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Be among the first to know  9 September 2015

Hot - off the press ! The new  UNCCD Publication
Climate change and land degradation: Bridging knowledge and stakeholders

The effects of demographic pressure and unsustainable land management practices on land degradation and desertification are being exacerbated worldwide due to the effects of climate change, which include changing rainfall patterns, increased frequency and intensity of drought and floods, rising temperatures, and profound ecological shifts.

As a consequence, populations’ capacities to generate livelihoods are limited, particularly in the drylands. Where land users are exposed and sensitive to changes but able to adapt, through flexibility and mobility in the use of the natural capital, they can cope with such stresses. When they cannot adapt, land users become more vulnerable, which can lead to increased poverty, malnutrition, outmigration, political insecurity and conflict.

Taking action to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience of ecosystems and human populations to the combined effects of climate change and land degradation needs to consider:
  • The degree, duration and extent to which the social-ecological system is exposed to land degradation and climate change (initial assessment measuring exposure);
  • The extent to which the function and structure of the social-ecological system is likely to be modified by the changes it is exposed to (impact assessment measuring sensitivity);
  • The extent to which it is possible to change the way the social-ecological system functions, so that livelihoods can still be maintained (adaptation assessment measuring adaptive capacities).  
Facts and figures about climate change and land degradation:
  • It is estimated that, during the last 40 years, nearly one-third of the world’s arable land has been lost toerosion and continues to be lost at a rate of more than 10 million hectares per year.
  • 25% of the Earth‘s land area is either highly degraded or undergoing high rates of degradation.
  • Land use change and degradation is responsible for about 20% of carbon emissions globally.
  • From 1950-1980, 10-14% of the land mass was classified as dry, which rose to 25-30% between 2000 and 2010.
  • The average river run-off and water availability is projected to decrease by 10-30% over some dry regions, including the dry tropics.
  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.
More about the way forward, the Land degradation neutrality: a global objective for sustainable development, how to engage all stakeholders read in "Climate change and land degradation: Bridging knowledge and stakeholders" (Outcomes from the UNCCD 3- rd Scientific Conference 9-12 March, Cancun, Mexico). See also the French and the Spanish version

MORE publications of interest:
TEEB for agriculture and food ( TEEBAgFood)Study
Ecosystems and agricultural & food systems are typically evaluated in isolation from one another, despite their many and significant links. The economic invisibility of many of these links is a major reason for this ‘silo’ thinking. However, ecosystems are the ecological home in which crop and livestock systems thrive and produce food for humans, and in turn agricultural practices, food production, distribution and consumption impose several unquantified externalities on ecosystems and human health and well-being. TEEBAgFood works to increase preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity by using economic valuation to inform food system policies. The workshop taking place in Brussels this week September 8-11, 2015 has five main objectives: review a variety of existing studies on agricultural sectors that externalize a disproportionate share of costs; identify gaps and lessons learned; finalize a study framework for valuation; explore options for additional research; and agree on content, structure, and writing teams for two reports on ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ and ‘Policies: Production and Consumption.’
Voluntary environmental and organic standards in agriculture
In light of the proliferation of voluntary environmental and organic standards, this report analyses whether voluntary standards could be harnessed to assist governments to achieve public policy goals. Read the paper online 
Rousset, S. et al. (2015), “Voluntary environmental and organic standards in agriculture: Policy implications”, OECD
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 86, OECD Publishing, Paris..

Did you know:
  • UNCCD publications will be on display at its twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12)  from 12 to 23 October 2015 in Ankara,  Turkey. Have a look at the titles here
  • Read further more information about the forthcoming COP sessions, side events, exhibitions...
  • For UNCCD latest news and updates please check UNCCD website  .
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Land, Forests, Water, Climate, Energy and more:

Adapting agriculture to climate change

Farmers will undertake many adaptation actions to meet changing climate conditions and will often do so without any government intervention. However, when such actions provide both private and public benefits, the public sector may play a role in how these are developed and this report aims to establish a framework to help identify specific actions that governments could take. Read the paper online here .
Ignaciuk, A. (2015), “Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: A Role for Public Policies”, OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers, No. 85, OECD Publishing, Paris
Land Restoration, 1st Edition
Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future/
Expected Release Date: 12 Nov 2015

Provides accessible information about the science behind land degradation and restoration for those who do not directly engage with the science allowing full access to the issue at hand. Includes practical on-the-ground examples garnered from diverse areas, such as the Sahel, Southeast Asia, and the U.S.A. Provides practical tools for designing and implementing restoration/re-greening processes. See the table of contents. Editors: Ilan Chabay & Martin Frick & Jennifer Helgeson/ Elsevier

FAO's most comprehensive forest review to date, The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 just published!
World deforestation slows down as more forests are better managed. FAO publishes key findings of global forest resources assessment. FAO has estimated that total carbon emissions from forests decreased by more than 25 percent between 2001 and 2015, mainly due to a slowdown in global deforestation rates. Some 129 million hectares of forest - an area almost equivalent in size to South Africa - have been lost since 1990, according to FAO's most comprehensive forest review to date. Have a look at: Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015 - How are the world’s forests changing?  ( Infographic) Read Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015

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