The effects of harmful human practices on land around the world is something that we don’t hear enough about. The oceans seem to get a lot of the limelight recently but land is something that needs to be examined more carefully.
One of our Two Lane community members brought this 2018 report to our attention and we though it would be a good one to share with you – “The Assessment Report on Land Degradation and Restoration”. The report was led by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) with involvement by UN Environment, UN Development Programme and UNESCO.
After having read the report, the interesting thing about the degradation and restoration of land is that the experts are saying the same thing about the oceans and inequality and peace and food security and poverty. The overall message is that we absolutely have to manage our precious resources better. This isn’t something you don’t know but it is really important to understand that no matter what your priority area is, our consumption, production and management practices matter. And they matter at the micro and the macro levels.
Around 12 million hectares of land are lost each year to degradation. In addition to harming the wellbeing of at least 3.2 billion people, land degradation costs more than 10% of annual global GDP in lost ecosystem services like preventing harmful nutrient run-off into streams or decreasing the effects of floods. Halting and reversing current trends of land degradation could generate up to USD 1.4 trillion per year of economic benefits and go a long way in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. – Achim Steiner Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Here are some of the key messages of the report:
- Land degradation occurs in all parts of the world and can take many forms.
- Avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation is essential for reaching the majority of the Sustainable Development Goals and would deliver co-benefits for nearly all of them.
- Unless urgent and concerted action is taken, land degradation will worsen in the face of population growth, unprecedented consumption, an increasingly globalized economy and climate change.
- Widespread lack of awareness of land degradation as a problem is a major barrier to action. Perceptions of human-environment relationships have a strong influence on the design and implementation of land management policies.
The assessment report on land degradation and restoration by IPBES is a wake-up call for us all. It shows the alarming scale of transformation that humankind has imposed on the land and the changing nature of the forces driving land degradation. We live in an increasingly connected world, yet as consumers we are living ever further away from the lands that sustain us. Addressing land degradation location by location is insufficient when consumption in one part of the world influences the land and people in another. The global target of Land Degradation Neutrality requires a new land agenda that ensures we can effectively, sustainably and equitably manage these dynamics. – Monique Barbut Executive Secretary United National Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
5. The implementation of known, proven actions to combat land degradation and thereby transform the lives of millions of people across the planet will become more difficult and costly over time. An urgent change in effort is needed to prevent irreversible land degradation and accelerate the implementation of restoration measures.
IPBES is holding a virtual conference on the outcomes of this report January 14ththrough February 4th, 2019. It will provide and interactive way for attendees to discuss the issues further and identify key priority areas related to data, information, knowledge and infrastructure.
More information on the web conference can be found on the IPBES website. Interested participants are asked to register via the online registration form. Once registration has been approved, the organizers will send a confirmation email and further information about the web conference.