Land and its soil are vital to humankind. Soil resources are a complex mixture of eroded rock, minerals, ions, partially decomposed organic material, water, air, roots, fungi, animals, and microorganisms, formed over thousands or even millions of years. Land degradation—the deterioration or loss of the productive capacity of soil—is a global challenge that affects everyone through food insecurity, higher food prices, climate change, environmental hazards, and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Globally, approximately 25% of total land area is already degraded. As land becomes degraded, carbon and nitrous oxide are released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. Approximately 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost each year, largely due to unsustainable agriculture practices. If this trend continues, 95% of the Earth’s land areas could become degraded by 2050. Land degradation is particularly severe in the drylands, which cover approximately 40% of the world’s land area and support two billion people, especially women and children.

Events and Articles

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6th Global Meeting of the Mountain Partnership

With the overall objective of promoting sustainable mountain development, the meeting discussed the agenda for the Mountain Partnership going forward, advocating for bringing mountain-related issues to the fore and the core of relevant international processes, as well as for action on the ground. Delegates also elected a new Steering Committee for the Mountain Partnership, updated several of the Mountain Partnership’s strategy documents, and endorsed the Aspen Declaration.
Event 27 September 2022 - 29 September 2022

62nd Meeting of the GEF Council

GEF Council Members endorsed the more than USD 5 billion replenishment for the next four-year period of the GEF and adopted Work Programs worth more than USD 238 million, launching projects that will contribute to a green and blue recovery and direct significant resources to small island developing States and least developed countries.
Event 21 June 2022 - 23 June 2022

Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP 15

The Rio Conventions Pavilion, supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), sought to contribute to this effort through a series of events which aimed to increase ambition to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change, restore and maintain healthy landscapes, and establish a post-2020 global biodiversity framework to halt biodiversity loss.
Event 10 May 2022 - 18 May 2022

15th Session of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD (COP 15)

Following two weeks of high-level discussions and negotiations, delegates adopted 38 decisions to improve drought resilience, reduce land degradation, invest in land restoration efforts, and improve synergies with the climate change and biodiversity conventions.
Conference of the Parties (COP) 9 May 2022 - 20 May 2022

Launching Event of the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development

The launching event of the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development, 2022, aimed to raise awareness of the importance of mountains for sustainable development. Speakers drew attention to the ecosystem services that mountain ecosystems provide and the challenges mountain communities face, including in the context of climate change.
Event 28 April 2022

2nd Extraordinary Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD

Convening under a “silence procedure,” the parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification adopted its 2022 budget, ensuring the Convention and the Secretariat will continue to operate until the Conference of the Parties can convene in 2022.
Conference of the Parties (COP) 6 December 2021 - 9 December 2021

Towards a Road to Sustainable and Resilient Recovery in Mountains

In 2017, half the population in mountainous areas faced food insecurity—and that was before the pandemic. This HLPF side event heard that building back better will require rethinking economic growth, with responsible production and consumption patterns.
Event 8 July 2021

60th Meeting of the GEF Council

The 60th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council adopted a Work Program worth USD 281.1 million that includes eight stand-alone full-sized projects on international waters, four on biodiversity, three on climate change mitigation, and two on chemicals and waste.
Event 14 June 2021 - 18 June 2021