced the momentum that has been building on the need to tackle, urgently, desertification, land degradation and drought,” said Alain Richard Donwahi, UNCCD COP15 President. Half of the world’s population is expected to face severe water scarcity in the next eight years. As many as 700 million people (about 10% of the world’s population) are at risk of being displaced during that period, according to UNCCD’s Drought in Numbers report. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, said: “In Chad, the desert is advancing four kilometers every year. That means, in a few decades, the capital N'Djamena will be in the desert. And we are facing extreme weather events from drought around all the Sahel region and all over Africa. The rainy seasons are not coming anymore and this worsens the drought in our communities. We need urgent action to fight desertification, to fight this drought, to invest in our communities, to restore our ecosystem in order to give us good food production.” Examples of resilience in the face of drought A recent review of drought risk mitigation measures by UNCCD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) showcases examples from around the world of how countries and communities can boost drought resilience through better early warning systems, greater interagency cooperation, and a mix of traditional knowledge and innovative approaches. In Brazil, Ethiopia and Tunisia, a combination of water harvesting and sustainable land management practices are used to reduce the impact of drought among vulnerable populations. There are signs of progress even in the most vulnerable regions. The drought risk system in Africa’s Sahel is regional in scope. Originally set up 50 years ago, it brings together the entire range of stakeholders, from producer associations to decision-makers, who benefit from scientific and technological capabilities provided by regional organizations. India has taken an even more comprehensive approach that includes drought management as part of the national disaster management plan and involves various institutions at national, state and local levels. It is built around early action that begins with the management of the country's water system, including rainwater, rivers and groundwater. In Central America’s Corredor Seco, the dry corridor stretching across Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, as well as areas of Costa Rica and Panama, community contingency funds are used to support drought-hit farmers without access to formal financing and insurance systems. Over 60% of the population depends on the production of staple grains for their livelihoods, and in three out of five harvest cycles, small farmers suffer significant losses. The United States has recently announced that drought will become a strategic domestic and foreign policy priority. The country has some of the most sophisticated and advanced drought-monitoring and response mechanisms, which could benefit and fast-track the development of collaborative action at the global level. “The good news is, real solutions exist,” Thiaw said. “Countries should have access to robust and effective early warning and monitoring systems. Countries, especially in drought-prone areas, should plan for solid drought preparedness and act now! Communities, especially the most vulnerable ones, should have access to adequate insurance schemes to protect their lives and livelihoods. By restoring land back to health, we can protect our climate and water resources, boost drought resilience and sustain life on this planet,” he added. Drought resilience was a top agenda item at the 15th Session of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP15) held in Côte d’Ivoire in May. Countries agreed to establish an Intergovernmental Working Group for 2022-2024 to evaluate all options for the Convention to support a shift from reactive to proactive drought management. The Group’s findings and recommendations will be presented at the UNCCD COP16 to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2024. Highlights of activities in Spain and around the world In Spain, the host of this year’s global observance, a high-level event at the Reina Sofia Museum brought together renown scientists, issue experts, youth representatives and high-level policymakers from Spain and around the world to discuss: the role of science based on the drought risks identified for different climate change scenarios success stories of drought mitigation and adaptation in Spain and other countries. viable drought policies and their components As part of the global Droughtland campaign, an information booth was set up in the centre of Madrid to raise public awareness on the impacts of drought. In addition, an event at Casa Arabe organized by Fundación Biodiversidad in cooperation with Basque Culinary Centre brought together top chefs and experts to discuss the challenges of food production in drought-prone areas. Other countries around the world are marking this year’s Day to bring public attention to the threats from and solutions to drought. They include Chad, Kenya, Mali and Tunisia from Africa. China, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan from Asia. Colombia and Mexico in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Italy, Portugal and Spain in the Northern Mediterranean region. The Russian Federation in Central and Eastern Europe. But anyone can take action. NGOs CARI and Coordination Sud in France and Shine Africa Foundation in Uganda are among those organizing events this year. Notes to editors Journalists wishing to cover the event in Madrid, Spain need to be registered, and should email: email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of your valid press card and passport will be required to pick your access card. Download various materials here (https://bit.ly/3xd4IjC), including: b-roll and images on the drought in Eastern Africa (https://bit.ly/3Pw6ULm). Credit UNCCD video messages and testimonials from around the world (https://bit.ly/3zJVFcY) Videos and assets from the Droughtland campaign (https://bit.ly/3zvCfsb) Credit UNCCD Images of the event in Spain will be uploaded here (https://bit.ly/3xBtCuI). For information about Desertification and Drought Day events in Spain and around the world, contact Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, UNCCD: email@example.com For media related inquiries: On site contact: Alejandro Gomez, firstname.lastname@example.org Virtually: Wagaki Wischnewski, email@example.com, +49 173 268 7593 (m) About Desertification and Drought Day Officially declared by the UN General Assembly in 1997 (Resolution A/RES/49/115), the annual Desertification and Drought Day has three objectives. First, to promote public awareness about desertification and drought. Second, to let people know that desertification and drought can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. Lastly, to strengthen implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. For information about Desertification and Drought Day visit: https://www.unccd.int/2022-desertification-and-drought-day About Droughtland Do you know where Droughtland is? Are you interested in a visa to live there? Think twice because Droughtland is... special. In the lead up to the 2022 Desertification and Drought Day, UNCCD launched Droughtland, a public awareness campaign featuring a fictional drought-stricken nation, to showcase solutions and rally global action to boost drought resilience. Learn more about the campaign: droughtland.com Social Media: @TourDroughtland About UNCCD The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner. Quotes Below is a selection of video messages and quotes for media use: https://bit.ly/3zJVFcY Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly “…we must recognize that our actions, our ways of living have dire consequences. In just over a century, droughts have impacted at least 2.7 billion people globally and caused 11.7 million deaths. Forecasts estimate that by 2050, droughts may affect over ¾ of the world’s population. All of this while we continue to devastate the very land we depend upon… Together, we can turn this trend around. Together, we can restore the productivity of over 2 billion hectares of degraded land and improve the livelihoods of over 1.3 billion people around the world… Let us take the commitments made during UNCCD COP15 and renew our commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030.” Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “We must realize that we are pushing the boundaries of this planet. Drought is but one consequence of this constant and unrelenting pressure. We have statistics to show that droughts are increasing in frequency and severity. But numbers cannot measure the misery of thirst, the fear of a failed crop or waiting for rain clouds to appear on the horizon — but waiting in vain. We need unified, concerted and ambitious action. Namely, we need nations to come up with stronger national climate action plans and ensure they are tabled annually.” Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity “The links between drought and human activities are strong and go both ways, each having an impact on the other. The desiccation of the Aral Sea is a tragic example where unsustainable water consumption has led to irreversible loss of the inland water ecosystem and its biodiversity, increased drought and dust storms. Protecting biodiversity can drought-proof nature and societies. Nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches are cost-effective, long-lasting and bring multiple benefits for people and nature.” Dongyu Qu, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations “The impact of droughts has seriously affected all agrifood systems. Yet, agrifood systems can provide a solution to climate change, land degradation and water scarcity. We must transform our agrifood system to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient, and more sustainable. FAO is actively supporting Members to address water scarcity at the national, regional, and international level.” Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary of State, United States of America “Individuals, communities and governments must act to combat desertification and drought around the world and build long-term resilience… We also need to shift planning horizons. These issues will be with us for the long run and we need to get ahead of the curve. We must all think long-term and find innovative ways to reduce drought instead of just responding to the devastating impacts caused by drought. We need to act before damage is done. That’s why we encourage governments around the world to develop their own land planning processes and provide funding for climate-smart agricultural policies before drought hits. Using data to improve drought forecasting is a key pillar of our approach under the recently released White House action plan on global water security.” Juan Carlos Jintiach, Indigenous leader from Ecuador “Drought and desertification are very important issues that we Indigenous Peoples must have on our agenda. They are affecting the forests, our food, our living conditions—not only in the Amazon region but in the Andean region that connects the rivers and the water sources. We are Indigenous Peoples of the land, and we see water as part of a being, water as part of our nature and part of Mother Earth.”
lain Richard Donwahi, COP15 President, and Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Conference to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will hold a joint press conference on Friday, 20 May, to present the outcomes of the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UNCCD taking place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Humanity is “at a crossroads” when it comes to managing drought and accelerating mitigation must be done “urgently, using every tool we can,” says a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Drought in Numbers, 2022, released today to mark Drought Day at UNCCD’s 15th Conference of Parties (COP15, 9-20 May in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) – calls for making a full global commitment to drought preparedness and resilience in all global regions a top priority. The report, an authoritative compendium of drought-related information and data, helps inform negotiations of one of several decisions by UNCCD’s 196 member states, to be issued 20 May at the conclusion of COP15. “The facts and figures of this publication all point in the same direction: an upward trajectory in the duration of droughts and the severity of impacts, not only affecting human societies but also the ecological systems upon which the survival of all life depends, including that of our own species.” says Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD. The report creates a compelling call to action. For example: Since 2000, the number and duration of droughts has risen 29% From 1970 to 2019, weather, climate and water hazards accounted for 50% of disasters and 45% of disaster-related deaths, mostly in developing countries Droughts represent 15% of natural disasters but took the largest human toll, approximately 650,000 deaths from 1970-2019 From 1998 to 2017, droughts caused global economic losses of roughly USD 124 billion In 2022, more than 2.3 billion people face water stress; almost 160 million children are exposed to severe and prolonged droughts Unless action is stepped up: By 2030, an estimated 700 million people will be at risk of being displaced by drought By 2040, an estimated one in four children will live in areas with extreme water shortages By 2050, droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population, and an estimated 4.8-5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today. And up to 216 million people could be forced to migrate by 2050, largely due to drought in combination with other factors including water scarcity, declining crop productivity, sea-level rise, and overpopulation See below for additional report highlights “We are at a crossroads,” says Mr. Thiaw. “We need to steer toward the solutions rather than continuing with destructive actions, believing that marginal change can heal systemic failure.” “One of the best, most comprehensive solutions is land restoration, which addresses many of the underlying factors of degraded water cycles and the loss of soil fertility. We must build and rebuild our landscapes better, mimicking nature wherever possible and creating functional ecological systems.” Beyond restoration, he adds, is the need for a paradigm shift from ‘reactive’ and ‘crisis-based’ approaches to ‘proactive’ and ‘risk-based’ drought management approaches involving coordination, communication and cooperation, driven by sufficient finance and political will. Needed as well: Sustainable and efficient agricultural management techniques that grow more food on less land and with less water Changes in our relationships with food, fodder and fiber, moving toward plant-based diets, and reducing or stopping the consumption of animals Concerted policy and partnerships at all levels Development and implementation of integrated drought action plans Set up effective early-warning systems that work across boundaries Deployment of new technologies such as satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence to guide decisions with greater precision Regular monitoring and reporting to ensure continuous improvement Mobilize sustainable finance to improve drought resilience at the local level Invest in soil health Work together and include and mobilize farmers, local communities, businesses, consumers, investors, entrepreneurs and, above all, young people The new UNCCD report notes that 128 countries have expressed willingness to achieve or exceed Land Degradation Neutrality. And nearly 70 countries participated in the UNCCD’s global drought initiative, which aims to shift from reactive approaches to drought to a proactive and risk-reducing approach. Mr. Thiaw underlined the importance of promoting public awareness about desertification and drought, and letting people know the problems can be effectively tackled “through ingenuity, commitment and solidarity.” “We all must live up to our responsibility to ensure the health of present and future generations, wholeheartedly and without delay.” The COP15 decision on drought is expected to touch on five interrelated areas: drought policies early warning, monitoring and assessment knowledge sharing and learning partnerships and coordination, and drought finance UNCCD launches “Droughtland” public awareness initiative The campaign will be featured during UN Desertification and Drought Day (17 June), hosted this year by Madrid, Spain UN Desertification and Drought Day has four key objectives: Equip people worldwide with tools to assess their current or potential future exposure to drought risk Share proven, innovative international solutions to drought Create public opportunities to participate in action, and Celebrate progress and inspire action Additional highlights, Drought in Numbers, 2022 Drought around the world (1900-2022) More than 10 million people died due to major drought events in the past century, causing several hundred billion USD in economic losses worldwide. And the numbers are rising Severe drought affects Africa more than any other continent, with more than 300 events recorded in the past 100 years, accounting for 44% of the global total. More recently, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced the dramatic consequences of climate disasters becoming more frequent and intense In the past century, 45 major drought events occurred in Europe, affecting millions of people and resulting in more than USD 27.8 billion in economic losses. Today, an annual average of 15% of the land area and 17% of the population within the European Union is affected by drought In the U.S., crop failures and other economic losses due to drought have totaled several hundred billion USD over the last century – USD 249 billion alone since 1980 Over the past century, the highest total number of humans affected by drought were in Asia Impacts on human society Over 1.4 billion people were affected by drought from 2000 to 2019. This makes drought the disaster affecting the second-highest number of people, after flooding. Africa suffered from drought more frequently than any other continent with 134 droughts, of which 70 occurred in East Africa The effect of severe droughts was estimated to have reduced India’s gross domestic product by 2-5% As a result of the Australian Millennium Drought, total agricultural productivity fell by 18% from 2002 to 2010 Greater burdens and suffering are inflicted on women and girls in emerging and developing countries in terms of education levels, nutrition, health, sanitation, and safety The burden of water collection – especially in drylands – falls disproportionately on women (72%) and girls (9%), who, in some cases, spend as much as 40% of their calorific intake carrying water Droughts have deep, widespread and underestimated impacts on societies, ecosystems, and economies, with only a portion of the actual losses accounted for A 2017 California case study showed that an increase of about 100 drought stories over two months was associated with a reduction of 11 to 18% in typical household water-use Impacts on ecosystems The percentage of plants affected by drought has more than doubled in the last 40 years, with about 12 million hectares of land lost each year due to drought and desertification Ecosystems progressively turn into carbon sources, especially during extreme drought events, detectable on five of six continents One-third of global carbon dioxide emissions is offset by the carbon uptake of terrestrial ecosystems, yet their capacity to sequester carbon is highly sensitive to drought events 14% of wetlands critical for migratory species, as listed by Ramsar, are located in drought-prone regions The megadrought in Australia contributed to ‘megafires’ in 2019-2020 resulting in the most dramatic loss of habitat for threatened species in postcolonial history; about 3 billion animals were killed or displaced in the Australian wildfires Drought-induced peatland fires in Indonesia resulted in decreasing biodiversity, including both the number of individuals as well as plant species Photosynthesis in European ecosystems was reduced by 30% during the summer drought of 2003, which resulted in an estimated net carbon release of 0.5 gigatons 84% of terrestrial ecosystems are threatened by changing and intensifying wildfires During the first two decades of the 21st century, the Amazon experienced 3 widespread droughts, all of which triggered massive forest fires. Drought events are becoming increasingly common in the Amazon region due to land-use and climate change, which are interlinked. If Amazonian deforestation continues unabated, 16% of the region’s remaining forests will likely burn by 2050 Predictable futures Climate change is expected to increase the risk of droughts in many vulnerable regions of the world, particularly those with rapid population growth, vulnerable populations and challenges with food security Within the next few decades, 129 countries will experience an increase in drought exposure mainly due to climate change alone – 23 primarily due to population growth and 38 mostly due to the interaction between climate change and population growth If global warming reaches 3 degrees Celsius by 2100 as some predict, drought losses could be five times higher than they are today, with the largest increase in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic regions of Europe In Angola, more than 40% of livestock, a significant livelihood source accounting for 31.4% of the agricultural GDP, is currently exposed to droughts and expected to rise to 70% under projected climate conditions In the E.U. and U.K., annual losses from drought are currently estimated to be around EUR 9 billion and projected to rise to more than EUR 65 billion without meaningful climate action Successful business cases By adopting drip irrigation, small-scale vegetable farmers in drought-prone provinces of VietNam (Binh Phouc), Cambodia (Prey Veng and Svay Reing), the Philippines (Lantapan and Bukidnon) and Indonesia (Reing and Bogor, West Java; Rembang, East Java) were able to increase water use efficiency by up to 43% and yield by 8-15% With the highest water efficiency rate in agriculture, reaching a 70-80% rate, drip irrigation has helped to solve the problem of water scarcity in Israel Other highlights Information Technology and Indigenous Knowledge with Intelligence (ITIKI) is a drought early warning system that integrates Indigenous knowledge and drought forecasting to help small-scale farmers make more informed decisions, for example, on when and how to plant which crops. The support forecast models provides accuracy of 70-98% for lead-times of up to four years, as shown by trials in Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa Up to USD 1.4 trillion in production value can be generated globally by adopting sustainable land and water management practices Approximately 4 million hectares of degraded land within “strict intervention zones” have been rehabilitated under the framework of the African Union–led restoration initiative known as the Great Green Wall – 4% of the Wall’s ultimate target of restoring 100 million hectares, helping to reduce the immanent threats of desertification and drought Related: UNCCD’s flagship Global Land Outlook 2 (GLO2) report, five years in development with 21 partner organizations, and with over 1,000 references, is the most comprehensive consolidation of information on the topic ever assembled. Released Apr. 27, it reported up to 40% of all ice-free land is already degraded, with dire consequences for climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. Notes to editors The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD, 9-20 May, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) is focussed on: The restoration of 1 billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030 Future-proofing land use against the impacts of climate change, and Tackling escalating droughts, sand and dust storms, wildfires and other disaster risks. More than a dozen heads of state and government, ministers, and at least 2,000 delegates from 196 countries and the European Union, are expected to attend. Major press events during the session can be viewed live on the UNCCD YouTube Channel here. Future Abidjan media programme highlights: Wednesday, 18 May (time TBC): Launch of regional Global Land Outlook reports Wednesday, 18 May (time TBC): Launch of the Sahel uplink challenge to enable communities growing the Great Green Wall to use technology to monitor progress, create jobs and commercialize their produce Friday, 20 May, 13:00-13:45 UTC (check local time here), outcomes of the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties, presented by Alain Richard Donwahi, COP15 President Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary Off-site journalists may submit questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, but must identify themselves and their media organization COP15 background documents and information: https://www.unccd.int/cop15 COP15 social media channels: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unccd/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UNCCD/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNCCD #LandLifeLegacy #UNCCDCOP15 #United4Land @unccd UNCCD COP15 is the first of the three Rio Conventions' meetings in 2022, with the Biodiversity COP15 and Climate Change COP27 convening later in Kunming, China, and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, respectively. For further information: Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, email@example.com Wagaki Wischnewski, Head of Press and Media, firstname.lastname@example.org To request interviews: email@example.com COP15 programme, registration and other media information: https://www.unccd.int/cop15 * * * * * The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD.int) UNCCD is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 9 May 2022 -- Heads of State and Government meeting at the United Nations’ global conference on land have called on the international community to take urgent action to stem the loss of life and livelihoods that communities all over the world are experiencing due to the increasing and devastating impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought. Speaking at the Heads of State Summit convened ahead of the opening of the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire, declared: “Our Summit must be one of hope, of the collective mobilization of States and development partners, in favour of land and forest restoration initiatives of our countries. We must use all the resources of our Conventions to meet the ever-increasing food needs and cope with the ever-increasing water stress of an ever-growing world population.” Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “As we approach the halfway point of the Sustainable Development Goals, they remain our best hope to build a sustainable and inclusive future. The ground beneath our feet is the perfect foundation on which to build that future.” Abdulla Shahid, President of the United Nations General Assembly, said: “Productive land is critical to global food security and healthy ecosystems, as well as to the maintenance of stable livelihoods. It is a precondition for the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; for progress on the Rio Conventions on biodiversity and climate change; and for tackling pollution on land and at sea.” Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, said: “Now is the time for action. There is no future for our children or the planet if we continue with ‘business as usual’ when it comes to managing our land. COP15 is our moment in history, as the international community, to put people and the planet on a new course; on the path to life, to COVID-19 recovery and to prosperity. The decisions countries take at COP15 must be transformational, not incremental, to achieve land restoration and drought resilience the world longs for.” The Summit concluded with the adoption of Abidjan Call, which urges giving the highest priority to the issue of drought and reinforces the commitment towards achieving land degradation neutrality by 2030. The leaders’ call to action comes in response to a stark warning by the UNCCD that up to 40% of all ice-free land is already degraded, with dire consequences for climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. Business as usual will, by 2050, result in degradation of 16 million square kilometers (almost the size of South America), with 69 gigatonnes of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. But land restoration would help reduce the estimated 700 million people at risk of being displaced by drought by 2030. During the Summit, President Ouattara also announced the ambitious Abidjan Legacy Programme to boost long-term environmental sustainability across major value chains in Côte d’Ivoire while protecting and restoring forests and lands and improving communities’ resilience to climate change, which will require mobilization of US$1.5 billion over the next five years. Initial pledges made during the Summit towards this goal include those by the African Development Bank, the European Union, the Green Growth Initiative, and the World Bank Group. At the top of the COP15 agenda are the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030 and future-proofing people, their homes and lands against the impacts of disaster risks linked to climate change, such as droughts, and sand and dust storms. COP15 is also expected to agree on policy actions to provide an enabling environment for land restoration through stronger tenure rights, gender equality, land use planning and youth engagement to draw private sector investment to conservation, farming, and land uses and practices to improve the health of the land. During the Gender Caucus convened alongside the Heads of State Summit, the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire Dominique Ouattara and the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed launched a new study on the differentiated impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought on men and women. The study shines the spotlight on the disproportionate impacts women and girls are facing when land is degraded and how, if given the agency, they can be at the forefront of global land restoration efforts. Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, said: “Women are the backbone of the rural economy, especially in developing countries. They represent almost half of the world's farmers. We must at all costs win together in our quest to empower women farmers through various measures including land tenure security and access to rural finance.” Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, added: "Women and girls are central to building a land restoration economy. But they continue to be marginalized, and to pay the heaviest price when it comes to land loss, climate change, COVID and conflict." Over 2000 participants, including a dozen Heads of State and Government, some 50 ministers and high-level delegates are expected at UNCCD COP15, which is taking place from 9-20 May in Abidjan. UNCCD COP15 is convening under the theme, ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity', a call to action to ensure land, which is the lifeline on this planet, will also benefit present and future generations. UNCCD COP15 is the first of the three Rio Conventions meetings to be held in 2022, with Biodiversity COP15 and Climate change COP27 convening later on in Kunming, China and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, respectively. The High-Level Segment continues on 10 May. The UNCCD COP15 formally opens on 11 May and is expected to adopt a set of decisions on these issues by the time it closes on 20 May. For more information contact: Xenya Scanlon, Chief of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org Wagaki Wischnewski, Head of Press and Media, email@example.com About The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification convenes the 15th session of its Conference of the Parties in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 9-20 May 2022 Heads of State Summit hosted by President Alassane Ouattara on 9 May will address multiple crises linked to land degradation Countries to decide on future actions to mitigate escalating drought risk 5 May 2022, Abidjan – The 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), opens on Monday, 9 May 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The COP15 theme, ‘Land. Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity', is a call to action to ensure land, which is the lifeline on this planet, will also benefit present and future generations. The Conference will start with a Heads of State summit and high-level segment held back-to-back on 9-10 May to create political momentum and raise ambition in particular in meeting the 2030 global commitments on restoration and robust actions that build the resilience of communities that are vulnerable to drought. Leaders are meeting in Abidjan against the backdrop of a stark warning issued by the UNCCD that up to 40% of all ice-free land is already degraded, with dire consequences for climate, biodiversity and livelihoods. The Conference will focus on the restoration of one billion hectares of degraded land between now and 2030, future-proofing land use against the impacts of climate change, and tackling escalating disaster risks such as droughts, sand and dust storms, and wildfires. More than a dozen heads of state and government, ministers and at least 2,000 delegates from 196 countries and the European Union are expected to be at the two-week Conference that ends Friday, 20 May 2022. High-level delegates include: Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Abdulla Shahid, President of the United Nations General Assembly Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme UNCCD Land Ambassadors Tarja Halonen, Ricky Kej, Byong Hyon Kwon, Baaba Maal, and Inna Modja UNCCD Land Heroes David Chapoloko, Musa Ibrahim, Patricia Kombo and Moses Mulindwa UNCCD COP15 is the first of the three Rio Conventions meetings to be held in 2022, with Biodiversity COP15 and Climate change COP27 convening later on in Kunming, China and Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, respectively. Among the programme highlights: Announcement of the Abidjan Legacy Programme on 9 May by the President of Côte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, focusing on job creation and the restoration of degrading land in Côte d’Ivoire; Gender Caucus on 9 May chaired by the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire Dominique Ouattara, which will include the launch of a new report on the differentiated impacts of desertification, land degradation and drought on men and women; Green Business Forum on 10-11 May that will focus on private sector commitments to take care of the land, among other things. Launch of Droughtland, a global campaign to rally action on drought on 11 May Launch of the regional Global Land Outlook reports on 18 May Launch of the Sahel uplink challenge to enable communities growing the Great Green Wall to use technology to monitor progress, create jobs and commercialize their produce. The press events planned during the session include: Opening press conference on Monday, 18:00-18:45 UTC (Press Conference Room) Prime Minister and/or Minister of Foreign Affairs, Côte d’Ivoire Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD The panel will present the host-country ambition and legacy initiative, COP15 expected outcomes and findings of the study on gender, among other issues. Press Briefing on Tuesday, 10 May (time and location to be determined) Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations Mr. Jochem Flasbarth, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany Press Conference, Wednesday, 11 May, 13:00-13:30 Press Conference room Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary Representative of Spain, country hosting the global observance of Desertification and Drought Day 2022 Civil Society Representative Launch of Droughtland, a global campaign to rally drought action globally Press Conference, Friday, 20 May, 13:00-13:45 UTC Mr Abou Bamba COP15 President Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary Present the outcomes of the 15th Session of the Conference of Parties Media representatives are welcome to participate. Apply via this link: https://www.unccd.int/cop15/registration to receive accreditation. Press conferences will be conducted with interpretation in English, French and Spanish but webcast in the floor language. Off-site journalists may submit their questions to the panelists via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, but must identify themselves and the media organization they are reporting for. Detailed information about the Conference is available from the online Press Kit. Background documents and information on COP15 are available online: at: https://www.unccd.int/cop15 Social media for the Conference can be found on: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unccd/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UNCCD/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNCCD #LandLifeLegacy #UNCCDCOP15 #United4Land @unccd For further information, please contact: Xenya Scanlon, email@example.com Chief of Communications Ms. Wagaki Wischnewski, firstname.lastname@example.org Head of Press and Media For interview requests, contact: email@example.com Use these links to request for the use of the press conference room or recording studio facilities: Interview/Recording studio: https://koalendar.com/e/interview-studio-cop15 Press conference room: https://koalendar.com/e/press-conference-cop-15
En français The First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E. Dominique Ouattara, has agreed to chair the Gender Caucus of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Abidjan. This second edition of the Caucus, which opens on May 9, 2022, will welcome world leaders to place the issue of gender at the center of debates on climate change and desertification, and, above all, to accelerate women’s equal access to land resource management. Representing several links in the agricultural chain, women are particularly affected by land degradation and drought. Their low social status and lack of protection in rural areas make them more likely to suffer from the impacts of desertification. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, women account for half of the agricultural workforce but only hold 18% of the associated land titles. In addition, the decline in agricultural production due to desertification reduces their incomes and prevents them from having access to basic social services such as education, access to drinking water, health care, etc. Yet, Women play a key role in both irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture, and many are engaged in rainfed agriculture, producing two-thirds of agricultural commodities in developing countries. They participate fully in the collection and conservation of water. However, water policies linked to agriculture value them less. The international community stressed the importance of including women in water management, particularly for agricultural purposes, but also for other purposes, such as personal hygiene, cleaning and laundry. This large-scale gathering of world leaders will be an opportunity to define the role of women in land restoration and water resource management initiatives, while improving the livelihoods of rural populations. The First Lady’s role as Caucus Chair stems from her exceptional efforts to build the capacity of vulnerable women. The First Lady’s mission is to promote women’s empowerment by creating funding opportunities for women. The Women’s Assistance Fund (FAFCI), which she created in 2012, generated reinvestment capital of more than FCFA 25 billion. Round tables between Heads of State, heads of global institutions, the private sector and civil society will identify innovative initiatives and technologies for women’s empowerment. During this event, which will see the presence of several First Ladies, the members of the Caucus will share a statement indicating an action plan to support rural communities in a gender context. The Finnish H.E. Tarja Halonen, former Head of State and UNCCD Land Ambassador (UNCCD), and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, confirmed their presence at this high-level segment. La Première Dame de Côte d’Ivoire présidera le Caucus sur le genre, le 9 mai 2022, lors de la Conférence des Parties à la Convention des Nations Unies sur la lutte contre la désertification La Première Dame de Côte d’Ivoire, S.E. Dominique Ouattara, a donné son accord pour présider le Caucus sur le genre de la quinzième réunion de la Conférence des Parties (COP 15) à la Convention des Nations Unies sur la lutte contre la désertification (CNULD) qui se tiendra le mois prochain à Abidjan. Cette deuxième édition du Caucus qui s’ouvre le 9 mai 2022 accueillera des leaders mondiaux à l’effet de positionner la question du genre au centre des débats relatifs aux changements climatiques et à la désertification, et surtout d’accélérer l’accès équitable des femmes à la gestion des ressources terrestres. Représentant plusieurs maillons de la chaîne agricole, les femmes subissent particulièrement la dégradation des terres et la sécheresse. Leur faible statut social et le manque de protection dans les zones rurales les rendent plus susceptibles de souffrir des impacts de la désertification. Par exemple, en Afrique subsaharienne, les femmes représentent la moitié de la main-d’œuvre agricole mais ne détiennent que 18% de titres fonciers associés. En outre, la baisse de la production agricole due à la désertification réduit leurs revenus et les empêche d’avoir accès aux services sociaux de base tels que l’éducation, l’accès à l’eau potable, les soins de santé, etc. Pourtant, les femmes jouent un rôle primordial autant dans l’agriculture irriguée que non irriguée, et sont nombreuses à pratiquer l’agriculture pluviale, produisant deux tiers des denrées agricoles dans les pays en développement. Elles participent pleinement à la collecte et à la conservation de l’eau. Or les politiques de l’eau liées à l’agriculture les valorisent moins. La communauté internationale a souligné l’importance d’inclure les femmes dans la gestion de l’eau, notamment à des fins agricoles, mais aussi à d’autres fins, telles que l’hygiène personnelle, le nettoyage et la lessive. Ce rassemblement de grande envergure de dirigeants mondiaux sera l'occasion de définir le rôle des femmes dans les initiatives de restauration des terres et de gestion des ressources en eau, tout en améliorant les moyens de subsistance des populations rurales. Le rôle de la Première Dame en tant que présidente du Caucus découle de ses efforts exceptionnels pour renforcer les capacités des femmes vulnérables. La Première Dame s'est en effet donnée pour mission de promouvoir l’autonomisation des femmes en créant des opportunités de financement pour ces dernières. Le Fonds d'aide aux femmes (FAFCI) qu'elle a créé en 2012 a généré un capital de réinvestissement de plus de 25 milliards de FCFA. Des tables rondes entre chefs d'État, chefs d'institutions mondiales, le secteur privé et la société civile permettront d'identifier des initiatives et des technologies innovantes pour l'autonomisation des femmes. Lors de cet évènement qui verra la présence de plusieurs Premières Dames, les membres du Caucus partageront une déclaration indiquant un plan d'action pour soutenir les communautés rurales dans un contexte de genre. La finlandaise S.E. Mme Tarja Halonen, ancienne cheffe d'État et ambassadrice des terres de la CNULD (UNCCD), et le Président de l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, M. Abdulla Shahid, ont confirmé leur présence à ce segment de haut niveau.
Up to 40 % of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affects half of humanity, threatens roughly half of global GDP (US$44 trillion) If business as usual continued through 2050, report projects additional degradation of an area almost the size of South America Nations’ current pledge to restore 1 billion degraded hectares by 2030 requires $US 1.6 trillion this decade – a fraction of annual $700 billion in fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies As food prices soar amid rapid climate and other planetary changes, “crisis footing” needed to conserve, restore and use land sustainably Most comprehensive report on topic ever released shortly before UNCCD’s COP15 in Africa The way land resources – soil, water and biodiversity – are currently mismanaged and misused threatens the health and continued survival of many species on Earth, including our own, warns a stark new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). It also points decision makers to hundreds of practical ways to effect local, national and regional land and ecosystem restoration. UNCCD’s evidence-based flagship Global Land Outlook 2 (GLO2) report, five years in development with 21 partner organizations, and with over 1,000 references, is the most comprehensive consolidation of information on the topic ever assembled. It offers an overview of unprecedented breadth and projects the planetary consequences of three scenarios through 2050: business as usual, restoration of 50 million square km of land, and restoration measures augmented by the conservation of natural areas important for specific ecosystem functions. It also assesses the potential contributions of land restoration investments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, human health and other key sustainable development goals. Warns the report: “At no other point in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and hazards, interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world. We cannot afford to underestimate the scale and impact of these existential threats.” “Conserving, restoring, and using our land resources sustainably is a global imperative, one that requires action on a crisis footing…Business as usual is not a viable pathway for our continued survival and prosperity.” GLO2 offers hundreds of examples from around the world that demonstrate the potential of land restoration. It is being released before the UNCCD’s 15th session of the Conference of Parties to be held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (COP15, 9-20 May). Says Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD: “Modern agriculture has altered the face of the planet more than any other human activity. We need to urgently rethink our global food systems, which are responsible for 80% of deforestation, 70% of freshwater use, and the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss.” “Investing in large-scale land restoration is a powerful, cost-effective tool to combat desertification, soil erosion, and loss of agricultural production. As a finite resource and our most valuable natural asset, we cannot afford to continue taking land for granted.” Future scenarios The report predicts the outcomes by 2050 and risks involved under three scenarios: Baseline: Business as usual, continuing current trends in land and natural resource degradation, while demands for food, feed, fiber, and bioenergy continue to rise. Land management practices and climate change continue to cause widespread soil erosion, declining fertility and growth in yields, and the further loss of natural areas due to expanding agriculture. By 2050: 16 million square kilometers show continued land degradation (the size of South America) A persistent, long-term decline in vegetative productivity is observed for 12-14% of agricultural, pasture and grazing land, and natural areas – with sub-Saharan Africa worst affected. An additional 69 gigatonnes of carbon is emitted from 2015 to 2050 due to land use change and soil degradation This represents 17% of current annual greenhouse gas emissions: soil organic carbon (32 gigatonnes), vegetation (27 gigatonnes), peatland degradation/conversion (10 gigatonnes). Restoration: Assumes the restoration of around 5 billion hectares (50 million square kilometers or 35% of the global land area) using measures such as agroforestry, grazing management, and assisted natural regeneration. (Current international pledges: 10 million square kilometers). By 2050: Crop yields increase by 5-10% in most developing countries compared to the baseline. Improved soil health leads to higher crop yields, with the largest gains in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, and subSaharan Africa, limiting food price increases. Soil water holding capacity would increase by 4% in rainfed croplands. Carbon stocks rise by a net 17 gigatonnes between 2015 and 2050 due to gains in soil carbon and reduced emission Biodiversity continues to decline, but not as quickly, with 11% of biodiversity loss averted. Restoration and Protection: This scenario includes the restoration measures, augmented with protection measures of areas important for biodiversity, water regulation, conservation of soil and carbon stocks, and provision of critical ecosystem functions. By 2050: An additional 4 million square kilometers of natural areas (the size of India and Pakistan); largest gains expected in South and Southeast Asia and Latin America. Protections would prevent land degradation by logging, burning, draining, or conversion. About a third of the biodiversity loss projected in the baseline would be prevented An additional 83 gigatonnes of carbon are stored compared to the baseline. Avoided emission and increased carbon storage would be equivalent to more than seven years of total current global emissions. See below for additional scenario projections and information Other key points in the report include: $US 44 trillion – roughly half the world’s annual economic output – is being put at risk by the loss of finite natural capital and nature’s services, which underpin human and environmental health by regulating climate, water, disease, pests, waste and air pollution, while providing numerous other benefits such as recreation and cultural benefits. The economic returns of restoring land and reducing degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss could be as high as $US 125-140 trillion every year - up to 50% more than the $93 trillion global GDP in 2021 Repurposing in the next decade just $US 1.6 trillion of the annual $700 billion in perverse subsidies given to the fossil fuel and agricultural industries would enable governments to meet current pledges to restore by 2030 some 1 billion degraded hectares – an area the size of the USA or China – including 250 million hectares of farmland Restoring land, soils, forests and other ecosystems would contribute more than one-third of the cost-effective climate change mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C while supporting biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, human health and other key sustainable development goals Many traditional and modern regenerative food production practices can enable agriculture to pivot from being the primary cause of degradation to the principal catalyst for land and soil restoration Poor rural communities, smallholder farmers, women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and other at-risk groups are disproportionately affected by desertification, land degradation, and drought. At the same time, traditional and local knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, proven land stewards, represent a vast store of human and social capital that must be respected and can be used to protect and restore natural capital Immediate financial support is needed to fund conservation and restoration in those developing countries with a greater share of the global distribution of intact, biodiverse, and carbon-rich ecosystems Restoration projects and programs tend to have long-term multiplier effects that strengthen rural economies and contribute to wider regional development. They generate jobs that cannot be outsourced, and investments stimulate demand that benefits local economies and communities Bringing together national action plans currently siloed under the UNCCD, Convention on Biological Diversity, and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change represents an immediate opportunity to align targets and commitments to implement land restoration, realize multiple benefits, and maximize returns on investment Land and resource rights, secured through enforceable laws and trusted institutions, can transform underperforming land assets into sustainable development opportunities, helping maintain equitable and cohesive societies Inclusive and responsible land governance, including tenure security, is an effective way to balance trade-offs and harness synergies that optimize restoration outcomes Grasslands and savannas are productive, biodiverse ecosystems that match forests both in their global extent and their need for protection and restoration. Equally important are wetlands, which are in long-term decline averaging losses at three times the rate of global forest loss in recent decades. Sustaining their capacity to absorb and store carbon is key to a climate-resilient future Intensive monocultures and the destruction of forests and other ecosystems for food and commodity production generate the bulk of carbon emissions associated with land use change If current land degradation trends continue, food supply disruptions, forced migration, rapid biodiversity loss and species extinctions will increase, accompanied by a higher risk of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, declining human health, and land resource conflicts GLO2 offers hundreds of good practice snapshots from around the world that illustrate context-specific measures to combat environmental degradation, restore land health, and improve living conditions. Many regenerative agriculture practices have the potential to increase crop yields and improve their nutritional quality while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, it says. Examples include rewilding – reducing the human footprint to allow natural ecological processes to re-establish themselves – in the Greater Côa Valley in northern Portugal and the Iberá wetlands in Argentina; drought preparedness and risk reduction through national programmes in Mexico, the USA, and Brazil; sand and dust storm source mitigation in Iraq, China, and Kuwait; and gender-responsive land restoration in Mali, Nicauragua, and Jordan. There are also cases of integrated flood and drought strategies as well as forest landscape restoration using high-value crops. Good practices can involve terrace and contour farming, conserving and restoring watersheds, and rainwater harvesting and storage. In addition to their economic benefits, these measures improve water retention and availability, prevent soil erosion and landslides, reduce flood risk, sequester carbon, and protect biodiversity habitat. Africa’s Great Green Wall, meanwhile, which aims to restore the continent’s degraded landscapes, exemplifies “a regional restoration initiative that embraces an integrated approach with the promise of transforming the lives of millions of people,” says the report. “The case studies from around the world showcased in GLO2 make clear that land restoration can be implemented in almost all settings and at many spatial scales, suggesting that every country can design and implement a tailored land restoration agenda to meet their development needs,” says Mr. Thiaw. Many of the cases, he adds, underscore the value of education, training, and capacity building, not just for local communities, but also for government officials, land managers, and development planners. Linking local engagement to national policies and budgets will help ensure a responsive and well-aligned restoration agenda that delivers tangible outcomes for people, nature, and the climate. Preventing, halting, and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide is the focus of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), which calls for a broad and balanced response, addressing all ecosystems and their connectivity to reestablish a healthy landscape mosaic. These efforts are closely aligned with SDG target 15.3, which calls on countries to strive to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030. “Hope remains as the decade of restoration has begun,” says Mr. Thiaw. “Now is the time to harness political will, innovation, and collective action to restore our land and soil for short-term recovery and long-term regeneration to ensure a more stable and resilient future.” By the numbers, GLO2: 50%: Proportion of humanity affected by land degradation $US 7-30: benefits returned for every dollar invested in restoring degraded land Four: planetary boundaries (used to define a ‘safe operating space for humanity’) already exceeded: climate change, biodiversity loss, land use change, and geochemical cycles, breaches directly linked to human-induced desertification, land degradation, and drought 40%+: global land area occupied by agriculture 15%: proportion of the $US 700 billion paid out in commercial subsidies each year that positively impact natural capital, biodiversity, long-term job stability, or livelihoods 70%+: Tropical forest cleared for agriculture between 2013 and 2019 in violation of national laws or regulations 1%: Farms that control more than 70% of the world’s agricultural land 80%: Farms smaller than two hectares, representing 12% of total farmland 50%: Reduction of degraded land by 2040 pledged by G20 leaders in November 2020 115+: countries that had made quantitative, area-based commitments by the end of 2021, collectively a pledge to restore 1 billion hectares of farms, forests, and pastures 100+: Countries with plans for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030: ‘frameworks for action’ by local and national authorities, civil society, and the private sector 130: Countries that reaffirmed in the Glasgow Leaders Declaration on Forests and Land Use (Nov. 2021) their respective individual and collective commitments under the three Rio Conventions – on Desertification (UNCCD), Biological Diversity (CBD), and Climate Change (UNFCCC), supported by unprecedented corporate and donor pledges. It also includes commitments to facilitate trade and development policies that avoid deforestation and land degradation, especially regarding internationally-traded agricultural commodities, such as beef, soy, palm oil, and timber. Land degradation: The persistent or long-term loss of land-based natural capital. It gives rise to poverty, hunger, and environmental pollution, while making communities more vulnerable to disease and disasters like drought, floods, or wildfires. This is especially true in the drylands that cover more than 45% of the Earth’s land surface, home to one in three people. Land restoration: A continuum of sustainable land and water management practices that can be applied to conserve or ‘rewild’ natural areas, ‘up-scale’ nature-positive food production in rural landscapes, and ‘green’ urban areas, infrastructure, and supply chains. Regenerative land use practices employed to boost soil health or recharge groundwater also enhance our ability to cope with drought, floods, wildfires, and sand and dust storms. Comments “The second edition of the Global Land Outlook is a must-read for the biodiversity community. The future of biodiversity is precarious. We have already degraded nearly 40 % and altered 70 % of the land. We cannot afford to have another “lost decade” for nature and need to act now for a future of life in harmony with nature. The GLO2 shows pathways, enablers and knowledge that we should apply to effectively implement the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.” Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary, UN Convention on Biological Diversity “Land is the operative link between biodiversity loss and climate change, and therefore must be the primary focus of any meaningful intervention to tackle these intertwined crises. Restoring degraded land and soil provides fertile ground on which to take immediate and concerted action.” Andrea Meza Murillo, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNCCD “As a global community we can no longer rely on incremental reforms within traditional planning and development frameworks to address the profound development and sustainability challenges we are facing in coming decades. A rapid transformation in land use and management practices that place people and nature at the center of our planning is needed, prioritizing job creation and building vital skill sets while giving voice to women and youth who have been traditionally marginalized from decision making.” Nichole Barger, report steering committee member, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, USA “Just as COVID-19 vaccines were developed, tested, and rolled out at unprecedented speed and scale, so too must land restoration and other nature-based solutions be undertaken to prevent further environmental decline and ensure a healthy and prosperous future. We can reduce the risk of zoonotic disease transmission, increase food and water security, and improve human health and livelihoods by managing, expanding, and connecting protected and natural areas, improving soil, crop, and livestock health in food systems, and creating green and blue spaces in and around cities.” Barron Orr, Lead Scientist, UNCCD “Restoring long term health and productivity in food landscapes is a top priority to ensure future sustainability. Much as an investor uses financial capital to generate profits, regenerating a forest or improving soil health provides returns in the form of a future supply of timber or food.” Louise Baker, Director, Global Mechanism, UNCCD “Indigenous Peoples and local communities are proven land stewards. The recognition of their rights and their involvement in the long-term management of their lands and of protected areas will be vital to success.” Miriam Medel, Chief, External Relations, Policy and Advocacy, UNCCD “By designing an innovative, customized land restoration agenda that suits their needs, capacities, and circumstances, countries and communities can recover lost natural resources and better prepare for climate change and other looming threats.” Johns Muleso Kharika, Chief, Science, Technology and Innovation, UNCCD GLO2: Baseline Scenario projections By 2050: 16 million square kilometers show continued land degradation (the size of South America) A persistent, long-term decline in vegetative productivity is observed for 12-14% of agricultural, pasture and grazing land, and natural areas – with sub-Saharan Africa worst affected. An additional 69 gigatonnes of carbon is emitted from 2015 to 2050 due to land use change and soil degradation This represents 17% of current annual greenhouse gas emissions: soil organic carbon (32 gigatonnes), vegetation (27 gigatonnes), peatland degradation/conversion (10 gigatonnes). A slowing in the growth of agricultural yields While agricultural yields are still projected to rise in all regions, land degradation will curb increases, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. The loss of soil organic carbon and the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients, such as phosphorus or nitrogen, will be primarily responsible for this slowing, while the associated risks of drought and water scarcity are expected to increase. The demand for food, expected to rise by 45% between 2015 and 2050, will have to be met by further intensification and expansion of agricultural land, resulting in the further loss of 3 million square kilometers of natural areas (the size of India), mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Other contemporary scenario analyses explicitly consider factors such as environmental governance, land distribution, and access to resources. Restoration Scenario projections The restoration scenario assumes that land restoration is done on a massive scale – across a potential 50 million square kilometers (5 billion hectares) with measures such as: Conservation agriculture (low- or no-till farming) Agroforestry and silvopasture (combining trees with crops, livestock, or both) Improved grazing management and grassland rehabilitation Forest plantations Assisted natural regeneration Cross-slope barriers to prevent soil erosion The restoration scenario envisions these measures applied to roughly 16 million square kilometers of cropland, 22 million of grazing land, and 14 million of natural areas. Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America are estimated to have the largest areas with the potential for land restoration. Compared to the baseline scenario, restoration means by 2050: Crop yields increase by 5-10% in most developing countries compared to the baseline Improved soil health leads to higher crop yields, with the largest gains in the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, and subSaharan Africa, limiting food price increases. Soil water holding capacity would increase by 4% in rainfed croplands. Carbon stocks rise by a net 17 gigatonnes between 2015 and 2050 due to gains in soil carbon and reduced emissions. This is the balance of a net increase in soil organic carbon, increased carbon in agroforestry, and a continued loss of vegetation carbon due to land conversion. It does not account for the potential carbon storage gains above ground from forest restoration. Soil carbon stocks would be 55 gigatonnes larger in 2050 compared to the baseline, with the largest gains in Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America, while the biggest losses would be avoided in sub-Saharan Africa. Slowed biodiversity decline and loss of natural areas. Globally, the extent of natural areas continues to decline due to the expansion of agricultural and urban areas, except in Latin America where natural areas are projected to increase by 3%. Biodiversity would continue to decline, but not as quickly, with 11% of biodiversity loss averted. Restoration and Protection Scenario projections This scenario includes the restoration measures, augmented with protection measures expanded to cover close to half of the Earth’s land surface by 2050 – a threefold increase on the current coverage. These protected areas are important for biodiversity, water regulation, conservation of soil and carbon stocks, and provision of critical ecosystem functions. However, significantly increasing the extent of protected land would limit the expansion of agriculture. Under this constraint, current yields would have to be 9% higher by 2050 than in the baseline scenario to meet expected demand. Nonetheless, food prices are projected to increase, particularly in South and Southeast Asia, where a scarcity of agricultural land is already impacting food security. Under this scenario, most of the new protected areas would have to be in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. When compared to the baseline, the restoration and protection scenario means by 2050: An additional 4 million square kilometers of natural areas (the size of India and Pakistan). With the largest gains expected in South and Southeast Asia and Latin America, protected areas would prevent land degradation by logging, burning, draining, or conversion. While biodiversity would continue to decline, about a third of the loss projected in the baseline would be prevented under restoration and protection measures. An additional 83 gigatonnes are stored compared to the baseline. Avoided emission and increased carbon storage would be equivalent to more than seven years of total current global emissions. Additional resources: The global potential for land restoration: Scenarios for the Global Land Outlook 2 https://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/the-global-potential-for-land-restoration-scenarios-for-the-global-landoutlook-2 Restoration Commitments and Scenarios Goals and Commitments for the Restoration Decade: A global overview of countries’ restoration commitments under the Rio Conventions and other pledges https://www.pbl.nl/en/publications/goals-and-commitments-for-the-restoration-decade Images, video (credit: UNCCD): High-resolution video of northern Kenya drought https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FOU5Z-F6Q9cQsXjKxtghC5zFDqX1XYS5/view?usp=sharing https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QNe57V1wCStw5kSLAebmYc0MYH2ZY3Dn/view?usp=sharing Photos and captions: https://bit.ly/3rRSpY2 Social Media Assets Infographics / related social media assets (credit: UNCCD): https://trello.com/b/sAbqXGl2/global-land-oulook-2nd-edition The GLO2 summary for decision makers is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pG5dDn8cyWGGXZ6hZIZx-vfNMZS2HKOy/view?usp=sharing The full report is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NfxqrezhaB30eh1FUPrXpka4-SQAjBWp/view?usp=sharing Two new regional reports, covering Central and Eastern Europe and Southern Africa, will also be released at COP15. COP15 programme, registration and other media information: https://www.unccd.int/cop15 About the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD.int) The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner.
Drought, with a focus on early action to prevent disastrous outcomes, is the theme of the Desertification and Drought Day marked on 17 June 2022. The global observance of the event will take place in Madrid, Spain, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has announced. Announcing the theme of 2022 Desertification and Drought Day “Rising up from drought together”, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, said: “Droughts have been part of human and natural systems, but what we are experiencing now is much worse, largely due to human activity. Recent droughts point at a precarious future for the world. Food and water shortages as well as wildfires caused by the severe drought have all intensified in recent years.” Between 1900 and 2019, droughts impacted 2.7 billion people in the world, and caused 11.7 million deaths. Currently, forecasts estimate that by 2050 droughts may affect over three-quarters of the world’s population. “Spain is honoured to be hosting this year’s Desertification and Drought Day that puts the global spotlight on the urgent issue of drought. Drought is not just the absence of rain; it is often fueled by land degradation and climate change. Together, we can overcome its devastating effects on people and nature around the world and start preparing now to drought-proof our future,” said Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. The latest scientific assessments projecting more frequent and more severe droughts in the future and evidence of their increasing impacts has prompted governments to focus on more robust and predictable international commitment and action. Since 2017, the UNCCD and its partners supported about 70 drought-prone countries to develop national action plans to reduce drought disasters. Among the top priorities of the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD (COP15) taking place from 9-20 May 2022 Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Parties will discuss on the way forward for drought preparedness and resilience globally. Officially declared by the UN General Assembly in 1997 (Resolution A/RES/49/115), the annual Desertification and Drought Day has three objectives. First, to promote public awareness about desertification and drought. Second, to let people know that desertification and drought can be effectively tackled, that solutions are possible, and that key tools to this aim lay in strengthened community participation and cooperation at all levels. Lastly, to strengthen implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. Download campaign assets here. Share your DDDay event with us by sending a brief one paragraph description with an event photo or a poster to firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about Desertification and Drought Day 2022, visit: https://www.unccd.int/events/desertification-drought-day or contact: Xenya Scanlon, UNCCD Chief of Communications Email: email@example.com
A new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), to be released Wednesday, 27 April 2022, offers both stark warnings and hundreds of practical ways to effect local, national and regional land and ecosystem restoration. UNCCD’s evidence-based flagship Global Land Outlook 2 (GLO2) report, five years in development with 21 partner organizations, and with over 1,000 references, is the most comprehensive consolidation of information on the topic ever assembled. It offers an overview of unprecedented breadth that includes new analyses of various future land scenarios and the potential contributions of land restoration investments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, human health and other key sustainable development goals. Report embargo: Wednesday, 27 April 2022 09:00 US EDT / 13:00 GMT / 14:00 UK Summer Time / 15:00 CEST (check local time here) GLO2 is being released shortly before the UNCCD’s 15th session of the Conference of Parties opens in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (COP15, 9-20 May, www.unccd.int/cop15). The first GLO edition in 2017 underscored the wide-ranging drivers, risks, and impacts of persistent land degradation, which have intensified considerably in the last five years – increasingly evident in the deterioration of human health and stable livelihoods. The new report sets out the rationale, enabling conditions, and diverse pathways by which countries and communities can design and implement a customized land restoration agenda. Advance access to the GLO2 report and a summary for decision makers, will be available next week. Advance embargoed interviews with report authors and officials are also available. A high-level virtual launch will be followed by a press conference Wednesday, 27 April 2022 The press conference will begin 27 April 2022 at 09:00 US EDT / 13:00 GMT / 14:00 UK Summer Time / 15:00 CEST (check local time here) You can find promotional material here. To register for the press conference, and to receive the advance embargoed media materials, please email the following to GLO2Launch@unccd.int Media organization First Name Last Name Position Email Telephone City Country A formal launch of GLO2 will take place Tuesday, 10 May 2022, during the high-level segment of the UNCCD’s 15th Conference of Parties (COP15, 9-20 May), Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. COP15 programme, registration and other media information: https://www.unccd.int/cop15 About The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the global vision and voice for land. We unite governments, scientists, policymakers, private sector and communities around a shared vision and global action to restore and manage the world’s land for the sustainability of humanity and the planet. Much more than an international treaty signed by 197 parties, UNCCD is a multilateral commitment to mitigating today’s impacts of land degradation and advancing tomorrow’s land stewardship in order to provide food, water, shelter and economic opportunity to all people in an equitable and inclusive manner. Contacts: Terry Collins, +1-416-878-8712 (m), firstname.lastname@example.org Wagaki Wischnewski, +49-228-815-2820; +49-173-268-7593; email@example.com