Global attention to the value of drylands (IUCN / UNCCD)

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Action Plan to boost visibility of the world’s drylands

Caux, Switzerland. The heads of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today signed an agreement aimed at drawing global attention to the value of drylands and their threatened status as ecosystems.

UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja and IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre signed the Joint Plan of Action at the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security taking place in Caux, Switzerland.

“Drylands are invaluable ecosystems but their future sustainability is threatened by desertification, climate change and other human activities. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, for instance, will provide the international community with a valuable tool to signal growing threats to drylands,” said Gnacadja.

“IUCN is, and has been, a key player in forests and landscape restoration. This is crucial in the fight against desertification, land degradation and drought. Partnership with IUCN in this area will enable the UNCCD to scale up land restoration in the drylands and others areas affected by land degradation, and advance and accelerate the shift to a land-degradation neutral world,” he added.


The World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP) – (IUCN)

A global initiative that supports the empowerment of pastoralists sustainably to manage drylands resources. WISP enables pastoralists to demonstrate that their land use and production system is an effective and efficient way of harnessing the natural resources of the world’s drylands.


Improving Governance, Livelihood Security and Ecosystem Management in the Drylands of Africa (IUCN / You Tube))


A project to strengthen natural resource governance by reducing marginalisation of ethnic groups in the Northern Kenya and improving policies and practices to ensure sustainable use of these resources

Drylands in the Mediterranean Region (IUCN)

Land degradation has always occurred around the Mediterranean Sea. However in recent decades, the rate of land degradation has been increasing. About 300,000 km2 of land in the European coastal zone of the Mediterranean is undergoing desertification, affecting the livelihoods of 16.5 million people.

Dryland conservation (IUCN / UNCCD)

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Speed-dating in the world of dryland conservation

Jonathan Davies

Greetings to you all from the Changwon Exhibition Convention Centre in the Republic of Korea where I’m attending the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), writes Jonathan Davies, Coordinator of IUCN’s Drylands Initiative.

Having attended the last three COPs, I am particularly excited this time around by the strong presence that IUCN has here. We are represented this year by seven delegates, including five secretariat staff and two members of the World Commission on Protected Areas. In addition there are many participants from IUCN Member organizations who are stalwarts of the UNCCD process. This is the first COP since IUCN established its Global Drylands Initiative, which should give us greater credibility in our discussions here.

For those of you who don’t know, IUCN and UNCCD recently drafted a joint action plan which forms the basis of much of our ongoing work. Some of the work in this action plan will be presented at the COP, such as UNCCD Gender Policy, the work on Dryland Protected Areas, and work on strengthening land rights and governance in drylands. Through this blog we will try to provide daily updates on what we are doing at the COP and some of the interesting things that we see or hear. Blogs will hopefully also be contributed by some of our members and partners during the next two weeks, to give you their perspective on events.


Mainstreaming gender in the United Nations’ work dealing with desertification (Google / UNCCD/ UNEP / IUCN)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

IUCN instrumental in UN strategy on gender and desertification

IUCN recently hosted a key meeting in Bonn, Germany, on mainstreaming gender in the United Nations’ work dealing with desertification

The meeting was held at the request of the United Nations Convention on Combatting Desertification (UNCCD) in Bonn, Germany. It provided preparation for key talks between the three ‘Rio Conventions’ (on biodiversity, climate change and desertification) to be hosted by IUCN’s Gender Office in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“The development of a Convention-wide policy framework on gender is extremely important within the context of the UNCCD, as women in every part of the world face social constraints that reduce their productivity and limit their contributions to agricultural production, economic growth and the well-being of their families, communities and countries,” says Lorena Aguilar, IUCN Senior Global Gender Adviser.  “Many dryland inhabitants depend directly upon a highly variable natural resource base for their livelihoods.  As farmers, animal husbandry, workers and entrepreneurs, women make crucial contributions in agriculture and rural enterprises in drylands.”

Key members of staff from the UNCCD Secretariat attended the workshop, along with representatives from governments, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and civil society. IUCN previously concluded similar forward-looking meetings with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), amongst others.


SEED Awards 2009 is open for submissions

Calling entrepreneurs for sustainable development:

SEED Awards 2009 is open for submissions

Apply now if:

– you are finding new ways of simultaneously improving incomes and strengthening livelihoods; tackling poverty and marginalisation; and managing     and conserving natural resources and ecosystems; and

– you are developing a new concept that brings together people and organizations from different backgrounds to work in partnership, and partners are pooling their commitment and human, financial, and natural resources; and

– your project or enterprise is in the early stages of development and keen to increase its impacts; and

– your project or enterprise is locally-led, with strong community engagement, and takes place in a country or countries with a developing economy or economy in transition; and

– your project or enterprise displays entrepreneurship in its broadest sense and shows a proven concept that has market potential; it must demonstrate financial sustainability in the long term and should have a draft business plan.

Detailed eligibility criteria are available at Before submitting your application, you will be asked to complete an eligibility checklist.

Winners of the 2009 SEED Awards for entrepreneurship in sustainable development receive a tailored package of support services, worth up to $40,000, to help their venture to become established and to increase their impact. This includes access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, meeting new partners and building networks, developing business plans and identifying sources of finance.

The deadline for applications is 16 March 2009. Application forms can be filled in online or downloaded from the SEED Initiative website at The Call is also available for download from the website:

The SEED Initiative was founded by IUCN, UNDP and UNEP to deliver concrete progress towards the internationally-agreed, aspirational goals in the UN’s Millennium Declaration and the commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.

Best regards,

Dr Helen Marquard
Executive Director
The SEED Initiative

For information about the SEED Awards:
Tel: +49 30 89 00068 99

For any other queries about the SEED Initiative:
Tel: +44 1420 488 544

SEED Initiative
Supporting entrepreneurs for sustainable development
hosted by:
Division of Communications and Public Information (DCPI)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
P.O. Box 30552
00100 Nairobi

Companies ‘need green directors’ (Google / BBC News)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Companies ‘need green directors’

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Barcelona

Businesses must change their attitude to environmental issues if the tide of ecological decline is to be halted.

That was the message from Valli Moosa, president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, opening the World Conservation Congress. The former South African minister said all companies should have directors with environmental experience. The 10-day IUCN congress in Barcelona will debate global environmental problems and potential solutions. The organisation numbers almost all the world’s governments, environment groups and business representatives among its members.

‘Immoral markets’

Mr Moosa spoke frankly about his view that unfettered markets and businesses are largely responsible for the world’s current environmental ills. Continue reading “Companies ‘need green directors’ (Google / BBC News)”

Recent meetings on forests and climate change (ENB / IISD)

Read at : Linkages Update – Earth Negotiations Bulletin <>


The IUCN and WWF hosted a workshop on adaptation to climate change in Mediterranean forest conservation and management, from 14-17 April 2008, in Athens, Greece. Participants discussed ways to increase forest and social resilience to major disturbances, such as large scale fires, which are exacerbated by climate change. Participants also discussed a strategy for Mediterranean forest adaptation to climate change, which IUCN and WWF will follow up with the development of a joint work programme.

Links to further information
IUCN event announcement, 2 March 2008


A country-led initiative in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) on decentralization and forest governance in Africa convened from 8-11 April 2008, in Durban, South Africa. This international workshop brought together stakeholders, policy makers and experts to share experiences and explore opportunities for generating concrete gains from governance reforms and decentralized forest management. Keynote speakers drew links between conservation and democratization, arguing that decentralization in the forest sector could be an important lever for democratization and for strengthening mechanisms for representation and accountability. Working group sessions and several paper presentations addressed country experiences with: decentralized forest management and livelihoods; conservation, SFM and governance; and international trade, finance and forest sector governance reform, particularly in the context of earlier structural adjustment reforms undertaken by many African countries. Proposed recommendations and lessons that emerged included the necessity of strengthening institutional adaptive capacities and mechanisms for negotiation among interest groups, conflict resolution and collaboration to achieve common goals. Participants proposed recommendations to improve equity in forest revenue sharing and enhance reinvestment in the forest sector and local social services for forest communities. Participants also recognized the need for new analytical tools with which to understand and respond to the market and global trends in Africa for the benefit of local people and forests.

Links to further information
conference website
UNFF Secretariat statement

Book : Forests in Landscapes (IISD / Earthscan / G. Freese)

Read at : Gudrun Freese <>

Forest Policy Info Mailing List <>

Inspection copies available – Forests in Landscapes

The paperback edition of Forests in Landscapes: Ecosystem Approaches to Sustainability is now available. The book is edited by Jeffrey A. Sayer (Senior Associate of WWF International’s Forests for Life Programme) and Stewart Maginnis (Head of the Forest Conservation Programme at IUCN). Course leaders can request inspection copies from me at <> (i.e. by reply). Please supply the name of your course module, institution, postal address and number of students when you get in touch.
More info about the book here:


Gudrun Freese
Marketing Executive
8-12 Camden High Street
London NW1 0JH
Tel (direct) 020 7121 3152
Tel (general) 020 7387 8558 <>

IUCN: greater action to combat desertification and climate change (Google Alert / IUCN)

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Google Alert – desertification

19 September 2007

As the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, comprising 191 countries, closed in Madrid in early morning of Saturday 15 September, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) called for greater engagement of the international community to fight desertification and address climate change impacts in drylands


Parties and civil society came together in Madrid with the hope of a new era for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). However, many left with the feeling (illustrated by the lack of final agreement on the increase of the Secretariat’s budget) that the importance of this Convention is not yet fully recognized. Continue reading “IUCN: greater action to combat desertification and climate change (Google Alert / IUCN)”

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