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UNCCD Newsletter Highlights Links between Land Degradation and Climate Change

UNCCD logoJanuary 2013: In its quarterly newsletter, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) presents an editorial from and an interview with newly appointed UNCCD Executive Secretary Monique Barbut, who stresses the link between reducing land degradation and increasing capacity for climate change adaptation.

To highlight this link, the newsletter describes how an ecosystem-based approach to adaptation should include sustainable land management, for example through the rehabilitation of wetlands and conservation of forests. It also describes the importance of investment in climate-smart agriculture, which increases agricultural productivity, builds resilience to climate change and reduces emissions where possible. The UNCCD will be dedicating the 2014 celebration of World Day to Combat Desertification, on 17 June 2014, to ecosystem-based adaptation under the slogan, 'Land Belongs to the Future, Let's Climate Proof It.'

The newsletter also includes an interview with Executive Secretary Barbut, exploring her goals for her tenure at the UNCCD and her thoughts on the relationship between land and other environmental and development issues. She highlights that she will "advocate strongly for land degradation to be recognised as an issue that is relevant to everyone, not only the South." She emphasizes that "Reporting in the UNCCD should not be overly complicated. In the very short term, I want us to be equipped with tools that the Parties can easily understand." And, to ensure land issues are addressed in an integrated manner, she calls for large-scale programmes like the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI), inviting "the major funding institutions to support more programmes of this type. For example, let's revive the Central Asian Countries Initiative for Land Management" (CACILM).

An article on the changing land use dynamics of the steppe of Western Siberia outlines the impacts of climate change on carbon dioxide emissions in the Siberian steppe based on the project, sustainable land management and adaptation strategies to climate change for the Western Siberian corn belt (SASCHA).

Finally, the newsletter presents the work of one of the recipients of the UNCCD's Land for Life Award 2013. The Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Forestry (CCMSS) focuses on watershed restoration of the Valle de Bravo in Mexico by working through local communities and ejidos to develop local work plans to improve soil and farmland quality. [UNCCD Newsletter Website] [UNCCD News Issue 5.4][GGWSSI coverage in Land Policy & Practice]