Consistent with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is envisioning a future that avoids, minimises, and reverses desertification/land degradation and mitigates the effects of drought in affected areas at all levels.
It is also striving to achieve a land degradation-neutral world within the scope of the Convention.
According to the UN agency, desertification/land degradation and drought (DLDD) are challenges of a global dimension that contribute to, and aggravate economic, social and environmental problems such as poverty, poor health, lack of food security, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, reduced resilience to climate change and forced migration.
‘’They continue to pose serious challenges to the sustainable development of all countries, particularly affected countries’’, UNCCD says.
Addressing DLDD will involve long-term integrated strategies that simultaneously focus on the improved productivity of land and the rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources.
But, UNCCD says it can play a central role in addressing these issues through capacity-building, the sharing of successful experiences, technology transfer, the provision of scientific support, awareness-raising, mobilisation of resources and the provision of assistance to countries in implementing policies at national, sub-regional, regional and international levels.
It is expected that its strategy will contribute to achieving the objectives of the Convention and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular regarding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 and target 15.3: “by 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world” and other interrelated SDGs, within the scope of the Convention; improving the living conditions of affected populations; and enhancing ecosystems services.
For the UN agency, these “strategic objectives” are guiding the actions of all its stakeholders and partners in the period 2018–2030, pointing out that meeting the long-term objectives will contribute to achieving the vision within the scope of the Convention, taking into account particular regional and national conditions.
The first objective is to improve the condition of affected ecosystems, combat desertification/land degradation, promote sustainable land management and contribute to land degradation neutrality. Its expected impact is land productivity and related ecosystems services are maintained or enhanced. The vulnerability of affected ecosystems is reduced and the resilience of ecosystems is increased.
National voluntary land degradation neutrality targets are set and adopted by countries wishing to do so, related measures are identified and implemented, and necessary monitoring systems are established.
Measures for sustainable land management and the combating of desertification/land degradation are shared, promoted and implemented.
The second objective is seeking to improve the living conditions of affected populations with the expected impact being improved food security and adequate access to water for people in affected areas.
Also, the livelihoods of people in affected areas are improved and diversified. Local people, especially women and youth, are empowered and participate in decision-making processes in combating DLDD, and migration forced by desertification and land degradation substantially reduced.
The third objective aims to mitigate, adapt to, and manage the effects of drought in order to enhance resilience of vulnerable populations and ecosystems with the expected impact being reduction of ecosystems’ vulnerability to drought, including through sustainable land and water management practices as well as increased communities’ resilience to drought.
Generating global environmental benefits through effective implementation of the UNCCD is the fourth objective. Its expected impact, sustainable land management and the combating of desertification/land degradation contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and addressing climate change, and enhanced synergies with other multilateral environmental agreements and processes.
The fifth objective is dealing with mobilising substantial and additional financial and non-financial resources to support the implementation of the Convention by building effective partnerships at global and national level. It is expected that adequate and timely public and private financial resources will be further mobilised and made available to affected country parties, including through domestic resource mobilisation.
International support is expected to be provided for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building and “on-the-ground interventions” in affected country parties to support the implementation of the Convention, including through North–South, South– South and triangular cooperation.
Extensive efforts are implemented to promote technology transfer, especially on favourable terms and including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed, and to mobilise other non-financial resources.
The Strategy will be implemented primarily through actions at national or sub-regional levels, with the support of UNCCD institutions, partners and other relevant stakeholders. This section defines the roles and responsibilities of the various parties, UNCCD institutions, partners and stakeholders in meeting the above-mentioned strategic objectives.
Parties are bearing the main responsibility in the implementation of the Strategy, including through their national action programmes, and will need to steer implementation in accordance with their national priorities and in a spirit of international solidarity and partnership.
The Strategy has become an effective tool that guides national, sub-national and local implementation while enabling parties to undertake an assessment of implementation at the level of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC).
Each party can implement the Strategy by taking advantage of partnerships, including public–private partnerships, and innovative agreements.
With respect to financial and non-financial resources, increase mobilisation of financial and non-financial resources for the implementation of the Convention from international and domestic, public and private sources as well as from local communities, including non-traditional funding sources, and climate finance is required.
Parties are required to take advantage of the opportunity to use land degradation neutrality as a framework to enhance the coherence, effectiveness and multiple benefits of investments; and to improve the use of existing and/or innovative financial processes and institutions (such as the Global Environment Facility or other newer funds).
Policy and planning
Parties are to develop, implement, revise and regularly monitor, as appropriate, national, sub-regional and regional action programmes and/or plans as effective tools for UNCCD implementation; establish policies and enabling environments for promoting and implementing solutions to combat desertification/land degradation and mitigate the effects of drought, including prevention, relief and recovery.
They are also to leverage synergies and integrate DLDD, while optimising efficacy and eliminating duplication of efforts, into national plans related to the other multilateral environmental agreements, in particular the other Rio conventions; and other international commitments as appropriate, within their respective mandates.
Mainstream DLDD as appropriate into economic, environmental and social policies, with a view to increasing the impact and effectiveness of the implementation of the Convention; Establish national policies, measures and governance for drought preparedness and management, including drought contingency plans, according to the mandate of the Convention.
With respect to actions on the ground, they are to implement sustainable land management practices; Implement restoration and rehabilitation practices in order to assist with the recovery of ecosystem functions and services.
Further more, they are to develop and operationalise drought risk management, monitoring and early warning systems and safety-net programmes, as appropriate; promote alternative livelihoods; Establish systems for sharing information and knowledge and facilitate networking on best practices and approaches to drought management.