The valuation of the social and economic benefits of drylands influences how resources are allocated at the national and international levels. This was emphasized at a side-event on 10 December in Copenhagen, during the UN Climate Change Conference.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), the UNCCD National Focal Point for Uganda, the Global Mechanism (GM) and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs were keynote speakers at this side event, entitled “The role of land under the new climate change policy framework and UN-Land as one delivery tool”, organized by the UNCCD Secretariat.
Sergio Zelaya (UNCCD Secretariat) stressed the importance of working across the UN system and with other organizations to address land degradation that is intrinsically linked to climate change and other issues: “As we look at land as a potential carbon sink, attention needs to be drawn to the new value of drylands in terms of:
- its ability to sequester carbon dioxide;
- its adaptation potential through sustainable land management (SLM) practices (soils, water and forests); and
- its potential to foster partnerships that can strengthen, empower and support local governance to target local farmers.”
In this regard, a call was made for soil carbon to be included in the COP 15 outcome and for the realization of the overall objectives of the UNCCD to prevent and reverse land degradation, desertification and mitigate the effects of drought mitigation. The role of traditional and innovative knowledge and technologies, such as social and economic innovation, spatial technologies for land degradation and drought mitigation, was highlighted.
Panellists agreed on the need for a focused approach to local adaptation and mitigation actions through partnerships, such as UN-Land that involves all UN agencies that have a mandate on land. The positive contribution SLM makes to the long-term shared vision for cooperation and sustainable investments in drylands, especially for small scale farmers, was also recognized.
Silvia Donato (IFAD), noted how smallholders can sustain steady increases in food production if water is managed effectively. An integrated approach to water management is therefore critical to climate change adaptation.
Alejandro Kilpatrick, the GM’s Programme Coordinator for Latin America & the Caribbean and for the Climate Change Strategic Programme, highlighted the importance of partnerships and engagement with the private sector for mobilizing resources from multiple sources of funding.
In terms of climate change financing for drylands, Mr Kilpatrick said that funding from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is limited and that more attention should be paid to REDD and REDD+ in low forest cover areas. In fact, the relationship between degraded lands and forests is not sufficiently recognized. In this context, the representative of the UN Forum on Forests highlightedt he importance of the funding received for countries with low forest cover (LFCC) and for Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
For more information:
Mr Alejandro Kilpatrick, Programme Coordinator, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Climate Change Finance Programme
Tel. +39 06 5459 2524
a.kilpatrick (at) global-mechanism.org