UNCCD: Land Day: Land Degradation Neutrality as a Solution to Climate Change

Land Day, held on 2. December at the Paris Climate Change Conference, addressed the important linkages between SDG 15, UNCCD’s COP12 in Ankara, and the ongoing climate change conference.

Land Day was organized at the Rio Conventions Pavilion on the occasion of the Paris climate change conference and in partnerships with World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF); ASB Partnership for Tropical Margins; Centre d’Actions et de Realisations InternationaIes (CARI); and Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia.

At the session on Ecosystem Based Adaptation by ICRAF and ASB Partnership for Tropical Forest Margins, the speakers addressed key points on what roles ecosystems play in facilitating local communities adaptation to climate change, and what the mechanisms are to enhance ecosystem resilience to ensure the delivery of ecosystem services that assist human adaptation to climate change impacts. EBA was also discussed from policy, incentives/financial, practice and gender aspects. At Q&A session, people discussed the importance of blending local knowledge with scientific findings not only to develop but to manage the system already established. There was a lively exchange on convincing evidence about EBA’s benefits for policy and decision makers.

The session on EverGreen Agriculture and Land Restoration by ICRAF focused on the role of evergreen agriculture in achieving the Africa Restoration Initiative’s 100 million hectare target, the goal of scaling-up farmer-managed natural regeneration in the drylands through an AU-coordinated programme. The UNCCD representative spoke about achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN) with examples of the Great Green Wall in Sahel and the Sahara initiative. The panelists discussed how to support the Convention in its implementation of LDN. A supplementary comment came from a participant about the effectiveness of agro-forestry which was explained as one dollar investment with 13 dollars return. Other participants questioned about agroforestry as possible solutions for reducing air pollutions and GM foods.

The third session was on Ecological Rainfall Infrastructure: a new perspective on how forests and trees matter for climate, organized by ICRAF, in which new evidence on credible mechanisms for forest and tree effects on rainfall was shared. The evidence can revolutionize current climate negotiations that focus on greenhouse gas emissions. The panelists addressed possible new ways of reducing negative effects of climate change through this new finding. An interesting question came from the audience on whether countries should be financing cross-border afforestation programme to improve their own water supply. It depends – as a panelist responded – on a spatial organization. If upwind cross-border afforestation improves the poor local water supply, it might be a good idea. One has to be careful however about tree selections in water poor regions. Another participant asked on how people could convince their government that afforestation is indeed a powerful adaptation tool.

During CARI’s Desertification, Land Degradation and Climate Change – Time to Act !!, the session participants learned about the “International Civil Society Forum DESERTIF’ACTIONS” which took place earlier this year in Montpellier, France, through a 30-minute film, followed by presentations on agroecology and its climate potential to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality. The presenters stressed the importance of partnership with farmers to build sustainable agroecology-based solutions and balanced development of market and ecosystem was also addressed. A representative from UNDP SGP shared the information about USD 50,000 UNDP small grants programme as the potential financial support to implement these agroecology-based solutions. The Turkish delegate spoke about the new SDG goal on land degradation neutrality and the COP12 outcome.

The Day ended with a presentation and a cocktail reception by Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism on Pursuing Synergies in the implementation of the Rio Conventions in Namibia. The session highlighted Namibia’s approach towards the synergistic implementation of the three Rio Conventions. Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world where the majority of farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture. Therefore, synergistic implementation among combating desertification, climate change and biodiversity loss is critical in country’s sustainable development. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, welcoming the adoption of Land Degradation Neutrality at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, stressed that the achievement of LDN requires the country to bring together the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity with climate change adaptation so that their ecosystems and affected populations become more resilient to the increasing climatic variability.

More information about the Rio Conventions Pavilion.

ENBOTS report on the Rio Conventions Pavilion.

Read the report in the UNCCD website.

Source: Notification from UNCCD from 02.12.2015