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On the occasion of the Committee on Forestry and the World Forest Week organized at FAO headquarters from 18 to 22 July 2016, FAO and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD joined forces to organize a side-event: “Sustainable Financing for Forest & Landscape Restoration and Land Degradation Neutrality. What innovations are needed for effective financing mechanisms and increased private sector investments?” The side-event was an opportunity to remind how Forest & Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) implementation can deliver significant contributions to climate change adaptation and mitigation and are important milestones on the road towards an inclusive green economy through their potential to create decent jobs and increased incomes for local populations. More importantly the side-event aimed, as a priority, at: Promoting relevant approaches to mobilize private sector finance to implement FLR and LDN; Fostering dialogue between stakeholders involved in FLR & LDN financing in order to share lessons learned and good practices of effective financing mechanisms; Identifying gaps and challenges to be addressed in the future and discussing the relevance of increased collaborative approaches to seize synergies between financing opportunities. The event enabled over 50 participants to learn about some of the ongoing innovations and to discuss gaps and challenges for increased private sector investments. As Mr. Abderrahim Houmy, Secretary General of the High Commission on Water, Forests and Combating Desertification of Morocco explained, “Corporate Social Responsibility has proven to be a significant driver in Morocco where the Partnership for Moroccan Forests operates as a catalytic platform to facilitate partnerships between the forest administration and responsible companies”. Moreover, international cooperation agencies are able to provide significant advisory services to partner countries in building their enabling environment for increased financing, for example through the development of projects eligible for climate finance. Mr. Mark Davis, Deputy-Director for the FAO Climate and Environment Division, indicated the number of opportunities offered by the Green Climate Fund, especially as a way to leverage private sector investments. Participants underscored how other innovative funding mechanisms should be explored: for example crowd funding initiatives which enable a large mobilization of the general public towards FLR and LDN projects. “Crowd funding is a way to bring small amounts of funds to small projects, which most financing partners are not able to provide, while this can achieve a significant development impact on the field”, stressed Ms. Pilar Valbuena, International forestry expert. In order to seize the full potential of forests and mobilize resources at scale, the contributions of forests to biodiversity, combating desertification and climate change mitigation and adaptation must be unleashed. Mr. Ulrich Apel, Senior Environmental Specialist at the Global Environment Facility (GEF) acknowledged that “It is critical to find synergies between Rio conventions when addressing financing mechanisms for FLR and LDN”. Importantly, opportunities emerging from the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund (LDNF) project were discussed as well as partnerships need to address the new LDN market. Indeed the LDNF project offers possibilities of blended finance and a mix of investments and technical assistance which are required when implementing large scale FLR projects. Ludwig Liagre, Innovative LDN Finance expert, underscored that the LDNF project will apply strict environmental and social safeguards to ensure the sustainability of investments. Mr. Douglas McGuire, Coordinator of the FAO FLR Mechanism and chair of the event, in his concluding statement said, “We are on the way to finding synergies between financing sources and to build relevant financing alliances. Nonetheless more efforts should be developed to design sustainable incentives to private sector investors and project developers to engage in FLR and LDN on the long-term”.
Representatives of 15 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and 5 international partner agencies met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 20-21 July to discuss and jointly launch the land degradation neutrality (LDN) target setting process in LAC. Facilitated by the Global Mechanism and the Secretariat of the UNCCD, co-hosted by the governments of Argentina and of Trinidad and Tobago, and supported by a significant number of bilateral and multilateral partners, the workshop enabled Latin American and Caribbean countries to discuss a practical methodology for defining national voluntary LDN targets and the elements needed to implement this methodology at national level, as part of the process to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the SDG goal 15. In their opening remarks, both Mr. Moreno, Secretary of Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Argentina, and Mr. Repnik, Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, agreed that “As a new vehicle for UNCCD implementation, the LDN vision provides countries an innovative approach to address multiple Sustainable Development Goals in an effective manner, bringing together different national development agendas – from agricultural policy to climate action – and offering countries the possibility of tapping into unprecedented climate finance opportunities”. Through engagement in the articulation of LDN targets and associated land restoration measures, and the promotion of operational synergies with the national UNFCCC and CBD processes, as well as with relevant land restoration efforts such as Initiative 20x20, “the LAC region is in a particularly advantageous position to implement bold LDN actions against climate change, considering that the land sector alone is responsible for approximately 58% of the GHGs emissions of the entire LAC region”, Mr. Vergara, Coordinator of the World Research Institute’s Initiative 20x20, declared. Highlighting three key elements on which a successful LDN target setting process should be based , Ms. Polanco, National Focal Point of Dominican Republic, referred to: “(i) a political decision making process that is based on a solid LDN baseline elaborated upon the best available data and a sound methodology; (ii) a collaborative effort that meaningfully involves a broad range of stakeholder that participate in the stewardship and use of land resources; and (iii) a strong political commitment with clear country leadership in order to effectively streamline the LDN vision into the national SDG agendas.” This regional workshop was followed by the first LDN national stakeholder consultation meeting for Argentina, on 22 July. At the opening, Mr. Ravine Bergman Argentina’s newly appointed Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, highlighted the importance of the LDN vision, recalling “the ethical obligation that we all have, both individually and as a society, to ensure that our land-based natural capital is well managed for future generations”, and arguing that “nothing is profitable if it is not sustainable”. He also tweeted his commitment to achieving LDN in Argentina. This is the fourth in a series of regional inception workshops, following those in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia, under a global initiative led by the Global Mechanism and the Secretariat of the UNCCD to support countries in achieving the LDN vision – as of today 95 countries have committed to this challenge. The next workshop on LDN target setting will take place from 14 to 15 October 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, for new countries expressing their interest in joining this global effort to achieve a Land Degradation Neutral word by 2030. Related links: Download the Workshop Report (1.2 MB
The NAP Expo for 2016, organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC), served as a fruitful scenario to leverage the implementation of LDN - Land Degradation Neutrality - (Sustainable Development Goal target 15.3) through its integration into the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). As one of the invited speakers, Mr. Markus Repnik, Managing Director of the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, highlighted the immense opportunities that can be tapped through LDN in order to address climate change adaptation. By acting as an SDG accelerator, LDN provides multiple benefits such as food security, poverty reduction and green jobs, therefore reducing vulnerability to climate change. “LDN can act as a lens to create coherence amongst most relevant sustainable development policies such as climate change […]”, Repnik added. Mr. Repnik encouraged participant countries’ officers to look at LDN as a strategic entry point for NAP implementation by highlighting the strong nexus between land degradation and vulnerability to climate change in developing countries. As of today, 94 countries have committed to translate the global SDG target into country-specific targets and actions and most of these countries are also working on their NAPs. It provides crucial momentum and an enormous opportunity for integration. “It is time to move from pilots to large-scale, transformative multi-partner projects and programmes. Innovative and blended finance and private sector involvement will enable this transition and LDN provides the platform to put all those pieces together", Repnik concluded.
The Asia and Pacific Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) target setting inception workshop - the third in a series of four workshops (Konya, Batumi, Bangkok and Buenos Aires) - was successfully held in Bangkok. These workshops have been organized in the framework of a global initiative of the UNCCD Secretariat and the Global Mechanism to support a growing number of countries that have committed to set national LDN targets – as of today, 95 countries. The LDN Target Setting Programme (TSP) supports countries to define LDN baselines, targets and associated measures to achieve LDN by 2030 as called upon by the Sustainable Development Goals. It furthermore helps countries to create leverage at country level by making the country specific LDN business case, implanting LDN in selected high profile national policies and commitments, ensuring stakeholder engagement at the highest possible level as well as identifying opportunities for the development of transformative LDN projects and programmes. The workshop was attended by representatives of sixteen countries in Asia and the Pacific. Country representatives, representatives of ADB, GEF, IUCN, and UNDP and the LDN TSP project team discussed the approach and steps towards setting voluntary targets aiming at achieving LDN by 2030. It was facilitated by the Global Mechanism and the Secretariat of the UNCCD, co-hosted by the Land Development Department of the Government of Thailand, and supported by a multitude of bilateral and multilateral partners. This event enabled participants to understand the key building blocks to defining national voluntary LDN targets and identifying transformative LDN projects and programmes. Participants acknowledged that the LDN-TSP provides a versatile platform for raising national capacity and increasing investments in order to avoid, minimize and revert all forms of land degradation. The LDN approach is recognized to offer participating countries opportunities to mainstream sustainable land management issues on a new and higher political level, both nationally and globally. “For implementation of the LDN , we need two ingredients: finance & technical capacity. But more than that we need leadership! We need individual leadership at country level - from the national focal points up to the most senior levels of government. And we need collective action at all levels - country, regional, and global”, declared Dr. Pitayakon Limtong, Advisor to Land Development Department, the National Focal Point Agency of the Royal Thailand Government to UNCCD. Participants recommended that LDN should be addressed not only at the highest in-country government levels but also at the regional policy-making level. Moreover, they alluded to the critical need to create synergies between UNCCD’s LDN approach and the other two Rio Conventions (CBD and UNFCCC) and explore options for co-operation and financing. Related links: Workshop Report (701.36 KB)