In early September, New Delhi India hosted the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP 14. ILC Rangelands Initiative partners and projects featured strongly in the events taking place and publications released.
The fortnight began with the launch of the TerrAfrica/WOCAT publication Sustainable Rangeland Management in Sub- Saharan Africa – Guidelines to Good Practice. The guidelines include a number of submissions from ILC members and projects including the experiences of joint village land use planning in Tanzania, led by ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), working with the Ministry of Livestock and National Land Use Planning Commission, Tanzania, Tanzania Natural Resource Forum and local CSOs.
The session showed the need to consider (at least) both forest and rangelands together, as landscapes under the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) framework. Philippe Dardel, Senior Natural Resource Management Specialist of the World Bank said that as the audience learned about the different practices and approaches, the copies brought to the launch “disappeared like warm bread of the oven.” The response to the launch and request for more hard copies is resulting in additional printing taking place. It has also sparked off interest in similar work in other regions including Central Asia.
The 6th of September was declared as the Sand and Dust Storms Day by the UNCCD Executive Secretary highlighting that sand and dust storms are “a phenomenon severely and increasingly affecting 151 countries in Africa, Asia, North America and Australia,” As a result of the session a Sand and Dust Storms Coalition was launched. During the day land tenure was actively discussed by the participants. They echoed the importance of land governance in creating an enabling environment for sustainable land management and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Later in the day, IUCN (International Union of Conservation) with the ReSAD (Réseau Sahel Désertification and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD organised the event “Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN): Restoring balance in our natural and working landscapes,” which attracted over 80 participants.
The key note speeches of the event were given by Mr. Juan Carlos Mendoza, the CEO of the Global Mechanism and Ms. Cyrie Sendashonga, the global director of programme and policy at IUCN. Presentations and reflections were made on LDN, restoration and the UNCCD; the place of rangelands in the LDN and restoration agenda and the role of CSOs within this.
The side event also included a launch of two publications, the LDN – Forest Land Restoration (FLR) publication: “Reviving Land and Restoring Landscapes”; and the companion brochure on Forest and Trees at the heart of LDN. These documents talk about opportunities for the convergence of LDN and FLR initiatives. A major conclusion and concern of the meeting was that restoration investments and LDN investments are inadequate in the rangelands – this needs to be strengthened to achieve the mandate of the UNCCD.
On the 12th September a side event was organized by the FAO-Pastoralist Knowledge Hub on Monitoring and Combating Land Degradation in Pastoral Areas – Are Participatory Approaches Important? with participants from IUCN, government representatives of Kenya, Niger, Burkina Faso, Uruguay, a local NGO from Kyrgyzstan, World Bank, UNCCD and civil society members.
The aim of the side-event was to emphasize the importance of rangelands and grasslands to the UNCCD agenda, highlight important roles played by pastoral communities in the management of their land and overall to improve understanding on land degradation assessments of rangelands and grasslands. The event highlighted the need for an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists as called by the Government of Mongolia.
In addition, a number of publications were launched during the UNCCD COP 14 including the Global Land Outlook: East Africa Thematic Report, which includes Case Study 4.3 on the ILC-supported Sustainable Rangeland Management Project in Tanzania. It is anticipated that further regional reports will be undertaken – and opportunity to showcase further work of ILC members.
The ILC Rangelands Initiative global is a partnership of ILRI, IUCN, FAO-Pastoralist Knowledge Hub, IFAD, UNEP, WRI, Rangelands Partnership, ICARDA, and CIRAD. It works to raise understanding of and bring attention to rangelands worldwide. ILRI coordinates the Initiative supported by the Livestock CRP and the Policies Institutions and Markets (PIM) CRP.