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.

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How to Make Hybrid Meetings Work

All three Rio Conventions announced in-person meetings for the final quarter of 2021. The trio of organizations—UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)—all seem to be going ahead full steam. The UNFCCC Bureau just announced it will hold three weeks of informal talks in June and agreed decision making is an in-person affair, to occur at the next formal meeting. (The day after this article was originally published, the UNCCD announced its COP will take place in 2022. A virtual ExCOP will adopt an interim budget this year.)

16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)

The theme of the 2020 AGM is “Mining and COVID-19: From crisis to sustainability.” This virtual meeting will explore challenges and opportunities in managing new risks created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions will examine the impacts of COVID-19 on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and responsible sourcing practices worldwide. Specific sessions will focus on the ways in which the mining industry can invest to achieve the best positive impacts in communities, undertake technological innovation, and build resilient communities in the aftermath of COVID-19. The AGM will also discuss issues concerning mine closure practices, resource taxation, responses to climate change, and opportunities for economic resilience and sustainable development in the African and Latin American regions. The AGM provides a common platform for IGF member states, many of which are developing countries, to share their experiences and common concerns in such areas as management of the ASM sector, mining revenue collection, and resource taxation. The IGF was an outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. It currently has 76 member countries. The Forum’s purpose is to improve resource governance and develop the role of mining as a driver of sustainable development, through limiting the negative impacts of mining and sharing its financial benefits. The IGF supports its members through conducting in-country assessments, providing capacity building and technical assistance, and promoting good practices and stakeholder engagement. The Government of Canada funds the IGF and previously hosted its secretariat at Global Affairs Canada. In 2015, the Secretariat moved to the offices of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Winnipeg, Canada. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) co-hosts the AGMs. Many multilateral organizations participate in IGF activities and speak at the AGM, including the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Bank through Delve, its global platform for ASM data. The 16th AGM of the IGF will meet from 20-22 October 2020 in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IISD, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, will provide daily web coverage and a summary report of the 16th IGF AGM.
Event 20 October 2020 - 22 October 2020