Listening to our Land: Stories of Resilience | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
December 2017
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Productive land is a critical natural asset for rural communities in developing nations, providing them with a wide range of ecosystem resources, such as water, fertile soils, plant and genetic diversity – on which they depend daily for survival. For many communities, the land is also an integral part of their cultural identity, helping to maintain social cohesion and stability, in addition to building resilience to socio-ecological shocks and risks such as those caused by climate change. But land is a vulnerable resource that must be managed and restored to ensure a sustainable future. Globally, land degradation adversely affects approximately two billion hectares of land – about one quarter of all landscapes that are under humanuse. The deterioration of soil fertility, loss of forest cover, and erosion of rangelands causes biodiversity loss and compromises the flow of ecosystem services that enable food production and support the livelihoods of millions of people. If current trends in land degradation are not reversed, an estimated 135 million people may be displaced by 2045 because of desertification, with cascading social, economic, and environmental consequences. The scale of the problem is immense, but so is our determination and commitment to address it. We believe that the tools we have at our disposal for addressing land degradation are better now than ever before – the stories in this book are evidence of that. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a financial mechanism for implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Since 2006, the GEF has invested more than US$876 million in over 190 programmes and projects that encourage Sustainable Land Management (SLM) as a comprehensive and socially-inclusive way to improve land stewardship in support of achieving multiple goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, SDG target 15.3, to combat desertification and restore degraded land and soil, provides the core vehicle for this effort. As an implementing agency of the GEF, and as a key partner forthe UNCCD, UNDP currently provides support to implement 85 SLM projects in 53 countries, with a total resource envelope of about US$357 million and leveraging co-financing in the order of US$1.38 billion. This work is complemented by local and community-led efforts, supported by the UNDP-managed Equator Initiative and the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). This publication tells stories of people’s work on the land. Through descriptions of their relationship with their land and their efforts to improve its quality through sustainable land management practices, this book highlights the impacts of SLM projects supported by UNDP and funded by the GEF in eight selected countries. Each story has been chosen to demonstrate the effectiveness of a particular approach to SLM, reflected through the personal perspectives of project beneficiaries. These accounts present evidence that investing in improved land stewardship is an effective tool for restoring and maintaining productivity and resilience of the land, strengthening adaptation to climate change, reducing conflict over natural resources, and helping communities thrive.

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The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.


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