A call to invest in Land Degradation Neutrality to attain SDGs 1, 10

 BySouthern Times —
Sharon Kavhu in New Delhi, India

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has urged countries across the globe to invest in Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) amid revelations that, LDN acts as an accelerator to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 and 10.
LDN is defined by UNCCD as a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems.
In a presentation done by Pablo Munoz, a Programme Officer of UNCCD Global Mechanism at a side-line event of the UNCCD COP14 dubbed LDN: The case of Food Security and Poverty Alleviation, Munoz said LDN accelerates the achievement of ending poverty and reducing inequalities which are targets of the SDG 1 and 10 respectively.
He said the SDGs can be accelerated particularly in the rural areas where 80% of the poor live.
“Land improvements support rural populations to generate income, contributing to the prosperity and equality of those at the bottom of the income distribution ladder through mechanisms such as sustaining the income of households largely dependent on land for their subsistence, increasing labour, livestock and land productivity and enabling resources for economic growth in the agricultural sector,” said Munoz.
He said countries can invest in LDN by developing transformative projects and programs.
According to the UNCCD GM Project Manager, directing investments associated with the achievement of LDN towards regions characterized by both high land restoration potential and poor socioeconomic conditions offers opportunities for multiple returns in terms of alleviating poverty and reducing inequality.
He highlighted that different approaches for restoration will have different implications on ecosystem functioning and livelihoods adding that countries are encouraged to design LDN transformative projects and programmes with a strong component on improving the livelihoods of the rural populations most in need. The development according to Munoz will improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable people and increase the resilience of the ecosystems on which the rural poor rely for their subsistence, bringing prosperity to these regions.
His presentation also suggests that increasing public domestic expenditure in activities oriented towards the protection of terrestrial ecosystems will also contribute to the alleviation of poverty and reduce inequality.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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