UN ‘Global Land Outlook’ Report Released

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Global Land Outlook (GLO) report by the secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was launched in Ordos, China.

This United Nations report warns that a third of the planet’s land is now severely degraded thanks to a doubling in the consumption of natural resources over the past 30 years. Some 15 billion trees and 24 billion tonnes of fertile soil are lost each year.

The GLO takes a critical look at financial and socio-economic values of land, and its impact on the poor. It marks the first in-depth analysis of land functions viewed from multiple lenses such economic growth and global trade patterns, highlighting the inextricable links between land, these sectors, and the people that can work to save it.

Smallholder farmers, women and indigenous communities are the most vulnerable, given their reliance on land-based resources, compounded by their exclusion from wider infrastructure and economic development.

Land degradation and drought are global challenges and intimately linked to most, if not all aspects of human security and well-being, particularly food security, employment and migration.

As the ready supply of healthy and productive land dries up and the population grows, competition is intensifying, for land within countries and globally. More than 60 countries have established national land degradation baselines and set neutrality targets.

In an effort to slow land degradation and maintain productive soil, over 110 countries have joined a global campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of reaching land degradation neutrality by 2030 a national target for action.

Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa are among those that have committed to the national targets during the meeting in Ordos, a significant move for some of the world’s largest and most populous nations that could mean regaining resources, job security and resilience to climate change.

With the human population growing an extra 200,000 people daily, and 20 countries declaring drought emergencies over the last 18 months, there are unforeseeable challenges.

Land Degradation Neutrality:

SDG 15: Life on Land. On 25 September 2015, 193 countries came together in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. SDG 15 calls for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of land-based ecosystems. In doing so, target 15.3 specifically aims to achieve a Land Degradation Neutral World by the year 2030.

The Great Green Wall Initiative

The Great Green Wall is a symbol of hope in the face of one of the biggest challenges of our time
– desertification. Launched in 2007, this game-changing initiative aims to restore Africa’s degraded landscapes and in the process transform millions of lives in one of the world’s poorest regions, the Sahel. Once complete, the Wall will be the largest living structure on the planet – an 8000km natural wonder of the world stretching across the entire width of the Continent.

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel initiative is now being implemented in more than 20 countries across Africa’s Sahel region and more than 8 billion dollars have been mobilized and/or promised in its support. The initiative brings together African countries and international partners, under the leadership of the African Union Commission.

LDN Fund:

The Impact Investment Fund for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN Fund) is a collaborative initiative, bringing together several institutions committed to addressing the global issue of land degradation.

The Global Mechanism is spearheading the establishment of the LDN Fund in collaboration with Mirova, the responsible investment subsidiary of Natixis Asset Management, and with contributions from the Governments of France, Luxembourg, Norway, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Public financial institutions, such as Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are participating in the development of the LDN Fund via an Advisory Group that also includes senior representatives from international NGOs and academia.

Expected to be launched in 2017, the LDN Fund is a first-of-its-kind investment vehicle leveraging public money to raise private capital for sustainable land management and land restoration projects worldwide.

The LDN Fund is being structured as a layered fund, designed as a public-private partnership for blended finance. It will complement and scale up existing financial instruments and funds for sustainable land management and rehabilitation by providing financing that would not otherwise be available in the market.

The Changwon Initiative:

Changwon is the capital city of Gyeongsangnam-do, on the southeast coast of South Korea.

The Changwon Initiative intends to complement activities being undertaken in accordance with COP 10 decisions.

The main components of the Changwon Initiative include:

-enhancing the scientific process of the UNCCD,
-mobilizing additional resources and facilitating partnership arrangements, and
-supporting a global framework for the promotion of best practices.

Changwon’s Healthy City Initiative has undertaken several initiatives to promote better health including the implementation of a bike-sharing system, “the development of walking trails in apartment complex areas” accessible to 85% of its citizens, building a new publicly-funded health centre in the east side, and the installation of defibrillators in public areas like shopping centres and apartment complexes, giving Changwon “tremendous potential as an international model” for cities wishing to encourage public health.

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