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UNCCD Newsletter Highlights Ecosystem-Based Adaptation

UNCCD logoJune 2014: The latest issue of 'UNCCD News' focuses on the theme of land-based adaptation. In the issue, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Monique Barbut, notes that the celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD), on 17 June, "is dedicated to ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change," and that "We want to highlight the benefits of sustainable land management policies and practices in our collective response to climate change."

Barbut highlights that there are two dimensions to ecosystem-based adaptation: ecosystem services can be used for adaptation purposes; and ecosystems have to adapt to climate change to continue providing services, such as enhancing carbon sequestration, supplying freshwater, preventing soil erosion and contributing to soil fertility.

In the issue, an article on adaptation underscores three areas for action: farmers need to move away from outdated to climate-resilient production practices; efforts should be taken to protect and restore ecosystems as “smart landscapes;” and there should be a move from "urban decay" and to sustainable land use.

An interview with Jeffrey Sachs, UNCCD Dryland Ambassador and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, indicates that ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) offers a "set of tools to ensure that local decision-makers are operating with a systems perspective, taking into account the complexity of the local ecosystem and the ways that it might be disrupted by climate change and the ways that the ecosystem as a whole can help to protect the community from the effects of climate change."

Additional features in the newsletter review research on how and why farmers adapt their farming practices, and provide a case study from Georgia. [UNCCD News Issue 6.2]