In dryland ecosystems — where water is scarce — changes in climate and land use directly impact soil productivity. Because livelihoods depend heavily on the produce of the land, scientific guidance and policy support are key to protecting and developing the available resources.
At the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), state delegations from 196 countries gathered in Ordos, China, to decide on a global strategy to stop land degradation in the run-up to 2030. Dr Kai Schwärzel of the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) joined discussions as a member of the United Nations University delegation at the high-level congregation that took place on 6–16 September 2017.
On 13 September, UNU-FLORES also co-organised a side event on “Reversing Land Degradation in Dryland: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities from China’s Afforestation Programmes“. The event brought together scientists and policymakers to address land-based adaptation measures implemented in dryland areas. Using China’s afforestation programmes as an example, the panel, consisting of representatives from the provincial government as well as practitioners and implementers, discussed the evolution of China’s environmental protection policies, the impact of these policies on soil/land and water resources, and strategies to revise existing land policies to cope with new challenges.
Following the panel discussion, UNU-FLORES welcomed participants to the launch of its book Multifunctional Land-Use Systems for Managing the Nexus of Environmental Resources. Dr Luca Montanarella of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre Institute for Environment and Sustainability introduced the book, after which the contributors spoke about their work and took questions from the audience.
For more information, see the news story on the UNU-FLORES website.