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Global Land Outlook Report

According to a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) released April 27, 2022,

Context: The second edition of the GLO has been  released.

According to a new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) released April 27, 2022, Some 16 million square kilometres of land — the size of South America — will be degraded if current trends continue.

The Global Land Outlook (GLO), the UNCCD’s flagship publication, showcases new and transformative policies and provides guidance for planning land management at global and national level. It is part of a broader effort to facilitate discussion on land use policy and practice by illustrating the fundamental importance of good land management.

Nations’ current pledge to restore 1 billion degraded hectares by 2030 requires $US 1.6 trillion this decade – a fraction of annual $700 billion in fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies

As food prices soar amid rapid climate and other planetary changes, “crisis footing” needed to conserve, restore and use land sustainably

Most comprehensive report on topic ever released shortly before UNCCD’s COP15 in Africa

The way land resources – soil, water and biodiversity – are currently mismanaged and misused threatens the health and continued survival of many species on Earth, including our own, warns a stark new report from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

It also points decision makers to hundreds of practical ways to effect local, national and regional land and ecosystem restoration.

UNCCD’s evidence-based flagship Global Land Outlook 2 (GLO2) report, five years in development with 21 partner organizations, and with over 1,000 references, is the most comprehensive consolidation of information on the topic ever assembled.

It offers an overview of unprecedented breadth and projects the planetary consequences of three scenarios through 2050: business as usual, restoration of 50 million square km of land, and restoration measures augmented by the conservation of natural areas important for specific ecosystem functions.

It also assesses the potential contributions of land restoration investments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, human health and other key sustainable development goals.

Warns the report: “At no other point in modern history has humanity faced such an array of familiar and unfamiliar risks and hazards, interacting in a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world. We cannot afford to underestimate the scale and impact of these existential threats.”

“Conserving, restoring, and using our land resources sustainably is a global imperative, one that requires action on a crisis footing…Business as usual is not a viable pathway for our continued survival and prosperity.”

GLO2 offers hundreds of examples from around the world that demonstrate the potential of land restoration. It is being released before the UNCCD’s 15th session of the Conference of Parties to be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (COP15, 9-20 May).

Highlights of report:

  • The land degradation will induce severe climate-induced disturbances resulting in food supply disruptions, forced migrations and even increased species extinction.
  • The report has predicted an additional 69 gigatonnes of carbon emission from 2015 to 2050 due to land use change and soil degradation and a slowing in growth of agricultural yields.
  • However, if land restoration is done on a massive scale across a potential five billion hectares with various measures, crop yields will increase by 5-10 per cent in most developing countries, the report added.
  • Carbon stocks will also rise by a net 17 gigatonnes between 2015 and 2050 due to gains in soil carbon and reduced emissions, it said.
  • The measures enumerated are conservation agriculture (low- or no-till farming), agroforestry and silvo-pasture, improved grazing management and grassland rehabilitation, forest plantations.
  • Up to 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of humanity and threatening roughly half of global gross domestic product ($44 trillion).
  • The economic returns of restoring land and reducing degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss could be as high as $125-140 trillion every year — up to 50 per cent more than the $93 trillion global GDP in 2021, according to the report.
  • It raised an important point that globally, at least $300 billion will be required annually to achieve significant results in restoring land by 2030. This is far less than the amount of subsidies currently provided to farmers in developed countries.

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