Maximizing the land’s potential and protecting its vegetation

UNFCCC, UNCCD and UNEP Highlight Development Benefits of Linking Land and Climate Agenda

13 July 2015: In their joint op-ed, titled ‘The Land Battle for Sustainable Development,’ Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), underscore the “huge, largely untapped potential for rapid gains in both the fight against climate change and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].”

The article was published by Project Syndicate as a contribution to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), which took place from 12-16 July 2015, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Asserting that “there are reasons to be optimistic about the fight against climate change and the pursuit of sustainable development,” the three UN leaders highlight current high levels of investment in energy efficiency and conservation as promising steps forward. They note, however, that the importance of improved land management to win the fight against climate change “has largely been overlooked.” They warn that this risks depriving the world of “crucial tools in the creation of a low-carbon future” and missing “important opportunities to build resilience and adapt to the effects of rising temperatures.”
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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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