Reviving Land and Restoring Landscapes

IUCN at COP 14

Land degradation affects between 25% and 30% of all land on the planet, and over 40% of all agricultural land. It contributes to biodiversity loss, climate change, food and water insecurity, drought, and other social and environmental challenges. These in turn contribute to global problems, such as environmental migration and conflict. The global cost of land degradation has been estimated at US$ 6.3–10.6 trillion/: or between US$ 870 and 1,450 per person per year. It is one of the world’s most pressing environmental emergencies.

Land Degradation Neutrality( LDN)  is defined as “A state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems”. LDN aims to balance losses in land-based natural capital and associated ecosystem functions and services with measures that produce alternative gains through sustainable land management and restoration.

IUCN, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, has supported 75 countries to set their national LDN targets and response strategies. The targets cover approximately 17 million km2 or 1.7bn hectares of land and directly impact on 600 million people. An estimated US$ 550m investment has been leveraged to date to deliver these targets (by multiple actors, including the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund).

IUCN is working with state and non-state members to scale-up action to deliver LDN targets through a growing portfolio of SLM and restoration actions. As at 2019, 122 Countries are completing LDN Target setting. LDN has become a flagship under which we ultimately achieve net rehabilitation and restoration of our precious land resources.

IUCN is working with its members to influence the negotations at the 14th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which is the institutional home of LDN. IUCN’s main messages at the COP are:

  • To ensure that national targets are fully embedded into national and sub-national policies and actions.
  • To catalyse and coordinate action across the main sectors concerned with sustainable land management, including agriculture, water, and environment
  • To prioritize Nature-based Solutions and ecosystem approaches for environmentally sound and socially equitable outcomes.
  • To restore of the health of our ecosystems to fight the climate crisis and ensure food security and healthy water systems
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