UNCCD Announces 35 Dryland Champions

UNCCD logo17 June 2014: The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has announced the Dryland Champions 2014. UNCCD selected the 35 Champions from Brazil, Eritrea, Peru and Portugal in recognition of their efforts on sustainable land management (SLM) practices and dedication to drylands.

Brazil's Secretary of Environment and Sustainability is among the 14 Dryland Champions selected from Brazil. The Secretary implemented a sustainable agro-biodiversity management project in the buffer zones of 13 protected areas in Pernambuco State, Brazil, which included activities on food, energy and nutrition security and sanitation, among others. The Caatinga Association worked to mitigate the effects of global warming and promote climate adaptation through conservation, forest restoration, the promotion of sustainable technology use and environmental education and awareness raising. Other winning projects addressed, inter alia: climate change adaptation through family agriculture and the promotion of local knowledge; and the recovery of degraded and deforested land.

Eritrea's Dryland Champion, the Fawila and Dembe doran (Municipality), set aside 12,5000 hectares as a permanent enclosure where agriculture, livestock grazing, timber collection and wildlife hunting are prohibited. The enclosure has helped to conserve forests and wildlife resources through sustainable economic development, according to the project summary.

UNCCD selected nine Dryland Champions in Peru, who worked on, inter alia: regenerating native species of dry tropical forests; managing diversified agroforestry systems that increased crop productivity while continuing to provide environmental services; and increasing the productivity of family plots through diversification of crop varieties and recovery of native agro-biodiversity.

Portugal's 11 Dryland Champions addressed a range of issues, including: enhancement of the pine cone and pine nut sector; motivating young people to engage in sheep pastoralism; preservation of an endangered donkey breed (Miranda Donkey); and forest management.

The Dryland Champions programme is open to everyone including individuals, the private sector, non-government organizations, civil society organizations and community groups, municipality or First Nation/ethnic groups. [UNCCD Press Release] [Dryland Champions Website] [IISD RS Story on World Day to Combat Desertification]