UNCCD’s Global Land Outlook calls for ‘activating’ the land restoration agenda | News | SDG Knowledge Center
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has released the second edition of its flagship report entitled “Global Land Outlook: Land Restoration for Recovery and Resilience” (GLO2). The publication describes various future land scenarios and highlights the potential contributions of land restoration investments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction and human health, among other SDGs . GLO2 shares evidence-based strategies and “flexible pathways for countries and communities to design and implement their unique land restoration agenda.”
According to report, the earth’s resources, such as soil, water and biodiversity, “form the foundation of the wealth of our societies and our economies”, with an estimated $44 trillion in economic output – more than half of the product world’s annual gross domestic (GDP) – being “moderately or highly dependent on natural capital”. Yet, warns GLO2, four of the nine planetary boundaries, which define a “safe operating space for humanity”, have already been exceeded. Violations related to climate change, biodiversity loss, land use change and geochemical cycles are also “directly linked to human-induced desertification, land degradation and drought”.
In light of an “unprecedented confluence of crises” affecting our climate, biodiversity and lands, all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the report urges to “move to a crisis situation” to conserve, restore and use our earth’s resources sustainably. It recommends that land restoration – a “continuum of sustainable land and water management practices” that can be used to conserve natural areas, boost nature-positive food production and infrastructure and supply chains “green” – either integrated into measures for:
- meeting future energy needs while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions;
- combat food insecurity and water scarcity while adopting more sustainable production and consumption patterns; and
- accelerate the transition to a circular economy that reduces waste and pollution.
We cannot stop the climate crisis today, biodiversity loss tomorrow and land degradation the day after. We need to address all these issues together.
— Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary
GLO2 emphasizes that land is the “operational link between biodiversity loss and climate change” and as such, “must be the primary focus of any meaningful intervention to address these intertwined crises”. The report recommends actions to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN) by transforming food systems while “putting people first”, safeguarding land rights and redirecting investments and incentives towards solutions regenerative land management, noting that these must be adapted to local contexts. “More than 130 countries have adopted LDN targets to avoid future loss of terrestrial natural capital by scaling up good management and restoration practices,” notes UNCCD Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw in a foreword.
The report further highlights the need for coordinated action to “slow or reverse climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss” for better health and livelihoods, food and water security and lasting legacies for people. future generations. The UN, he says, could use its convening power to “activate the land restoration agenda,” “motivate the global community, … and help secure funding for large-scale land restoration. “.
GLO2 recognizes land restoration as a shared responsibility and notes that the period 2021-2030 United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration unites indigenous peoples and local communities, governments, the private sector and civil society in a global movement to undertake restoration at all scales. He stresses, however, that “countries that are disproportionately responsible for climate, biodiversity and environmental crises must do more to support developing countries as they restore their land resources.”
GLO2 is the product of a joint effort led by the UNCCD Secretariat and the GLO2 Steering Committee, in collaboration with partners including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Agriculture (FAO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and UN-Habitat, as well as government and non-governmental organization stakeholders (NGO), among others. GLO2 was released on April 27, 2022, two weeks before the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) kicks off at the UNCCD in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Prior to publication, the UNCCD had commissioned a series of eight working papers on the main topics covered in GLO2. The authors explored how land restoration can support sustainable recovery from the pandemicand address the links between land restoration and food safety, land tenure, urbanizationand sex. They also discuss the role of youth participation and suggest ways to counter perverse incentives for land restoration.
The first edition of GLO was launched five years ago, in September 2017, during COP 13 in Ordos, China. It focused on the drivers, risks and wide-ranging impacts of persistent land degradation. [Publication: Second Global Land Outlook] [Summary for Decision Makers] [GLO Landing Page] [UNCCD Media Advisory]