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BES-Net at UNCCD COP 15 Reaffirms UNDP's Commitment to the Findings of IPBES's Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration

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Land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are pressing issues that burden ecosystems worldwide. The fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was organized on 9–20 May 2022 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, to discuss these issues.

As part of UNCCD COP 15, BES-Net and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted an event titled “Land Restoration for People and Planet: UNDP Ecosystem Restoration Promise” on 17 May in honour of the Rio Conventions Pavilion’s Land Restoration Day. UNDP reaffirmed its determination to support international and collective action through a global network of initiatives, including BES-Net, such that countries help each other build restoration capacities to scale.

UNDP representatives and speakers from Cameroon, Malawi and Kazakhstan discussed land restoration efforts in their respective countries. The messages they brought to the table grieved the land that has been lost but also reported on the inspiring work being done through the BES Solution Fund in support of the findings of IPBES's Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration.

The Cameroon team introduced the country’s land restoration efforts, observing that despite the diversity of the country’s climate, land degradation is a phenomenon that affects the entire nation. Nevertheless, Cameroon has several goals and many programmes in place to meet them to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN), particularly the protection of the country’s mangroves and the reduction of 75 per cent of the exploitation of land by agriculture.

The Malawi team shared the country’s Green Corps initiative, which targets youth to get involved in achieving LDN. The programme funds and trains young people to participate in land restoration and waste management efforts. Additionally, the programme provides the Government with opportunities to live up to its commitment of offering more employment for its youth. The programme also embodies the event’s themes of collectivity and togetherness: 45% of the youth chosen to be part of the Corps are women and, in the future, the initiative aims to achieve gender parity so that no youth who wants to participate in the programme experiences barriers due to their gender.

Finally, the Kazakhstan team discussed the impact of climate change on land degradation in the Aral Sea region. The area has seen overnight low temperatures and overall winter temperatures rising. However, researchers in Kazakhstan have recently partnered with BES-Net to investigate ways to reverse these troubling trends and return productivity to the area’s soils. The project emphasizes a grassroots approach, utilizing key insights from farmers, other land users and local knowledge holders to inform decisions and actions. Most importantly, the project is working directly with vulnerable groups and being mindful of the gendered impacts of land degradation in its work to bring LDN to the Aral Sea region.
Land degradation and restoration assessment, Nature’s Contributions to People (NCP)
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