Land Degradation Neutral World – Key to a Successful Sustainable Development Agenda

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2015•07•14    15:30 - 18:00
    Addis Ababa


    At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders stressed that desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) were challenges of a global dimension which continue to pose serious challenges to the sustainable development of all countries, in particular developing countries. Recognizing the need for urgent action to reverse land degradation, they committed to strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world in the context of sustainable development.

    As world leaders meet in September to set the international sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years, they are poised to set a target for achieving land degradation neutrality under the proposed sustainable development goal 15. The goal itself is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. In line with this agenda the Addis Ababa Accord encourages the mobilization of financial resources for the promotion of sustainable land management, combatting desertification and restoring degraded land and soil.

    Currently, land degradation, including desertification, affects nearly 2 billion hectares of land. Human activities, including unsustainable agriculture and deforestation, exacerbated by climate change, are the main drivers of accelerated land degradation. Many regions experience more frequent, prolonged periods of drought or flooding, leading to the loss of fertile topsoil through erosion. Land degradation affects the livelihoods of millions of people by contributing to the loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity. The impact is most felt among the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Land degradation pushes communities to seek other arable land, including forests and wetlands, thus compounding the problem. It can also undermine stability in fragile settings and give rise to forced migration.

    About the Event

    On 14 July 2015, UNU will co-organize the high-level symposium Land Degradation Neutral World – Key to a Successful Sustainable Development Agenda. The goal of the symposium is to carry out high-level advocacy for land degradation neutrality as a key for sustainable development in the context of the upcoming post-2015 development agenda. As an output, the event will provide justification as to why the financing for development process should pay special attention to supporting investments in addressing DLDD. Participants will also discuss options for funding the implementation of land degradation neutrality.

    The event will bring together decision makers and experts in the field to exchange views on how land degradation neutrality will contribute to achieving sustainable development. Given that the event is hosted at the ministerial level, it is expected that ministers, high-level delegates and other stakeholders participating in the Third International Conference on Financing for Development will attend.

    The panel aims to address the following:

    • The definition of land degradation neutrality (LDN);
    • The economics and cost-benefit analysis of LDN, and why it pays to invest in it now;
    • Key policy measures for implementation;
    • Capacity building to restore and manage land; and

    • Real world examples of how LDN can be achieved

    For further information and an updated agenda please see the related files tab.

    Speakers include: 

    • H.E. Mr. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland
    • H.E. Ms. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia
    • Representative of the Government of Qatar (TBC)
    • Mr. Simone Quatrini, Coordinator: Land, Private Finance and Investments Policy & Investment Analysis UNCCD Global Mechanism
    • Dr. Hafdis Hanna Aegisdottir, Director of UNU Land Restoration Training Programme
    • Mr. Mulugeta Sebhatleab Tesfay, Lecturer at Mekelle University, former fellow of the UNU Land Restoration Training Programme
    • Dr. Hans R. Herren, President and CEO of the Millennium Institute, President of Biovision
    • Ms. Alice Ruhweza, Regional Technical Advisor for Ecosystems and Biodiversity, Africa, UNDP


    Radisson Blu Hotel
    Kazanchis Business District
    Kirkos Subcity Kebele 17/18
    Addis Ababa

  • For further information please contact:

    Ms. Maria Jonsdottir